Preston Hunter's website Adherents.com is one of the most valuable tools available on the Internet for researchers needing statistical information on religious groups or organisations around the globe. The site is easily navigable and may be searched by either geographic location or religious affiliation. Though the bulk of information relates to American religious demographics, those digging for information will be hard pressed to find any belief system omitted, as virtually all-major cultures are included somewhere in these pages. Appropriate for students and academics at all levels, inquiries produce detailed information on various sects and denominations within a faith, their distribution, the number of adherents, the percentage of the population, and (when available) the number of congregations or churches. Thankfully, the editors have taken care to provide the source information for each entry and often a link to the referring page for electronically published data. Limited amounts of historical population statistics are also available through this site. The site features advertising but it is not obtrusive.
This is the website of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, formed in 1938 as an international association dedicated to furthering scholarly research and theory in the sociology of religion. The Association encourages a wide variety of approaches to the study of religion, including comparative, theoretical and historical. Information for those interested in membership is readily available. The Association periodically publishes a newsletter containing news on recent activities and upcoming events, a copy of which appears on the site, along with additional relevant news items, including details of conferences, research grants, and study programmes. There are also links to other sites that may be of interest. The Association meets annually in conjunction with the American Sociological Association, and its principal scholarly outlet is the quarterly journal, 'Sociology of Religion,' which is the only publication in the English language dedicated solely to the sociology of religion. Topics addressed in the journal include: spirituality and community; religion in multicultural societies; and religion and democracy in churches and states. A link is provided to the journal's website.
Buddhist-Christian Studies is a scholarly journal (ISSN: 1527-9472) published by the University of Hawaii Press. It features articles, conference reports and book reviews on Buddhism and Christianity, and on the historical and contemporary interrelationships between the two religions. This homepage contains information about the editorial board and the journal's submission policy. It also allows visitors to view the table of contents of all volumes published since 1999, but the full contents are only available to subscribers. The site nevertheless gives free access to one sample issue. The journal is edited by Father Francis Tiso.
This is the homepage of the Center for Religious Freedom based at Virginia Wesleyan College. It was established to promote understanding of religious freedom through academic research, interdisciplinary study, discussion and interfaith dialogue. This website provides a calendar of events; details of the academic programs on offer; and a mailing list. There is a section which explains the historical, legal, and social contexts of religious freedom; and discusses religious pluralism. Annotated links are also provided to websites that offer information on religious freedom, including a number of historical and contemporary documents related to religious liberty.
This is the homepage of the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR) at Harvard Divinity School. The center is directed by Professor Donald K. Swearer and seeks to promote interdisciplinary, international and interreligious study of the world's religions in the contemporary era. The site makes available numerous resources that would be of value to students of religion. Apart from information about the centre's work and of recent events, resources are provided for each of the following topics: Religion and Art; Religion and the Environment; Religion and Health; Religion and Identity; Religion and Place; and Religion and Politics. These, which are mainly derived from CSWR's work and events, include online papers; video and audio presentations of lectures and conferences; and photo galleries. A search engine and information about how to join their mailing list are also available.
This is the homepage of the Centre for the History of Religious and Political Pluralism at the University of Leicester. The centre engages in research, publication, and teaching at postgraduate level; organises public lecturers and courses; and advises policy-makers on matters pertaining to religious and political pluralism from a historical dimension. The site lists the public lectures which have been delivered since 1997. The transcript of a number of these can be downloaded without charge. It also provides reports from their seminars and colloquia; and allows access to the centre's newsletters which are presented in PDF. Visitors can view the centre's publications which are also available in PDF, hence requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader for access. A few of the papers can only be accessed through the provision of the user's email address.
