RAAC IUPUI > Search Resources > Sociology 20610: Sociology of Religion

Sociology 20610: Sociology of Religion

This course provides an introduction to the sociology of religion, an important field in the discipline of sociology. Religion is one of the most powerful forces of social cohesion, order, meaning, disruption, and change in human societies, both historically and today in the modern world. Sociology provides a particular disciplinary perspective and analytical tools and theories for describing, understanding, and explaining the nature and influence of religion. The course will engage the following kinds of questions. What is religion? Why is religion so primordial and prevalent in human societies? What do different religions teach? Why are people religious or not religious? What causal role does religion play in human personal and social life? How does the sociological study of religion differ from a theological or psychological study of religion? Why and how do religious organizations grow and decline? How, for example, did an obscure, early Jesus Movement manage to become the largest religion in the world today? How and why do people convert to a different religious faith or lose their faith entirely? Is modernity secularizing? What are the religious and spiritual lives of 18–23 year-old Americans today like? Why has the Islamist movement become so powerful in recent decades?

Christian Smith

University of Notre Dame

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, Sociology

General Comparative Traditions
Religous Tradition

Class/Power, Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity

Link to Resource