A Two-edged Sword: The Differential Effect of Religious Belief and Religious Social Context on Attitudes towards Democracy

A Two-edged Sword: The Differential Effect of Religious Belief and Religious Social Context on... Different components of the religious experience have differing effects on attitudes towards democracy. Using heteroskedastic maximum likelihood models and data from the fourth wave of the World Values Survey for 45 democratic countries, we show that as a personal belief system, religiosity contrasts with democratic principles, generating opposition to democracy while increasing ambivalence towards democratic principles among religious people. Nevertheless, at the group level, religion also serves as a social institution which increases the homogeneity of one’s social network, leading to lower ambivalence, and makes for an active minority group which benefits from the democratic framework, consequently increasing support overall for a democratic regime. This double-edged sword effect explains the mixed results currently found in the literature on religiosity and democracy, and clearly illustrates the multidimensionality of religiosity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

A Two-edged Sword: The Differential Effect of Religious Belief and Religious Social Context on Attitudes towards Democracy

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-011-9157-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Different components of the religious experience have differing effects on attitudes towards democracy. Using heteroskedastic maximum likelihood models and data from the fourth wave of the World Values Survey for 45 democratic countries, we show that as a personal belief system, religiosity contrasts with democratic principles, generating opposition to democracy while increasing ambivalence towards democratic principles among religious people. Nevertheless, at the group level, religion also serves as a social institution which increases the homogeneity of one’s social network, leading to lower ambivalence, and makes for an active minority group which benefits from the democratic framework, consequently increasing support overall for a democratic regime. This double-edged sword effect explains the mixed results currently found in the literature on religiosity and democracy, and clearly illustrates the multidimensionality of religiosity.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Apr 11, 2011

References

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