Sociology 3503 YA/Religious Studies 3503 YA
Religion and Spirituality
Dr. David A. Nock
RB 2036
Tuesday: 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Thursday: 2:30-4:00 p.m.
RB 3044
Office Hours
Wednesday: 3:00-4:15 p.m. – First and Second Term
Friday: 2:30-3:45 p.m. – First Term Only
Monday: 3:00-4:15 p.m. – Second Term Only
Two major themes will provide a focus for this course: modernity (and modernization) and
secularization. How have religious groups dealt with a very fast-changing, technological and
scientific age when most religions originally developed in a pre-modern world? Are the
traditional religious groups fated to disappear and if so what will they be replaced by, if
anything? The first term will concentrate on sociological understanding of important religious
themes and groups in western society; the second term will continue some of these topics in
greater depth – especially the future of religion and forms of spirituality. The issue will be raised
how religious involvement impacts the daily lives of individuals and of society more generally.
1. Introduction: course outline
2. Definitions of religion and spirituality
[Hunt, Chapter 1; Bowen: 19-20; 38-40; 84-87; 234-241.]
3. Religious Demography of Canadians; The Organization of Religious Life in Canada
[Bowen, Chapter 2; Nock, Cancopy Reading
4. Secularization and the 'Decline' of Religion
[Hunt, Chapter 2; Bowen, Chapter 1]
5. The Resurgence of Religion?
[Hunt, Chapter 3]
6. Western Religion in the Global Contest
[Hunt, Chapter 4]
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
Dr. David A. Nock
7. Religion: Change and Stability in Western Societies
[Hunt, Chapter 5]
8. Belief, Practice and Belonging
[Hunt, Chapter 6]
9. Challenges to Western Christianity
[Hunt, Chapter 7]
10. Sectarianism and Fundamentalism
[Hunt, Chapter 8]
11. Cults and New Religiosity
[Hunt, Chapter 9]
12. The New Religion – Issues and Controversies
[Hunt, Chapter 10]
13. The Religions of Ethnic Minorities in the West
[Hunt, Chapter 11]
14. Popular Forms of Religiosity
[Hunt, Chapter 12]
15. The Religious Individual: Well-Being and Personal Values
[Bowen, Chapter 3]
16. Intimate Relations: Sex, Marriage, Family, and Friends
[Bowen, Chapter 4]
17. Civic Sensibilities: Volunteering and Charitable Giving
[Bowen, Chapter 5]
18. Public Life and Social Values
[Bowen, Chapter 6]
19. Christians and Their Churches: Beliefs, Attachments, and Controversies
[Bowen, Chapter 7]
20. Conclusion: The Future of Religion in the West and Elsewhere
[Hunt, 209-215; Bowen 272-288; Bibby: Cancopy Reading]
This outline will generally be followed. However the order in which they are presented depends
on final decisions by the instructor. Students should ensure they follow and adjust to these
"finetunings" having to do with the sequence of material.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
Dr. David A. Nock
Requied Textbooks (Available at Bookstore)
These textbooks should be bought by everyone. The instructor does not lend his own copies.
Active reading requires that each student should obtain his/her own personal copy whenever
possible. There is often a rush for the copy that is available in the library.
1. Stephen J. Hunt. Religion in Western Society.
2. Kurt Bowen. Christians in a Secular World: The Canadian Experience.
3. Cancopy Readings: David A. Nock, The Organization of Religious Life in Canada.
Reginald Bibby, Secularization and Change.
Recommended Material (textbooks)
Hewitt, W.E. (ed.), The Sociology of Religion: A Canadian Focus. 1993.
Bibby, Reginald W., Unknown Gods: The Ongoing Story of Religion in Canada. 1993.
c) Dawson, Lorne L., Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements,
Meredith McGuire, Religion: The Social Context.
J. Milton Yinger, The Scientific Study of Religion.
D.A. Nock, Chapter on "Religion." This is a chapter from K. Ishwaran, ed., Sociology: An
Introduction. 1986. It is a clear precis to the course material and should be read for the two
Elizabeth Nottingham, Religion: A Sociological View.
Swatos, William H. Jr. editor. Encyclopedia of Religion and Society. 1998.
Susan Budd, Sociologists and Religion.
John Wilson, Religion in American Society: The Effective Presence.
Keith Roberts, Religion in Sociological Perspective.
