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.

section Section I|55 pages

Getting Acquainted

chapter 2|21 pages

“You Believe What?”

A Tour of Religious Belief and Ritual Practice

section Section II|57 pages

The Shape and Politics of Religion

chapter 4|12 pages

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Cohesion and Conflict in Religion

chapter 5|15 pages

News Flash

God's Not Dead (and Neither is the Goddess!)

chapter 6|11 pages

The Fight for Survival

Religious Polarization and the Shrinking Middle

chapter 7|17 pages

Divine Rights and Fighting the Power

How Can Religion Simultaneously Block and Encourage Social Change?

section Section III|71 pages

Religion, Identity, and Social Inequalities

chapter 8|17 pages

What are God's Pronouns?

Does Religion Work Differently for Men, Women, and Trans Persons?

chapter 9|16 pages

Adam, Eve, and Steve

How Changing Dynamics of Sexuality Challenge and Transform Religion

chapter 10|12 pages

Blessed are the Poor, Woe to the Rich, But What about the Middle?

Are There Class Differences in How Religion Works?

chapter 11|11 pages

Religion and Race

A Double-Edged Sword

chapter 12|13 pages

Who Brought the Enchiladas to My Bar Mitzvah?

Immigration and Religious Change

section Section IV|23 pages

More Big Questions