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What Would Jesus Buy: American Consumption of Religious and Spiritual Material Goods

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This article examines an important and understudied part of the sociological study of religion: consumption of religious materials. We use data from the Baylor Religion Survey and present an initial look at which Americans read the Left Behind series, viewed The Passion of the Christ, or purchased religious paraphernalia such as “What Would Jesus Do” bracelets. Drawing on cultural consumption and religious capital research we explore class, demographic, and religious influences on consumption patterns. We find some support for each of these perspectives, which suggests that religious consumption is not a subset of cultural consumption nor of religious practice but is some combination of both.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Jerry Z. Park is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Baylor University. 2: Joseph Baker is a graduate student in sociology at Baylor University.

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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