CIBEDO: Christlich-islamische Begegnungs- und Dokumentationsstelle (Christian-Islamic Congress and Documentation Centre) is a website devoted to interfaith dialogue promoted by the German Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops. Founded in 1978, the group is based in Frankfurt am Main. The site features extensive information on: the group's executive committee and affiliated active members; publications; various interfaith initiatives, including pedagogical and teaching efforts; latest news (with archived entries running back to 2005, part of a larger general site archive); pamphlets and info-sheets; online full-text essays providing common themes for debate and discussion on the history of Islam and the position of Muslims in Germany; advisory tracts on different Christian views of Islam; symposia; book reviews; and relevant links. The group has a library with a searchable online catalogue of over 35,000 sources. There are instructions for access and directions for visitors wishing to consult these resources in person. An online media subsite gives a large number of audioclips from radio interviews conducted by the organisation's personnel. The site's navigation is clear and straightforward.
'Exploring Religions' is a website that offers a general introduction to Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. It is sponsored by the Religious Studies Program at the University of Wyoming. This resource gives a description of the philosophical presuppositions, central tenets, worshipping practices and historical backgrounds of these faith traditions as well as the texts that are associated with them. Although the work is clearly presented, the contents are not referenced and are reflective only of the writer's understanding of the different traditions. It can nevertheless serve as an interesting starting point for those seeking a basic understanding of these five religions. Glossaries of terms and a small selection of photographs help elucidate the issues discussed. Links to other sites are also provided.
This is the home page of the project developed by the Ackland Art Museum to promote inter-faith communication among the different religious communities in North Carolina. The project uses the museum's collection of religious art as a starting point for exploring Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism - five religions with the strongest following in the area. These are complemented by: a photography workshop where local youths are given the opportunity to capture on film their traditions and heritage; a story-telling workshop in which adults representing the five religions could present stories from their faith traditions; and the development of a series of teaching posters. Some of the outcomes are displayed on this web page. The site also offers a set of guidelines designed for those intending to use religious art to teach about a culture, religion or society; and online lesson plans. Links are provided to the home page of the Ackland Art Museum and other useful websites.
This is the home page of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University. Directed jointly by Professors Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, the forum is an interreligious, interdisciplinary and multicultural project on the environment. This website contains information about the project itself and details about publications, news and events on religion and ecology. It includes materials that explore the interaction between humans and the environment from the perspective of Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, indigenous traditions, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, and Shinto. It also includes discussions of science, ethics, public policy, gender, and economics. And in line with its aim to establish religion and ecology as an academic discipline, resources like course syllabi and speakers list are also provided. Visitors can further access without charge resources like essays; the forum newsletter; official statements on religion and ecology; and links to the home pages of relevant journals, magazines and organisations.
This is the homepage of the Historical Society of Jews from Egypt, a committee-run organization which serves Egyptian-born Jews everywhere, but especially in the United States. The Society received a charter from the New York State Museum in 1996 and devotes itself to the history of the community as it existed in Egypt and subsequently via institutions of education, arts, good will organizations and religious establishments. Through a great range of posted letters, reminiscences and samples of private ephemera, the site describes key events and details of this very old and still extant community; it particularly notes departures during the defining 'second Exodus' in the 1950s and 1960s, when Jews were expelled and the recent rise of anti-Semitism in Egypt. Navigation is haphazard, but scholars will find a wealth of photographs, biographical information and starting points for deeper research on this interesting site. There is also a lot of news on current matters related to Jewish history and the protection of Jewish historical documents and artifacts in Egypt. Researchers will note that the site conveys an émigré perspective.
This is the home page of the Interfaith Center of New York, a secular educational organisation established in 1997. It seeks to promote understanding and respect among the adherents of different faiths in New York City and to encourage them to get involved in civic participation. This website informs visitors of the programs it sponsors (e.g. on education, civic connections, art and culture) and of upcoming events. It also lists the names of the recipients of the Interfaith Award which the center gives annually to leading figures around the world who work to promote peace and interfaith understanding. Awardees include: the Dalai Lama; Mary Robinson; Desmond Tutu; James Carroll and Ravi Shankar.
