Rain dances in the dry season: overcoming the religious congruence fallacy
Religious congruence refers to consistency among an individual’s religious beliefs and attitudes, consistency between religious ideas and behavior, and religious ideas, identities, or schemas that are chronically salient and accessible to individuals across contexts and situations. Decades of anthropological, sociological, and psychological research establish that religious congruence is rare, but much thinking about religion presumes that it is common. The religious congruence fallacy occurs when interpretations or explanations unjustifiably presume religious congruence. I illustrate the ubiquity of religious incongruence, show how the religious congruence fallacy distorts thinking about religion, and outline an approach to help overcome the fallacy.
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