Explaining the Human Side of Religion
Author: Rodney Stark,Roger Finke
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
"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.
Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds
Author: Heidi Campbell
Digital Religion offers a critical and systematic survey of the study of religion and new media. It covers religious engagement with a wide range of new media forms and highlights examples of new media engagement in all five of the major world religions. From cell phones and video games to blogs and Second Life, the book: provides a detailed review of major topics includes a series of case studies to illustrate and elucidate the thematic explorations considers the theoretical, ethical and theological issues raised. Drawing together the work of experts from key disciplinary perspectives, Digital Religion is invaluable for students wanting to develop a deeper understanding of the field.
Author: Jenny Trinitapoli,Alexander Weinreb
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Health & Fitness
The first comprehensive empirical account of how religion affects the interpretation, prevention, and mitigation of AIDS in Africa, the world's most religious continent.
Religion and the Free Market
Author: Torkel Brekke
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Political Science
Faithonomics uses economic theory to provide a new and unorthodox view of religion in today's world. Drawing on state-of-the-art research and on case studies from around the globe, this book shows that religion should be analysed as a market similar to markets for other goods and services, like bottled water or haircuts. Faithonomics is about today's religious markets, but in sweeping detours through the histories of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, Brekke shows us the religious markets of the past, although these were sometimes heavily regulated by states. He argues that government 'control' over religious markets is often the cause of unforeseen and negative consequences. Many of today's problems related to religion, like religious terrorism or rent-seeking by religious political parties, are easier to understand if we think like economists. Religious markets work best when they are relatively free. Religious organizations should be free to sell their products without unnecessary restrictions, but we have no good reason to grant them privileges in the form of subsidies or tax-breaks.
How Religion Benefits Everyone, Including Atheists
Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Templeton Press
A few years ago, a debate between atheists and religious believers spilled out from the halls of academia and the pews of America’s churches and into the public spotlight. A crop of atheist manifestos led the charge, surmounting and holding the tops of the nonfiction bestseller lists. This offensive brought on an outpouring of religious rebuttals. As both sides exchanged spirited volleys, accusations were leveled; myths, stereotypes, and strawmen arguments were perpetuated; and bitter hostility filled the air. Today many of these misconceptions and myths linger on, along with the generally acrimonious spirit of the debate. In America’s Blessings, distinguished researcher Rodney Stark seeks to clear the air of this hostility and debunk many of the debate’s most widely perpetuated misconceptions by drawing from an expansive pool of sociological findings. Looking at the measurable effects of religious faith and practice on American society, Stark rises above the fray and focuses exclusively on facts. His findings may surprise many, atheists and believers alike. Starting with a historical overview, Stark traces America’s religious roots from the founding of the country up through the present day, showing that religiosity in America has never been consistent, static, or monolithic. Interestingly, he finds that religious practice is now more prevalent than ever in America, despite any claims to the contrary. From here, Stark devotes whole chapters to unpacking the latest research on how religion affects different facets of modern American life, including crime, family life, sexuality, mental and physical health, sophistication, charity, and overall prosperity. The cumulative effect is that when translated into comparisons with western European nations, the United States comes out on top again and again. Thanks in no small part to America’s rich religious culture, the nation has far lower crime rates, much higher levels of charitable giving, better health, stronger marriages, and less suicide, to note only a few of the benefits. In the final chapter, Stark assesses the financial impact of these religious realities. It turns out that belief benefits the American economy—and all 300 million citizens, believer and nonbeliever alike—by a conservative estimate of $2.6 trillion a year. Despite the atheist outcry against religion, the remarkable conclusion is clear: all Americans, from the most religious among us to our secular neighbors, really ought to count our blessings.
Family, Work, and Religion Among American Catholics
Author: Mary Ellen Konieczny
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Through detailed ethnographic analysis of one conservative and one progressive parish, this book reveals how church metaphors and religious identities matter to parishioners' marriages, childrearing, and work-family balance; connect everyday life with public politics; and unintentionally fragment the Catholic tradition.
