This is a much tougher chapter than the last one, in part because I expect some people of faith would be rather insulted by Veblen’s views. He says he has no intention to ‘commend or to deprecate the practices to be spoken of under the head of devout observances’ but rather to talk about the ‘tangible, external features’ of such observances as they relate to his field of economics. Neither does he wish to pass any moral judgement on the value of a life of faith or to comment on the truth or beauty of any creed.
“a perceptible inclination to make terms with the preternatural agency by some approved method of approach and conciliation. This element of propitiation and cajoling has much in common with the crasser forms of worship —if not in historical derivation, at least in actual psychological content. It obviously shades off in unbroken continuity into what is recognized as superstitious practice and belief, and so asserts its claim to kinship with the grosser anthropomorphic cults.”