Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sueism: When in doubt, read.

I am in the midst of writing a book with two colleagues. We tentatively entitled it: Religion Implicated - What Sociology Teaches Us About Religion In Our World. Doesn't that title make you want to run out and buy it?

I'm responsible for four chapters, maybe five. The first two went really easily: An introduction to the sociological study of religion and a chapter on religion and science (I co-teach a seminar on that). The third chapter mystified me, however. Religion and the environment: What to say?!

So I started by reading a research literature I barely knew existed: How religious belief is linked, or not, to environmentalism; how Judeo-Christian religion shaped the technological and scientific advancements that have left us in an environmental mess; how Native Americans and other indigenous peoples respond to the appropriation of their religious traditions by environmentalists.

And the chapter wrote itself.

So I have a new Sueism: "When in doubt, read."

Its corollary: "When stuck, read."

I hope this strategy works as well for the Religion and Politics chapter. Right now I am reading about 'theocracy'.

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