Defensive versus Existential Religion: Is Religious Defensiveness Predictive of Worldview Defense?

Volume
Volume 34
Issue
Summer 2006
Title
Defensive versus Existential Religion: Is Religious Defensiveness Predictive of Worldview Defense?
Abstract

Beck (2004) has recently argued that, although existential defensiveness may motivate some religious persons, existential engagement is compatible with religious belief. More specifically, Beck (2004) has argued that "€œdefensive believers"€ tend to adopt theological configurations mainly aimed at producing existential solace and consolation. Consequently, one of Beck'€™s (2004) contentions is that "€œdefensive believers"€ would display in-group bias in order to preserve the integrity of their worldview. By contrast, "€œexistential believers,"€ due to their existential engagement, are predicted to display less in-group bias. This article presents two empirical studies aimed at testing these characterizations. First, in Study 1 a measure of existential defensiveness, the Defensive Theology Scale, was constructed and then compared with measures of Quest religious motivation and religious pluralism. Study 2, a laboratory study, borrowed a common experimental procedure from Terror Management Theory research. Specifically, defensive and existential participants were moved through a mortality salience manipulation with subsequent ratings of in-group and out-group targets. Overall, the results of Studies 1 and 2 supported Beck'€™s (2004) characterizations. That is, religiously defensive participants scored lower on Quest motives and displayed the tendency to see in-group targets more favorably than out-group targets. Conversely, existential participants scored higher on Quest motives and tended to see in-group and out-group targets as equally attractive or capable.

Author
Dr. R. Beck
Pages
142 - 152
Price
Add to Cart $5.00