'Introduction to Sikhism' is the electronic version of an article by S. Gobind Singh Mansukhani, first published in 1977. It defines and explains the pillars of Sikhism, often with Hinduism and Islam as a point of reference, thereby setting out the essential differences between Sikhism and these two other religions. Consisting of seven chapters, it gives an overview of Sikh history, Sikh worship and Sacred Literature. Its last section is devoted to Sikhism in relationship to 'modern' problems such as divorce, family planning and euthanasia. Although this site outlines basic ideas central to Sikhism, it remains very general and often vague, particularly in its comparisons between Sikhism and other religions. As it is written entirely from a Sikh perspective, its statements should sometimes be approached with this in mind.
Maintained by the International Council of Christian and Jews (ICCJ), The Jewish-Christian Relations website operates with the mandate to foster better understanding and dialogue between Jews and Christians of all denominations. To that end they compile articles and bibliographic material along with official statements on interfaith relationships from major religious organizations around the world. It also contains a very useful list of policy statements as well as links to and addresses of Christian and Jewish bodies interested in interfaith relations. The articles themselves are diverse and touch on a broad range of topics, discussing historical relations and contemporary issues through a mix of scholarship, theological positions and opinion in many different languages including English, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Russian. Users must, therefore, express some care when drawing upon the sources provided for they are not always free of polemic or balanced in their presentation. Nevertheless, they provide a wonderful mechanism through which both students and scholars can come to understand the variety of ways that Christians and Jews have sought to maintain a dialogue on their shared religious heritage over the last century.
'Jews and Christians Reading the Bible' is the online record of a symposium which took place at Bryn Mawr College in November 2003. The forum took as its starting point the book by David Dawson, 'Christian Figural Reading and the Fashioning of Identity', using this (and scholars' responses to it) as a springboard into discussion of Jewish and Christian interpretation of sacred texts. In addition to a brief introduction to the subject matter, a copy of the conference program, and information about the participants, the site offers recorded webcasts of two of the presentations (those by Rachel Havrelock and Mark Vessey) together with the subsequent discussion. The site is attractively presented and easy to navigate, though it is perhaps a pity that the presentations and discussion are available only as webcasts: there are no transcripts or text versions of the papers. However, for those with the time to listen to the recordings, this has the potential to be an interesting resource.
The website of the Joseph Campbell Foundation provides information about this organisation, which exists to promote the work of the American mythologist and scholar of comparative religion, best known for his seminal text, 'Hero with a Thousand Faces'. The website offers an introduction to Campbell's work and philosophies, plus information about his publications and how these can be obtained. Users who wish to take an active part in discussion or other aspects of the Foundation's work are invited to join the free associate programme, which then allows access to a wider range of works, including a forum, articles, and transcripts of Campbell's lectures.
This is the home page of the Journal of Religious Ethics, which is dedicated to fostering scholarly ethical reflection in the context of various religious traditions. Articles published fall within three main categories: comparative religious ethics; foundational conceptual and methodological issues pertaining to religious ethics; and studies of key figures and/or texts in the history of religious ethics. The journal seeks to fill a particular niche that stands firmly between purely philosophical ethical reflection, and social ethical reflection centred around a particular tradition. The site features tables of contents and abstracts for issues from 1999 until the present, plus a sample issue. Subscription and submission information is provided.
The North American Association for the Study of Religion, formed in 1985, is dedicated to encouraging the historical, comparative and theoretical approach to the study of religion. The Association aims to foster collaboration among scholars in North America as well as internationally. The Association holds an annual conference in conjunction with the American Academy of Religion and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. It also publishes a quarterly journal entitled, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion as well as the book series, Key Thinkers in the Study of Religion. The table of contents and abstracts from the four most recent issues of the journal are freely available online. For those interested, membership information is also available. The site is well presented, and easily accessible.
