Religious Market Theory

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  • Stark and Bainbridge
  • They see the secularisation theory as eurocentric as it only observes the decline in religion in Europe. it also gives a distorted view of the past as there was no golden age of religiousity ever as attendance has always been low. We can't produce an end point for religion either.
  • This theory is based on 2 assumptions: 1) people are naturally religious 2) it is human nature to seek rewards and run away from the negatives
  • Religion is attractive because it acts as a compensator. When real rewards seem unreachable e.g. immortality isn't possible but religion offers life after death
  • S+B put forward the concept the cycle of religious decline, revival and renewal.
  • According to S+B, churches act like companies selling


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