A rational choice theory of religious authority.

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    • Abstract:
      The rational choice literature on religion has been noticeably silent on the nature and purpose of religious authority. I first summarize the rational choice theory of authority and offer a rational choice definition of religious authority. A primary insight is that (religious) authority exists to coordinate social action. I then argue that social coordination is a fundamental aspect of religious life, perhaps equally important as the social dilemma problems that have received attention in the literature. Finally, I apply this new rational theory to demonstrate its value. I demonstrate how rituals create religious authority; the relationship between religious authority, organizational hierarchy, and religious strictness; and how the theory creates complementarities between the two, sometimes contentious, sides of the secularization debate. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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