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The Rational BelieverChoices and Decisions in the Madrasas of Pakistan$
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Masooda Bano

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450440

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450440.001.0001

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Religion and Reason

Religion and Reason

A New Institutionalist Perspective

(p.1) 1 Religion and Reason
The Rational Believer

Masooda Bano

Cornell University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the book's key themes and arguments. The book develops a detailed account of the decision-making processes of the religious actor, with a focus on the madrasas of Pakistan—often regarded as an important recruiting ground for Islamic militants. It shows that viewing the religious actor as primarily driven by irrational impulse represents a normative judgment, not actual reality. Rather than assume that the religious actor passively imbibes religious values, a theory of the religious actor is developed that accounts for why forward-looking, rational individuals opt to be believers. Such an approach no longer takes religious institutions as a given; rather, it explains their existence as the outcome of individual actors' strategies and choices.

Keywords:   madrasas, Islamic schools, Pakistan, Islamic militants, recruitment, religious actor, religion

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