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Social Consequences of Religious Belief

Social Consequences of Religious Belief
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Edited book , Index , Notes
$27.95 (20.96)
The God series books were based on a group of meetings that brought together over 100 scholars from around the world to pursue various aspects of a contemporary discussion of God. The participants were drawn from all parts of the our world and from virtually every religious tradition. Here Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Confucianists, members of African religions, and many others meet each other face to face. Moreover, the participants come from a wide range of disciplines and from cultures East and West, North and South.

Easy generalizations about people in other traditions–or in other strands of one’s own tradition–are quickly seen to be inadequate to the living reality. And as a result participants set in motion in their own lives dynamics and processes that will bear fruit in unpredictable ways. The vast majority of participants found this to be an event of great significance for them.

There was no attempt made to impose a certain outcome on these deliberations, nor was it assumed that there was some easy unity that underlied all the multiplicity present to the discussions. Nevertheless, what emerged was a heightened awareness of the beliefs and views of others and one’s own, and a determination to pursue lines of development.

The volumes in the God: The Contemporary Discussion Series are indicative of the continued pursuit and represent “stepping stones” designed to broaden the forum of the discussions. Many of the essays presented also reflect the influence of the encounter on each individual contributor. A unique experience herein awaits the student of religion or philosophy, the seeker of knowledge of the Ultimate, the teacher of spiritual discipline, or anyone interested in the emerging confluence of the religious traditions of the world.

Social Consequences of Religious Belief

“What does a belief in God have to do with the modern world?” This is the question that ties at the heart of Social Consequences of Religious Belief, the latest addition to the highly praised series, GOD: THE CONTEMPORARY DISCUSSION. The essays collected here not only challenge the assumptions of Marxism and secularization theory but demonstrate the enduring social significance of religious faith in shaping both individual and collective action.

The contributors to Social Consequences of Religious Belief are some of the most respected scholars in their field. Their essays provide an in-depth exploration of the relationships between the micro (individual) and macro (collective) worlds of religion. Their approach is cross-cultural, historical, and comparative, admitting a genuine global perspective to the evidence. Some of the issues that are explored include:

-The relationship between religion and intolerance.

-How belief in God can work as an impetus for social action.

-Religion and Japanese capitalism.

-The influence wielded by Fundamentalists in American society, as well as in the Middle East.

-The interaction between the social structure and belief in God in South Africa.

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction
1. The Micro-Macro Linkage in the Scientific Study of Religion: the Problems of Assessing the Influence of Religion on Individuals and Society
William R. Garrett
Part II. Social Consequences of Belief on the Micro Level
2. Sociological Conditions for Humanitarian Consequences of Belief in God
James R. Wood
3. God of Gods: Some Social Consequences of Belief in God among the Mormons
Armand L. Mauss
4. Josiah Royce’s Provincialism
John K. Roth
5. Cognitive Styles or Hypocrisy? An Explanation of the Religiousness-intolerance Relationship
Rita Mataragnon Pullium
6. Belief in God: Impetus for Social Action
Irene Khin Khin Jensen
Part III. Social Consequences of Belief on the Macro Level
7. Japan and Biblical Religion: The Religious Significance of the Japanese Economic Challenge
Richard L. Rubenstein
8. Conservative Protestants in Modern American Society: Who’s Influencing Whom?
Richard A. Quebedeaux
9. Social Consequences of the German Church Struggle
Franz G. Feige
10. The Interaction Between Social Structures and Belief in God in South Africa
William Nicol
11. Liberation Theology, Judaism, and the Kingdom of God
Daniel Cohn-sherbok
12. Markets and Morality: the Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on the Economy
Frederick J. Maher
13. Political Talk: Critics of the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on the Economy
Frederick J. Maher
Part IV. Analytical Considerations: Concepts of God and Social Theory
14. Theological Reflection and Social Theory: An Emerging Rapprochement
William R. Garrett


Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society
University of Kent, United Kingdom.
Executive Director, New Ecumenical Research Association
New York, New York.
Editor-in-Chief Dialogue & Alliance
New York, New York.
Professor of History Augsburg College
Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Professor of Sociology St. Michael’s College
Winooski, Vermont.
Professor of Sociology Washington State University
Pullman, Washington.
Ministry of Religion Universiteitsoord (Dutch Reformed Church)
Pretoria, South Africa.
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.
Senior Consultant, New Ecumenical Research Association
Berkeley, California.
Pitzer Professor of Philosophy Claremont McMcKenna College,
Claremont, California.
Robert 0. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Religion Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida.
Professor of Sociology Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana.

WILLIAM REACE GARRETT is a professor of sociology at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He received a doctorate in Sociology of Religion from Drew University and is also an ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches. He has previously authored Seasons of Marriage and Family Life, and is currently an editor for Religious Studies Review

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