Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Religious Orientation and Its Relationship with Spiritual Intelligence

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Religious Orientation and Its Relationship with Spiritual Intelligence

Article excerpt

Researchers' interest in religion is, in part, attributed to Allport, who initiated the term religious orientations four decades ago. Allport and Ross (1967) classified religious orientation into two main categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic orientation refers to the adoption of religion for its own sake, apart from any perceived personal gains or ends. Extrinsic orientation refers to the adoption of religion for either psychological or social gains. Later, the dimension of quest was added to these religious orientations and refers to a continuing search for truth based on limitless questioning about existential issues. This last dimension is characterized by acceptance of criticism and the questioning of religious beliefs (Batson, Schoenrade, & Ventis, 1993).

Subsequently, the extrinsic orientation was further categorized into both a personal and a social orientation (Brewczynski & MacDonald, 2006). These categories were tested by Al-Ruwaitea (2008) in an Islamic setting, which differs from the setting in which the concepts originated. By conducting an exploratory factor analysis he also found the aforementioned religious orientations, with extrinsic orientation being categorized into personal and social. Al-Ruwaitea's findings indicate that there are several religious orientations, and that they are interrelated. He also reported finding a negative correlation between extrinsic orientation and neurosis, and a positive correlation between both quest and neurosis, and quest and openness.

Gardner (1983) and Sisk and Torrance (2002) suggested that existential intelligence and spiritual intelligence may also be worthy of inclusion as dimensions of religious orientation. Spiritual intelligence, which is concerned with cosmic and supernatural issues, is, therefore, among the 10 intelligences proposed by Gardner. Spiritual intelligence (SI) relates to the meaning of life and death, and the ultimate truth of the physical and psychological world and refers to transcending ordinary consciousness. A person with SI will exhibit virtues such as forgiveness, gratitude, modesty, compassion, and perseverance, and will dedicate himself or herself to helping others and to achieving wisdom, happiness, and elevated moral values that relate to humans and their Creator. According to Buzan (2001) and Yousof (2010), SI is what defines an individual's relationship with himself/herself and others.

SI has been described as a set of mental abilities matching a person's preferred behaviors (Sternberg, 1997) and contributing to awareness. It encompasses four components distinguishing individuals with either high SI or low SI: existential critical thinking, ultra-awareness, production of personal meaning, and expansion of the perceptual status. These abilities in their essence are spiritually characterized. The most significant skills that individuals with high SI possess include awareness of their superego, that is, awareness of the universal view, the purpose of life, and the hierarchy of values; comprehensive awareness, that is, awareness of being related to life, others' views, restrictions, spiritual laws, and openness; mastering the superego/ego, that is, commitment to spiritual development, conservation of the superego, and search for guidance from the spirit; and social mastery, that is, wise social leadership, emotional and grounded decision making, and integration with the flow of life (Wigglesworth, 2006).

Emmons (2000) suggested that SI comprises five main abilities, comprising the ability to transcend ordinary consciousness of spiritual and psychological aspects of issues and events; the ability whereby a spiritually intelligent person continually promotes awareness of spirit, beliefs, issues of life and death, the ultimate aim of existence, and the system of the universe; the ability to dedicate oneself to work, deeds, and behaviors attuned to God's satisfaction, so that one's aims in life become sacred and reflect purity of conduct, with enhancement of this ability promoting social adjustment, problem solving, and effective planning; the ability to make use of spiritual resources to solve problems, whereby, as individuals attempt to get closer to God, they find many of their concepts, aims, and behaviors changing as they access nontraditional solutions to problems that may arise in different areas of their lives; and the ability to be righteous and virtuous. …

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