Open Access

Networks and Religion: Ties that Bind, Loose, Build Up, and Tear Down


That social networks play a central role in religious life is well accepted by most social scientists. We are reasonably confident, for instance, that they are crucial for the recruitment and retention of members, the diffusion of religious ideas and practices, motivating individuals to volunteer and become politically active, the health and well-being of people of faith, and conflict, radicalization, and (sometimes) violence. However, in conference presentations, journal articles, and books social network analysts have shown little interest in exploring the interplay of networks and religion. In this paper, I review, and in some cases expand upon, what social scientists of religion have learned about networks and religion. I conclude with a call for social network analysts to focus the analytical tools of social network analysis on a phenomenon that has and continues to exert considerable influence in today’s world.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, other