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What Are the Main Strengths and Weaknesses of the Rational Choice Approach to Religious Behaviour?
There are also cultural constraints on consumers, that is there exist a number of norms that constrain religious choice. For example, in a racially divided society the introduction of new black churches does not effect the choice of white people as a result of the social 'norm' of racial segregation. But can this not be interpreted by the weighing up of the costs and benefits of breaking norms? Here the costs certainly outweigh the benefits.
Elster (1986:17) believes rational choice theory fails because it cannot tell us what rationality requires. He believes rational choice theory depends on us knowing what the rational choice is. In this way the economic model is not a good model for making predictions concerning overall religious behaviour but it still provides a good explanation of religious behaviour. I believe the word in itself tells us what rationality requires. Rationality is an act of reasoning and this is a very personal thing. When making decisions we reason as to what would be the best course of action for us ie the choice which maximises our satisfaction. People tailor their religions to meet the demands of their unique lifestyles.…
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