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Thread: Anyone know of a measure designed to rank importance of aspects of religious belief to the believer?

  1. #1 Anyone know of a measure designed to rank importance of aspects of religious belief to the believer? 
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    Hi.

    I'm looking for an established measure that allows research participants to rank various aspects of the religious experience in order of importance to themselves.

    Something like "Rank (or describe) what is most important to you about your religious/spiritual life" and then options might be things like: social activities, personal relationship to God, tradition, ritual, making me feel loved, knowing He is protecting me, His judgment of evil-doers, etc.

    I found "Measures of Religiosity" (Hill & Hood, 1999), but didn't find anything in there like what I have described above. My Google searches have been fruitless so far, but it's like looking for a needle in a hay swamp.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks !


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Possibly something in The Varieties of Religious Experience, by James.
    Neural Correlates of Religious Experinece, might interest you. As might Narrative and Religious Experience.

    None of these address your specific request, but they might give you some ideas, or lead you to other references.


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    You might want to start with basic material about how to survey people such as Survey Design - How to Begin your Survey Design Project - Creative Research Systems

    Developing effective questions is far more difficult than most people realize. You want generally easily readable questions that minimize cognitive load--consistent metric that considers analysis of the questions from the start (which is why many have 7-steps of agreement to disagreement), culture neutral outside of what's being specifically measured, questions that don't bias the results towards a presumptive answer or conclusions, total length that doesn't bring mental fatigue and disinterest, and several iterations of pretesting, and perhaps even double blind procedures for the participants and question askers. Most of the work on developing, quantifying and analyzing the types of questions you're looking for are from the social sciences.
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    Thanks for replying!

    Re: James, I'm looking for something a bit more empirical. I really need to read that book, though. I think I still have a copy of it floating around somewhere.

    Re: Narrative, I have to use quantifiable data for what I'm doing. The article makes a good point, though. In a perfect world I could pull quantifiable data out of qualitative narratives (hmm..).

    Re: Neural: Awesome. That is a really interesting article. I very well may use this. Thanks so much for your response!
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    Thanks, Lynx.

    I agree, if it comes down to designing a survey I'm going to scrap the whole idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roadguru View Post
    Hi.

    I'm looking for an established measure that allows research participants to rank various aspects of the religious experience in order of importance to themselves.

    Something like "Rank (or describe) what is most important to you about your religious/spiritual life" and then options might be things like: social activities, personal relationship to God, tradition, ritual, making me feel loved, knowing He is protecting me, His judgment of evil-doers, etc.

    I found "Measures of Religiosity" (Hill & Hood, 1999), but didn't find anything in there like what I have described above. My Google searches have been fruitless so far, but it's like looking for a needle in a hay swamp.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks !
    Hi, I hope you're still on active on here. Psychology has many great ways of getting at what people think about certain things. There are a bunch of related methods that will help you. Look up freelisting, triad sorts, paired comparisons, pile sorts and factor analysis.

    With religion, a topic I am also trying to do research in, is somewhat hard to measure but I am sure it is possible. Start with having them make a freelist, then you can take the data and do triad sorts, paired comparisons and factor analysis on it to create new data. This process will show a range of things. Freelist show how cognitively salient different things are, triad sorts show how the participant thinks about the similarity of items and so on...
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Let each religion submit to an impartial international review tribunal a list of 10 truths about their belief, and then have them supply empirical proof for each one. The panel could then rate each religion on the basis of the evidence presented. All religions including the most obscure, or evil for that matter, would need to be included. Give each religion enough time to seriously consider their truths, or facts if you prefer. The toughest part of all this might be how the judges are selected.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Let each religion submit to an impartial international review tribunal a list of 10 truths about their belief, and then have them supply empirical proof for each one. The panel could then rate each religion on the basis of the evidence presented. All religions including the most obscure, or evil for that matter, would need to be included. Give each religion enough time to seriously consider their truths, or facts if you prefer. The toughest part of all this might be how the judges are selected.
    But what would this be accomplishing exactly? Religions aren't necessarily about "truths", but about belief, not to mention that many of the main beliefs of religions are unfalsifiable and cannot be proven or disproved. I think the OP was referring to more empirical forms of data collecting, not some sort of contest.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    rank importance of aspects of religious belief to the believer
    ROTS, it sounded to me that the aspects the OP wants to measure needed to be judged by an impartial panel. I do see that it could be the other way too, where the believer measures the importance of each aspect he/she deems worthy of ranking, but I couldn't wrap my head around that so I thought at least providing empirical evidence would uphold the preface of this subforum. Where is the science? I've been pummelled on this subforum for much less than this. I can't think of too many here who think that personal religious belief is worthy of being called a science.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    ROTS, it sounded to me that the aspects the OP wants to measure needed to be judged by an impartial panel. I do see that it could be the other way too, where the believer measures the importance of each aspect he/she deems worthy of ranking, but I couldn't wrap my head around that so I thought at least providing empirical evidence would uphold the preface of this subforum. Where is the science? I've been pummelled on this subforum for much less than this. I can't think of too many here who think that personal religious belief is worthy of being called a science.
    The idea of an "impartial panel" isn't going to measure anything except the subjective opinions of those on the panel, which I highly doubt could be used for any sort of scientific measure of religion. There is plenty of science in psychology, anthropology and sociology that could be used for extracting these types of variables the OP is looking for, as I have listed only but a few in a few responses back.

