Spiritual capital

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Spiritual capital is the quantification of the value of spiritual, moral or psychological beliefs and practices to individuals, groups and society. Proponents liken it to other forms of capital, including material capital (or financial capital), intellectual capital, and social capital. Some scholars such as Robert Barro see spiritual capital as simply another term for the power and influence generated by religion belief and practice, whilst others, such as Danah Zohar define it more broadly as the value of personal, social or cultural beliefs and meanings that stimulate creativity, encourage moral behaviour and motivate individuals. It is often connected to the related concept of spiritual intelligence. Moreover, Samuel Rima has developed a conceptual model of spiritual capital that postulates five major elements of spiritual capital theory; metaphysical resources, spiritual capital formation, transformation, spiritual capital investment, and return on investment.

Spiritual capital, when used in research, can be operationalized through various measures that measure an individual's religious and spiritual inclinations, such as frequency of church attendance and prayer, as well as one's belief in the transcendence. These kinds of measures can be found in the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality Multidimensional Measurement of Religiousness/Spirituality (book).

Spiritual capital has also be used by many scholars to understand movements such as business as a mission, kingdom business and workplace spirituality.

Ted Malloch in his launch of the Spiritual Enterprise Institute in 2005 defined spiritual capital as

[1] Another general definition, offered by Alex Liu[who?] is that spiritual capital is the power, influence and dispositions created by a person or an organization’s spiritual belief, knowledge and practice. Samuel Rima, based on doctoral research done at the University of Buckingham UK, defines spiritual capital as a metaphysical impulse that animates and leverages other recognized forms of capital to build capacity for advancing the common good. According to Rima, spiritual capital is used, or invested, to infuse other forms of capital with life-giving energy that will create surplus value for the benefit of people and societies rather than for satiating individual or corporate greed. As such, spiritual capital has the potential to bring life, vitality, and empowerment to people and the societies in which they live, rather than for the material or economic satisfaction and advancement of one individual, social group, or corporate entity.

Spiritual capital has also been defined as the motivational force behind active participation in civil society. This definition was coined by Dr Chris Baker, together with Hannah Skinner, during research by his organisation, the William Temple Foundation, on church-based projects and their engagement with civil society and urban change in Manchester. Baker makes the distinction between religious capital and spiritual capital as follows,

  • Religious capital is the practical contribution to local and national life made by faith groups.
  • Spiritual capital energises religious capital by providing a theological identity and worshipping tradition, but also a value system, moral vision and a basis of faith. Spiritual capital is often embedded locally within faith groups but also expressed in the lives of individuals.[2]

In other words, religious capital is the ‘what’, whilst spiritual capital is the ‘why’ of faith-based social action. Baker emphasises the importance of spiritual capital as a source of social capital,[3] also suggesting the existence of secular spiritual capital which exists beyond religious groups and creates the same impulse for ethical engagement in the public sphere.[4]


  1. ^ Malloch, Ted (January 14, 2005). "White Paper on Spiritual Capital". Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ Baker, Chris; Skinner, Hannah. "Faith in Action: The dynamic connection between spiritual and religious capital". William Temple Foundation. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Baker, Chris. "Spiritual Capital & Progressive Localism". Public Spirit. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Baker, Chris; Miles-Watson, J (2008). "Exploring Secular Spiritual Capital; An Engagement in Religious and Secular Dialogue for a Common Future". International Journal of Public Theology 2 (4): 442 – 464. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Spiritual Capital: A Moral Core for Social and Economic Justice. by Samuel D. Rima, Gower/Ashgate, (Forthcoming 2012, ISBN 978-1-4094-0484-2. Farnham, U.K)"
  • Doing Virtuous Business: The Remarkable Success of Spiritual Enterprise by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch (2008; ISBN 978-0-8499-4717-9)
  • Spiritual Capital: Wealth We Can Live By Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall (2004; ISBN 1-57675-138-4)
  • God is at Work by Ken Eldred 2005 Regal Books
  • Handbook of workplace spirituality and organizational performance. by Giacalone, R. A., & Jurkiewicz, C. L. (2003). Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.
  • Spiritual information : 100 perspectives on science and religion. by Harper, C. L., & Templeton, J. (Eds.). (2005). Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.
  • Spiritual intelligence at work : meaning, metaphor, and morals. by Pava, M. L., & Primeaux, P. (2004). Amsterdam ; London: Jai.
  • Spiritual capital, academic capital and the politics of scholarship: A response to Bradford Verter Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, 17(2), 166-175. by Urban, H. (2005).
  • Spiritual capital: Theorizing religion with Bourdieu against Bourdieu Sociological Theory, 21(2), 50-174. by Verter, B. (2003).
  • Spirituality and ethics in management. by Zsolnai, L. (2004). Dordrecht Boston, Mass.: Kluwer Academic.
  • Ethics and spirituality at work : hopes and pitfalls of the search for meaning in organizations. by Pauchant, T. C. (2002). Westport, Conn.: Quorum Books.

External links[edit]