Religious Knowledge


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Men perform better on the survey than women, whites do better than blacks and Hispanics, and older people score higher than younger people. This chapter examines differences in knowledge about religion first by education and then by other demographic traits and social connectedness. People with higher levels of education tend to be more knowledgeable about religion.

College graduates get an average of Within this group, people who have a postgraduate degree do especially well, averaging Scores are lower among respondents with less education. Among people who have some college experience, the average number of correct answers is Those who have a high school diploma or less education get Americans who have taken a class about world religions in high school or college, for example answer The survey included several other questions that explore how Americans may have learned what they know about religion.

Christians who say they regularly engage with material about their own faith — be it scripture, websites, podcasts, books, magazines or television — correctly answer more questions about the Bible and Christianity than those who do this less often 9. Similarly, evangelical Protestants who do things to learn about their religion at least once a month give right answers to roughly three more questions about the Bible and Christianity, on average, than other evangelical Protestants do And Christians who spend time learning about religions besides their own at least once a month tend to know more about world religions than do Christians who engage with material about other religions less often.

The survey also asked respondents what kind of schools they attended during their childhood. Christians who went to religious private schools tend to get more questions right about the Bible and Christianity than do those who went to either public schools or nonreligious private schools 9. Additionally, Christians who attended more years of Sunday school, CCD or some other form of religious education generally answer more questions about the Bible and Christianity correctly. For example, Christians who attended Sunday school or a similar program for at least seven years correctly answer an average of 9.

The survey sought to explore whether respondents who say they know a lot about religion actually get more religious knowledge questions right. For example, those who say they know a lot about evangelical Christianity, mainline Protestantism, Catholicism and Mormonism correctly answer more questions about the Bible and Christianity than those who do not know a lot about these religions. Those who say they know a lot about at least three of these religions correctly answer an average of The same is true for those who say they know a lot about Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.

Knowledge creates understanding

Since January we have released over interviews of around 30 minutes on cutting-edge theoretical, methodological and empirical issues, which is available through the website, iTunes and other portals. In addition to the podcasts, the website also features weekly essays, roundtable discussions, book reviews, resources, and conference reports, plus our weekly digest of opportunities jobs, journals, conferences, etc. Find out more about our international team here. Our constitution can be viewed here. Check box to subscribe Religious Studies Project.

Our Latest podcast. Katrine Baunvig Sidney Castillo. This project aims to build an a. Latest Features. The sociology of religion concerns the dialectical relationship between religion and society ; the practices, historical backgrounds, developments, universal themes and roles of religion in society. The sociology of religion is distinguished from the philosophy of religion in that it does not set out to assess the validity of religious beliefs, though the process of comparing multiple conflicting dogmas may require what Peter L. Berger has described as inherent "methodological atheism".

It may be said that the modern formal discipline of sociology began with the analysis of religion in Durkheim's study of suicide rates amongst Catholic and Protestant populations.

Study style

The works of Max Weber emphasised the relationship between religious belief and the economic foundations of society. Contemporary debates have centred on issues such as secularization , civil religion , and the cohesiveness of religion in the context of globalization and multiculturalism. The sociology of religion also deals with how religion impacts society regarding the positive and negatives of what happens when religion is mixed with society.

At least one comprehensive study refutes this idea. Research has found that secular democracies like France or Scandinavia outperform more theistic democracies on various measures of societal health. The authors explains, "Pressing questions include the reasons, whether theistic or non-theistic, that the exceptionally wealthy U. Conversely, how do the latter achieve superior societal health while having little in the way of the religious values or institutions?


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  7. Vogel reports that in the s a new "law and religion" approach has progressively built its own contribution to religious studies. Over a dozen scholarly organizations and committees were formed by , and a scholarly quarterly, the Journal of Law and Religion first published that year and the Ecclesiastical Law Journal opened in As of , major Law and Religion organizations in the U.

    Between and , the field saw the publication of some books and scholarly articles. Exponents look at canon law, natural law, and state law, often in comparative perspective. The earliest serious writing on the interface between religion and film appeared in the work of film critics like Jean Epstein in the s. A number of methodologies are used in Religious Studies. Methodologies are hermeneutics , or interpretive models, that provide a structure for the analysis of religious phenomena. Phenomenology is "arguably the most influential approach to the study of religion in the twentieth century.

