Modern American Catholics reject many Catholic teachings:
According to a recent Gallup Poll, 78 percent of American Catholics support allowing Catholics to use birth control, 63 percent think priests should be able to marry, and 55 percent think women should be ordained as priests. Last week Gallup reported that more Catholics than non-Catholics believe that homosexual behavior, divorce, and stem-cell and human-embryo research are morally acceptable.
Question: Why don’t these Catholics switch to a church that shares their doctrinal views? For example, why not just go Episcopalian?
Perhaps this seems like a stupid question. Many Catholics will object, “We can’t ‘just switch,’ because Catholic is what we are.” But what exactly does this indignant response mean? It can’t literally mean that Catholic identification is written in stone; the Church has lost adherents over doctrine before. Remember the Reformation?
What it means, rather, is that in matters of religion people have both doctrinal preferences and denominational preference. Even if a new religion came along that exactly agreed with their current religion, most people would still strictly prefer their current religions. From a slightly different perspective, this means that people will – within some range – stay loyal to one religion even though a competing religion is, in purely doctrinal terms, a better fit.
Posted by: Tobias | January 18, 2009
Religion and price theory
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