About the project

Page Details

Page author: Luke Burns

This page created on: 01/01/2020

Last modified: 12/08/2021


Understanding Religion is a website aimed at providing easy access to information about the study of religion. Always free, written clearly for a wide audience, grounded in academic study and supported by references for those who want to dive deeper.

The 2024 OCRS survey is open until 31 March, you can access it here: https://forms.gle/VwxYBaFhQLtbTiqy5


Understanding Religion is a website that aims to provide easy access to information about the study of religion, published by the Online Centre for Religious Studies.

Always free, written clearly for a wide audience, grounded in academic study and supported by references for those who want to dive deeper.

It draws inspiration from a wide variety of online resources - notably Wikipedia, but also Harvard University’s Pluralism Project and the essays and resources published by REOnline.

The goal of the site is to provide contemporary scholarship in an accessible format for readers who might not be specialists in the subject, but who want to learn and discover.


The website and all its content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License - that means you’re welcome to create copies of our articles and use them in your own teaching or learning projects 100% free of charge. You can even adapt or change them - you just need to include a note explaining where the original came from (click the link to find out more).

Pages and Books

The core content of the site is the list of articles, or Pages, each of which is self-contained and (hopefully) self-explanatory. But nothing in life is really self-contained, everything is connected, and information is always part of a journey.

At Understanding Religion, these journeys are represented by Books - collections of Pages that share a narrative.

Each Page might belong to one or several Books, and the reader can choose to follow these journeys if they want.

At the bottom of each Page you will see which Book(s) you are currently within, and have the option to move forward, backwards, or return to the book’s homepage. Something like this…

This article is part of the following books:

Religion in the Online World

Book Contents

You might start by reading a book about Catholicism, but after reading the section on the early church find yourself drawn into a different book on Gnosticism (which would naturally cross over at certain points with the Catholicism book). While reading the Gnosticism book you might decide to branch into a book on religious experience, and from there into the neurological study of religion, reductionism, and evolutionary biology!

This structure, where many paths meet and intertwine allows you to follow your own impulses through the material, learning in your own way and at your own pace.


The site is built using Hugo and Bulma, we host our source code on Github, and deploy via Netlify. Images are hosted on Cloudinary.

The code outside of those dependancies (i.e. the site template, theming, and content) was written by Luke Burns.

As far as possible, the site is built using static pages, which means it loads quickly, and is easy to build and maintain. It also means that there’s very little in the way of obstructions to the reader - I promise, no pop-ups, no adverts, no cookie notices (we don’t use them).

Patrons and Sponsors

We’re a small scale operation (in fact ‘we’ is generous) - at the moment the site is written, coded, and maintained by one person (hi, I’m Luke, pleasure to meet you). If you feel like supporting the work done here, please get in touch.


You can help!

We need contributors and editors to write and review content - if you want to get involved please check out our contributions page.

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Support the site

If you find the resources on this site helpful, please consider a small donation - it makes a big difference! You can also share your thoughts and suggestions, which are always welcome.

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