Article Review: Gender and Religiousness

Original Article By A. Miller & R. Stark

Review by Jamin Davey, Jaminist.

Gender and Religiousness: Can Socialization Explanations Be Saved?

The first part of this article goes through several socialisation explanations for the comparative absence of men in the Christian church. This is done in a reasonably fair and thorough way, using appropriate statistical references to disprove the theories which had been dominant previously. The weaknesses in the socialisation theories are well presented and the theories themselves are effectively debunked.

The fact that the authors’ studies found what appear to be survey results which directly contradict what they were expecting to see, or show a negative correlation where they were expecting a non-significant correlation or a significant positive correlation to prove one or other of their predictions shows that they are prepared to publish the findings which do not support their predictions as well as the ones which do. These are all factors that would lead one to expect a stunningly insightful new theory, with logical arguments and a clear line of causation in the second part of the article.

Doesn’t everybody like a good
chasm jump? I know I do.

Their argument was fairly straightforward. It states that: Given that Men are more likely to engage in risky behaviour than women, and that denying a God who will punish them for eternity because they denied Him is risky behaviour, and also that men are less religious than women; one can assume that this is because they are more prone to risky behaviour. This argument is only about half a step more progressive/scientific than saying men are less religious because they are more logical.

The authors fail to present any solid evidence to support their hypothesis other than cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacies and appeals to gender stereotypes. There are some important pieces of information they have left out of their equations. They also seem blind to any studies outside their own particular field. In short, their argument is not convincing and it is stunning that these people are considered leaders in their particular field of study.


Miller, Alan; Stark, Rodney. Gender and Religiousness: Can Socialization Explanations Be Saved? AJS Vol 107, No.  6 (May 2002), p.1399-1423.

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