Religion shapes people’s identity and behaviour, and thus influences their foreign-policy views. Yet, existing research has thus far not explored this issue in depth or cross-nationally. This article contributes to filling this gap by examining the effects of religious belief, belonging, and behaviour on people’s foreign-policy views across a large sample of countries. Further, it investigates how these effects are influenced by religions’ social standing and countries’ income level. The study finds that religion significantly heightens followers’ militant internationalist views. Its effect on cooperative internationalist views is more ambiguous. Frequent religious attendance, self-identification as a religious person, and adherence to Islam tend to make people more altruistic in their foreign-policy views, while affiliation with Christianity and other religious faiths (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) may have the opposite effect. Overall, religion has a stronger effect on foreign-policy views among adherents to majority religions and in poorer countries.
International Political Science Review – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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