We all know what religion is - or do we? Confronted with religious pluralism and cultural diversity, it manifests itself in many forms. What is Religion? serves not only as an introduction to the different belief systems flourishing throughout the modern world, but asks us to consider how the very boundaries of faith might be drawn now and in the future. How might religion interact with political ends, or permeate culture, society and everyday life? Is the post-secular world in thrall to 'religions' of its own kind - materialism, humanism, medicine, science? And what logic separates 'common-sense' or academic knowledge from the immutable but unstable boudaries of faith? Which is the more certain? What does it mean to believe? Combining clear accounts of contemporary global religious practice with an incisive philosophical interrogation of the dynamics and aims of belief, What is Religion? offers a fresh and wide-ranging introduction to the perennial human questions of ritual, faith, ethics and salvation.
Is religion the same as culture? How does it fit with life in the modern world? Do you have to 'believe' to be part of one? From televangelism in the American South to the wearing of hijab in Britain and Egypt; from the rise of paganism to the aftermath of September 11th, this accessible guide looks at the ways in which religion interacts with the everyday world in which we live. A comprehensive introduction to the world of religion, it includes: * religion and culture * how power operates in religion * gender issues * the role of belief, rituals, and religious texts * religion in the contemporary world Religion: The Basics offers an invaluable and up-to-date overview for anyone wanting to find out more about this fascinating subject.
An expert team of international scholars provide fifty-one essays as entry points into the sociological study and understanding of religion and in-depth surveys into its changing forms and content in the contemporary world. Issues discussed range from ecology to law, art to cognitive science, crime to health care.
Terrorists and peacemakers may grow up in the same community and adhere to the same religious tradition. The killing carried out by one and the reconciliation fostered by the other indicate the range of dramatic and contradictory responses to human suffering by religious actors. This book explains what religious terrorists and religious peacemakers share in common, what causes them to take different paths in fighting injustice, and how a deeper understanding of religious extremism can and must be integrated more effectively into our thinking about tribal, regional, and international conflict.
The third edition of this successful book, which applies the science of psychology to problems of religion. Dr Thouless explores such questions as: why do people believe? Why are their beliefs often held with irrational strength? How are changes in belief systems related to mental health? What are reasonable attitudes towards alternative belief systems? This edition includes samples of the experimental and statistical studies of religious problems, including the author's own study of the strength of religious beliefs. This edition also pays more attention to the problems of non-Christian religious systems, with special consideration given to the problems of mutual toleration. Finally Dr Thouless considers whether it is reasonable for modern man to adhere to any religious belief system. This is an excellent textbook for students of the social sciences, particularly psychology and theology, and will also interest the general reader who has an intellectual curiosity about religion.
Traces the decline of Christianity in America since the 1950s, posing controversial arguments about the role of heresy in the nation's downfall while calling for a revival of traditional Christian practices.
In Geneologies of Religion, Talal Asad explores how religion as a historical category emerged in the West and has come to be applied as a universal concept. The idea that religion has undergone a radical change since the Christian Reformation—from totalitarian and socially repressive to private and relatively benign—is a familiar part of the story of secularization. It is often invokved to explain and justify the liberal politics and world view of modernity. And it leads to the view that "politicized religions" threaten both reason and liberty. Asad's essays explore and question all these assumptions. He argues that "religion" is a construction of European modernity, a construction that authorizes—for Westerners and non-Westerners alike—particular forms of "history making." -- James R. Wood