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The Marketplace of Christianity written by Robert B. Ekelund Jr. Jr.

 

The Marketplace of Christianity written by Robert B. Ekelund Jr. Jr.

Synopsis:

Economics can help us understand the evolution and development of religion, from the market penetration of the Reformation to an exploration of today's hot-button issues including evolution and gay marriage.

Publishers Weekly

Taking a page from 18th-century economic theorist Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, the authors (all economists) provocatively develop an economic theory of religion, especially Christianity. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church had established a monopoly and controlled the market of belief, not allowing for competition to fulfill the demand of disparate believers. The Protestant Reformation introduced competition to the religion market, so Christians for the first time could determine which "product" (Catholicism or Protestantism) was most beneficial to them. The Catholic Counter-Reformation, in turn, introduced "product differentiation" as manifested in the development of doctrinal differences. For example, from the rituals of the Eucharist sacrament, Christians could choose either the real blood and body of Christ (Catholic) or the symbolic blood and body of Christ (Lutheran). The advent of denominationalism in the 19th century simply opened the free market of religion even more. Although the book requires some familiarity with economics, the authors supply a helpful glossary that briefly explains the more difficult terms. The authors' controversial ideas are sure to arouse some debate about the nature of the Christian religion. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Title: The Marketplace of Christianity

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