Marx, Critical Theory, and Religion

A Critique of Rational Choice


The Sociology of Religion has had several frameworks guiding its analysis including functionalism, interpretive sociology, phenomenology, symbolic interactionism and now rational choice theory. Marxism has tended to ignore religion assuming it is something that would eventually disappear even though it retained theological elements. This collection of essays brings together a group of scholars who use frameworks provided by Marx and Critical Theory in analyzing religion. It's goal is to establish a critical theory of religion within the sociology of religion as an alternative to rational choice. In doing so, it engages in a critique of the positivism, uncritical praise of the market (neoconservativism) and one dimensional conception of rationality of the rational choice theory of religion.

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Warren S. Goldstein, Ph.D. (1998) in Sociology, New School for Social Research, is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Central Florida. He has published several articles which come out of his doctoral dissertation entitled Messianism and Marxism: Walter Benjamin and Ernst Bloch's Dialectical Theories of Secularization.
Acknowledgements Introduction: Marx, Critical Theory, and Religion: A Critique of Rational Choice, Warren S. Goldstein I. Marx Opium as Dialectics of Religion: Metaphor, Expression and Protest, Andrew M. Mckinnon The Origin of Political Economy and the Descent of Marx, William Clare Roberts II. Critical Theory Toward a Dialectical Sociology of Religion: A Critique of Positivism and Clerico-Fascism, Rudolf J. Siebert Psalm 91, Max Horkheimer, Translated By Michael R. Ott The Notion of the Totally “Other” and its Consequence in the Critical Theory of Religion and the Rational Choice Theory of Religion, Michael R. Ott From A Beautiful Mind to the Beautiful Soul: Rational Choice, Religion, and the Critical Theory of Adorno & Horkheimer, Christopher Craig Brittain Intersubjectivity and Religious Language: Toward a Critique of Regressive Trends in Thanatology, Kenneth G. Mackendrick III. Religion Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity: A Critical Dialectical/ Conflict Approach to Biblical History, Warren S. Goldstein The Concept of Choice in the Rise of Christianity: A Critique of Rational-Choice Theory, George Lundskow Speaking in Tongues: A Dialectic of Faith and Practice, Bonnie Wright And Anne Warfield Rawls From the Caliphate to the Shaheedim: Toward a Critical Theory of Islam, Lauren Langman Operationalizing the Critical Theory of Religion, David Gay, Warren S. Goldstein, and Anna Campbell Buck About the Authors References Index
Academics, students and educated laymen who are intersted in sociological theory and religion, particularly those specializing in Marxism, critical theory and sociology of religion.