Conversion Experience, Belief System, and Personal and Ethical Attitudes

Volume 6
Fall 1978
Conversion Experience, Belief System, and Personal and Ethical Attitudes

Two studies assessed the relation between type of religious belief system ("€œethical"€ vs. "€œborn again"€ Christianity), type of conversion experience (sudden vs. gradual vs. unconscious), and four attitudinal dependent variables: the Purpose in Life Test, Social Interest Scale, Religious Orientation Scale, and Dogmatism. In Study 1, 84 college students served as subjects. In study 2, 177 adults of varying ages served as subjects. The same basic pattern of results was obtained for the two studies. Born again Christians were significantly more intrinsically motivated in their religious beliefs and higher in social interest than ethical Christians. Sudden converts were significantly more intrinsic in religious orientation that unconscious converts. Professed Christians scored significantly higher on the Purpose in Life Test and Social Interest Scale than professed non-Christians. The findings suggest that it is useful to classify Christians according to type of belief and type of conversion experience. A deep religious commitment seemed to be accompanied by a sense of meaning in life, greater concern for the welfare of others, and a more dogmatic way of thinking.

Dr. R.F. Paloutzian, S.L. Jackson and Dr. J.E. Crandall
266 - 275
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