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May 2, 2018 / C H Thompson

Religious market theory

  • Stark and Bainbridge say that religion is attractive as it provides us with compensators,
  • which is when real rewards are unobtainable, religion compensates by promising supernatural rewards
  • They put forward the cycle of religious decline, which is revival and renewal
  • There is a perpetual cycle throughout history with some religions declining and others growing
  • According to Stark and Bainbridge, churches operate like companies selling goods in a market
  • While some sociologists see competition between religions as undermining religion,
  • religious market theorists would argue that this competition leads to improvements of the religious goods on offer.
  • Churches will make their ‘products’ more attractive



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