Comparative Religion

Download Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion by Rodney Stark PDF

By Rodney Stark

Finally, social scientists have all started to try to appreciate non secular habit instead of to discredit it as irrational, ignorant, or foolish—and Rodney Stark and Roger Finke have performed an enormous position during this new strategy. Acknowledging that technological know-how can't determine the supernatural aspect of faith (and for that reason usually are not declare to do so), Stark and Finke examine the observable, human part of religion. In transparent and interesting prose, the authors mix particular theorizing with lively discussions as they stream from contemplating the religiousness of people to the dynamics of non secular teams after which to the non secular workings of whole societies as non secular teams contend for help. the result's a accomplished new paradigm for the social-scientific learn of religion.

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An impressive body of research indicates that elderly people who are involved in religion tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than older adults who are not as religious,” according to Krause (, S). Chapter  will show that the data do not confirm claims that religion is often the cause and symptom of psychopathology. Indeed, the new paradigm directly contradicts the postulate that religion is rooted in irrationality. The Opiate Thesis That religion is harmful at the level of society is a political, not scientific, claim.

This tendency continues in the overwhelming preponderance in contemporary studies of research based on individuals rather than on groups. But no amount of surveys of individual opinions will reveal answers to questions such as why some new religions succeed, while most fail, or why rates of religious participation are so much higher in some societies than in others. These are not questions primarily about individuals and can only be answered adequately by reference to attributes of groups—in these instances, to attributes of new religions or of societies.

As Heath implies, social scientists are fully aware of people such as Mother Teresa. But we also recognize that their behavior violates the principle of rationality only if we adopt a very narrow, materialistic, and entirely egocentric definition of rewards and ignore the immense variety of preferences and tastes. Human life and culture are so rich because of the incredible variety of our preferences and tastes, of things we perceive as rewarding. There is no need to suggest that a parent has acted against his or her self-interest by rushing into a burning building.

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