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The Price of Freedom Denied
Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics

  • Date Published: December 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521146838
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About the Authors
  • The Price of Freedom Denied shows that, contrary to popular opinion, ensuring religious freedom for all reduces violent religious persecution and conflict. Others have suggested that restrictions on religion are necessary to maintain order or preserve a peaceful religious homogeneity. Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke show that restricting religious freedoms is associated with higher levels of violent persecution. Relying on a new source of coded data for nearly 200 countries and case studies of six countries, the book offers a global profile of religious freedom and religious persecution. Grim and Finke report that persecution is evident in all regions and is standard fare for many. They also find that religious freedoms are routinely denied and that government and the society at large serve to restrict these freedoms. They conclude that the price of freedom denied is high indeed.

    • Offers a global profile of religious freedom and persecution, including information on nearly 200 countries and selected case studies
    • Explains variation in religious persecution across countries and religious traditions, offering an explanation of why persecution tends to be higher among some populations
    • Demonstrates and documents how religious freedoms are denied by the government and the society at large
    • Argues that religious freedoms serve to defuse the potential conflict and reduce the level of violent religious persecution
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011

    Reviews & endorsements

    “We have all heard numerous anecdotes about religious persecution around the world. Now, Brian Grim and Roger Finke provide the most comprehensive empirical overview of persecution available to date, detailing both when and where it is occurring. As an added bonus, their research explains why such persecution occurs. This book sets a new standard for research on religious freedom and should be in easy reach of any scholar, missionary or human rights activist interested in the just treatment of people of faith.”
    —Anthony Gill, University of Washington, host of Research on Religion

    “A true global landmark, this work is one of the most important contributions to the struggle for religious freedom and international peace since the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With rigor and flair, Grim and Finke probe the timeless question of why religious liberty matters. Their answer is theoretically elegant and empirically powerful: restrictions on religious freedom produce persecution and conflict, undermine democracy, and contribute to terrorism and international instability. For policy makers and religious leaders across the globe, this book offers a way to navigate the crucible of the 21st century—living with our differences in a volatile world.”
    —Allen Hertzke, University of Oklahoma

    “This is the most necessary book I have encountered in many years.”
    —Rodney Stark, Baylor University, author of The Rise of Christianity

    “achieves something truly rare in the social world: nomological insight and elegance." -Allen D. Hertzke, Books and Culture

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    21st Jan 2014 by SamiKiiski

    This is one of the most interesting and insightful books Ive read. It is written clearly and offers a global view why religious freedom really matters. I would say that it also is a book that I enjoyed because of the many examples that make the reading easy.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521146838
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus. 29 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Religious persecution: pervasive and pernicious
    2. Religious freedom: broken promises
    3. Persecution: the price of freedoms denied
    4. A closer look: Japan, Brazil and Nigeria
    5. A closer look: China, India and Iran
    6. What about Muslim-majority countries?
    7. Do religious freedoms really matter?
    Appendix. Testing the competing arguments.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Political Change and Conflict
    • Religion and Global Politics
    • Religion and Politics in Comp Perspectives
    • Religious Freedom and Christian Persecution
  • Authors

    Brian J. Grim, Pew Research Center
    Brian J. Grim is senior researcher in religion and world affairs at the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life in Washington, DC. Dr Grim is also the co-principal investigator for the international religious demography project at Boston University's Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs, where he co-edits the World Religion Database ( His findings on international religious demography and religious freedom have been covered by all the major news outlets, including the BBC, CNN, the Associated Press, and Reuters, and he frequently presents to high-level governmental and nongovernmental groups. Dr Grim has extensive overseas experience. From 1982 to 2002, he lived and worked as an educator, researcher, and development coordinator in China, the former USSR, Central Asia, Europe, Malta, and the Middle East.

    Roger Finke, Pennsylvania State University
    Roger Finke is Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the Pennsylvania State University and Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives ( He has published in numerous social science journals and has co-authored two award-winning books with Rodney Stark: Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion and The Churching of America, 1776–1990. He is the past president of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture; is a past chair of the American Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion Section; and has served as a member of multiple national and international councils, boards, and committees. He is the 2009 recipient of the Pennsylvania State University President's Award for integrating research, teaching, and service.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011

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