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This essay addresses two important problems with mainstream economics that reduce its usefulness for people of religious faith: its eclipse of the causal forces operating within the ‘black box’ of the market, and its empiricist methodological underpinnings. Yet neither of these problems requires religious resources for a solution. The critical realist philosophy of science of Roy Bhaskar provides a fruitful alternative to empiricism. The insights of critical realist sociologists to understand markets as social structures provide a helpful way to direct economists’ attention to important but neglected market relations.