Julia M. Corbett, Religion in America, 1990.
m) Bryan Wilson, Religious Sects.
n) R. Stark and W.S. Bainbridge, The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival and Cult
Formation. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1985.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
Dr. David A. Nock
o) R. Stark, The Rise of Christianity, 1996.
p) G.A. Rawlyk, Is Jesus Your Personal Saviour? In Search of Canadian Evangelicalism in the
1990s. 1996.
q) Michael Hill, A Sociology of Religion.
r) Paul Bramadat and David Seljak, eds. Religion and Ethnicity in Canada. 2005.
s) Steve Bruce, God is Dead: Secularization in the West. 2002.
t) Richard K. Fenn, ed. The Blackwell Companion to Sociology of Religion. 2001.
Further Readings
Ammerman, Nancy Tatom, Baptist Battles. 1990.
Barber, Eileen, et al. eds. Secularization, Rationalism, and Sectarianism: Essays in Honor of
Bryan R. Wilson. 1993.
Barker, Eileen, The Making of a Moonie. 1984.
Baum, Gregory, Religion and Alienation: A Theological Reading of Sociology. 1975.
Beckford, James. The Triumph of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah's Witnesses.
____________, Cult Controversies. 1985.
Berger, Peter, L. "Some Second Thoughts on Substantive versus Functional Definitions of
Religion." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 1974, pp. 126-133.
. “The Desecularization of the World. 1999.
Bibby, Reginald W., Chapter on "Religion" in Robert Hagedorn, ed., Sociology, pp. 387-427.
. Fragmented Gods. 1987.
. in “Cancopy Readings”. 1993.
Brandon, Ruth, The Spiritualists. 1983.
Bromley, D.G. and A.D. Shupe, Strange Gods. 1981.
Bruce, Steve, ed. Religion and Modernization:
Secularization Thesis. 1992.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
Sociologists and Historians Debate the
Dr. David A. Nock
Bruce, Steve, Religion in Modern Britain. 1995.
. Religion in the Modern World: From Cathedrals to Cults. 1996.
. Fundamentalism. 2001.
Brym, Robert J. et al. (eds.) The Jews in Canada. 1992.
Budd, Susan. Varieties of Unbelief. 1977.
Burns, Gene. The Frontiers of Catholicism: The Politics of Ideology in a Liberal World.
Campbell, Colin. Toward a Sociology of Unbelief. 1972.
Caplow, T. et al. All Faithful People: Change and Continuity in Middletown's Religion. 1983.
Clark, S.D., Church and Sect in Canada. A classic work in the field. It deals with the period
1760 to 1900 and is thus historical in focus. Heavy going but worth the attention.
Corbett, Julia M. Religion in America. 1990.
Crysdale, S., The Changing Church in Canada: National Survey of the Church in Canadian
Society, 1965.
Crysdale, S. and L. Wheatcroft, eds., Religion in Canadian Society. Toronto. 1976.
Davies, Alan. Antisemitism in Canada. 1992.
Davies, G. Religion in Britain Since 1945: Believing Not Belonging. 1994.
Dawson, Lorne, L. Cults in Context: Readings in the Study of New Religious Movements.
Ellwood, Robert S. and H.B. Partin, Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America. 1988.
Essien-Udom, E.U., Black Nationalism: A Search For Identity in America 1962(7).
Finke, Roger and R. Stark: The Churching of America: Winners and Losers in Our Religious
Economy. 1992.
Gibson, David. The Coming Catholic Church. 2003.
Glock, Charles G. and Rodney Stark, Religion and Society in Tension. 1965.
Gould, Stephen Jay. Wonderful Life. 1989.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
Dr. David A. Nock
Graham, Ron. God’s Dominion. 1990.
Greeley, Andrew M., Religious Change in America. 1989.
. Unsecular Man: The Persistence of Religion. 1972.
Hamilton, M. Sociology and the world’s religions. 1998.
Hamm, Peter M., Continuity and Change Among Canadian Mennonite Brethren. 1987.
Hammond, Philip. Religion and Personal Autonomy: The Third Disestablishment in America.
Heelas, P. The New Age Movement. 1996.
Hoge, Dean R. et al.
Boomers. 1994.
Vanishing Boundaries:
The Religion of Mainline Protestant Baby
Hunter, James Davidson. Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America.
. American Evangelicalism:
Modernity. 1983.
Conservative Religion and the Quandary of
James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. 1902.
Jenkins, Philip. Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History. 1999.
. Spirit Chasers.
Johnson, Frederick B. Religion, Modernity and Homosexual Ordination in a Liberal Protestant
Ordination. M.A. Thesis, Lakehead University. 1993.
Kelley, Dean. Why Conservative Churches Are Growing. 1972.
Kephart, William M. & W. W. Zellner. Extraordinary Groups. 1994.
Kosmin, B.M. and S.P. Lachman. One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American
Society. 1993.
