Hartford Institute for Religion Research
One Nation, United? Science, Religion, and American Public Opinion – ASA
Religion and Spiritual Experiences Study – California Institute of Integral Studies
The five major world religions – John Bellaimey, TED-Ed
Religion – Data in the News
Religious and Spiritual Practices and Beliefs – Pew Research Center
Identify spiritual traditions and the impact on domestic and global societies
Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)
- Hartford Institute for Religion Research
Sociology of Religion is the study of the beliefs, practices and organizational forms of religion using the tools and methods of the discipline of sociology. This objective investigation may include the use of both quantitative methods (surveys, polls, demographic and census analysis) and qualitative approaches such as participant observation, interviewing, and analysis of archival, historical and documentary materials.
- One Nation, United? Science, Religion, and American Public Opinion – ASA
Debates about science and religion—whether they conflict and how they factor into public opinion, policies, and politics—are of longstanding interest to social scientists. Research in this area often examines how elites use science and religion to justify competing claims. But, how do members of the public more generally incorporate science and religion into their worldviews? The assumption that science and religion inherently conflict with one another has come under increasing scrutiny and recent studies reveal that science and religion are more compatible than previously assumed. Some argue that science and religion lead to conflicting opinions only when enlisted in controversies that relate directly to science or religion such as genetically modified organisms and stem cell research.
- Religion and Spiritual Experiences Study – California Institute of Integral Studies
Examining the dominant materialist assumption that there is an inherent conflict between sociology, religion, and spirituality. We will suggest that such a conflict is not fundamental and that accepting the possibility that religious experiences might reflect contact with a transcendent reality can enrich the theoretical possibilities of sociology, supplementing rather than replacing existing insights.
- The five major world religions – John Bellaimey, TED-Ed (video, published on Nov 14, 2013)
It's perfectly human to grapple with questions, like 'Where do we come from?' and 'How do I live a life of meaning?' These existential questions are central to the five major world religions -- and that's not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Lesson by John Bellaimey, animation by TED-Ed.
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Sections 17.2 and 17.6 cover content for this learning objective:
- 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).
17.6 Trends in Religious Beliefs and Activities
- Summarize the evidence on the nature and extent of secularization.
- Discuss trends in regard to religious conservatism in the United States.
Because religion is such an important part of our society, sociologists and other observers have
examined how religious thought and practice have changed in the last few decades. Two trends have
been studied in particular: (a) secularization and (b) the rise of religious conservatism.