Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters

by Christian Smith. Princeton University Press, August 2017.


This book provides an updated definition of religion, distinguished from older, outdated models. Smith examines the power of religion in individuals and society with the final chapter addresses the question "What will be the fate of religion in the future?"


clarity about how religion differs from other social science plus the "how" and "why" it matters

Recommended Audience

congregational leader


Purchase as a book or e-book

Practical Applications

  • Engage seekers and doubters by reading excerpts of this book in a small group.
  • Consider how to engage people in religion by reading this updated model and new reflections.

About the Contributor

Aaron Spiegel

Aaron is a rabbi, author, and president of the Synagogue Studies Institute. He formerly directed the CRG and information technology at the Center for Congregations.

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