Sociology | Religion and Society
S313 | 7930 | Furre

9:30AM-10:45AM	TR	WH 111

Religion is a powerful influence in society and its effects are
quite varied. Religion provides people with a worldview, a moral
orientation, and rituals. Sometimes religion plays a role in
struggles for justice and tremendous acts of compassion. At other
times it plays a role in sustaining violence and maintaining
oppression. In more subtle ways, religion plays a central role in
the lives of millions of people by providing them with purpose,
community, and moral guidance.

This course will be oriented by three sets of questions: 1) Why
religion? Why has nearly every society in human history had systems
of religious belief? More centrally, what makes religion an
inherently “social” thing? How can religion be examined and
understood as a social phenomenon? 2) What are contemporary trends
in religious belief and practice in the U.S. and the world? How does
religious belief shape people’s attitudes? How do people actually
practice their faith? Is religion increasing or decreasing in its
influence? 3) What role does religion play in public life, both in
American politics and in broader global society? Has this role
changed in recent years and, if so, how?

By addressing each of these questions, this course will provide
students with an understanding of religious experience, religious
patterns, and religious institutions in the U.S., and as they are
experienced abroad.