Belief and Acceptance for the Study of Religion

in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
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“Belief” in the study of religion has been vexed by complexities underlying the relationship between language, cognition, and religious behavior. Drawing on anthropological, sociological, and psychological literature, this article discusses the degrees and textures of “belief” to highlight the inadequacies of language and the variety of motivations for participating in rituals. Particular emphasis is given to discrimination, implicit bias, and the issue of discrepancy. The article argues that dual-process models of cognition provide a richer account of “belief” and then goes on to map an epistemological distinction between belief and acceptance as a viable methodology for the investigation of “belief” in the study of religion.

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