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Timothy Shortell is an associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York, known for his critiques of religion, especially Christianity, and of the administration of President George W. Bush.
Shortell is the son of a 1960s political activist, Brandon Shortell,and Linda Shortell née LaPlante. He began his academic career at Washington State University where he graduated in psychology in 1987, before moving to Boston College to graduate in social psychology in 1992. Following this, Shortell focused on the relationship between religion and cultural beliefs, comparing the beliefs of Protestants and Catholics in the United States for Smith College in 1995.
Shortell first came to public notice two years later when, having moved to Brooklyn College, he became Assistant Professor of Sociology and wrote the article, "Religious Affiliation, Commitment and Ideology Among US Elites"in which he continued his first major article from 1995. He then wrote about the influence of religion in El Salvador during the era when Óscar Romero fought against the military junta, before moving onto a series of controversial articles between 2002 and 2004 in which he argued that morality in any form is totally incompatible with religion.
Shortell is writing a book about the responses to Darwinism from its origins until today.
Sociology of religion is the study of the beliefs, practices and organizational forms of religion using the tools and methods of the discipline of sociology. This objective investigation may include the use both of quantitative methods and of qualitative approaches.
Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.
Discourse is a generalization of the notion of a conversation to any form of communication. Discourse is a major topic in social theory, with work spanning fields such as sociology, anthropology, continental philosophy, and discourse analysis. Following pioneering work by Michel Foucault, these fields view discourse as a system of thought, knowledge, or communication that constructs our experience of the world. Since control of discourse amounts to control of how the world is perceived, social theory often studies discourse as a window into power. Within theoretical linguistics, discourse is understood more narrowly as linguistic information exchange and was one of the major motivations for the framework of dynamic semantics, in which expressions' denotations are equated with their ability to update a discourse context.
An academic discipline or field of study is a branch of knowledge, taught and researched as part of higher education. A scholar's discipline is commonly defined by the university faculties and learned societies to which they belong and the academic journals in which they publish research.
Religious studies, also known as the study of religion, is an academic field devoted to research into religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions. It describes, compares, interprets, and explains religion, emphasizing systematic, historically based, and cross-cultural perspectives.
Peter Ludwig Berger was an Austrian-born American sociologist and Protestant theologian. Berger became known for his work in the sociology of knowledge, the sociology of religion, study of modernization, and theoretical contributions to sociological theory.
In sociology, the concept of religiosity has proven difficult to define. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests: "Religiousness; religious feeling or belief. [...] Affected or excessive religiousness". Different scholars have seen this concept as broadly about religious orientations and degrees of involvement or commitment. Religiosity, measured at the levels of individuals or of groups, includes experiential, ritualistic, ideological, intellectual, consequential, creedal, communal, doctrinal, moral, and cultural dimensions. Sociologists of religion have observed that an individual's experience, beliefs, sense of belonging, and behavior often are not congruent with their actual religious behavior, since there is much diversity in how one can be religious or not. Multiple problems exist in measuring religiosity. For instance, measures of variables such as church attendance produce different results when different methods are used - such as traditional surveys vs time-use surveys.
Cult is a term, considered pejorative by some, for a relatively small group which is typically led by a charismatic and self-appointed leader, who excessively controls its members, requiring unwavering devotion to a set of acts and practices which are considered deviant. This term is also used for a new religious movement or other social group which is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs and rituals, or its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal. This sense of the term is weakly defined – having divergent definitions both in popular culture and academia – and has also been an ongoing source of contention among scholars across several fields of study.