Kurtz, L. Gods in the global village. 1995.
Levitt, C. & W. Schaffir. The riot at Christie Pits. 1987.
Lyon, David. Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times. 2000.
Mann, W.E., Sect, Cult and Church in Alberta. 1955.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
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Martin, David, "The Denomination," Bt. Journal of Sociology. 1962.
. “The secularization issue” British Journal of Sociology, pp.465-74.
Marshall, Donald B. Secularizing the Faith: Canadian Protestant Clergy and the Crisis of Belief,
1850-1940. 1992.
Mauss, Armand. The Angel and the Beehive: The Morman Struggle with Assimilation. 1994.
Mol, Hans, Faith and Fragility: Religion and Identity in Canada. 1986.
McAuley, E. Nancy, Faith without Form: Beliefs of Catholic Youth. 1986.
McSweeney, Bill, Roman Catholicism: the Search for Relevance. Oxford Basil Blackwell.
Nelson, Geoffrey K., Spiritualism and Society. 1969.
Nesbitt, Paula D. Feminization of the Clergy in America. 1997
Nevaskar, B. Capitalists without Capitalism: The Jains of India and the Quakers of the West.
Niebuhr, H. Richard, The Social Sources of Denominationalism. 1929.
Nock, David A., "Differential Ecological Receptivity of Conversionist and Revolutionist Sects,"
Sociological Analysis, 229-246. 1989.
. In Cancopy Readings. 1993.
. "The Historical Process and the Reformulation of Religious Typologies:
The Case of the Anglican Communion," The Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 4, 521-541.
O'Toole, Roger, Religion: Classic Sociological Approaches. 1984.
Penton, M. James, Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. 1985.
_____, Jehovah's Witnesses in Canada: Champions of Freedom of Speech and Worship. 1976.
Peshkin, Alan. Gods Choice: The Total World of a Fundamentalist Christian School.
Peter, Karl A., The Dynamics of Hutterite Society. 1987.
Poll, S., The Hasidic Community of Williamsburg. 1962(69).
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
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Pope, L., Millhands and Preachers. Set in Dukes of Hazzard country. 1942 (1st ed.)
Reeves, Thomas C. The empty church: Does Organized Religion Matter Anymore? 1996
Riordon, Michael. The First Stone: Homosexuality and the United Church. 1990.
Roof, Wade Clark. A Generation of Seekers: The Spiritual Journeys of the Baby Boom
Generation. 1993.
. Spiritual Marketplace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American
Religion. 1999.
Roof, Wade C. and Wm. McKinney, American Mainline Religion. 1987.
Rose, Susan D. Keeping Them Out of the Hands of Satan: Evangelical Schooling in America.
Scheffel, David, In the Shadow of Antichrist: The Old Believers of Alberta. 1991.
Schwartz, Gary, Sect Ideologies and Social Status.
Seidler, J. and K. Meyer. Conflict and Change in the Catholic Church. 1989.
Shaffir, W., Life in a Religious Community: The Lubavitcher Chassidim in Montreal, 1974.
Shermer, Michael. How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science. 1999.
Smucker, Donovan E., A Sociology of Canadian Mennonites, Hutterites and Amish:
Bibliography with Annotations. Invaluable for any research on these groups.
Sorokin, P.A. The Crisis of Our Age. 1941.
Special issues of the Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1978.
Mainstream Protestantism, Judaism, Mormonism, Mennonites, etc. in Canada.
Stackhouse, John G. Canadian evangelicalism in the twentieth century. 1993.
Stark, Rodney, Sociology. Chapter on Religion, 350-375.
Articles on
Stark, Rodney and Roger Finke. Acts of Faith. 2000.
Stourton, Edward. Absolute Truth: The Catholic Church in the World Today. 1998.
Thomas, Keith. Religion and the Decline of Magic. 1971.
Thrower, James. Religion and the Classical Theories. 1999.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
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Towler, Robert, The Fate of the Anglican Clergy. 1979.
Victor, Jeffrey S. Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend.
Wagner, Melinda Bollar. God's Schools: Choice and Compromise in American Society.
Wallace, Ruth A. They Call Her Pastor: A New Role for Catholic Women. 1992.
Wallis, R., The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of Scientology. 1976.
Ware, K. (or T.). The Orthodox Church. 1964.
Washington. Madame Blavatsky's Baboon: Theosophy and the Emergence of the Western
Guru. 1993.
Waugh, E. et al. eds. Muslim Families in North America. 1991.
Wilson, A.N. God's Funeral. 1999.
Wilson, Bryan, Religious Sects (would have been selected as a text but is out of print!); BR 157
W75R. [On Reserve]
. Religion in Secular Society: A Sociological Comment. 1966.