This website offers a general introduction to the many religions that used to be, or are still being practised around the world. It is organised into two sections, the first of which is on transcultural religions. This contains flowcharts and short explanations of the underlying assumptions, historical backgrounds, symbol systems, adherents and main centres of Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism. The second section describes the religio-historical development of the following regions: China, East Asia, Europe, India, Indonesia, Latin America, North America, Polynesia, South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Western Oceania. Maintained by the University of Cumbria, the resource is the outcome of a joint project between its Department of Religion and Social Ethics, and the Museum of World Religions in Taiwan.
Unlike many other resources on religious trends within the United States which focused specifically on the Judeo-Christian tradition, The Pluralism Project, directed by Diana Eck at Harvard University, seeks to consider and evaluate the growing diversity in religious expression found across the nation. A variety of textual resources are made available through this site including: a series of scholarly articles; directories of religious centres; and a series of excellent bibliographies and guidelines for conducting contemporary research on religious denominations, applicable to research on religious pluralism in both North America and Europe. There is a link advertising the project's CD-ROM On Common Ground: World Religions in America, (Second Edition). An interesting sub-set of this project is World Religions in Boston, which describes the variety of religious expression and interaction all within one major American city, and can be downloaded or viewed on the web. Unfortunately, the site lacks any extensive demographic material on religious growth and developments.
Religion in South Asia is a section of the American academy of religion whose aim is to promote the academic study of religions around the world. The website of the organisation offers users a number of resources - mailing lists, membership details, notices about forthcoming meetings, lists of publications, a few of which are available in full text on the site. There are also pages with bibliographies of South Asian religions and others which give access to a wide range of teaching resources. The links page is useful, but unfortunately the page which promises to be the most interesting, promising video and multimedia resources, does not open. This site is quite useful - more so for the specialist than the interested researcher - but it is in need of some design work and a test of the links.
This site gives a bibliography of printed materials for the study of religion in South Asia. The site is divided into nine different sections: eight giving resources available for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism and one final section which features works in which two or more of these religions are compared. The list is not at all comprehensive, but determinedly selective. Entries have, on the whole, been quite stringently assessed before inclusion using book reviews, other bibliographies and the 'World bibliographical' series. The bibliography is further restricted based on the holdings of the various libraries at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is, however, a worthwhile list and useful for anyone studying the religions of South Asia.
This website provides annotated links to various online resources on religion and Religious Studies. These include electronic journals; the homepages of research and data centres; Bible study guides; and theological resources. There is also a section on the Creation-Evolution debate and one on the religions of the world which connects readers to Internet materials on the Bahai Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and Sikhism. The site is maintained by the Iowa State University Library.
'Religious Legal Systems: A Brief Guide to Research and its Role in Comparative Law' is a website maintained by New York University (NYU) School of Law. It provides brief commentaries and annotated links to resources on Islamic Law, Jewish Law, Christian Canon Law (Roman Catholic Church), Hindu Law, Buddhist Law and Legal Theory, Confucian Law and Legal Theory, and the implementation of religious law in several countries. It also provides a select bibliography of print-based books and articles that would be useful for researching the various religious legal systems. The materials are prepared by Marylin Johnson Raisch, Librarian for International and Foreign Law at the John Wolff International and Comparative Law Library of the Georgetown Law Center.
'Religious Worlds' is an annotated directory of online resources related to religion, religions and religious studies. The materials are divided into several sections - the first of which pertains to world religious traditions. Faiths represented here include Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and new religious movements. Other sections focus on: Academic Resources (e.g. academic programs in North America, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand; libraries at educational and governmental sites; book reviews; bibliographies; and online reference works); Religion and Modernity; Religion and Cyberspace; and Religious Experience. This website is well-maintained and easy to use.
Established in 1969, the Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education is a London-based charity (Registered charity number 271510) which aims to promote the study and teaching of world religions. It publishes a journal and a calendar of religious festivals annually. Visitors can access past issues of the journal from this homepage using a title, author or text search. Themes featured therein include: Exploring conflict and reconciliation; From syllabus to schemes; Exploring loss, grief and change; Can I teach your religion; Time; and Religion: the problem or the answer? The site also provides a list of questions and answers; and a glossary of terms.
