Course Hero Logo



person who believes that the existence of a greater power, such as a god, is unknown and unknowable


person who does not believe in a god or the existence of deities, or gods

Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS)

tool that measures the importance of religious meanings in personality


established religious organization that is well integrated into larger society. Churches have well-established rules and expect their leaders to be formally trained, educated, and ordained.

civil religion

implicit values of a nation, expressed through public rituals, symbols, and ceremonies on sacred days and at sacred places

collective conscience

set of generally accepted social rules, norms, values, and beliefs that have become embodied in institutions and form the basis of society


religious group composed of individuals who reject what they see as the values of the outside society


subgroup or branch of a religion that has its own tradition, interpretation of religious faith, and identity


large, formally organized religious institution that is part of the state


belief that moral principles have a sacred quality

liberation theology

set of beliefs that emphasizes a religious duty to free people from political, social, and economic oppression

mechanical solidarity

sense of unity between people who share ties, values, and beliefs, leading to cooperation


practical objects and ideas of everyday life

Protestant ethic

Weber's term for a belief in the moral value of hard work and traits such as orderliness, efficiency, and frugality


set of beliefs adhered to by the members of a community, incorporating ritual practices and symbols that are regarded with a sense of awe or wonder


significance of religion in a person's life

religious fundamentalism

form of a religion characterized by opposition to change and strict adherence to a narrow interpretation of religious texts

religious membership

total number of members of a religious group

religious nationalism

linking of strongly held religious convictions with beliefs about a people's social and political destiny

religious pluralism

belief that multiple religions are fundamentally valid and no one religion is superior. Multiple religions can coexist and can provide a pathway to God or the divine.


objects, symbols, and ideas that are awe-inspiring, unexplainable, and spiritually significant


subgroup that breaks away from a larger religious organization


historical decline in the importance of the supernatural and the sacred

social cohesion

sense shared by members of a society or community of being bound together as a group

social control

enforcement and encouragement of conformity by society upon its members, either by law or by social pressure

social institution

complex set of interdependent social forces that reproduce stable, valued patterns of behavior


belief in a kinship or mystical relationship between humans and a totem, a natural object, animal, or plant believed to have a particular symbolic significance


people who do not identify with a specific religion. Unaffiliated individuals are not necessarily agnostic, atheist, or nonspiritual.

world religion

religion that has spread outside its original cultural context into the greater world