William Sims Bainbridge
Dr. William Sims Bainbridge (born 1940-10-12) is an American sociologist who resides in Virginia, United States. He is co-director of Human-Centered Computing at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and also teaches sociology as a part-time professor at George Mason University. Bainbridge is most well known for his controversial work on the sociology of religion.
He studied the religious cult The Children of God, also known as the Family International, in his 2002 book The Endtime Family: Children of God. The Family International regards him a favorable academic expert and has cooperated with his research and provided him with access granted to very few other academics. In the late 1990s, Family leadership helped him distribute a survey to hundreds of its members.
"I propose that we become religious engineers . . . Sociologists of religion are among the most ethical and high-minded of scholars, and there is no reason why they should not apply their knowledge to the creation of new religions. The world needs them. We have roles to play as consultants to existing new religions, helping them solve problems that our research has permitted us to understand. But we must be prepared to launch cults of our own invention, a task I admit is both hazardous to one's own welfare and outrageous in the eyes of people who refuse to admit that all religions are human creations. But it is far better for honest religious engineers to undertake the creation of new religions for the sake of human betterment than to leave the task to madmen and wealth-hungry frauds".
- Bainbridge, WS (1993). "New Religions, Science and Secularization". Religion and the Social Order 3A:277-292.
- Bainbridge, William S. Curriculum Vitae. Retrieved 2006-10-12.