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Byron Johnson

Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University


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Byron Johnson is the founding director of the Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) and Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor University. Johnson is a leading authority on the scientific study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, and criminal justice. Johnson previously directed research centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of, among others, The Quest for Purpose: The Collegiate Search for a Meaningful Life (2017, with Perry L. Glanzer and Jonathan P. Hill), The Angola Prison Seminary (2016, with Michael Hallett, Joshua Hays, Sung Jang, and Grant Duwe), and More God, Less Crime: Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More (2011). In 2012 and 2013, Johnson served as a member of the steering committee for the Christianity and Freedom Project headed by the Berkley Center's Religious Freedom Project (RFP); ISR was a strategic RFP partner. He was also a senior research fellow of the Berkley Center's Religious Freedom Research Project from 2017 to 2018.