Beyond “Belief”

Picture 5There was a time when I preferred to say “beliefs, behaviors, and institutions” as my way of complicating the philosophically idealist presumptions that drive our use of the word “belief” in the study of religion — a word we often use to make sense of what people, like those pictured above, are doing.

But I try not to say that anymore. Continue reading

Forms and Dimensions and Manifestations — Oh My!

sociologyofreligion2sociologyofreligionSo opens the Wikipedia article on the sociology of religion (presumably poaching the text straight from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research), echoing the language of the US’s Association for the Sociology of Religion (their journal Sociology of Religion — now in its 76th year — is published by Oxford University Press) whose members, as stated in its Constitution, study:

religion in all its social and cultural dimensions.

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Changing Minds by Changing Situations

You surely can’t have missed news on the current (and worsening) outbreak of measles in the US. Apart from providing us with an opportunity to mull over the self-interested inconsistencies in our coverage of, and responses to, various health crises that affect others throughout the world (as so nicely evidenced by the Tweet above) and while also allowing us an insight into how individualism can function (whereby it is made clear by some that their right to protect their own kids trumps any interest they might be expected to have in protecting your child’s health; see this news story as an example, notably the Arizona Dr. who is interviewed a little later), it also affords us a chance to think again about what that word “belief” designates and how those things we call beliefs originate and change. Continue reading