Rational choice and the Chinese discourse on the Unity of the Three Religions (sanjiao heyi 三教合一)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

One of the major hypotheses of the religious-economy model is that the more unregulated the religious market is, the more diversity and pluralism will be found, the more competition there will be, and the higher the level of participation is to be expected. The article discusses this hypothesis in light of the pre-modern Chinese discourse on the Unity of the Three Religions (sanjiao heyi ). Since the rational-choice-based model is not able to provide an explanation for this specific concept, this article proposes the definition of a new case of a regulated pluralism defined by its claim to give up competition, and suggests a new kind of threefold monopoly independent from coercive measures by the state. Some explanations for this new case are provided and the usability of rational-choice theory in analysing the data gained outside of the European frame of the model is discussed. As the author will show, the religious-economy model appears only to be able to follow historical analysis and adapt its propositions accordingly; the model itself seems to be far too narrow and too undifferentiated to reliably include analyses of Chinese religions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-546
Number of pages12
JournalReligion
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • rational-choice theory
  • Chinese religions
  • Three Teachings (sanjiao)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Rational choice and the Chinese discourse on the Unity of the Three Religions (sanjiao heyi 三教合一)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this