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Paul Froese, Ph.D. - Baylor University . Waco, TX, US

Paul Froese, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology, Director of Baylor Religion Surveys | Baylor University


Dr. Froese focuses on the sociology of meaning, religion, comparative historical sociology, political sociology and ideology.



Paul Froese, Ph.D. Publication Paul Froese, Ph.D. Publication



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Robert Wright & Paul Froese [The Wright Show] (full conversation) Baylor ISR: Symposium on World Christianity (October 11, 2010)



Dr. Paul Froese is a professor of sociology and a research fellow for the Institute for Studies of Religion. He has been teaching and researching at Baylor since 2002. A prolific author of books and articles, his research interests include the sociology of meaning, religion, comparative historical sociology, political sociology and ideology.

Areas of Expertise (10)



Religion Politics & Culture

Society's Images of God

Russians and Religious Ideology

Social Sciences and Study of Religion

Public Opinion



Public Policy

Education (4)

University of Washington: Ph.D., Sociology

University of Washington: M.A., Sociology

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee: M.A., Philosophy 1992

Grinnell College: B.A., Russian 1990

Media Appearances (8)

Making Meaning Episode 14: The Challenge of Choice

Ministry of Ideas  online


AUDIO: Paul Froese, Ph.D., professor of sociology at Baylor and director of the Baylor Religion Surveys, is guest on this podcast to discuss his most recent book, “On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life,” amid a vast range of choices that makes it hard to know what to believe or where we belong.

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Do You ‘Matter’ to Others? The Answer Could Predict Your Mental Health

Scientific American  online


This article about the psychological construct of mattering gauging the risk of depression, suicide and other disorders cites research by Baylor sociologists Rebecca Bonhag, Ph.D., and Paul Froese, Ph.D., who found that both men and women derive a sense of mattering from close relationships, but women do so more than men from their roles as parents and close friends.

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Has the gun become a sacred object in America?

The Christian Science Monitor  online


Paul Froese, Ph.D., professor of sociology and director of the Baylor Religion Surveys, is quoted in this article about the rise of the gun as a symbol of Christian identity.

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Can View of God Affect Desire for Economic Justice?

Juicy Ecumenism  online


Paul Froese, Ph.D., professor of sociology, is quoted in this article analyzing his recent interview with the Poverty, God, Politics webcast hosted by David Beckmann. Froese spoke about the intersection between attitudes and actions addressing care for those in need and religiosity.

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3 ways that regular church attendance is good for your health

The Dallas Morning News  online


This article cites a 2019 study by a research team including Paul Froese, Ph.D., professor of sociology, which found that people who went to church regularly slept longer, fell asleep more easily and awoke feeling more rested in the morning.

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A horn-wearing ‘shaman.’ A cowboy evangelist. For some, the Capitol attack was a kind of Christian revolt.

The Washington Post  online


Paul Froese, Ph.D., professor of sociology at Baylor and director of the Baylor Religion Surveys, is quoted in this article about the Jan. 6 insurrection and institutional religion becoming more individualized and more disconnected from denominations, theological credentials and oversight.

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Baylor survey finds line blurring between politics, religion

Waco Tribune-Herald  online


Sociology professor Paul Froese, Ph.D., director of the Baylor Religion Surveys, was interviewed about the latest survey conducted in the volatile months of early 2021, which found the lines between political and religious identity blurring even more as Americans increasingly self-identify in groups.

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Atheists outpace evangelicals in knowledge of faith

Baptist News Global  online


Sociology professor Paul Froese, Ph.D., director of the Baylor Religion Surveys, is quoted in this article about a recent Pew Research Center survey that asked Americans multiple-choice questions about their knowledge of religion. (Terry Goodrich with Baylor Media & Public Relations arranged this faculty expert interview.)

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Articles (5)

Associations among religiousness, social attitudes, and prejudice in a national random sample of American adults

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality

2009 Psychologists have devoted considerable theoretical and empirical attention to the scientific study of social attitudes and prejudice. Most of these studies were conducted with relatively small, nonrepresentative samples of college students. In this study, the authors analyzed self-report data from a random probability sample with over 1500 American adults. Participants answered questions about their religiousness, right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), political ideology, demographic characteristics, and attitudes toward persons in historically disadvantaged social groups (i.e., ethnic minorities and homosexual individuals)...

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UNRAVELING RELIGIOUS WORLDVIEWS: The Relationship between Images of God and Political Ideology in a Cross-Cultural Analysis

The Sociological Quarterly

2008 Not only do few studies address the issue of how religious belief relates to political ideology, but little attempt has also been made to analyze this relationship from a comparative perspective. Using data from the International Social Survey Program, we examine how images of God, as measured by God's perceived level of engagement and authority, relate to political ideology in seven Western industrial and postindustrial societies. We find that variation in images of God has no effect on whether individuals are politically liberal or conservative in five of seven countries. Nonetheless, beliefs about God are strongly related to abortion and sexual morality attitudes in every country, but only sporadically related to ideas about social and economic justice. In the end, we argue that theological beliefs tend to be unrelated to a general measure of political ideology, not because religious beliefs are politically unimportant in these societies, but rather because religious perspectives are rarely fully liberal or conservative in their political orientation. In addition, we find that Americans hold unique views of God in comparison to other countries in our sample and that the American tendency to view God as more active and authoritative affects policy attitudes in ways contrary to the effects of church attendance.

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American Piety 2005: Content and Methods of the Baylor Religion Survey

Journal For the Scientific Study of Religion

2007 The Baylor Religion Survey (BRS) is a national population survey of religious characteristics, orientations, and attitudes modeled after the General Social Survey. This article provides an overview of the content of the 2005 BRS along with a detailed description of our methods of data collection and some descriptive characteristics from our sample of 1,721 adults in the United States. A third of the survey is dedicated solely to religion items focusing on affiliation, identity, belief, experience, and commitment...

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God in America: Why Theology Is Not Simply the Concern of Philosophers

Journal For the Scientific Study of Religion

2007 As citizens of the most technologically advanced and economically developed country in the world, nearly all Americans stalwartly maintain their faith in God, much more so than residents of other postindustrial countries (Norris and Ingelhart 2004). But what is the content and meaning of this belief? Perhaps belief in God has become so pervasive in contemporary American culture that it reflects little about believers' deeper religious thoughts, identities, and actions. We find the opposite to be true. Outside the confines of seminaries, competing beliefs about who God is and what God wants have a clear and important connection to everyday religious life in the United States...

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Replete and Desolate Markets: Poland, East Germany, and the New Religious Paradigm

Social Forces

2001 Is the new paradigm in the sociology of religion, known commonly as the "supply-side" or "rational choice" perspective, leading towards a plausible general theory? At this point, the answer remains dependent upon how one interprets current deviations from the paradigm's predictions. This article investigates two cases in postcommunist Europe, Poland and East Germany, which appear to contradict a simple core hypothesis of the new paradigm. We argue that these anomalous cases are opportunities to examine and potentially extend the explanatory range of the new paradigm. Ultimately, we conclude that these cases can be shown through closer analysis to fit with the underlying logic of the new paradigm and thereby argue for the theory's continued evaluation and augmentation.

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