Abdolkarim Soroush (عبدالكريم سروش Persian pronunciation: [æbdolkæriːm soruːʃ]; born Hossein Haj Faraj Dabbagh, is an Iranian Islamic thinker, reformer, Rumi scholar, public intellectual, and a former professor of philosophy at the University of Tehran and Imam Khomeini International University. He is arguably the most influential figure in the religious intellectual movement of Iran. Soroush is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. He was also affiliated with other institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, the Leiden-based International Institute as a visiting professor for the Study of Islam in the Modern World and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. He was named by Time magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2005, and by Prospect magazine as one of the most influential intellectuals in the world in 2008. Soroush's ideas, founded on relativism, prompted both supporters and critics to compare his role in reforming Islam to that of Martin Luther in reforming Christianity.
David G. Bromley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, specialized in sociology of religion and the academic study of new religious movements. He has written extensively about cults, new religious movements, apostasy, and the anti-cult movement.
Stephen A. Kent is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He researches new religious movements (NRMs), and has published research on several such groups including the Children of God, the Church of Scientology, and other NRMs operating in Canada.
Identity formation, also called identity development or identity construction, is a complex process in which humans develop a clear and unique view of themselves and of their identity.
Rodney William Stark was an American sociologist of religion who was a longtime professor of sociology and of comparative religion at the University of Washington. At the time of his death he was the Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University, co-director of the university's Institute for Studies of Religion, and founding editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion.
In the United States, between 6% and 15% of citizens demonstrated nonreligious attitudes and naturalistic worldviews, namely atheists or agnostics. The number of self-identified atheists and agnostics was around 4% each, while many persons formally affiliated with a religion are likewise non-believing.
A secular religion is a communal belief system that often rejects or neglects the metaphysical aspects of the supernatural, commonly associated with traditional religion, instead placing typical religious qualities in earthly entities. Among systems that have been characterized as secular religions are Liberalism, Libertarianism, Anarchism, Communism, Juche, Nazism, Fascism, Jacobinism, Nationalism, Civil Religion, Religion of Humanity, the Cult of Reason and Cult of the Supreme Being that developed after the French Revolution. Generally, these are all movements or political parties whose ideologies and political views achieve a para-religious cult. Israeli hisotrian Jacob Leib Talmon defined this phenomenon as "political messianism".
The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (JSSR) is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal published by Wiley-Blackwell in the United States under the auspices of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, dedicated to publishing scholarly articles in the social sciences, including psychology, sociology, and anthropology, devoted to the study of religion. It is not a theology journal, as its publications tend to be empirical papers in the aforementioned disciplines, rather than papers assessing the truth or falsity, or otherwise attempting to clarify, theological doctrines. However, the eminent theologian Paul Tillich wrote a preface to the first edition, published in 1961. A former editor, Ralph W. Hood, is a major name in the psychology of religion, having published scales to assess religious experience and mystical experience. Hood was succeeded as editor in 1999 by Ted Jelen, the first ever political scientist to edit the journal. Jelen was later succeeded as editor by sociologist Rhys Williams. The current editor of the journal is Tobin Grant.
Rhys H. Williams is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Sociology at Loyola University Chicago. He is also Director of the McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion.
David Oscar Moberg is an American Christian scholar, who is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Marquette University. His areas of specialization included methodology in qualitative research, sociology of religion, sociology of American evangelicals, ageing and religion (gerontology).
Marxist–Leninist atheism, also known as Marxist–Leninist scientific atheism, was the state atheist and antireligious element of the former Soviet Union before the extensive glasnost reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev. Under Bolshevism, this was a variant of Marxism–Leninism, the official communist state ideology of the Soviet Union. Based upon a dialectical-materialist understanding of humanity's place in nature, Marxist–Leninist atheism proposes that religion is the opium of the people; thus, Soviet Marxism–Leninism advocates "scientific atheism", rather than religious belief.
Trust building is the most influential factor in negotiating between two sides. The stronger this factor appears, the greater the chance will be for negotiators to cooperate. Studies have suggested that religious backgrounds can have a direct impact on the confidence and process of negotiation. Such tendencies generally do not prevent a contract or an agreement from being concluded; however, there are reasons to believe that religious affiliations reduce the negotiation process and give more confidence to decision makers.