William Sims Bainbridge

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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The question of the relationship between religion and science emerges again in this article. The discussion looks at the relationship between religion and irreligion and/or atheism, a much neglected theme in the sociology of religion. It argues that the study of atheism, although a minority viewpoint, is indispensable to the study of religion in that, among other things, it poses several complex and difficult questions for all theories of religion. Interestingly, the article suggests that the future of this minority position, often considered unworthy of serious attention by scholars and dismissed as something trivial compared to the belief in God, might lie in developments of cognitive science.

Keywords: atheists; irreligion; sociology of religion; cognitive science; religious belief

Article.  7445 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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