On the Rational Choice Approach to Religion

Journal Article

Part of a "Symposium on the Rational Choice Approach to Religion"(see related abstracts in SA 43:4). It is argued that the metatheoretical claims made by rational choice (RC) approaches to religion are misleading oversimplifications, & that the assumption that individuals engage in cost-benefit analysis to maximize their benefits is weak. The content of the individual's choice & its context must be taken into account, rather than viewing all choices as a process of maximization. RC models make assertions based on assumptions about specific social situations without regard to such social contexts. Additionally, it is argued that the RC approach does not appear to present a logically unified, deductive theory. It is proposed that a comparative analysis of RC theory with other theories of religious behavior should illuminate its relative merits & weaknesses. 16 References. D. Karjanen

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chaves, M

Published Date

  • 1995

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 98 - 104

Published By

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-8294