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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    Email Customer Service or call 800-368-6868 for FTE pricing, starting at $419 per database for single site purchases. Ask about discounts on bundles and discounts for districts. ABC-CLIO Solutions databases are also available for purchase through EBSCO, Mackin, and Follett.


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
Suite Features

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
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



How do I subscribe to a Solutions database?
To subscribe to a database, first e-mail or call Customer Service at 1-800-368-6868 for pricing, tiered based on the number of users at your institution. Once you have this information, you can send a Purchase Order to Customer Service.
Can I subscribe to the databases through a distributor?
Yes. In addition to being available for purchase directly, ABC-CLIO Solutions databases are also available for purchase through EBSCO, Mackin, and Follett.
How do I send a Purchase Order?
You can send a Purchase Order in one of three ways: by scanning and e-mailing it to, by faxing it to 866-270-3856, or by mailing it to:
P.O. Box 1911
Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911
How can I place an order if ABC-CLIO is not on my institution’s approved vendor list?
ABC-CLIO products are sold through EBSCO, Follett, and Mackin and select consortia. Please contact your preferred distributor or consortium from your approved vendor list. If you are interested in ordering directly from ABC-CLIO, please contact to let us know how we can begin the process of being added to your institution’s approved vendor list.

Content and Usage

How often are the databases updated?
ABC-CLIO Solutions databases are updated daily to reflect any developments and to align with school and course curricula.
Can students access the databases while they are away from the school/library?
Yes. You can access ABC-CLIO Solutions databases any place where you have Internet access. All you need is your username and password, or those provided to you by your school or institution.
How do I change my viewing preferences inside my subscription?
You can select display options for your institution by logging into your Educator Edition in the upper right corner and clicking “Update Information” under “Account Information” on the left navigation bar.
Are promotional materials available?
Promotional materials including flyers, brochures, and bookmarks are available. Contact our Marketing Department at to put in your request.


Where can I find on-demand training videos for my staff and me?
All of your Getting Started videos may be found in your Educator Edition under the “Video Tutorials” tab on the left navigation bar. Log in to your Educator Edition by following the link located in the upper right corner of the homepage of any database to which you subscribe.
What training options are available to me?
ABC-CLIO provides a variety of virtual and on-demand training options to customers. Read more about ABC-CLIO’s training program on the homepage
What are the browser, hardware, and software requirements?
ABC-CLIO Solutions databases require Internet Explorer 10, Chrome 22, Firefox 31, or Safari 5.1 to run properly, and JavaScript, and cookies must be enabled. Your monitor resolution should be set at 1024 x 768 with hi-color/16-bit color or equivalent. The Adobe Flash Player plug-in is required to view some interactive sections of the site; the Apple QuickTime or Adobe Flash Player plug-in may be required to view older audio and video content. If you are unsure whether your browser, hardware, or software meets the minimum requirements, click on the HELP link located at the top right of each page of the database and select TECH NOTES from the new window that will appear to get the latest system requirement information.
Are third-party plug-ins required to view any of the database resources?
Adobe Flash Player is required for Flash animations, research tips, some Geography maps, and some audio and video. Apple QuickTime is required for some audio and video.
What type of authentication options does ABC-CLIO Solutions support?
The simplest way to authenticate a database is to use your username and password, but ABC-CLIO Solutions also enables IP authorization and authentication by referring URL or public library barcode.
Are usage statistics available?
Yes. Reports showing searches and sessions for the past year are available at All you need to do is log in with your credentials and set the parameters for the type of report you’d like to run.
Are MARC records available?
MARC records for all ABC-CLIO databases are available for download and may be found under “Website Information” at the bottom of any page.
Are persistent URLs available?

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