Religious Real Estate

Rodney Stark and Roger Finke argued in their book “Acts of Faith” (2000), [that] human beings, when confronted with imperfect information, behave in a way that is generally rational. So if you believe (rightly or wrongly) that there is a God, it can be perfectly rational for you to engage in exchange with this well-heeled partner (even if the commodity you most desire can be delivered only post mortem). Stark and Finke are not, then, so much concerned with why people believe in God as with how believers act and why religious institutions spread. Their key claim is that churches mediate the complex exchanges between mortals and their gods. People go to church, in other words, for much the same reason they hire a real-estate agent: when something important is at stake in a complex transaction, it pays to get professional help.

One can further classify specific religions of the world by their specific contributions to such a complex transaction:

  • Judaism - Developers of the exclusive listing.
  • Catholicism - The Church sets your asking price. Gays and women aren't allowed to buy.
  • Christian Science - If you have lead paint from prior to 1978, God will heal it.
  • LDS - First use of the multiple listing service.
  • Islam - What? You think I want to wind up on
  • Hinduism - Your house is foreclosed and resold in the next life as a McMansion.
  • Jehovahs Witnesses - No commission on sale, but 6 cents every time someone rings your doorbell.
  • Taoism - Incorporated the high-priced decorator, who lovingly rearranges the feng shui of your wallet.
  • Atheism - There is no Buyer.

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Last Updated 19-Aug-2016   Sitemap

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