2nd Edition

Religion Matters How Sociology Helps Us Understand Religion in Our World

    246 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Religion Matters: How Sociology Helps Us Understand Religion in Our World focuses on religion’s interplay with broader society, introducing students to the basic questions, ideas, and methods with which sociologists have analyzed the relationship between religion and society.

    Since the first edition, religion as a social force has changed dramatically in its content and consequences for the world. In this new edition, the authors update the foundational lenses used to understand religion’s multiple roles in society, assess the impact of technology and social media on religion and faith, draw further reflection from contemporary studies of religion and gender, and add a new chapter examining the increasing amount of religious polarization in the United States and throughout the world.

    With new illustrations and connections that make this readable textbook more accessible and relevant for today’s student, the second edition of Religion Matters remains a perfect counterpart for introductory courses concerned with the sociological study of religion.

    1. Why religion?  2. "You Believe What?"  3. Downloading God, "Big-Box" Churches, and the Crystal Shop Around the Corner  4. Can’t We All Just Get Along?  5. News Flash: God’s Not Dead (an Neither is the Goddess!)  6. God is on Our Side and They are Idiots  7. Giving Divine Right to Kings While Also Casting Down the Mighty  8. What are God’s Pronouns?  9. Adam, Eve, and Steve  10. Blessed are the Meek, Woe to the Rich, but What about those Classes In-between?  11. The (Not So Great) Color Wall of the United States (Isaiah G. Jeong and Tryce D. Prince)  12. Who Brought the Enchiladas to my Bat Mitzvah?  13. End of days? Religion Meets Climate Change  14. Do we need god to do good?


    William A. Mirola is former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology at Marian University in Indianapolis, IN. His publications include Redeeming Time: Protestantism and the Eight-Hour Movement in Chicago; Religion and Class in America; and Sociology of Religion: A Reader.

    Michael O. Emerson is Professor and Department Head of Sociology at the University of Illinois Chicago. He studies religion, race, and the many intersections of these. He is the author of 15 books and over 100 other publications.

    Sue Monahan is Associate Provost and Professor of Sociology at Western Oregon University. She is co-editor of Sociology of Religion: A Reader and has published articles and reviews in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Review of Religious Research, Sociology of Religion and Contemporary Sociology.

    From presentation of classic approaches to understanding religion, such as those by such members of the canon as Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim, to the most timely of current events (how is the COVID pandemic affecting church life?), Religion Matters provides a thorough coverage of sociological approaches to religion. An excellent balance of breadth and depth, Religion Matters explores both how society and social change affects religion and the various ways in which religion influences society. There is something for every syllabus: religion and climate change - check; religion and controversy over sexuality - check; religion and political conflict - check; religion and immigration - check, and on and on. The authors bring an accessible writing style along with a mastery of the current research to present a balanced, informative, and stimulating approach to contemporary religion.
    Rhys H. Williams, Professor of Sociology and Director of the McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion, Loyola University, Chicago, USA

    If recent events are any indication, religion has and continues to change individuals, communities and societies. Students of all ages must pay attention to this institution to understand how this social institution can motivate calls for liberation and equality as well as dominance and prejudice. Religion Matters is a vital resource for understanding our present circumstances and historical origins as they pertain to religion. It pays particular attention to the ways in which religion intersects with race, gender, and class in a unique way that sets this textbook apart from the others. A must-read.
    Jerry Z. Park, Associate Professor of Sociology, Baylor University

    Religion Matters
    is the perfect text to introduce students to the myriad ways that religion shapes our culture, politics, and daily lives. Written in a highly accessible style, the book covers traditional sociological theories of religion as well recent empirical research findings. It sheds light on the intersection of religion and a variety of contemporary social issues, ranging from gender equality, racism and black liberation, immigration, LGBTQI concerns, and climate change. Academically rigorous and thought-provoking, Religion Matters offers all that one needs to teach a compelling sociology of religion course.
    Sharon Erickson Nepstad, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of New Mexico