. Sects and Society: A Sociological Study of Three Religious Groups in
. Religion in Sociological Perspective. 1982.
. The Social Dimensions of Sectarianism. 1990
Wilson, Bryan and K. Dobbelaere. A Time to Chant. 1994.
Wuthnow, Robert, After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s. 1998
Secularism. 1989.
The Struggle for America's Soul:
Evangelicals, Liberals and
. The Restructuring of American Religion. 1988.
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Dr. David A. Nock
A. Mid-Term Test [In Class] ............................……….15%
November 22, 2005
B. Multiple Choice Test [In Class]………….…………15%
January 10, 2006
C. Final Examination in April .......................................35%
D. Newspaper clipping Assignment………………...... 20%
(Due: March 26, 2006)
Classroom Presentation.............................................15%
(Normally you will present orally one clipping in
class with analysis. This clipping will be one of
the two submitted for D. above.)
The clipping assignment consists of selecting two (2) newspaper-magazine articles of no
more than a xeroxed page each and a four to six page summary analysis each showing how the
article reflects themes in the course and textbooks.
The write-up for each selected article should summarize clearly the article, stressing the
main points in the student's own words. You should avoid rephrasing the article in its own style.
The style of the summary should clearly be yours. Then you should clearly relate the content of
the clipping to the themes of the course as presented in the textbooks or class lectures. Please be
specific and point out when or where by page number or date. The aim of the clipping
assignment is to show how the textbooks are related to what is going on in the world today.
Clippings selected should reflect a "news" focus or in some cases might reflect distinctive
aspects of a group (for example what "speaking in tongues" consists of to Pentecostals).
"Humdrum" articles about the election of a new executive would not normally qualify.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
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Dr. David A. Nock
Many important articles are not published in book form but are found in academic
journals. The following are the most important in the Sociology of Religion:
Sociological Analysis*
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion*
Social Compass*
American Journal of Sociology
American Sociological Review
The Sociological Review
British Journal of Sociology
Review of Religious Research*
Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology
Canadian Journal of Sociology
Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (BL60R48-Vols.1-9)
* Entirely devoted to the Sociology of Religion.
Educational Philosophy
In most universities, "lectures" by the professor are balanced by a tutorial section which involves
students more directly. In this class, lectures by the professor will be balanced by relevant a.v.
material and by a classroom presentation by students. Each of these methods of instruction is
important. Students should take each seriously and actively, e.g. by taking notes during videos
and student presentations. Questions on exams may refer to each of these sources of
information, for example. Attendance is very important as students are expected to have been
present for all facets of learning.
Aims of the Course
1. To allow students to learn the distinctively sociological approach to the study of religion.
Students should normally have taken Sociology 1100 or other Sociology courses. Those
who have not should make special efforts to ensure they are comfortable with the
sociological perspective.
2. To allow students to be able to make meaningful distinctions in the social factors which
distinguish religious groups, to increase understanding of religious traditions in Canada and
their growth and decline, and to understand the extent and nature of secularization.
3. To allow students to have a better understanding of the multicultural and pluralistic society
which present-day Canada exhibits.
4. To encourage students in white collar skills such as writing of reports and making
presentations which may be useful in gaining employment.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
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Dr. David A. Nock
Caveats, Cautions and Encouragements
In this course, no negative connotations are to be attributed to such terms as cult, sect,
denomination and church. Neither is any of these terms deemed to be of greater or lesser
divine ordinance.
The aim of the sociology of religion is neither to prove nor to disprove any religious
beliefs. Stark and Bainbridge should be kept in mind, "It is not our intent to suggest
anything about the truth of religion. We seek only to discover its visible aspects--the social
forms it takes in the world we all can see" (p. 14). See also the following statement:
Definition "The sociology of religion may be defined as the scientific study of religion as a
social institution, including its interrelationships with other social institutions and other
aspects of society and culture" (Earl D. Brewer). Emotional commitments and personal
sentiments must be subordinated to this scientific perspective.
Students are encouraged to speak up and make comments or to ask questions as this makes
learning easier and encourages a view of knowledge as one of exchange rather than passive
acceptance of "final truth."
Students are expected to know what plagiarism is and to be aware of the penalties involved.
Plagiarism includes prose which does not resemble the student’s authentic writing style as
well as more obvious forms of academic theft. (See Appendix).
It is expected that students will make an effort to use proper English grammar, style, and
spelling in all assignments, including examinations. See Appendix for helpful books. You
should imagine yourself on graduation trying to get a job with a major newspaper or
magazine (read Point D of the Aims of the Course). Students should not rely solely on
‘spell check’ but should own a good dictionary e.g. Gage Canadian Dictionary.
