Religious belief similar to gang colours?
Wearing Gang colours, what does it get you? Shot at? stabbed?
It's certainly not going to get you a job, or fair treatment by the law. It might be worth some street-cred, or engender some respect or access to certain people, but gang members are hardly in the position to provide the sort of business networking opportunities of the masons, unless you are in the crack business.
But clearly, for gang members the decision is rational.
Gang colours show you are part of the group, they place some obligation on you to come to the aid of similarly apparelled individuals, and require them to do the same for you. But the benefit of wearing gang-colours seems minimal to the individual.
On a group level, Gang colours indicate the size, and extent of your group. Hence there is an in-group incentive to encourage the behaviour, that for the individual can often have a severe negative outcome.
Many members wearing your colours in your neighbourhood is good, but if your gang colours are all over the city, much better. It means your gang is numerous, strong, and confident.
So there is an evaluation of an equation taking place, in which the negative aspects to the individual are weighed against priorities of the group, and the group place suitable incentives to make it acceptable.
I read the Wikipedia article on the History of the Mormon church the other day, and again I was struck by how arbitrary and downright dysfunctional some of the religious dogma is.
The early Mormon church, members had to make a number of forced migrations due to persecution and prosecution, but really if they had toned down some of their adherence to certain acts and behaviours that were illegal in most of the rest of the civilised world, they would have far slimmer chapters in the early part of the book of the History of the Mormon church. ( and presumably fewer murdered group leaders)
So basically the religious community member will assert a belief in the dogma of group, until the negatives associated with those behaviours outweigh the incentive to remain "in-group", or they die, whichever happens sooner.
It all sounds a bit like wearing gang colours to me.