Religious capital

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This article is about investment in religion. For religious capital cities, see Ecclesiastical capital.

In sociology of religion, religious capital is the investment an individual makes into their religious faith. The investment is the time and physical work involved with the religious faith, as well as the personal investment in ideology, doctrine, and practice.[1] Rodney Stark has defined it as "(the) degree of mastery of and attachment to a particular religious culture", and has used this theory to explain conversion experiences in a number of his books, notably The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success and The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal, Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force.[2] Within the realm of conversion, religious capital theory predicts that individuals will attempt to conserve their religious capital. Large doctrinal or behavioral changes lose more religious capital than small ones, thus an Episcopalian is more likely to become Catholic than Seventh-day Adventist or Lutheran.[3]