The professor is not responsible for the choice of the room. This is done by bureaucrats
armed with computers.
Assignments must be handed in on time. A late penalty will apply.
Students are advised that personal attendance at classes is correlated with better grades.
Material tends to be related from one class to another and attending the occasional class
here and there tends to discourage making connections. If you are away having a friend
"take notes" may be helpful but it will never be a perfect alternative to your own presence.
Empirical Research: "This study made clear that students who attended class more often
scored higher on essay and multiple choice examinations than students who attended class
less often." Susan Day, "Learning in Large Sociology Classes" Teaching Sociology, v.22,
April 1994, p.161.
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
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Dr. David A. Nock
Scholarship should not be a grim matter. Try and enjoy the course. Always remember that
what you put in, will influence what you get out of it. Bringing the right attitude of
curiosity and interest is more important than the amount of knowledge you possess at the
beginning. If you don't have the right attitude, please find another course.
To limit disruption to your fellow students, the following has been suggested: turn off
cell phones, pagers and watch alarms, restrict conversation to class-related topics and
avoid eating and drinking especially when noisy paper or pull-tabs are involved. Such
eating and drinking interrupts other students, the instructor--and the student who
might be eating and drinking as well! Avoid knitting. In general, avoid diverting
your attention or that of others from the objectives of the classroom. Please note,
recent research points out the ineffectiveness of so-called “multi-tasking”! Academic
work should be treated with the commitment and attention of any valued advanced
11. Please arrive in class on time (ideally a little early).
12. Students are encouraged to engage in active reading of personal copies of textbooks-making
notes in margins, underlining or circling key words, sentences, concepts, making indexes as
you go along.
13. Do not ask the instructor in any fashion whatsoever to raise your grade because you "need"
a higher grade. Such requests undermine the entire grading system and in the words of a
student quoted in the Toronto Star newspaper, it is not fair to the other students. You alone
are responsible for your mark by the quality of your work. This can be improved by
conscientious effort aided by one or more of the books listed. (See Appendix on Scholarly
Writing and Related Concerns).
AP 2 N55
AP 2 T58
AP 5 M16
The Report
U.S. News and World Report
FC 3651 A53
JK 1 U58
Religious and Humanist or Skeptical Periodicals
Anglican Journal
United Church Observer
The Skeptical Inquirer
BX 5601 C22
BX 9881 A1U6
BF 1001 238
The Library also holds various publications, mainly academic, sponsored by the Roman
Catholic, Evangelical, Sikh, Buddhist and Theosophical traditions.
Other non-academic religious, humanist and skeptical periodicals are available at Chapters
bookstore and the Thunder Bay Public Library system.
. . . / 14
Sociology/Religious Studies 3503 YA
Dr. David A. Nock
Sociology and Social Science Journals or Annuals on Religion
Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion
Review of Religious Research
Sociology of Religion
Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion
Social Compass
Newspapers (Examples)
The Globe and Mail
National Post
The Toronto Star
The New York Times
Calgary Herald
The Chronicle Journal
The Gazette (Montreal)
The Guardian Weekly (UK)
Ottawa Citizen
The Sunday Times
The Times
Vancouver Sun
Winnipeg Free Press
BL 1 J865
BL 1 R49
HM 1 S12
BL 60 R48
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Dr. David A. Nock
Scholarly Writing and Related Concerns
1. A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers by The Sociology Writing Group
1991, 1998.
2. The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual by William A. Johnson, Jr. et al.
1998, 2000, 2002. Copies available at LU Bookstore (Sociology 3401).
3. The Students’ Companion to Sociology by Jon Gubbay et al. 1997.
4. Making Sense: a student’s guide to research, writing, and style by Margot
Northey, 1983, 1993, 2002. Chapter on oral presentations in 2002 edition.
5. Making Sense in the Social Sciences: a student’s guide to research, writing,
and style by Margot Northey and Lorne Tepperman 1986.
6. A Short Guide to Writing About Social Science by Lee Cuba. 2nd ed. in LU
Library. 2002 edition in print (4th ed.). Contains a short chapter on oral
7. Lambert, Stephen. Great Jobs for Sociology Majors 1997.
8. Stephens, W. Richard Jr. Careers in Sociology. 1999.
9. Oxford, Penguin and Collins Dictionary(ies) of Sociology.
10. Gage or Oxford Canadian Dictionary.
Students should BUY ONE of the first six books
(Numbers 1-6).

Sociology 3503 YA Religion and Spirituality