Religion, Rationality, and Experience: A Response to the New Rational Choice Theory of Religion

Colin Jerolmack, Douglas Porpora

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper is a critical response to the newest version of the rationed choice theory of religion (RCTR). In comparison with previous critiques, this paper takes aim at RCTR's foundational assumption of psychological egoism and argues that the thesis of psychological egoism is untenable. Without that thesis, the normative aspects of religious commitment cannot be reduced validly to instrumental reason. On neither conceptual nor empirical grounds therefore can religion or religious commitment be defined comprehensively in terms of exchange theory. With the failure of psychological egoism as a point of departure, the paper articulates an alternative theory of religion, one based on the epistemic rationality grounded in religious experience and religious emotion.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)140-160
    Number of pages21
    JournalSociological Theory
    Volume22
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 2004

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Religion, Rationality, and Experience: A Response to the New Rational Choice Theory of Religion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this