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ARDA Dictionary
  • Hell (Christianity):A place for the damned in the afterlife after Judgment Day. Hell originally referred to the dark regions of the underworld, but now it refers to the eternal separation between individuals and God. Whether hell is everlasting or a temporary state of existence is often debated (Smith and Green 1995: 412).
  • Belief in Hell, Measure of:This survey item assesses whether a respondent believes in hell or purgatory. Examples of this measure are found in the 2008 General Social Survey and the 2005 Baylor Religion Survey , both of which are available in the ARDA’s Data Archive.
  • Predestination:The belief that every human being, before birth, was predestined by God to either heaven or hell. This is found in Calvinist theology, also known as Reformed theology (Prothero 2008: 207).
  • Damnation:Condemnation to punishment in the afterlife for sins committed while alive. This is said to occur on judgment day, and the eternal abode for the damned is hell (Smith and Green 1995: 303).
  • Heaven (Christianity):The dwelling place of God, angels and redeemed individuals in the afterlife. It functions as the ultimate reward for the redeemed, as opposed to hell, which is the punishment for the damned (Smith and Green 1995: 411). To find information on survey questions related to heaven, click here .
  • Calvinism:Also known as Reformed theology, Calvinism is a Protestant theological tradition based on the works of John Calvin (1509-1564). Calvin believed in the absolute sovereignty of God and the total depravity of humans. Calvinism also includes the doctrine of double predestination: the belief that God fated every human being, before birth, to either heaven or hell (Prothero 2008: 207).
  • Afterlife:The fate of humans after death (Smith and Green 1995: 31). Descriptions of the afterlife will differ by cultural, historical and geographical context (see Egyptian Book of the Dead and Tibetan Book of the Dead). In Eastern religions, such as Hinduism or Buddhism, reincarnation is an afterlife concept. In the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam discussions of the afterlife also entail whether an individual goes to either heaven or hell based on God's judgment (Hinnells 1984: 25-26).
  • Russell, Charles Taze (1852-1916):Charles Taze Russell sparked the religious group later known as the Jehovah's Witnesses . He wrote a series of Bible study books called Studies in Scripture , which, although popular, attracted criticism from evangelical Christians for his denial of hell, the immortal soul, the deity of Jesus, and his insistence that God was One, not a Trinity. His ideas and early religious movement would later influence the development of Jehovah's Witnesses. For more information on Charles Taze Russell, click here .
  • Zoroastrianism:The religion founded by Zoroaster (c. 1400 BCE) that reforms ancient Persian polytheism into a monotheistic belief system. Zoroastrian teachings include the Avesta and the Pahlavi literature. It is considered dualistic since it has a good god, Ahura Mazda, and an evil god, Angra Mainyu. The religion has influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam, specifically in the concepts of heaven and hell, resurrection of the dead and final judgment (Hinnells 1984: 362-363).
  • Jehovah's Witnesses:A worldwide Christian society noted for their use of "Jehovah" as the name of God and their assertive proselytizing efforts through door-knocking. Charles Taze Russell founded the movement in the 1880s with hopes of restoring the Church to the beliefs of first-century Christianity. Some of their prominent beliefs include: hell is not a place of eternal torment, the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God, a rejection of the Trinity, living in the "last days" of the world (millenarianism), and converting every person into a Witness (Melton 2009: 592).
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Teaching Tools
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Citations are taken from the Sociology of Religion Searchable Bibliographic Database, created and updated by Anthony J. Blasi (Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Notre Dame; University of Texas at San Antonio). The ARDA is not responsible for content or typographical errors.
  • Sinners in the hands of an angry God: An exploration of religious forces on support for the death penalty.
    Bones, Paul D.C., and Soheil Sabriseilabi (2018)
    Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 57:4: 707-722.

    Analyzes 2008 USA General Social Survey data. Catholic affiliation decreases support for capital punishment; belief in hell increases it. Conservatism independently supports it.

    Associated Search Terms: Religiosity; Capital punishment; Catholic, U.S.A.; Conservative, U.S.A.; Belief
  • A period of "wild and fierce fanaticism": Populism, theo-political militarism, and the crisis of U.S. hegemony.
    Hell, Julia, and George Steinmetz (2017)
    American Journal of Cultural Sociology. doi: 10.1057/s41290-017-0041-y

    Associated Search Terms: Peace/war; Politics, U.S.A.
  • Hell to pay: Religion and punitive ideology among the American public.
    Baker, Joseph O., and Alexis L. Booth (2016)
    Punishment & Society 18:2: 151-176.

    Associated Search Terms: Penology; Punitiveness
  • Trust in a "fallen world": The case of Protestant theological conservatism.
    Hempel, Lynn M., Todd Matthews, and John Bartkowski. (2012)
    Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 51:3: 522-541.

    Analyzes 2008 General Social Survey (U.S.A.) dta; conservative beliefs (authoritative Bible, human depravity, born again, hell) predicted generalized trust inversely, canceling out the effects of religious involvement, which positively predicts trust.

    Associated Search Terms: Trust; Belief; Conservative, U.S.A.; United States
  • Round Trip to Hell in a Flying Saucer: The Relationship between Conventional Christian and Paranormal Beliefs in the United States.
    Mencken, F. Carson, Christopher D. Bader, and Ye Jung Kim (2009)
    Sociology of Religion 70:1: 65-85.

    2005 U.S.A. survey data show paranormal & conventional Christian belief to be distinct but correlated.

    Associated Search Terms: Belief; Paranormal; United States; Factor analysis
  • Who Believes in Religious Evil? An Investigation of Sociological Patterns of Belief in Satan, Hell, and Demons.
    Baker, Joseph O. (2008)
    Review of Religious Research 50:2: 206-220.

    Analyzes 2005 Baylor Religion Survey (U.S.A.) data.

    Associated Search Terms: United States; Evil
  • Notions of Evil, the Devil and Sin among Chilean Businessmen.
    Thumala Olave, María Angélica (2007)
    Social Compass 54:4: 613-632.

    Based on interviews with Chilean business executives, whose discourse on evil is not traditional (hell, devil) but whose beliefs are nevertheless theistic.

    Associated Search Terms: Business people; Belief; Secularization; Evil; Devil; Chile
  • Going to Hell in Asia: The Relationship between Risk and Religion in a Cross Cultural Setting.
    Miller, Alan S. (2000)
    Review of Religious Research 42:1: 5-18.

    Analyzes 1990-93 World Values Survey data; religion seems related inversely with risk everywhere but Japan.

    Associated Search Terms: Italy; Risk preference; Religiosity; Turkey; India; Japan; United States
  • Carl Mayer's Sociology of Religion and its Impact on the Rise of Modern Sociology of Knowledge.
    Gugolz, Alfred (1991)
    In Horst J. Helle (ed.), Verstehen and Pragmatism. Essays in Interpretive Sociology. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 125-144.

    Associated Search Terms: Mayer, Carl; Berger, Peter L.; Sociology of knowledge; Luckmann, Thomas
  • Symboltheorie und Religiöse Praxis.
    Helle, Horst Jürgen (1972)
    In Jakobus Wössner (ed.), Religion im Umbruch. Soziologische Beiträge zur Situation von Religion und Kirche in der gegenwärtigen Gesellschaft. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke, pp. 200-214.

    Associated Search Terms: Practice; Symbol
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Questions/Variables on Surveys
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