Discuss religion and the impact on domestic and global societies
Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)
- Study of Religion – Encyclopedia Britannica
Selective account of some of the principal developments and scholars in the various disciplines related to the descriptive, analytical study of religion, emphasizes the artificiality of some of the divisions between traditional disciplines.
- Introduction to Sociology – Religion – Lumen
- Discuss the historical view of religion from a sociological perspective
- Understand how the major sociological paradigms view religion
- The Effect of Immigration on Religious Beliefs in the United States: A Theologizing or Alienating Experience?
Using data from the New Immigrant Survey, we examine the religious beliefs and practices of new legal immigrants to the United States.
- The Future of Religion – Global Impact
More babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But this is unlikely to be the case for much longer: Less than 20 years from now, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births to Christians, according to new Pew Research Center demographic estimates.
- Elementary Forms of Religious Life – Durkheim
Durkheim's primary purpose in The Elementary Forms was to describe and explain the most primitive religion known to man. But if his interests thus bore some external similarity to those of the ethnographer or historian, his ultimate purpose went well beyond the reconstruction of an archaic culture for its own sake; on the contrary, as in The Division of Labor and Suicide, Durkheim's concern was ultimately both present and practical: "If we have taken primitive religion as the subject of our research, he insisted, "it is because it has seemed to us better adapted than any other to lead to an understanding of the religious nature of man, that is to say, to show us an essential and permanent aspect of humanity."
- Religion - Definition and Approaches (video, published on Dec 7, 2015)
A brief lesson on the nature of religion and various approaches to studying it in college.
- The Religious Typology – A New Way to Categorize Americans by Religion – Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center analysis looks at beliefs and behaviors that cut across many denominations –important traits that unite people of different faiths, or that divide people who have the same religious affiliation – producing a new and revealing classification, or typology, of religion in America.
- Religion – Data in the News (with numerous sub-topics)
- 2018 Religion – Pew Research Center (with numerous articles and links)
[This would not fit in the Overview Section.]
Sections 17.1 and 17.2 cover content for this learning objective:
- Describe the difference between sacred beliefs and profane beliefs.
- Explain what Émile Durkheim tried to understand about religion
Religion clearly plays an important role in American life. Most Americans believe in a deity, three-fourths
pray at least weekly, and more than half attend religious services at least monthly. We tend to think of
religion in individual terms because religious beliefs and values are highly personal for many people.
However, religion is also a social institution, as it involves patterns of beliefs and behavior that help a
society meet its basic needs, to recall the definition of social institution in Chapter 5 “Social Structure
and Social Interaction”. More specifically, religion is the set of beliefs and practices regarding sacred
things that help a society understand the meaning and purpose of life.
17.2 Religion is Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspective
- Describe key developments in the history of religion since ancient times.
- List the major religions in the world today.
- Outline key beliefs of each of these religions.
Every known society has practiced religion, although the nature of religious belief and practice has
differed from one society to the next. Prehistoric people turned to religion to help them understand
birth, death, and natural events such as hurricanes. They also relied on religion for help in dealing with
their daily needs for existence: good weather, a good crop, an abundance of animals to hunt (Noss &
Although the world’s most popular religions today are monotheistic (believing in one god), many
societies in ancient times, most notably Egypt, Greece, and Rome, were polytheistic (believing in more
than one god). You have been familiar with their names since childhood: Aphrodite, Apollo, Athena,
Mars, Zeus, and many others. Each god “specialized” in one area; Aphrodite, for example, was the Greek
goddess of love, while Mars was the Roman god of war (Noss & Grangaard, 2008).