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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Devotional unity and coalitional division : how religion plays both Jekyll and Hyde to religious tolerance Hansen, Ian


The psychological construct of religiousness or religiosity (e.g. intrinsic religiosity, belief in God, devotion to the Divine) is empirically very closely related to rigidity-related psychological constructs (e.g. authoritarianism, fundamentalism, dogmatism). Both religious and rigidity-related constructs are also related to devotional religious behavior like regular prayer, as well as to participation in the organized structure of religion (e.g. attendance at organized religious services). This empirical confluence of attitudes and behaviors suggests a coherent unitary "religious package". However, the co-occurring attitudes and behaviors in the religious package may be distinguished into two broad classes by what they independently predict about religious intolerance. The general finding across both cross-cultural and experimental studies is that religiosity itself--composed of 'devotional' religiosity variables--is an independent positive predictor of religious tolerance and the rejection of religious violence, while religious attendance and rigidity variables--both categorized as 'coalitional rigidity'--are independent negative predictors. This analysis presents religion as a Janus-faced phenomenon, whereby a unitary assemblage of constructs can nevertheless have the potential to predict two opposite outcomes. I propose an evolutionary explanation for the apparent Janus-faced nature of religion. Coalitional rigidity may be related to adaptive boundary-setting processes between self and not-self. The devotional processes of religion, though less likely to be adaptive, may be related to pro-social cooperation and moral inclusion that is adaptive when tempered by coalitional limits.

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