    Nobody is calling "personal religious belief" a science by the way. I'm not sure what that statement was referring to but I'm sure it was a misinterpretation to some degree. The science of religion, on the other hand, are subfields of science that study religion by scientific means. Anthropology of religion, psychology of religion and cognitive science of religion just to name a few.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Where is the science? I've been pummelled on this subforum for much less than this. I can't think of too many here who think that personal religious belief is worthy of being called a science.
    I don't know why you are having such a problem with this. Personal religious belief is not a science. A debate about the existence of a God or gods, the motivations or actions of a God or gods is theology, not science. The study of people's beliefs and behavior, religious or otherwise, is science. Get it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Where is the science? I've been pummelled on this subforum for much less than this. I can't think of too many here who think that personal religious belief is worthy of being called a science.
    I don't know why you are having such a problem with this. Personal religious belief is not a science. A debate about the existence of a God or gods, the motivations or actions of a God or gods is theology, not science. The study of people's beliefs and behavior, religious or otherwise, is science. Get it?
    I don't know if I am off topic but this is a science forum and there is a group who appear to want to dismiss, at almost every opportunity, belief in the existence of God. I simply don't believe this is a matter for science.
    However if an individual feels he/she has the right, because of their religious beliefs, to attack an established scientific theory we should stand up to those people.
    I am certain it is perfectly possible for a scientist (I'm not) to believe in God (I don't) and stay true to the scientific method and the values and principles of science generally.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Where is the science? I've been pummelled on this subforum for much less than this. I can't think of too many here who think that personal religious belief is worthy of being called a science.
    I don't know why you are having such a problem with this. Personal religious belief is not a science. A debate about the existence of a God or gods, the motivations or actions of a God or gods is theology, not science. The study of people's beliefs and behavior, religious or otherwise, is science. Get it?
    Get it? Your attempt at patronizing superiority is noted.

    Here's some aspects of religion I've stolen from the internet. Are they the result of careful observation and trial? These aspects can and do belong to many religions, thus they have aided in the formulation of several hypotheses that have been tested by believers and to all intents proven to be true. All that's keeping this compilation of aspects from being 100% scientific is a way to measure or rank them. I'm sure this is the OPer's dilemma. For simplicity's sake, one way is to just measure them as they appear, an aspect listed is more important than the one below it. Purely subjective but I think any ranking is going to involve judgment. Is it science?

    Belief

    Central beliefs support the ritual life of the tradition
    Eg Trinity and Monotheism







    Myths/Stories

    Sacred stories that support profound religious truths and provide messages that emphasise tradition and beliefs. They give meaning to essential questions such as questions of creation or the reason for pain and suffering e.g. Exodus, Miracles, lives of saints.






    Sacred Texts

    They provide meaning and purpose in life of those in tradition. e.g. Scripture (the word of god) "written under the inspiration
    of the Holy Spirit" (Vatican II)







    Rituals

    Repeated actions central to tradition's identity. They have symbols, actions and words accompanied by prayer. They can be linked to sacramental movements in a believers life. Eg 7 Sacraments






    Symbols

    Definite objects or images that bring to life the indefinite ideas that give meaning to fundamental beliefs of the tradition. e.g. Eucharistic, Holy Cross, The Crib and ashes






    Social Structure

    Shows the compassion of the community of religious tradition it defines the roles of behaviours and establishes authority within religious tradition. Eg Christian Vocation






    Ethical Principles and or written codes of behaviour

    Rules and Regulations, dogma and doctrines that give guidance to people's lives within the religious tradition. e.g. "Love one another as I have loved you"






    Religious Experience and Spirituality

    Spiritual events+moments in a believers life that help then understand close beliefs with tradition. Provide characteristic ways of behaving in the light of the beliefs e.g. "To love another person is to see the face of God"
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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