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

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"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.
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One True God

Historical Consequences of Monotheism

Author: Rodney Stark

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691187851

Category: Religion

Page: 319

View: 8239

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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.
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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: 8956

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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.
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The Rise of Mormonism

Author: Rodney Stark

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 023150991X

Category: Religion

Page: 192

View: 8871

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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.
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The Sociology of Religion

Author: Grace Davie

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 9780761948926

Category: Social Science

Page: 283

View: 5233

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"Davie accomplishes four things, any one of which would be worth the price of the book. First, she provides a clear, thorough review of theory and research in the sociology of religion, and argues successfully for its position as a central subdiscipline. Second, she displays an impressive command of comparative literature in the field, using French, British, and other European sources in addition to those from North American; this makes her presentation both wide and deep...Third, Davie underlines the importance of context, historical and geographical, for understanding how theory and case studies develop...Finally, the author's endnotes and her extensive bibliography give excellent guidance to beginning and experienced readers alike." —C. Hendershott, New School University Why is religion still important? Can we be fully modern and fully religious? This book, written by one of the leading figures in the field, works at two levels. First it sets out the agenda – covering the key questions in the sociology of religion today. At the same time, it interrogates this agenda – asking if the sociology of religion, as we currently know it, is 'fit for purpose'. If not, what is to be done? In a single volume Grace Davie captures the nature and forms of modern religion, the current debates in the field and the prospects for future development.
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State of Affairs

The Science-Theology Controversy

Author: Richard J. Coleman

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 1630875570

Category: Religion

Page: 284

View: 5793

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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.
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The Secular Revolution

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

Author: Christian Smith

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520235614

Category: Religion

Page: 484

View: 3000

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"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
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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: 8440

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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.
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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: 7969

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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.
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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: 675

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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.
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