Acts of Faith

Explaining the Human Side of Religion

Author: Rodney Stark,Roger Finke

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520222021

Category: Social Science

Page: 343

View: 3650

"The authors offer a new, comprehensive paradigm for the social scientific study of religion. The book sets out to explain *why* people are religious and have the need to be religious, without discrediting organized religions as something foolish or irrational".--Résumé de l'éditeur.

One True God

Historical Consequences of Monotheism

Author: Rodney Stark

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691187851

Category: Religion

Page: 319

View: 9434

Western history would be unrecognizable had it not been for people who believed in One True God. There would have been wars, but no religious wars. There would have been moral codes, but no Commandments. Had the Jews been polytheists, they would today be only another barely remembered people, less important, but just as extinct as the Babylonians. Had Christians presented Jesus to the Greco-Roman world as ''another'' God, their faith would long since have gone the way of Mithraism. And surely Islam would never have made it out of the desert had Muhammad not removed Allah from the context of Arab paganism and proclaimed him as the only God. The three great monotheisms changed everything. With his customary clarity and vigor, Rodney Stark explains how and why monotheism has such immense power both to unite and to divide. Why and how did Jews, Christians, and Muslims missionize, and when and why did their efforts falter? Why did both Christianity and Islam suddenly become less tolerant of Jews late in the eleventh century, prompting outbursts of mass murder? Why were the Jewish massacres by Christians concentrated in the cities along the Rhine River, and why did the pogroms by Muslims take place mainly in Granada? How could the Jews persist so long as a minority faith, able to withstand intense pressures to convert? Why did they sometimes assimilate? In the final chapter, Stark also examines the American experience to show that it is possible for committed monotheists to sustain norms of civility toward one another. A sweeping social history of religion, One True God shows how the great monotheisms shaped the past and created the modern world.

World of Faith and Freedom

Why International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National Security

Author: Thomas F. Farr

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019988451X

Category: Religion

Page: 384

View: 2908

Virtually every trouble spot on the planet has some sort of religious component. One need only consider Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and Palestine, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Russia, and China, to name but a few. Looming behind national issues, of course, is the problem of regional Islamist extremism and transnational Islamist terrorism. In all of these sectors, religious tensions, ideas and actors are of great geo-political importance to the United States. Yet, argues Thomas Farr, our foreign policy is gravely handicapped by an inability to understand the role of religion either nationally or globally. There is a strong disinclination in American diplomacy to consider religious factors at all, either as part of the problem or part of the solution. In this engaging and well-written insider account, Farr offers a closely reasoned argument that religious freedom, the freedom to practice one's own religion in private and in public, is an essential prerequisite for a stable, durable democratic society. If the U.S. wants to foster democracy that lasts, he says, it must focus on fostering religious liberty, especially in its public manifestations, properly limited in a way that advances the common good. Although we ourselves have developed a remarkably successful model of religious freedom, our foreign policy favors an aggressive secularism that is at odds with the American model. It is essential, says Farr, that we take an approach that recognizes the great importance of religion in people's lives.

The Rise of Mormonism

Author: Rodney Stark

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 023150991X

Category: Religion

Page: 192

View: 2562

Will Mormonism be the next world faith, one that will rival Catholicism, Islam, and other major religions in terms of numbers and global appeal? This was the question Rodney Stark addressed in his much-discussed and much-debated article, "The Rise of a New World Faith" (1984), one of several essays on Mormonism included in this new collection. Examining the religion's growing appeal, Rodney Stark concluded that Mormons could number 267 million members by 2080. In what would become known as "the Stark argument," Stark suggested that the Mormon Church offered contemporary sociologists and historians of religion an opportunity to observe a rare event: the birth of a new world religion. In the years following that article, Stark has become one of the foremost scholars of Mormonism and the sociology of religion. This new work, the first to collect his influential writings on the Mormon Church, includes previously published essays, revised and rewritten for this volume. His work sheds light on both the growth of Mormonism and on how and why certain religions continue to grow while others fade away. Stark examines the reasons behind the spread of Mormonism, exploring such factors as cultural continuity with the faiths from which it seeks converts, a volunteer missionary force, and birth rates. He explains why a demanding faith like Mormonism has such broad appeal in today's world and considers the importance of social networks in finding new converts. Stark's work also presents groundbreaking perspectives on larger issues in the study of religion, including the nature of revelation and the reasons for religious growth in an age of modernization and secularization.

