ABC-CLIO Solutions

World Religions

Belief, Culture, and Controversy (Academic)

by David Tipton, Joseph Laycock, Dale McGowan, and Gordon Melton, Editors

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ABC-CLIO Solutions

Topics Religion/General
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As both the first ever academic database devoted to religious studies and a living resource updated daily, World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy offers researchers a comprehensive research arena unlike any other.

In World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy, primary and secondary sources elucidate matters of belief, practice, celebrations, and holidays; important individuals and events; significant and sacred places; and much more. Coverage spans time—with treatment given to such ancient faiths as Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam and new religious movements as well—and place, facilitating focused investigations as well as comparative studies. In both reference materials and original journal articles, leading scholars lend their expertise and ensure that database content reflects developments in scholarship and the field itself.


  • More than 50 religion overviews, covering such topics as agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Shinto
  • Roughly 30 academic roundtables featuring scholars such as William Pencak, Michael Baltutis, and Khaleel Mohammed that provide compelling treatment of long-standing and current debates in religious studies
  • More than 6,000 extensive reference entries on religion in every country, including statistics on the number of followers of various beliefs in the past and present as well as projections for the future
  • Nearly 3,000 images and primary sources, including photographs of holy sites and places of worship and selections from various key religious texts
Suite Features

ABC-CLIO Solutions Academic Editions

The ABC-CLIO Solutions Academic Edition suite supplies the digital reference collections and full-text scholarship integral to undergraduate research in the humanities. In each of the suite's 14 dynamic and discipline-specific databases, student researchers are empowered to broaden their understandings, analyze historical and societal complexities, and develop innovative and informed perspectives.

Contributions from more than 3,000 field scholars and real-time updates ensure researchers are always accessing relevant and credible material. Across all 14 databases, investigations into critical topics yield three integrated but distinct content components to support thesis-driven research:

Original journal articles, authored by leading academics and vetted by advisory boards of credentialed experts, that offer varied viewpoints on the complexities and nuances inherent in the discipline to serve as both sources and exemplars of evidence-based scholarly thought,

A robust reference library that draws from 200,000+ primary and secondary sources, including media and data,

And a course companion, comprised of both text and video lectures, designed to reinforce coursework or drive independent study.


  • Coverage spans the humanities, from core disciplines like American history to emergent fields of study, including modern genocide and popular culture.
  • All material is authored by accomplished academics and vetted by database-specific advisory boards, while daily updates across the suite ensure that database content evolves to reflect changing understandings and developments in the field.
  • Both browsing and linear learning are supported by the databases' topic center structure, with each topic center housing a variety of relevant content including primary sources, reference material, and journal articles.
  • Targeted research is served by the federated search engine, which pulls content from across multiple databases to connect students with any and all applicable material. Researchers can then apply advanced search filters to locate the precise resources they seek.
  • Built-in tools are available to support and streamline the research process, including the cite tool for instant citation generation and the CLIOview feature for comparative data analysis.
Advisory Board

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 premiere 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.

Topic Centers


• Buddhism
• Mahayana
• Theravada
• Vajrayana
• Islam
• Ismaili Islam
• Shia
• Sufism
• Sunni
Traditional Religions
• Traditional Religions
• Africa
• Americas
• Europe
• Egypt and Near East
• Greco–Roman
• Christianity
• Catholicism
• Eastern Orthodox
• Mormonism
• Protestantism
• Judaism
• Hasidism
• Conservative Judaism
• Orthodox Judaism
• Reform Judaism
Western Esotericism
• Western Esotericism
• Astrology
• Gnosticism
• Spiritualism
• Wicca
Chinese Religions
• Chinese Religions
• Confucianism
• Daoism
New Religions
• New Religions
• Scientology
• Unification Church
• Unbelief
• Agnosticism
• Atheism
• Humanism
• Hinduism
• Shaivism
• Shaktism
• Vaishnavism
• Smarta Tradition
• Shinto
• Sect Shinto
• Shrine Shinto
Other Faiths and Beliefs
• Other Faiths and Beliefs
• Baha'i Faith
• Jainism
• Sikhism
• Zoroastrianism




"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


2019 Silver Award — Modern Library Awards



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