Definition of Belief
(noun) A conviction or idea about the nature of reality that an individual or group accepts as true.
Example of Belief
- American English – /buh-lEEf/
- British English – /bi-lEEf/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /bəˈlif/
- British English – /bᵻˈliːf/
- Plural: beliefs
- A collection of beliefs form a belief system.
- Type: religious belief
- A (noun) believer (verb) believes certain beliefs are (adjective) believable.
- “All groups have norms, values, beliefs, ways of life, and codes of conduct that identify the group and define its boundaries” (McNamee and Miller 2013:58).
- “Beliefs may be based on tradition, faith, experience, scientific research, or some combination of these. Faith in a supreme being and trust in another person are examples of beliefs” (Kendall 2006:46).
- “If religion protects man against the desire to kill himself, it is not because it preaches respect for his person based on arguments sui generis, but because it is a society. What constitutes this society is the existence of a certain number of beliefs and practices common to all the faithful which are traditional and therefore obligatory. The more numerous and strong these collective states are, the more strongly integrated is the religious community, and the greater its preservative value” (Durkheim  2004:74).
- “The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to average members of the same society forms a particular system with a life of its own life; one might call it the collective or common consciousness” (Durkheim  2004:24).
- “Without distorting the meaning of this expression, we can, in fact, call all beliefs and all modes of behaviour instituted by the collectivity ‘institutions‘; sociology can then be defined as the science of institutions, their genesis and their functioning” (Durkheim  2004:46).
- Religion Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “belief” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Borhek, James T., and Richard F. Curtis. 1975. A Sociology of Belief. New York: Wiley & Sons.
- Hicks, David, ed. 2010. Ritual and Belief: Readings in the Anthropology of Religion. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
- Law, John, ed. 1986. Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge? London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
- personified supernatural force
- transcendent value
Durkheim, Émile.  2004. “The Division of Labour in Society.” Pp. 19–38 in Readings from Emile Durkheim. Rev. ed., edited and translated by K. Thompson. New York: Routledge.
Durkheim, Émile.  2004. “The Rules of Sociological Method.” Pp. 43–63 in Readings from Emile Durkheim. Rev. ed., edited and translated by K. Thompson. New York: Routledge.
Durkheim, Émile.  2004. “Suicide.” Pp. 65–83 in Readings from Emile Durkheim. Rev. ed., edited and translated by K. Thompson. New York: Routledge.
Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller, Jr. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.
Delaney, Tim, and Tim Madigan. 2015. The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
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Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
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Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
Cite the Definition of Belief
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “belief.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 29, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/belief/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
belief. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/belief/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “belief.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/belief/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“belief.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 29 May. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/belief/>.