Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

Table of Contents | Cover Page  |  Editors  |  Contributors  |  Introduction  |  Web Version


Particularly associated with the "Network for the Study of Implicit Religion" (NSIR), the concept has at least three (nonexclusive) definitions: commitments or integrating foci or intensive concerns with extensive effects.  The concept of "implicit religion" counterbalances the tendency to equate "religion" with specialized institutions, with articulated beliefs, and with that which is consciously willed (or specifically intended).

The approach opens up the possibility of discovering the sacred within what might otherwise be dismissed as profane, and of finding an experience of the holy, within an apparently irreligious realm. Above all, in contemporary society it allows for the discovery of some kind of religiosity within what conventionally might be seen as an unrelievedly secular sphere. The concept therefore gives credence to the opinion of the "person in the street," that while "some who go to church really mean it," others who go to church "really have a different religion altogether"—but that "everybody has a religion of some sort," a faith by which they live, albeit as an unconscious core at the center of their way of life and being.

Edward I. Bailey


E. Bailey, Implicit Religion in Contemporary Society (Kampen, Neth.: Kok Pharos, 1997)

M. M. Bell, Childerley (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994)

P. L. Berger, A Rumor of Angels (Garden City, N.Y.: 1971)

F. Blum, The Ethic of Industrial Man (London: Routledge, 1970)

M. ter Borg, Een Uitgewaaierde Eeuwigheid (Ten Have, Neth.: Baarn, 1991)

P. Halmos, The Faith of the Counsellors (London: Constable, 1965)

T. Luckmann, The Invisible Religion (London: Macmillan, 1967)

A. Nesti, Il Religioso Implicito (Rome: Ianua, 1985)

R. Panikkar, "Time and Sacrifice," in The Study of Time , ed. D. Park et al. (New York: Springer, 1978): 637-727.

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