Two religious meaning systems, one political belief system: Religiosity, alternative religiosity and political extremism

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Abstract

A question asked by some of the great scholars of religion, including Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss and Sigmund Freud, is 'What is the nature of religion?' This study presents two linked arguments; in fact, one is generated from the other. First, it is assumed that in addition to the institutionalised conventional type of religion, there exists another type of religiosity in contemporary Western democracies-alternative religiosity. The second argument concerns the question of relationships between religious meaning systems and political belief systems. One of the most longstanding findings in the study of politics is that the more religious people become, the stronger their objections to the democratic way of thinking. Religiosity in many societies (for example, Israel and the United States) delegates believers to the spheres of the political Right. Although we have had much research on conventional religions and political attitudes, this is not the case for alternative religions. It would be reasonable to assume that those belief systems that developed as alternatives to the formal religions would be characterised differently; however, their implications on political attitudes are similar.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Fundamentalism and Political Extremism
PublisherFrank Cass
Pages35-55
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)0203010965, 9780203010969
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)

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