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Religious Capital And Public Accountability: Challenges To Empirical Theology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a conceptualization of the public significance of religion in terms of religious capital. It clarifies the metaphor of religious capital as it has been conceived in theories of rational choice and social stratification. On the basis of a distinction of scope and form of social capital, a basic scheme is developed that contains institutional, cultural, social and personal domains of society and religion. Each of these domains is governed by different types of validation that assume different criteria for religious assent: conformity, authenticity, coherence and certainty. The chapter argues that results of empirical-theological research contribute to a clarification of the investment of religious capital in public causes. Results of empirical-theological research offer insights into basic characteristics of religious accountability in various domains of society. The chapter discusses the theological warrants that need to be addressed in the public account of aims and conditions of religious capital investment.

Keywords: empirical theology; religious accountability; religious capital



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