State of Affairs

The Science-Theology Controversy

Author: Richard J. Coleman

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 1630875570

Category: Religion

Page: 284

View: 3492

The last sixty years have witnessed a virtual explosion of interest in how modern science and traditional Christianity intersect. This new rapprochement with science has irrevocably altered how we think of God. It constitutes a foundation from which we cannot retreat, but from which we also cannot move forward until we examine the presumptions on which it is based. For the first time, Richard Coleman interprets in a clear and meaningful way the themes and practitioners that make this rapprochement different, and what it has achieved. But this book is more than description--it is an inquiry into whether Christian theology has lost its authentic voice by its singular focus on accommodating modern science.

The Many Altars of Modernity

Toward a Paradigm for Religion in a Pluralist Age

Author: Peter L. Berger

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG

ISBN: 1614519676

Category: Religion

Page: 161

View: 6034

This book is the summation of many decades of work by Peter L. Berger, an internationally renowned sociologist of religion. Secularization theory—which saw modernity as leading to a decline of religion—has been empirically falsified. It should be replaced by a nuanced theory of pluralism. In this new book, Berger outlines the possible foundations for such a theory, addressing a wide range of issues spanning individual faith, interreligious societies, and the political order. He proposes a conversation around a new paradigm for religion and pluralism in an age of multiple modernities. The book also includes responses from three eminent scholars of religion:Nancy Ammerman, Detlef Pollack, and Fenggang Yang.

The Secular Revolution

Power, Interests, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life

Author: Christian Smith

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520230002

Category: Social Science

Page: 484

View: 455

"Smith provides the reader with a powerful new framework for assessing the secularization of American public life, including a wealth of new insights and historical evidence on religion in American institutions. For those interested in religion's changing role in the public arena, this is essential reading, certain to have tremendous impact."--Roger Finke, Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at Penn State and coauthor of Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion "Finally a much welcome sociological study of secularization that eschews assumptions of inevitability in favor of flesh-and-blood institutional histories, from the fields of education, journalism, and law to science, medicine, and even religion itself."--Ronald L. Numbers, Hilldale and William Coleman Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of The Creationists "Secularization has long been talked about as if it were the inevitable product of vast impersonal forces operating above our heads. In this fascinating collection, the authors descend from the stratosphere to investigate the power struggles that actually brought about secularization in education, law, and journalism. A wonderful, arresting book that gives secularization a human face."--Nicholas Wolterstorff, author of John Locke and the Ethics of Belief "This book is sure to evoke debate, agreement, contention, and future research by historians, sociologists, political scientists, and scholars of American religion."--Rhys H. Williams, editor, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

The Future of Christianity

Historical, Sociological, Political and Theological Perspectives from New Zealand

Author: John Stenhouse,Brett Knowles,Antony Wood

Publisher: ATF Press

ISBN: 9781920691233

Category: Religion

Page: 241

View: 3109

This book, written by a group of New Zealand scholars, theologians, historians and lawyers, examines the question of New Zealand's Western culture and Christianity. The contributors explore recent debates over secularisation, exploring its merits and explanatory power, while also showing its limitations.

A New Model of Religious Conversion

Beyond Network Theory and Social Constructivism

Author: Ines W. Jindra

Publisher: BRILL

ISBN: 900426650X

Category: Religion

Page: 240

View: 4613

A New Model of Religious Conversion highlights connections between converts' backgrounds and the religions they convert to. It also critiques the prevalent application of network theory and social constructivism to the study of conversion narratives, while making the case for the introduction of biographical sociology to American sociology.

The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States

Author: Derek H. Davis

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190208783

Category: Political Science

Page: 592

View: 7585

Study of church and state in the United States is incredibly complex. Scholars working in this area have backgrounds in law, religious studies, history, theology, and politics, among other fields. Historically, they have focused on particular angles or dimensions of the church-state relationship, because the field is so vast. The results have mostly been monographs that focus only on narrow cross-sections of the field, and the few works that do aim to give larger perspectives are reference works of factual compendia, which offer little or no analysis. The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States fills this gap, presenting an extensive, multidimensional overview of the field. Twenty-one essays offer a scholarly look at the intricacies and past and current debates that frame the American system of church and state, within five main areas: history, law, theology/philosophy, politics, and sociology. These essays provide factual accounts, but also address issues, problems, debates, controversies, and, where appropriate, suggest resolutions. They also offer analysis of the range of interpretations of the subject offered by various American scholars. This Handbook is an invaluable resource for the study of church-state relations in the United States.

Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics

Author: Jeffrey Haynes

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134121768

Category: Political Science

Page: 448

View: 1725

From the United States to the Middle East, Asia and Africa, religion has become an increasingly important factor in political activity and organisation. This Handbook provides a definitive global survey of the interaction of religion and politics. Featuring contributions from an international team of experts, it examines the political aspects of all the world's major religions, including such crucial contemporary issues as religious fundamentalism, terrorism, the war on terror, the 'clash of civilizations' and science and religion. Four main themes addressed include: the World religions and politics religion and governance religion and international relations religion, security and development. References at the end of each chapter guide the reader towards the most up-to-date information on various topics. In addition, large amounts of information make this book an indispensable source of information for students, academics and the wider public interested in the dynamic relationship between politics and religion.

Religious Actors in the Public Sphere

Means, Objectives, and Effects

Author: Jeff Haynes,Anja Hennig

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136661700

Category: Political Science

Page: 236

View: 4861

This book seeks to argue that religious actors play a crucial role in the complex processes of entering or re-entering the public spheres of state, political, and civil society. Seeking to ameliorate the analytical lacuna and concentrating on both the meso and micro levels of religious public involvement, the contributors explain how representatives from religious and political institutions act and interact in a variety of ways for various purposes. Analysing empirical examples from both Europe and beyond, and including a variety of religions, including multi-faith platforms, the volume examines selected religious actors’ objectives, means and strategies and effects in order to address the following questions: • What are selected religious actors’ public and/or political activities and objectives? • In what ways and with what results do selected religious actors operate in various public spheres? • What are the consequences of religious actors’ political involvement, and which factors condition the degree to which they are successful? Whilst focusing mainly on Europe, the book also utilizes examples from Egypt, Turkey and the USA to provide a valuable and unique comparative focus. The contributors demonstrate that various religious actors, whether functioning as interest groups or social movements, and almost irrespective of the religious tradition to which they belong and the culture from which they emanate, do not necessarily differ markedly in terms of strategies. This important study will be of great interest to all scholars of International Politics, Religion, and Public Policy.

Breaking the Spell

Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Author: Daniel C. Dennett

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781101218860

Category: Religion

Page: 464

View: 6692

For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why—and how—it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion’s evolution from “wild” folk belief to “domesticated” dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.

Evidence of God

A Scientific Case for God

Author: Nick Hawkes

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 163087535X

Category: Religion

Page: 186

View: 7949

Endorsements: "Nick Hawkes has written a book on science and Christian faith that is attractive, intelligent, and accessible to general readers. It shows clearly that Christian faith and science are not opposed to each other but in need of each other. This book will be of great interest not only to committed Christians seeking to see how their biblical faith relates to contemporary science, but also to all those searching for an authentic Christian spirituality for the twenty-first century." -Denis Edwards Flinders University "Nick Hawkes looks at arguments for and against the existence for God and comes to the conclusion that faith can no more dispense with science than science can dispense with God. Both complete one another. He knows the terrain well and is able to explain complex ideas in ordinary language. Dr. Hawkes concludes by saying that Christian theology, rather than undermining science, actually provides science with a solid ground of meaning on which to stand." -Mark Worthing Tabor College, Adelaide. "This book should have a prominent position on the shelves of pastors, church leaders, teachers, and anyone who is interested in proclaiming Christianity in our secular society. Dr. Hawkes uses modern science to put forward a reasoned defense of orthodox Christianity." -Ken Smith The University of Queensland Author Biography: Nick Hawkes has two degrees in science and two in theology. He is the author of a number of books including the BASICS discipling series and A Summary of the Bible. He was a research scientist for twelve years before training as a pastor and leading a number of vibrant churches.

War, Peace, and Prosperity in the Name of God

The Ottoman Role in Europe's Socioeconomic Evolution

Author: Murat Iyigun

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022623228X

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 208

View: 6945

Differences among religious communities have motivated—and continue to motivate—many of the deadliest conflicts in human history. But how did political power and organized religion become so thoroughly intertwined? And how have religion and religiously motivated conflicts affected the evolution of societies throughout history, from demographic and sociopolitical change to economic growth? War, Peace, and Prosperity in the Name of God turns the focus on the “big three monotheisms”—Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—to consider these questions. Chronicling the relatively rapid spread of the Abrahamic religions among the Old World, Murat Iyigun shows that societies that adhered to a monotheistic belief in that era lasted longer, suggesting that monotheism brought some sociopolitical advantages. While the inherent belief in one true god meant that these religious communities had sooner or later to contend with one another, Iyigun shows that differences among them were typically strong enough to trump disagreements within. The book concludes by documenting the long-term repercussions of these dynamics for the organization of societies and their politics in Europe and the Middle East.

