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Spiritually Bilingual: Buddhist Christians and the Process of Dual Religious Belonging

Spiritually Bilingual: Buddhist Christians and the Process of Dual Religious Belonging Jonathan Homrighausen Santa Clara University Sociologists studying convert Buddhism in America have found that a surprisingly large number of Buddhists also identify as Christian.1 However, little empirical literature examines these Buddhist-Christian "dual religious belongers."2 This study aims to fill that gap. Based on extensive interviews with eight self-identified "Buddhist Christians" of varying levels of doctrinal and experiential understanding, this study examines the conversion process of these dual belongers and how they combine these religious traditions. Building on Michael von Brück's contention that one's first religion is like a mother tongue, I compare taking on a second religious tradition to learning a second language.3 As practitioners become more "fluent" in the second religion, they differentiate the two religions more clearly while combining them more seamlessly in their daily lives. methodology This study employs grounded theory and a qualitative, inductive methodology. Grounded theory is designed to elucidate the dynamic changes involved in a social process, with rich descriptions of categories and explanations for variations between different people's experiences.4 While the use of qualitative methods with a small sample size means that my results have little statistical significance, such methods have been used in recent research on conversion and dual belonging http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

Spiritually Bilingual: Buddhist Christians and the Process of Dual Religious Belonging

Buddhist-Christian Studies , Volume 35 (1) – Dec 16, 2015

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9472
Publisher site
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Abstract

Jonathan Homrighausen Santa Clara University Sociologists studying convert Buddhism in America have found that a surprisingly large number of Buddhists also identify as Christian.1 However, little empirical literature examines these Buddhist-Christian "dual religious belongers."2 This study aims to fill that gap. Based on extensive interviews with eight self-identified "Buddhist Christians" of varying levels of doctrinal and experiential understanding, this study examines the conversion process of these dual belongers and how they combine these religious traditions. Building on Michael von Brück's contention that one's first religion is like a mother tongue, I compare taking on a second religious tradition to learning a second language.3 As practitioners become more "fluent" in the second religion, they differentiate the two religions more clearly while combining them more seamlessly in their daily lives. methodology This study employs grounded theory and a qualitative, inductive methodology. Grounded theory is designed to elucidate the dynamic changes involved in a social process, with rich descriptions of categories and explanations for variations between different people's experiences.4 While the use of qualitative methods with a small sample size means that my results have little statistical significance, such methods have been used in recent research on conversion and dual belonging

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Dec 16, 2015

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