Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Doctrinal Faith and Religious Orientations in Right-Wing Authoritarianism: A Pilot Study of American and Korean Protestant College Students

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Doctrinal Faith and Religious Orientations in Right-Wing Authoritarianism: A Pilot Study of American and Korean Protestant College Students

Article excerpt

Previous work on religiosity and authoritarianism offers several testable hypotheses that have yet to be further assessed in a cross-cultural setting. This article examined the influences that religious orientations and doctrinal faith exercise on the development of authoritarianism, using data sets from Korea and the United States. For both Korean and American Christians, the pattern of intrinsic religion's impact boosts social conservatism and authoritarian submission/aggression, while extrinsic religion expands reverence for authority figures but diminishes the degree of endorsement of social conservatism. Quest and orthodox religiosity were inconsistent across the two comparison groups. For the Americans, quest religiosity obstructs the advance of authoritarianism, but it has little to do with Koreans' adoption of authoritarian submission/aggression. Doctrinal faith was mostly recognized as having no impact on authoritarianism, although it has a weak positive linkage with the growth of social conservatism among Korean Christians. This finding implies that the impact of quest and orthodox religiosity in Asian countries is not consistent with their influences in the United States.

Conventional wisdom derived from Altemeyer and Hunsberger (1992) denotes that right-wing authoritarianism (hereafter authoritarianism) positively relates to Christian fundamentalism and doctrinal orthodoxy, yet correlates inversely with existential quest religiosity. That is, the Christianity of authoritarians typically has high levels of orthodox faith and personal devotion, coupled with strong elements of fundamentalist perspective and reluctancy to doubt its beliefs (Altemeyer, 1988; Hunsberger, 1995). In a similar vein, Leak and Randall (1995) inspected conven- tional religiosity and religious maturity along with authoritarian attitude. Conventional reli- giosity was positively connected with authoritar- ianism, while mature religiousness was negatively linked with authoritarianism. Central to Leak and Randall's concept of mature reli- giosity "were active questioning and self-reflec- tive attitudes. The role of existential reasoning was deemed essential to mature religiousness. Similarly, Rubinstein (1995) conducted a study with Israeli students, trying to replicate Altemey- er' s study about religiosity and authoritarianism after dividing his samples into secular, tradition- al, orthodox, or ultraorthodox Jews. Orthodox and ultraorthodox respondents acquired the highest authoritarianism scores, followed by those with traditional beliefs.

This anay of research has led a couple of scholars to test whether a similar phenomenon exists for those affiliated with Islam in Canada, Ghana, and Indonesia. The linkage between authoritarianism and fundamentalism, according to Hunsberger (1996; Hunsberger, Owusu, & Duck, 1999) was consistently positive in direction, but the magnitude of connection somewhat varied across Canada and Ghana. In Canada, the conelation for Muslims was slightly weaker than the conelations for Christians, but the pattern of disparity was turned around when applied to Ghana where Muslims reported a much stronger relationship than Christians between authoritarianism and fundamentalism. More germane to the present study, Ji and Ibrahim (2007) examined the relationship between authoritarianism and religious orientations in Indonesian Islam. The results were rather inconsistent with those from parallel Christian studies in North America. In Indonesia, Muslim doctrinal orthodoxy promotes social conservatism but has little to do with authoritarian submission and aggression. Moreover, the doctrinal beliefs that relate to God, the Koran, and the prophet bear adverse effects on the development of social conservatism. In addition, the Muslim data failed to support the popular view that intrinsic and existential quest religiosity play direct roles in increasing social conservatism.

Taken together, empirical research on the question of religiosity and authoritarianism has produced some varying results between Muslim and North American Christian populations. …

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