Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2006 Volume 2 :: Article 2
2006 Volume 2, Article 2
Religious Motivation vs. Traditional Religiousness: Bridging the Gap Between Religion and Politics and the Psychology of Religion

Author: Marie A. Eisenstein (Indiana University Northwest)

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This article brings together two disparate literature bases pertaining to political tolerance: religion and politics (utilizing traditional religiousness) and the psychology of religion (utilizing religious motivation). Its purpose is twofold: to test whether the concepts of traditional religiousness and religious motivation are empirically as well as conceptually distinct and to test for the influence of religious motivation on political tolerance in a model that includes measures of traditional religiousness. While the religion and politics literature has historically demonstrated that increased religiousness leads to increased intolerance, the psychology of religion literature suggests that this link is illogical. This article tests that supposition. With the use of factor analysis, the concepts of traditional religiousness and religious motivation are shown to be empirically distinct from one another. Structural equation modeling shows that the religious motivation variables do not exhibit the influence predicted by the psychology of religion literature. In the same model, religious commitment behaves in a manner contrary to what previous research suggests, leading to increased and not decreased political tolerance. Given the complexity of the model used and the robust nature of structural equation analysis, this last finding warrants further investigation.

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