World Religions

Belief, Culture, and Controversy


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
  • CLIOVIEW interactive feature allows users to compare religion statistics across countries


  • Updated daily with new reference content and regularly updated feature stories that examine the role of religion in current events
  • The Perspectives sections present scholarly perspectives on long-standing or current debates surrounding the topic of religion, providing students with models of good critical thinking, well-constructed and reasoned arguments, and the proper use of evidence to support such arguments
  • User-friendly interface makes searching or browsing quick and effective
Advisory Board

David Tipton is the Managing Editor for the World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras, World History: The Modern Era, Daily Life through History, and World Religions databases. He received his BA and MA in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara with an emphasis on ancient and medieval history. He has completed doctoral coursework at University of California, Santa Barbara in the study of ancient Rome and early Christianity.

Joseph P. Laycock is an assistant professor of religious studies at Texas State University. He writes on American religious history, new religious movements, and religion and popular culture.

Dale McGowan is author and editor of 10 books from the nonreligious perspective, including Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, Voices of Unbelief, and Atheism for Dummies. He was 2008 Harvard Humanist of the Year and served as founding Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief, the world’s largest humanist charitable organization. He is currently on the editorial board of Patheos, the premier online resource exploring religious and nonreligious perspectives.

J. Gordon Melton is Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at the Institute for Studies in Religion at Baylor University in Waco, TX. He is also the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Woodway, TX. Melton is the author of more than 40 books, and is the editor for ABC-CLIO's Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Belief and Practice; Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations; and Faiths across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History.



"The World Religions Website is a remarkable tool that will give students a new appreciation for the role religion has in shaping history, politics, and society as a whole. They will be able to see how various religions interconnect as well as where there are distinct differences between them. The use of clearly written essays, topics that promote debate and critical thinking, and an abundance of photographs will appeal to students from the middle grades up. This site should be considered by all types of libraries and libraries are encouraged to take advantage of the publisher's free trial offer to see if this site will be worthwhile in their library."—ARBA

"The school edition of ABC-CLIO’s World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy does double duty as a research resource and a teaching tool. . . . The database interface is clean, appealing, and intuitive. . . . This product offers authoritative and objective information and should be accessible to researchers in ninth grade and up. The additional teacher-friendly features broaden its appeal and create additional justifications (and possible funding sources). Recommended for high-school and public library collections."—Booklist


2012 Best Education Software Award (BESSIE)-World Religions Website — ComputEd Gazette

2012 CODIE Award Winner-Best Education Reference Solution — SIIA

2013 EDDIE Award Winner - Best Multi-Level Social Studies Website — ComputEd Gazette

Series Description

ABC-CLIO Solutions School Editions

Offering effective technology for your library and created specifically for middle and high school students, ABC-CLIO Solutions Schools Edition provides authoritative coverage of essential topics in U.S. history and government, world history, geography, and a range of multicultural and popular culture subjects.

Each online ABC-CLIO Solution includes four innovative components:

A COMPREHENSIVE REFERENCE LIBRARY with content from more than 230,000 primary sources and entries encompassing audio, video, photographs, illustrations, maps, and rich media.

A STANDARDS-BASED CURRICULUM updated daily by a team of subject-specific editorial experts and supported by an extensive range of instructional material.

A DEEP COLLECTION OF MODEL COMMENTARIES from noted scholars that have been specially commissioned to foster critical thinking stimulated by exposure to varying points of view.

AN EDUCATOR SUPPORT CENTER containing valuable professional development tools as well as relevant resources such as discussion points, activities, lesson plans, and research lists.


  • Updated daily with vetted, authoritative content, ABC-CLIO Solutions are always current, making outdated textbooks a thing of the past
  • Each Solutions database include a subject-specific library, a curriculum, unique model commentaries, and a full-featured educator support center
  • They’re online and available for students and educators to access anywhere, anytime
  • More affordable than resources with far less content and fewer advanced features, Solutions databases represent an outstanding value

Other Titles of Interest

World History cover imageModern Genocide cover imageWorld at War cover image
American History cover imageDaily Life through History cover imageWorld Geography cover image

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