Flagship Journal Features Research Symposium On Baylor Religion Studies

January 25, 2008
News Photo 4377

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

The December 2007 edition of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion - widely recognized as the top journal publishing research at the intersection of religion and social science - features a special research symposium dedicated to the first wave of the groundbreaking Baylor Religion Survey.

Four major research articles by Baylor scholars appear in the JSSR's special research symposium, highlighting the university's rich and rewarding study of American religious attitudes, behaviors and beliefs. Drawing on a rich interdisciplinary cross-section of scholarship - including religion, sociology, political science and psychology - the Journal offers perspectives on national and international issues addressing the role and impact of religion in today's world.

"This is yet another important example of how Baylor has achieved national prominence when it comes to the social scientific study of religion," said Dr. Rodney Stark, University Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor and co-director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion.

Initial findings from the Baylor Religion Survey - the most extensive and sensitive study of religion ever conducted - were released at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2006, in a research report called "American Piety in the 21st Century: New Insights to the Depths and Complexity of Religion in the U.S."

Linking up with the pioneering surveys conducted by Stark and Charles Y. Glock in the 1960s, the Baylor Religion Survey plumbed all facets of American religion and spirituality in depth, including measurements of religion in America, the nature of religious belief, the relationship between religion and moral and political attitudes, and religious spending habits.

The survey was conducted by the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, which received a major three-year grant from the John M. Templeton Foundation to conduct the nationally representative multi-year study of religious values, practices and behaviors. Additional waves of the Baylor Religion Survey, with rotating topical modules, take place every other year.

The research group for the Baylor Religion Study includes Dr. Byron Johnson, professor of sociology and co-director of the ISR; Dr. Christopher Bader, assistant professor of sociology; Dr. Kevin D. Dougherty, assistant professor of sociology; Dr. Paul Froese, assistant professor of sociology; Dr. Carson Mencken, professor of sociology; Dr. Jerry Park, assistant professor of sociology; and Stark.

Articles in the December 2007 edition of the JSSR are:

  • "American Piety 2005: Content and Methods of the Baylor Religion Survey" by Bader, Mencken and Froese;
  • "God in America: Why Theology Is Not Simply the Concern of Philosophers" by Froese and Bader;
  • "Recovering the Lost: Remeasuring U.S. Religious Affiliation" by Dougherty, Johnson and Edward C. Polson, a graduate student in sociology at Baylor; and
  • "What Would Jesus Buy: American Consumption of Religious and Spiritual Material Goods" by Park and Joseph Baker, a graduate student in sociology at Baylor.