By Rodney Stark
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Additional resources for Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion
Just as those working in the area of artiﬁcial intelligence have turned to models based on what they call “fuzzy logic” (Kosko ), we acknowledge that human reasoning is often somewhat unsystematic and “intuitive,” and that maximization is often only partial and somewhat halfhearted. Indeed, aspects of laziness probably ought to be considered in the calculation of maximization. In any event, we shall adopt the more subjective and bounded conception of rationality, the one John Ferejohn () identiﬁed as the “thick” model that has sustained a substantial theoretical literature going back at least as far as Max Weber (Simon ; March ; ; Boudon ; Hechter and Kanazawa ).
Coleman, George Herbert Meade, Karl Marx (see Boudon ), or Talcott Parsons (see Johnson ) can be so identiﬁed, but not more. Although we do not give an inch in our assumption that religious choices are guided by reason to as great an extent as are secular choices, neither do we mistake the rationality premise for an adequate explanation even of individual behavior, let alone of large social processes. CONCLUSION These, then, are the elements of the new paradigm. In the chapters that follow, we pursue these fundamental assumptions to a great variety of conclusions, many of them not at all obvious.
Thus, can one utilize religious doctrine as a causal factor vis-à-vis other religious phenomena, both individual and organizational. It is, of course, logically possible to raise the issue of from whence particular doctrines came and why these, rather than some other doctrines, were adopted. We may grant the legitimacy of such questions without promoting inﬁnite regress or admitting that all fundamental causes are secular. Finally, to grant causal status to doctrines forces recognition that the most fundamental aspect of any religion is its conception of the supernatural.