Despite many predictions, modernity has not diminished the religious impulse in people. Religious buildings are prominent in most communities, and we brush shoulders with people of many faiths at school and work. We encounter religion in many manifestations frequently on TV and the Internet: breathtaking mosques, colossal Buddhas, the Pope addressing huge crowds, brutal religious wars, or unusual rituals. Why NOT, then, study religion? It is clearly one of the most widespread of human activities. Understanding any society, past or present, requires understanding the religions of that society.