World Religions

Belief, Culture, and Controversy (Academic)


The diversity of faiths and beliefs in human experience makes the study of religion uniquely fascinating and valuable. Religion plays an essential role in societies worldwide, motivating decisions in every facet of life. Religion isn't simply an aspect of human culture—our beliefs define who we are and directly affect how we view the world.

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ABC-CLIO Solutions

Topics Religion/General
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This comprehensive reference resource provides a virtual textbook that covers religion across the globe, making student research on faith and belief across humanity easier and enabling a deeper understanding of the complex issues facing us in the 21st century.

ABC-CLIO's World Religions provides a powerful combination of reference and research components like no other database, comprising thousands of reference items that cover matters of belief, practice, celebrations, and holidays; important individuals and events; significant and sacred places; and much more. It contains thousands of authoritative reference items from leading experts, all specifically written to enhance student research and understanding, as well as engaging essays from scholars that present multiple perspectives on enduring dilemmas to provide students with models of sound critical thinking—all in one place.

The advisor for this collection of dynamic, regularly updated content is J. Gordon Melton, PhD, author of more than 40 scholarly texts and reference books on the topic of religion, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Institute for Religious Studies at Baylor University in Texas..


  • More than 50 religion overviews, covering such topics as agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Shinto
  • Extensive reference entries on religion in every country, including statistics on the number of followers of various beliefs in the past, present, and projections for the future
  • Thousands of primary sources, including images, video, and documents


  • Constitutes the first database to cover the religions of the world for the academic market
  • Updated daily with new reference content and regularly updated feature stories that examine the role of religion in current events
  • Enduring Questions provide users with peer-reviewed perspectives on long-standing or current debates surrounding the topic of religion, allowing readers to examine and learn from the argument essays of professional scholars in the field of religion
  • User-friendly interface makes searching or browsing quick and effective
Advisory Board

J. Gordon Melton, PhD, is director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, founded in 1969 in Santa Barbara, CA, and was a research specialist with the Department of Religious Studies of the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is presently distinguished professor of American religious history at the Institute for Studies in Religion at Baylor University, Waco, TX. Melton is the author of more than 40 books on American and world religion, including ABC-CLIO's Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations; Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices; and Faiths across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History.



"The unbiased delivery of the information is impressive: it conveys plenty of facts but injects no bias or prejudice, a valuable trait, especially when dealing with religious subjects. Each subsection includes an Overview article with a clear, succinct introduction to the faiths, along with links (at screen left) to Articles; Media, Visuals, Maps, and Flags; a Time Line; and Glossary Terms. I particularly appreciate the Glossary—terms in it provide context as well as common links among religions (for example, the entry for dharma begins, 'Dharma is a central concept in the major philosophies and religions of India, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism'). The CLIOview link on the home­page leads to an especially useful feature: the capability to easily compare multiple religions or countries on a variety of points (e.g., number of adherents, percentage of population) within the database. In advanced-search mode, students can do a text search and limit it by category (articles, media, etc.), religions (the 12 subsections), countries, and time periods.

BOTTOM LINE: WRBCC is heartily recommended to public libraries as well as academic libraries serving religious studies courses. The superb scholarship is combined with the uninflected 'voice' of the signed articles, ease of comparing and contrasting aspects of different religions, and attractive and practical design. An unqualified ten, this is one for the ages."
—Library Journal

Series Description

ABC-CLIO Solutions Academic Editions

Created specifically for academic libraries, ABC-CLIO Solutions Academic Editions provides essential coverage of topics in American history and government, world history, geography, and multicultural and popular culture subjects. These deep resources have been engineered to help undergraduates thrive in a demanding academic environment.

Each of the 14 online ABC-CLIO Solutions includes three innovative components:

A comprehensive, fully integrated, topic-specific reference library offers authoritative, award-winning content that includes rich media and thousands of primary sources that support authentic research and scholarship.

Updated daily by a team of subject-specific editorial experts, the course companion reinforces the core concepts presented in textbooks, lectures, and discussion sections.

This collection of expert commentaries, located in the Idea Exchange section of each online solution, is unique to ABC-CLIO. They expose students to scholarly argument, persuasive writing, and primary source anaylsis. The Idea Exchange presents original, peer-reviewed scholarship and debate in a format accessible to undergraduates, and also serves as a model for students as they undertake their own research and writing activities.


  • Always current and updated daily with authoritative content reviewed by scholars and content experts
  • Supports academically underprepared students by making it easy for them to grasp complex topics
  • Online and available for students and educators to access anywhere, anytime
  • Compatible with federated search engines and most common citation software
  • Aligns with your budget by offering custom package options, significant discounts for multiple subscriptions, and low maintenance cost

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