The Atheist's Primer

Author: Malcolm Murray

Publisher: Broadview Press

ISBN: 1460400445

Category: Philosophy

Page: 276

View: 2397

The Athiest’s Primer is a concise but wide-ranging introduction to a variety of arguments, concepts, and issues pertaining to belief in God. In lucid and engaging prose, Malcom Murray offers a penetrating yet fair-minded critique of the traditional arguments for the existence of God. He then explores a number of other important issues relevant to religious belief, such as the problem of suffering and the relationship between religion and morality, in each case arguing that atheism is preferable to theism. The book will appeal to both students and professionals in the philosophy of religion, as well as general audiences interested in the topic.

Faith and Law

How Religious Traditions from Calvinism to Islam View American Law

Author: Robert F. Cochran

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 0814716725

Category: Law

Page: 299

View: 4833

What does it mean to be a Jewish woman today? To an Orthodox woman, it means living a religious way of life in which serving God totally defines her self-perception and her role as wife and mother. For the secular woman, it means having a sense of belonging, although not necessarily to a specific Jewish community. Most contemporary Jewish women fall somewhere in between, but at the core of all of their identities is a complex interweaving of religious and ethnic elements, a shared history, and a collective memory of periods of prejudice, persecution, wandering, and resettlement. Focusing on Jewish women in the United States and Britain, Adrienne Baker examines such issues as women's role in religious law, the spectrum of synagogue observance, the mother's role as conveyor of tradition, conversion and inter- faith marriages, and sexuality. In particular, the book examines the impact of feminism on Jewish women and their culture, uncovering the counterinfluences of tradition and new freedoms on women's lives.

The Spiritual-Industrial Complex

America's Religious Battle against Communism in the Early Cold War

Author: Jonathan P. Herzog

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199832013

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 6534

In his farewell address, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the nation of the perils of the military-industrial complex. But as Jonathan Herzog shows in this insightful history, Eisenhower had spent his presidency contributing to another, lesser known, Cold War collaboration: the spiritual-industrial complex. This fascinating volume shows that American leaders in the early Cold War years considered the conflict to be profoundly religious; they saw Communism not only as godless but also as a sinister form of religion. Fighting faith with faith, they deliberately used religious beliefs and institutions as part of the plan to defeat the Soviet enemy. Herzog offers an illuminating account of the resultant spiritual-industrial complex, chronicling the rhetoric, the programs, and the policies that became its hallmarks. He shows that well-known actions like the addition of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance were a small part of a much larger and relatively unexplored program that promoted religion nationwide. Herzog shows how these efforts played out in areas of American life both predictable and unexpected--from pulpits and presidential appeals to national faith drives, military training barracks, public school classrooms, and Hollywood epics. Millions of Americans were bombarded with the message that the religious could not be Communists, just a short step from the all-too-common conclusion that the irreligious could not be true Americans. Though the spiritual-industrial complex declined in the 1960s, its statutes, monuments, and sentiments live on as bulwarks against secularism and as reminders that the nation rests upon the groundwork of religious faith. They continue to serve as valuable allies for those defending the place of religion in American life.

From Empire to Community

A New Approach to International Relations

Author: Amitai Etzioni

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466889136

Category: Political Science

Page: 272

View: 5293

Whether one favors the U.S. global projection of force or is horrified by it, the question stands - where do we go from here? What ought to be the new global architecture? Amitai Etzioni follows a third way, drawing on both neoconservative and liberal ideas, in this bold new look at international relations. He argues that a "clash of civilizations" can be avoided and that the new world order need not look like America. Eastern values, including spirituality and moderate Islam, have a legitimate place in the evolving global public philosophy. Nation-states, Etzioni argues, can no longer attend to rising transnational problems, from SARS to trade in sex slaves to cybercrime. Global civil society does help, but without some kind of global authority, transnational problems will overwhelm us. The building blocks of this new order can be found in the war against terrorism, multilateral attempts at deproliferation, humanitarian interventions and new supranational institutions (e.g., the governance of the Internet). Basic safety, human rights, and global social issues, such as environmental protection, are best solved cooperatively, and Etzioni explores ways of creating global authorities robust enough to handle these issues as he outlines the journey from "empire to community."