Hacking Religion


Hacking religion is the first-of-its-kind open access data science textbook for researchers in theology and religious studies. The book aims to be a tool for researchers to develop technical literacy where they may have background in the study of theology and religious studies (“TRS”) but not in writing code for data science research. I introduce some basic concepts around statistics and data visualisation which are not always covered in Religion 101 coursework. The book is also written for researchers who already have proficiency in data-driven research tools but lack background training in theoretical questions around framing data about religion, which is often the case for researchers in fields like computer science, psychology, sociology and politics. There are some particularly sticky conceptual challenges around post-secularity, hybrid religious identities and so on which the book opens up around specific data sets and code-driven examples. The book is also explicitly narrated around the concept of ethical hacking, highlighting the ways that the use of data science tools is not simply neutral “tech” but also a form of culturally encoded and ethical practice. As part of this, I engage learners with data sets that are focussed on under-represented groups. The book makes use of the R programming language and as such could be used as a lab guide for students to become acquainted with object oriented programming for statistics.

Hacking Religion: TRS & Data Science in Action
Jeremy Kidwell
Jeremy Kidwell
Associate Professor in Theological Ethics

Ethicist, activist, hacker, ethnographer and eco-theologian. Interdisciplinary and unafraid.