    Phenomenology had been practiced long before its being made explicit as a philosophical method by Edmund Husserl , who is considered to be its founder. In the context of Phenomenology of religion however, the term was first used by Pierre Daniel Chantepie de la Saussaye in his work "Lehrbuch der Religiongeschichte" Chantepie's phenomenology catalogued observable characteristics of religion much like a zoologist would categorize animals or an entomologist would categorize insects. His other main conceptual contribution is the idea of the epoche : setting aside metaphysical questions and observing phenomena in and of themselves, without any bias or commitments on the part of the investigator.

    The epoche, also known as phenomenological reduction or bracketing, involves approaching a phenomenon or phenomena from a neutral standpoint, instead of with our own particular attitudes. In performing this reduction, whatever phenomenon or phenomena we approach are understood in themselves, rather than from our own perspectives.

    Religious Knowledge, Authority, and Charisma – U of U Press

    In the field of religious studies, a contemporary advocate of the phenomenological method is Ninian Smart. He suggests that we should perform the epoche as a means to engage in cross-cultural studies. In doing so, we can take the beliefs, symbols, rituals etc. Another earlier scholar who employs the phenomenological method for studying religion is Gerardus van der Leeuw. In his Religion in Essence and Manifestation , he outlines what a phenomenology of religion should look like:.

    The subjectivity inherent to the phenomenological study of religion makes complete and comprehensive understanding highly difficult. However, phenomenologists aim to separate their formal study of religion from their own theological worldview and to eliminate, as far as possible, any personal biases e.

    There are a number of both theoretical and methodological attitudes common among phenomenologists: source.

    TOK - Religious Knowledge Systems Presentation

    Many scholars of religious studies argued that phenomenology was "the distinctive method of the discipline". Segal stating that it amounted to "no more than data gathering" alongside "the classification of the data gathered". Functionalism , in regard to religious studies, is the analysis of religions and their various communities of adherents using the functions of particular religious phenomena to interpret the structure of religious communities and their beliefs. The approach was introduced by British anthropologist Alfred Radcliffe-Brown.

    An example of a functionalist approach is understanding the dietary restrictions contained in the Pentateuch as having the function of promoting health or providing social identity i. Lived religion is the ethnographic and holistic framework for understanding the beliefs, practices, and everyday experiences of religious and spiritual persons in religious studies.

    The concept of lived religion was popularized in the late 20th century by religious study scholars like Robert A. Orsi and David Hall. The study of lived religion has come to include a wide range of subject areas as a means of exploring and emphasizing what a religious person does and what they believe. Today, the field of lived religion is expanding to include many topics and scholars. Western philosophy of religion, as the basic ancestor of modern religious studies, is differentiated from theology and the many Eastern philosophical traditions by generally being written from a third party perspective.

    The scholar need not be a believer. Theology stands in contrast to the philosophy of religion and religious studies in that, generally, the scholar is first and foremost a believer employing both logic and scripture as evidence. Theology according to this understanding fits with the definition which Anselm of Canterbury gave to it in the 11th century, credo ut intelligam , or faith seeking understanding literally, "I believe so that I may understand". The theologian then has the task of making intelligible, or clarifying, the religious commitments to which he or she subscribes.

    The scholar of religious studies has no such allegiances. A group of scholars have criticized religious studies beginning in the s as a theological project which actually imposes views onto the people it aims to survey. Prominent voices in this critical view include Jonathan Z. Oddie, Richard E. King , Russell T. McCutcheon , and Daniel Dubuisson. Their areas of research overlap heavily with postcolonial studies. Much of the latest scholarship appears in the scholarly journals, which also typically review and evaluate new monographs.

    There are a large numbers of peer-reviewed scholarly journals in the discipline of Religious Studies. Many journals focus on historical or sociological topics or concentrate on particular religious traditions, such as Judaism or Islam. Religious studies journals have been laggard in gaining accessibility through the Internet, but libraries specializing in religious history have started to catch up.

    see From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the academic journal, see Religious Studies journal.

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