Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2009 Volume 5 :: Article 3
2009 Volume 5, Article 3
Religion and Faith: A Decision Theory Perspective

Author: Tigran Melkonyan (University of Nevada, Reno) and Mark Pingle (University of Nevada, Reno)

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We examine the implications of decision theory for religious choice and evangelism under the assumption that people choose their religion. The application of decision theory leads us to a broad definition of religion and a particular definition of faith, each related to the uncertainty associated with what happens to a person after death. We examine two extremes: total ambiguity and no ambiguity. For the extreme of total ambiguity, we show that there is "designer religion", which is a religion that will capture all decision makers when any one of the standard decision criteria is applied. For the extreme of no ambiguity, we characterize the conditions under which a decision maker will find new religious information more valuable, and we characterize a "miracle" in a specific way.

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