Beyond the Freakonomics of Religious Liberty
The paper critiques the prevailing liberal market economy models of religious liberty and religious encounter. In place of market models, this paper argues that values inscribed in gift exchange, hospitality, guest/host relations, in many cases, and to varying degrees, provide better alternative values to govern religious interaction than those of the market model. Instead of conceiving religion as commodity for “sale” – adoption, conversion – and instead of conceiving missionaries as salespeople for their religions, I propose that the encounter of religions could be better conceived in terms of guest/host, gift giver/gift receiver relations. “Freakonomics”, therefore, – whether in free market or monopoly form – does not, therefore, write the last page in the story of religious liberty.
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