The consequences of religious competition: Supply-side explanations for religious change

Rogar Finke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

26 Citations (SciVal)


This chapter sketches how immanent values be incorporated by assumption in a rational choice theory of religion. The Sundance applications of rational choice theory assume that, even though they sometimes may produce distinctive kinds of goods, religious groups are faced with problems fundamentally similar to those of firms, clubs, and other voluntary associations. However, it extends to religious belief and religious experiences particularly the most dramatic experiences such as speaking in tongues, miraculous healings, prophetic utterances, and ecstatic trancesall of which are more sustainable and satisfying when experienced collectively. Religious behaviour potentially offers a rich lode of evidence about the difficulties in producing and marketing inscrutable goods, and about the salience of immanent values like uncertainty reduction that can help rational choice theorists to enrich their models, thereby making them empirically more robust. All told, religious commitments are sometimes far more intense and salient than secular social commitments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRational Choice Theory and Religion
Subtitle of host publicationSummary and Assessment
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781134953424
ISBN (Print)9780415911917
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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