Sikh spectrum is online quarterly magazine run by volunteers. The aim of the magazine is to provide a forum for discussion of issues related to Sikhism and of importance to Sikhs around the globe. It contains a large number of submissions from all parts of the world, which bears testimony to its success in achieving this aim. Users can view everything on the site for free, registering with the site results in the receipt of alerts about future issues. The home page of the site lists the articles in the current issue - these cover a wide range of subjects, some comparative pieces looking at other religions, others magazine pieces about entertainment news, or else about world politics. The range is extremely broad. There is a complete index of previous issues back to the first edition in 2002. This archive is also indexed - under the heading 'Bibliography' articles are entered under a number of subject headings, while they are listed by author name under the heading 'Authors'. The site gives submission details for those wanting to contribute. This is an excellent, informative and well-maintained site. Well worth a look.
SpeakOut.com is an American 'activism center' focused on a number of moral and religious issues that have entered the public arena through legislation, judicial proceedings and public sentiment. The site does not endorse or espouse one particular stance regarding any religious or moral issue. Rather, it aims to disseminate information and facilitate open discussion and informed political activity. The site attempts to present a range of views on issues such as abortion, the death penalty, religion and morality, animal rights, and gay rights. Including links to news resources, government documents, and the websites of relevant organizations, SpeakOut.com is a user-friendly and balanced political forum. However, while there is much food for thought here, users should note that this site does not appear to be updated particularly frequently, and hence the information included about various issues may not always be as current as one could wish: for example, news stories may well be out of date, and not all links to external sites are functioning. Users should also be aware that as this is an American site, the focus is firmly on these issues as they pertain to the USA: the legislation and sample cases referred to are almost exclusively American.
Teaching About Religion is an online resource which is sponsored by OABITAR (Objectivity, Accuracy, and Balance in Teaching About Religion), a non-profit educational organization based in California. It aims to help school teachers in the US deal with the subject of religion in their History, Social Studies and/or Religious Studies classes in a manner which neither promotes nor inhibits religion, yet supportive of religious pluralism and religious freedom. This website provides background information on topics like religious liberty, neutrality, diversity and civic responsibilities. It also offers an overview of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Deism and the nonreligious perspective; a list of classroom DOs & DON'Ts and OKs & NOT OKs; lesson plans; a methods minicourse entitled Religious Neutrality, Teaching in a Pluralistic Classroom; and access to relevant websites.
The Virtual Religion Index (VRI) is an extensive catalogue of online religion resources. It provides an ideal starting point for both researchers and students of religious studies. The site is topic-led with topics including: archaeology and religious art; ancient near eastern studies; comparative religion; all the major world religions; and the philosophy and psychology of religion. Each link within the catalogue has a short annotation and links are according to topic on a single page. Users may join the site's email list if they wish to be kept up-to-date with new additions and alterations.
The World Prayers Project is a large collection of prayers - both ancient and modern. The aim of the site is to build a spiritual resource that transcends nation and creed in order to encourage the peaceful coexistence of peoples and faiths. The main sections of the site include meditations, invocations, adorations and celebrations. The database may be searched or browsed, and all the prayers are available in English. A useful resource for those studying prayer in a global context, the site has an attractive and simple design, and navigation is intuitive.
World Scripture is the online version of a book collecting an extensive number of scriptural excerpts from major contemporary religious traditions. Assembled by Dr Andrew Wilson, the extracts are arranged thematically, dealing with beliefs about the divine, the purpose of human existence, religious life and ethics, and so forth. Each section has an introductory paragraph to set the material in context, but no detailed analysis of the texts is given. While students and teachers of comparative religion will find useful material within these pages, users should note that the site seems to focus on the similarities between world religions rather than their differences, and that consequently the extracts presented may not always give the complete picture.