Home > R Words > religious belief

religious belief

Definition of Religious Belief

(noun) An idea or principle that members of a religion hold to be true.

Example of Religious Belief

Religious Belief Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: re·li·gious be·lief

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /ri-lIj-uhs buh-lEEf/
  • British English – /ri-lIj-uhs bi-lEEf/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /rɪˈlɪʤəs bɪˈlif/
  • British English – /rɪˈlɪʤəs bɪˈliːf/

Usage Note

  • Plural: religious beliefs

Related Quotations

  • “About 5000 years ago, people developed plow agriculture. By attaching oxen and other large animals to plows, farmers could increase the amount they produced. Again thanks to technological innovation, surpluses grew. With more wealth came still sharper social stratification. Agrarian societies developed religious beliefs justifying steeper inequality. People came to believe that kings and queens ruled by “divine right.” They viewed large landowners as “lords.” Moreover, if you were born a peasant, you and your children were likely to remain peasants. If you were born a lord, you and your children were likely to remain lords. In the vocabulary of modern sociology, we say that stratification in agrarian societies was based more on ascription than achievement” (Brym and Lie 2007:225).
  • “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 [1897] 2004:74).
  • “The fortunate is seldom satisfied with the fact of being fortunate. Beyond this he needs to know that he has a right to his good fortune . . . In short, religion provides the theodicy of good fortune for those who are fortunate” (Weber 1948:271).

Additional Information

Related Terms


Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Durkheim, Émile. [1897] 2004. “Suicide.” Pp. 65–83 in Readings from Emile Durkheim. Rev. ed., edited and translated by K. Thompson. New York: Routledge.

Weber, Max. 1946. “The Social Psychology of the World Religions.” Pp. 267–301 in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, edited and translated by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.

Works Consulted

Delaney, Tim, and Tim Madigan. 2015. The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

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.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Cite the Definition of Religious Belief

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “religious belief.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved July 18, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/religious-belief/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

religious belief. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/religious-belief/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “religious belief.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed July 18, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/religious-belief/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“religious belief.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Jul. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/religious-belief/>.