Sociology Index

Sociology of Religion

Since its inception from the classical period of David Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, the sociology of religion has been fascinated by the phenomenon of secularization. Religious groups enjoy an organizational and systemic link to other conduits of power in a society, like government, education, mass media, and make observance a necessary component of prestige. In this context it is understandable that every U.S. President since Eisenhower has attended church, and most have self-identified as born-again Christians. Society and Atheism discusses society, religiosity and religion.

I can understand God creating everything: the rivers and the mountains, the plants and the trees, the birds and the animals. But I can't understand the need for humans amidst this grand design? - rvp.

The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. - George Bernard Shaw in Preface to Androcles and the Lion.

The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by dunderheads. It has been furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe, that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power and hence a fraud. - H L Mencken

Without the heretics, world would have continued to remain FLAT and we would never have explored the world. - rvp.

The foundation for belief and religion is fear and hope. The rich fear the prospect of losing what they have, and the poor hope to gain through belief and religion.  - rvp.

Decency is veiled from sight and indecency is exposed to view. Scenes of evil attract packed audiences. Good words scaredly find any listeners. It is as if purity should provoke a blush, and corruption give ground for pride. But where else should this happen but in devils' temples, in the resorts of delusion?  - St.Augustine

If we take in our hand any volume of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance, let us ask, does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. - David Hume

But for most purposes it could be defined quite simply as a process in which religion diminishes in importance both in society and in the consciousness of individuals. And most sociologists looking at this phenomenon have shared the view that secularization is the direct result of modernization - Peter L. Berger

If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.- Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State (1882), in seeming response to Voltaire's "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."

Association for the Sociology of Religion. The Association for the Sociology of Religion is an international scholarly association that seeks to advance theory and research in the sociology of religion. Formed in 1938 as the American Catholic Sociological Society, Association for the Sociology of Religion traces its roots to scholars in search of a hospitable place for both empirical study and social criticism animated by the social teachings of the church.


Hartford Institute for Religion Research - Sociology of Religion

Center presents its projects in this area.


Sociology of Religion Abstracts


Durkheim, Emile (1915), The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, NY: Free Press. In this sociological classic, Durkheim looks at religious culture among the Maori of Australia, and famously argues that in worshipping gods, society is really worshipping itself.


Reflections on the Sociology of Religion today. (The 2000 Paul Hanly Furfey Lecture). - Peter L. Berger - The sociology of religion has been fascinated by the phenomenon of secularization.

Secularization could be defined quite simply as a process in which religion diminishes in importance both in society and in the consciousness of individuals. And most sociologists looking at this phenomenon have shared the view that secularization is the direct result of modernization.

Rethinking religious social action: what is "rational" about rational-choice theory? - James V. Spickard - At the level of entire communities and societies, models of religious markets and religious regulation challenge the predictions of secularization theory, asserting instead the vitality of religion in pluralistic settings.

Religion and Mental Health: The Case of American Muslims
Amber Haque - Dept. of Psychology, International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
American living presents unique challenges to the Muslims who stick to their Islamic faith. Also covers the response of American Muslim communities to such challenges.

Chinese Conversion to Evangelical Christianity: The Importance of Social and Cultural Contexts Why Conservative Ethnic Churches Are Growing: The Case of Chinese Protestant Churches


The Silence of the Body - Melvyn A. Hill - Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. York University in Toronto. Blanton-Peale Institute
Abstract: Psychoanalysis aims at a transformation of the subject comparable to the Buddha's quest for enlightenment.


The Cultural Significance of New Religious Movements: The Case of Soka Gakkai. - Lorne L. Dawson.

The bible and sociology. (1998 Paul Hanly Furfey Lecture) - John A. Coleman - That a marriage of social-scientific critical studies of the Bible with literary criticism actually makes for not only better biblical scholarship but better sociology.

The sociology of religion of W.E.B. Du Bois. - Phil Zuckerman.

Syncretic sociology: towards a cross-disciplinary study of religion. (1997 Paul Hanly Furfey Lecture)  - Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo - Epistemological challenges to objectivity in the study of religion have made more important sociology's focus on empirical evidence and statistical data.

Sociology and public theology: a case study of pro-choice/ profile common ground. (1998 Presidential Address) - James R. Kelly - Why should there be an Association for the Sociology of Religion? ASR's parent association was the American Catholic Sociological Society.

Religion-Online - Archive provides full text of books and articles on a broad variety of issues, including the Bible, the sociology of religion and local worship.

Sociology of Religion Project - Conservative force means either 'resisting social change' or 'involving traditional beliefs/customs'. Site has been created and maintained by Professor Jeffrey Hadden at the University of Virginia.

Sociology and public theology: a case study of pro-choice/ profile common ground.


Papers and reports on the sociology of religion.


Scientology and the Definition of Religion

Alejandro Frigerio of the Catholic University of Argentina examines Scientology from a sociological standpoint.

Sociology of Religion Journals

The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture is committed to the analysis and interpretation, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, of the interrelations and interactions between religion and religious expression and popular culture, broadly defined as the products of contemporary mass culture.

