American Sociological Association

Religion and Spirituality

Sociology uses the tools of social science to explore religious beliefs and practices, humanism and other secular approaches to understanding, and organizations rooted in shared belief systems. It seeks to understand the development of religious commitment and the impact of religious organizations on individuals, groups, and societies. Sociology also studies spirituality, which may be defined as individual and group efforts to find meaning for existence within or independent of organized religion.

Without assessing the validity of specific religious beliefs or practices, sociologists study the relationships among religion, the economy and other dimensions of social structure, culture, and social movements. Sociology also examines conditions associated with the rise of religious fundamentalism.

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