Be that as it may, in this series of posts, I summarize most of what is known about networks and religion. To wit:
- Religious groups recruit primarily through their social ties
- People of faith cluster together just like everyone else: with similar others
- People on a religious group's periphery are more likely to leave than those at its center
- Religious ties sometimes coerce people people to attend church (or synagogue, temple, mosque, etc.)
- Religious ideas and practices can spread across religious networks
- Religious networks help facilitate volunteerism, civic engagement, and political activism
- Social networks of theologically conservative groups tend to be denser than theologically liberal groups
- Denser social networks among a congregation's youth lead to improved life outcomes
- Religious social networks are positively associated with life satisfaction
- Religious networks can foster conflict
- Dense and isolated religious networks are more susceptible to radicalization and violence
These topics are divided into four separate posts, which can be accessed by the links below (or simply by scrolling down the page):
The network at the top of this introductory post is of Anabaptists involved in the Radical Reformation (Matthews et al. 2013). The network at the bottom is of the Noordin Top terrorist network. Both were drawn using the social network analysis software package, Gephi.
- Matthews, Luke J., Jeffrey Edmonds, Wesley Wildman, and Charles Nunn. 2013. "Cultural Inheritance or Cultural Diffusion of Religious Violence? A Quantitative Case Study of the Radical Reformation." Religion, Brain & Behavior 3(1):3-15.
- Smith, Christian S. 2010. What is a Person? Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.