Christian Smith

Christian Smith

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Director of the Center for Social Research, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology, and the Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society

Office: 816 Flanner Hall
Phone: 574-631-4531

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Areas of Expertise

  • Sociology of Religion
  • Social Theory
  • Cultural Sociology
  • Adolescence

Generosity comes in many forms, according to Smith, director of Notre Dame’s Science of Generosity Initiative. “This includes time, aid, attention, blood, possessions, encouragement, emotional investment and more," he has said. “In countless ways, the world wants for significant growth in the virtue of giving.” Smith’s research focuses largely on the means and motivation by which people give – or don’t – and is currently leading the $5 million Science of Generosity project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. His books include “Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money,” written with Michael Emerson and Patricia Snell, which explores the reported statistic that American Christian groups typically give away only 1.5% to 2% of their income, as well as “Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture,” “Christian America? What Evangelicals Really Want,” and “Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers,” which received a 2006 book award from Christianity Today magazine.



Father Jenkins to discuss polarization among American Catholics at Notre Dame conference

Research by ND sociologist Christian Smith helps shape nationwide Catholic initiative

New ND report finds Catholics less generous than other Christians

New ND report on Catholic generosity finds giving stems from conscious effort

Christian Smith honored by American Sociological Association

$1.4 million awarded for scientific research into generosity

Notre Dame sociologist receives funding to continue youth and religion research

What we’ve learned about generosity

Notre Dame hosts conference for executives in Catholic higher education

New book explores dark side of emerging adulthood

Notre Dame professor explores the science of generosity

New study examines Catholic guilt among U.S teens

Soul Searching documentary on work of ND sociologist to premiere at DeBartolo

A Match Made in Heaven

Sociology professor wins award for book on teens’ spirituality


The Christian Science Monitor Is American religiosity on a downward spiral? Yes and no.
Our Sunday Visitor — Reclaiming a Catholic subculture
National Catholic Reporter — How Pope Francis Challenges the Catholic Left
The Christian Science Monitor — Giving is way up, but for what reason?
The Washington Post — Here are three reasons why Southern Baptists are on the decline
National Catholic Register — The situation with US Catholic youth actually is grim
America Magazine — The Decline of Faith Among Young Catholics
Indianapolis Star — If giving feels so good, why don’t more people do it?
The Washington Post — Americans continue to pray even as religious practices wither, survey finds
The Chronicle of Higher Education — The Evolution of Altruism
Religion News Service — Can you question the Virgin Birth and still be a Christian?
Salon — We’re putting an end to religion: Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher and the exploding new American secularism
Huffington Post — The No. 1 Reason Teens Keeps the Faith as Young Adults
Huffington Post — Faith’s Paradox: Lose Your Soul to Find it
New York Post — Liberal bias in academia is destroying the integrity of research
PBS NewsHour — Americans are more willing to be generous with their bodies than their money
PBS — Why it’s not a beautiful day in the neighborhood
PBS Newshour — Are Americans a stingy lot of people?
Huffington Post — Responding to 5 Trends in Youth Morality
New York Times — Gay Marriages Confront Catholic School Rules
Chronicle of Higher Education — Corporate Responsibility Should Start in Business School
New York Times — The Decline of Evangelical America;
New York Times — Sociologist’s Paper Raises Questions on Role of Faith in Scholarship
World — Good deeds punished
Christian Post — Sociologist Defends Study Questioning Gay Parenting Against Political Attacks
Catholic News Agency — Scholars defend findings of difficulties among same-sex parented children
Associated Press — Howard Ludwig: Does having kids mean you’re more likely to go to church?
Huffington Post — It’s the Spirituality, Stupid: Vital Congregations Cultivate Personal Piety
Huffington Post — Evangelicals and Gay Marriage: Why ‘Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin’ Doesn’t Work
Wall Street Journal—’It’s Mine!’ The Selfish Gene
The New York Times — If It Feels Right…
The New York Times — The Online Looking Glass
USA — Unraveling the mystery of why we give, or don’t
A Challenge for Churches: Adulthood Takes Its Time
In land of wealth, why are believers poor givers?