World Religions
Belief, Culture, and Controversy (Academic)
August 2011, ABC-CLIO, ABC-CLIO Databases

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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.

World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy spans more than 50 religions practiced throughout the world, including both those that have flourished into the 21st century and those that are no longer practiced. Nearly 10,000 reference entries and primary sources illustrate important religious figures, core beliefs, customs and practices, celebrations and holidays, significant and sacred places, and momentous events from faiths including agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Shinto. In addition, a collection of scholarly discussions offers compelling analysis of key topics and the range of historical and current debates in religious studies. The advisor for this collection is J. Gordon Melton, PhD, author of more than 40 scholarly texts and reference books on 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
  • Over 35 academic discussions featuring scholars such as William Pencak, Michael Baltutis, and Khaleel Mohammed, providing compelling treatment of long-standing and current debates in religious studies
  • CLIOview demographic tool enabling learners to both track and predict the growth and decline of different faiths
  • More than 6,700 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


2019 Silver Award—Modern Library Awards, January 31, 2019


"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, December 1, 2011


• 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


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.
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