Author: P.D. James
Publisher: Canongate Books
Acts is the sequel to Luke's gospel and tells the story of Jesus's followers during the 30 years after his death. It describes how the 12 apostles, formerly Jesus's disciples, spread the message of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean against a background of persecution. With an introduction by P.D. James
A Road Trip Across America's Religious Landscape
Author: Christopher P. Scheitle,Roger Finke
Publisher: OUP USA
Places of Faith will offer an introduction to America's astounding religious diversity by taking readers on a cross-country religious road trip. Christopher Scheitle and Roger Finke have crisscrossed the country visiting churches in small towns and rural areas as well as the mega-churches, storefronts, synagogues, Islamic centers, Eastern temples, and other places of faith in major cities. Each stop on their tour provides an opportunity to introduce a particular current of American religion.
How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures
Author: Nicholas Wade
Category: Social Science
Noted science writer Nicholas Wade offers for the first time a convincing case based on a broad range of scientific evidence for the evolutionary basis of religion.
Power, Interests, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life
Author: Christian Smith
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
"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 Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith
Author: Peter Rollins
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
In this mind-bending exploration of traditional Christianity, firebrand Peter Rollins turns the tables on conventional wisdom, offering a fresh perspective focused on a life filled with love. Peter Rollins knows one magic trick—now, make sure you watch closely. It has three parts: the Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige. In Divine Magician, each part comes into play as he explores a radical view of interacting with the world in love. Rollins argues that the Christian event, reenacted in the Eucharist, is indeed a type of magic trick, one that is echoed in the great vanishing acts performed by magicians throughout the ages. In this trick, a divine object is presented to us (the Pledge), disappears (the Turn), and then returns (the Prestige). But just as the returned object in a classic vanishing act is not really the same object—but another that looks the same—so this book argues that the return of God is not simply the return of what was initially presented, but rather a radical way of interacting with the world. In an effort to unearth the power of Christianity, Rollins uses this framework to explain the mystery of faith that has been lost on the church. In the same vein as Rob Bell’s bestseller Love Wins, this book pushes the boundaries of theology, presenting a stirring vision at the forefront of re-imagined modern Christianity. As a dynamic speaker as he is in writing, Rollins examines traditional religious notions from a revolutionary and refreshingly original perspective. At the heart of his message is a life lived through profound love. Just perhaps, says Rollins, the radical message found in Christianity might be one that the church can show allegiance to.
Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy
Author: Roger Finke,Rodney Stark
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
In this provocative book, Roger Finke and Rodney Stark challenge popular perceptions about American religion. They view the religious environment as a free market economy, where churches compete for souls. The story they tell is one of gains for upstart sects and losses for mainline denominations. Although many Americans assume that religious participation has declined in America, Finke and Stark present a different picture. In 1776, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans were active in church affairs. Today, church membership includes about 6 out of 10 people. But, as Finke and Stark show, not all denominations benefited. They explain how and why the early nineteenth-century churches began their descent, while two newcomer sects, the Baptists and the Methodists, gained ground. They also analyze why the Methodists then began a long, downward slide, why the Baptists continued to succeed, how the Catholic Church met the competition of ardent Protestant missionaries, and why the Catholic commitment has declined since Vatican II. The authors also explain why ecumenical movements always fail In short, Americans are not abandoning religion; they have been moving away from established denominations. A "church-sect process" is always under way, Finke and Stark argue, as successful churches lose their organizational vigor and are replaced by less worldly groups. Some observers assert that the rise in churching rates indicates increased participation, not increased belief. Finke and Stark challenge this as well. They find that those groups that have gained the greatest numbers have demanded that their followers accept traditional doctrines and otherworldliness. They argue that religious organizations can thrive only when they comfort souls and demand sacrifice. When theology becomes too logical, or too secular, it loses people.
New Methods in the Measurement of Religion
Author: Christopher D. Bader
Publisher: NYU Press
A venture into the art and science of measuring religion in everyday life In an era of rapid technological advances, the measures and methods used to generate data about religion have undergone remarkably little change. Faithful Measures pushes the study of religion into the 21st century by evaluating new and existing measures of religion and introducing new methods for tapping into religious behaviors and beliefs. This book offers a global and innovative approach, with chapters on the intersection of religion and new technology, such as smart phone apps, Google Ngrams, crowdsourcing data, and Amazon buying networks. It also shows how old methods can be improved by using new technology to create online surveys with experimental designs and by developing new ways of mining data from existing information. Chapter contributors thoroughly explain how to employ these new techniques, and offer fresh insights into understanding the complex topic of religion in modern life. Beyond its quantitative contributions, Faithful Measures will be an invaluable resource for inspiring a new wave of creativity and exploration in our connected world
Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century
Author: Brian J. Grim,Roger Finke
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Category: Social Science
The Price of Freedom Denied shows that, contrary to popular opinion, ensuring religious freedom for all reduces violent religious persecution and conflict. Others have suggested that restrictions on religion are necessary to maintain order or preserve a peaceful religious homogeneity. Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke show that restricting religious freedoms is associated with higher levels of violent persecution. Relying on a new source of coded data for nearly 200 countries and case studies of six countries, the book offers a global profile of religious freedom and religious persecution. Grim and Finke report that persecution is evident in all regions and is standard fare for many. They also find that religious freedoms are routinely denied and that government and the society at large serve to restrict these freedoms. They conclude that the price of freedom denied is high indeed.