Rationalist & Humanist - Serving New Zealand's non-religious community since 1927.

Skeptical Inquirer - Published by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, tells you what the scientific community knows about claims of the paranormal, as opposed to the sensationalism often presented by the press, television, and movies.

The Journal of Religion & Society has been established to promote the cross-disciplinary study of religion and its diverse social dimensions through the publication of research articles, essays and opinions, review articles, and book reviews.

The Journal of Religious Gerontology is an interdisciplinary, interfaith, professional journal in which the needs, aspirations, and resources of elder constituencies come clearly into focus. Combining practical innovation and scholarly insight, this journal offers timely information and probing articles on such subjects as spiritual insight, ethical issues, grief and death, long-term care for the elderly, support systems for families of the elderly, retirement, counseling, and more.

Journal of Religion and Health - Sponsored by Blanton-Peale Institute which joins the perspectus of psychology and religion, Journal of Religion and Health explores the most contemporary modes of religious thought with particular emphasis on their relevance to current medical and psychological research. Using an eclectic approach to the study of human values, health, and emotional welfare, this journal provides a scholarly forum for the discussion of topical themes on both a theoretical and practical level.

Zygon - Journal of Religion & Science - focuses on the questions of meaning and values that challenge individual and social existence today. It brings together the best thinking of the day from the physical, biological, and social sciences with ideas from philosophy, theology, and religious studies. The journal's contributors seek to keep united what may often become disconnected: values with knowledge, goodness with truth, religion with science.

Religion - Provides a regular survey of current work in major and specific areas of enquiry. Its swift reviewing and crossing of traditional frontiers to encompass such related studies as psychology and archaeology combine to make it a valued point of reference for a growing readership.

Books On Sociology of Religion

The Sociology of Religion - Kindle Edition - Grace Davie.

Religion in Sociological Perspective - Kindle eBook - Keith A. Roberts and David A. Yamane (Jun 7, 2011).

The Sociology of Religion: A Substantive and Transdisciplinary Approach George Lundskow

Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments Book by Kevin J. Christiano

The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion by James A. Beckford and N Jay Demerath

A Sociology of Spirituality (Theology and Religion in Interdisciplinary Perspective Series in Association With the Bsa Sociology of Religion Study Group) Kieran Flanagan and Peter C. Jupp

Religion and Alienation: A Theological Reading of Sociology Book by Gregory Baum

The Sociology of Religion - BSA New Horizons in Sociology - Book by Grace Davie (Author)

An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion - Classical And Contemporary Perspectives - Book by Inger Furseth (Author), Pal Repstad (Author)

Materialising Religion - Expression Performance And Ritual - Theology and Religion in Interdisciplinary Perspective Series. The BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group) Book by Elisabeth Arweck (Editor), William Keenan (Editor) 

Religion in Society - A Sociology of Religion - (8th Edition) Book by Ronald L. Johnstone

Religion In A Global Society - Book by Peter Beyer (Author)

Weber And The Persistence Of Religion - Social Theory, Capitalism & The Sublime
(Routledge Advances in Sociology S.) Book by Joseph W. H. Lough (Author) 

Reading Religion in Text And Context - Reflections of Faith And Practice in Religious Materials (Theology and Religion in Interdisciplinary Perspective ... the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group.) Book by Elisabeth Arweck (Editor), Peter Collins (Editor) 

Handbook of the Sociology of Religion by Michele Dillon (Editor)

Sociology of Religion - A Reader - Book by Susanne C. Monahan (Author), William A. Mirola (Author), Michael O. Emerson (Author) 

The Sociology of Religion by Max Weber Book by Ann Swidler (Foreword), Ephraim Fischoff (Translator) 

The Sociology of Religion - Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives - Book by Malcol Hamilton (Author)

The Blackwell Companion to Sociology of Religion - Book by Richard K. Fenn (Editor) 

Sociology and the Worlds Religions - Book by Malcolm B. Hamilton (Author)

Sociology of Religion - Contemporary Developments - Book by Christiano Kevin J.

Religion and Everyday Life - Book by Stephen Hunt (Author)

Religion in the Contemporary World - A Sociological Introduction - Book by Alan Aldridge (Author)

Handbook of Religion and Social Institutions - Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research Book by Helen Rose Ebaugh (Editor) 

Why Conservative Churches Are Growing - A Study in Sociology of Religion - Book by Dean M. Kelley (Author) 

A Comparative Sociology of World Religions - Virtuosi, Priests, and Popular Religion
Book by Stephen Sharot (Author)

Religion and Family in a Changing Society - Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology
Book by Penny Edgell (Author)

Islam and the Integration of Society - International Library of Sociology F: The Sociology of Religion (International Library of Sociology) (Hardcover) Book by Montgomery Watt (Author)

Religion and Critical Psychology: The Ethics of Not-Knowing in the Knowledge Economy Religion and Critical Psychology: The Ethics of Not-Knowing in the Knowledge Economy by Jeremy Carrette (Paperback - Dec 14, 2007).