Is it true that religion is weakening in modern times, or are we facing religious resurgence? What is fundamentalism? How does it emerge and grow? What role does religion play in ethnic and national conflicts? Is religion a fundamental driving force or do political leaders use religion for their own purposes? Do all religions oppress women? These are some of the questions addressed in this book. An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion provides an overview of sociological theories of contemporary religious life. Some chapters are organized according to topic. Others offer brief presentations of classical and contemporary sociologists from Karl Marx to Zygmunt Bauman and their perspectives on social life, including religion. Throughout the book, illustrations and examples are taken from several religious traditions.
Foreword; Sociological perspectives on religion; Religion as a phenomenon - definitions and dimensions; Classical sociologists and their theories of religion; Religion in contemporary sociology and cultural analysis; The great narratives: modernity, postmodernity, globalization, and secularization; Religion in the public sphere; Individual religiosity; Religious organizations and movements; Religion, social unity, and conflict; Race, ethnicity, and religion; Religion and gender; Sociology, theology, and religious faith; Bibliography; Index.