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What Americans Really Believe

By Rodney Stark

What Americans Really Believe
Paperback, 200 pages $19.95
Published: 19th September 2008
ISBN: 9781602581784
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Religious Studies, All Sociology, Sociology of Religion

A shocking snapshot of the most current impulses in American religion. Rodney Stark reports the surprising findings of the 2007 Baylor Surveys of Religion, a follow up to the 2005 survey revealing most Americans believe in God or a higher power. This new volume highlights even more hot-button issues of religious life in our country. A must-read for anyone interested in Americans' religious beliefs and practices.

List of Tables

The Stability and Diversity of American Faith

Part I

1              Church-going
                Labels Matter

2              Church Growth
                Competing for Members

3              Strict Churches
                The Reasons for their Popularity

4              The “Scattered” Church
                Traditional Congregations are not Going Away

5              Megachurches
                Supersizing the Faith

Part II
Beliefs and Practices

6              Religious Experiences
                God Told Me to Go to Church

7              Gender
                Women Believe More, Pray More

8              Heaven
                We are All Going There

9              God
                Love Makes a Difference

10           Evil
                Did Sin Cause the Hurricane?

11           Spirituality
Religion and Spirituality Are Not Mutually Exclusive

12           Giving
                The Rich, the Poor, and the Widow’s Mite

13           Personality
                Are We Hard-Wired for God?

Part III
Atheism and Irreligion

14           Atheism
Godless Revolution Never Happened

15           Credulity
                New Age Believers in Big Foot

16           New Age Adherents
                Well-Educated, Formerly Irreligious Elites

17           The Irreligious
                Simply Unchurched—not Atheists

Part IV
The Public Square

18           Faith and Politics
Is There a Secret Plot of Evangelicals to Take over the American Government?

19           Merry Christmas, Jesus
                It’s Okay to Put Sacred Symbols in the Public Square

20           Incivility
                Talking about Faith in Public      

21           Religious Media Consumption
                The DaVinci Code Effect

22           Civic Participation
                Faith as Social Capital

23           Going to College, Getting a Job
                What Happens when Mom and Dad Take Their Kids to Church

The Institute for the Study of Religion



An indispensable resource for understanding the American public.

George H. Gallup Jr., American Public Opinion Statistician

All who find in statistics precise food for thought owe Stark and his colleagues at Baylor gratitude.

Publisher's Weekly

A worthy addition to the burgeoning survey data literature in the sociology of religion. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. 


Rodney Stark (Ph.D. University of California, Berkley) is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University. Co-Director of the Institute of Studies of Religion, Stark is also widely published. His publications include Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief (2007), Cities of God: The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conquered Rome (2006), and The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (2005).

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 200 pages
 9in x 6in

  REL012000, SOC023000, SOC039000
 Baylor University Press

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