Department/School

Sociology and Anthropology

Abstract

A response to Christian Smith's provocative 2007 article in this journal, "Why Christianity Works". Though I support Smith's intent to broaden the reasons that people find religion plausible to include emotional factors, I find three problems with his approach. First, it treats American Evangelical Christianity as if it were an adequate model for all kinds. Second, emotion is central to some religious traditions but not to all (e.g., Zen, American colonial Calvinism (at least in its early period, etc.). Third, Smith's "phenomenology" is not empirical, but hypothetical. Appealing to hypothetical experiences rather than to real ones seems shaky ground on which to build a new approach to sociology.

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Sociology of Religion

Publication Date

Winter 2008

Volume

69

Issue

467-472

Pages

4

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1093/socrel/69.4.467

Document Version

Preprint

Share

COinS