The fifth Summer Institute for Scientific Study of Religion was held on July 14-20, 2008 at Renmin University of China, Beijing. This year’s theme was “An Empirical Study of Religion: from the United States to China.
Two lecturers were Carson Mencken, director of Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University and Fenggang Yang, director of Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University. Over 60 scholars and students attended the Summer Institute. They were from universities, research institutes, and religious institutions around China, the U.S. and Singapore.
Dr. Mencken has superb skills and rich experience on the quantitative study on sociology of religion. His lecture focused on his research experiences on the empirical study of religion in the U.S. Dr. Mencken has participated the survey of religions in the U.S. conducted by Baylor University in 2005. This project revealed the current religion status and changes in the U.S. which data has been quoted by several media, including New York Times and Newsweek. How to conduct large scale sample survey was the major topic by Dr. Mencken at the Summer Institute. In addition, he also gave lectures on the relation between religion belief and trust among Americans, and the relation between religion and superstition in America.