About Us

Pursuing honest and rigorous inquiry on the origins and cultural implications of the Christian tradition through critical, collaborative, and cumulative scholarship.

Westar Institute is a member-supported nonprofit research and education organization that bridges the gap between scholarship about religion and the perception of religion in popular culture. Our mission is two-fold:

  • We conduct collaborative and cumulative research in the academic study of religion, addressing issues, questions, and controversies that are important both to the academic community and to the general public.
  • We are committed to communicating the results of our research in non-technical terms, equipping the general public with tools to critically evaluate competing claims in the public discussion of religion.

Since its founding in 1986, Westar has conducted a series of innovative seminars on the historical Jesus, the Acts of the Apostles, the apostle Paul, and other topics. Currently, Westar scholars are conducting seminars on the origins of the Christian tradition, on God and the human future, and on the Christ of the people as a liberating metaphor.

Westar is not affiliated with any religious institution or denomination and does not advocate a particular theological point of view.

"We are not embarking on this venture in a corner. We are going to carry out our work in full public view; we will not only honor the freedom of information, we will insist on the public disclosure of our work and, insofar as it lies within our power, we shall see to it that the public is informed of our judgments. We shall do so, not because our wisdom is superior, but because we are committed to public accountability.”

— Bob Funk, Westar Founder

Our Commitments

  • Accessibility
    We communicate the results of our research to ensure religious scholarship is accessible to all.
  • Agency
    We believe in equipping the public with the tools to think critically about religion.
  • Accountability
    Our work is sound to the extent that it is open to critical public scrutiny.