New Findings from the Baylor Surveys of Religion
Author: Rodney Stark
A shocking snapshot of the most current impulses in American religion. Rodney Stark reports the surprising findings of the 2007 Baylor Surveys of Religion, a follow up to the 2005 survey revealing most Americans believe in God or a higher power. This new volume highlights even more hot-button issues of religious life in our country. A must-read for anyone interested in Americans' religious beliefs and practices.
Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society
Author: David Sloan Wilson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
One of the great intellectual battles of modern times is between evolution and religion. Until now, they have been considered completely irreconcilable theories of origin and existence. David Sloan Wilson's Darwin's Cathedral takes the radical step of joining the two, in the process proposing an evolutionary theory of religion that shakes both evolutionary biology and social theory at their foundations. The key, argues Wilson, is to think of society as an organism, an old idea that has received new life based on recent developments in evolutionary biology. If society is an organism, can we then think of morality and religion as biologically and culturally evolved adaptations that enable human groups to function as single units rather than mere collections of individuals? Wilson brings a variety of evidence to bear on this question, from both the biological and social sciences. From Calvinism in sixteenth-century Geneva to Balinese water temples, from hunter-gatherer societies to urban America, Wilson demonstrates how religions have enabled people to achieve by collective action what they never could do alone. He also includes a chapter considering forgiveness from an evolutionary perspective and concludes by discussing how all social organizations, including science, could benefit by incorporating elements of religion. Religious believers often compare their communities to single organisms and even to insect colonies. Astoundingly, Wilson shows that they might be literally correct. Intended for any educated reader, Darwin's Cathedral will change forever the way we view the relations among evolution, religion, and human society.
Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible
Author: Jerry A. Coyne
The best-selling author of Why Evolution Is True discusses the negative role of religion in education, politics, medicine and social policy, explaining how religion cannot provide verifiable or responsible answers to world problems.
Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
Author: Jonathan Haidt
Presents a groundbreaking investigation into the origins of morality at the core of religion and politics, offering scholarly insight into the motivations behind cultural clashes that are polarizing America.
Stories from a South African Childhood
Author: Trevor Noah
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Category: Biography & Autobiography
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • Newsday • Esquire • NPR • Booklist Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love. Praise for Born a Crime “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “[An] unforgettable memoir.”—Parade “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today “[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People “[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”—Booklist (starred review) “A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”—Kirkus Reviews
Author: Emmanuel Carrère
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
A sweeping fictional account of the early Christians, whose unlikely beliefs conquered the world Gripped by the tale of a Messiah whose blood we drink and body we eat, the genre-defying author Emmanuel Carrère revisits the story of the early Church in his latest work. With an idiosyncratic and at times iconoclastic take on the charms and foibles of the Church fathers, Carrère ferries readers through his “doors” into the biblical narrative. Once inside, he follows the ragtag group of early Christians through the tumultuous days of the faith’s founding. Shouldering biblical scholarship like a camcorder, Carrère re-creates the climate of the New Testament with the acumen of a seasoned storyteller, intertwining his own account of reckoning with the central tenets of the faith with the lives of the first Christians. Carrère puts himself in the shoes of Saint Paul and above all Saint Luke, charting Luke’s encounter with the marginal Jewish sect that eventually became Christianity, and retracing his investigation of its founder, an obscure religious freak who died under notorious circumstances. Boldly blending scholarship with speculation, memoir with journalistic muckraking, Carrère sets out on a headlong chase through the latter part of the Bible, drawing out protagonists who believed they were caught up in the most important events of their time. An expansive and clever meditation on belief, The Kingdom chronicles the advent of a religion, and the ongoing quest to find a place within it.