Science in Christian Perspective



The Orthodox Bigot: 
A Sociological Analysis
Department of Sociology
Westminster College
New Wilmington, 
Pennsylvania 16142

From: JASA 28 (September 1976): 116-122.

People who claim a high degree of religious orthodoxy are more likely to be prejudiced than are people who are not committed to what otherwise could be called "Christian dogma." Scientific attempts to explain this association have met with only limited success. Recently, however, two breakthroughs have occurred in scientific research. First, when religiosity is reconceptualized to include not only measurements of religious belief ("orthodoxy") but commitment to these beliefs ("saliency") as well, a new pattern emerges. Secondly, new insights are available from the effort to analyze religious beliefs and attitudes from a "worldview" perspective-an analytical perspective which suggests ways in which we can better understand the orthodox-prejudice relationship.

When we compare these two theoretical approaches, however, we find that certain logical inconsistencies develop. An attempt is made to establish a theoretical synthesis in light of this, apparent paradox.

Implication of this theoretical synthesis and the available findings coming out of this new approach for Christian faith are briefly examined.

The findings of social scientists sometimes conflict with our re-set notions of propriety. For example, Christians believe that the ethical teachings of Christ have pronounced effect on the thought and deeds of believers. We would therefore expect the typical Christian to exude an uncommon spirit of benevolence and charity uncharacteristic of the population at large. In fact, if we must make a general statement, just the reverse is apparently true. Sociologists and psychologists have produced a long list of research findings showing a consistent positive correlation between Christian orthodoxy and (non-benevolent and uncharitable) racial or ethnic prejudice.1 It is an inescapable conclusion that to a large number of Christians2 the 'love of Christ" has meant the "love of us" and the implicit hatred of "them."

A question remains, however, concerning the true relationship between commitment to traditional dogma and prejudicial attitudes. To say that many Christians are bigots is one thing,3 to say that Christianity actually causes bigotry is quite another matter. Although such a thesis has occasionally been proposed, it has generally been rejected due to a lack of anything resembling convincing evidence.4 In the absence of such evidence, most theorists have grappled with the Christian belief-prejudice association in terms of a spurious relationship, explaining the positive correlation with reference to another factor which shares a suspected causal link with both prejudice and religiosity.

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to report briefly recent findings which bear on this thesis and, secondly, to present a synthesis of existing theoretical work whereby current explanations of this phenomenon can be further refined. The discussion centers on two major topics of contemporary theory relating to each of these areas: the reconceptualization of religiosity as an important theoretical construct, and the consideration of a "worldview" approach in examining the relationship between religious belief and prejudice.

The Components and Dimensions of Religiosity

Once the relatively simple question, "Are religious people typically bigoted?" has been answered, we can move on to the more complex question. "How are such people religious?" In other words, it is not enough to define Christianity in terms of what it is (i.e., commitment to various doctrines), but rather to define Christianity in terms of how it operates in the lives of the believers. Such a definitional distinction recognizes that people are religious in varying ways, and that they go about being religious in varying ways as well. Until recently, sociologists have limited their investigations into religiosity to the former definitional category; to be "religious" was to display the "marks" of religion. Note was taken of behavior and attitude, such as praying, going to church, committing oneself to a given doctrinal code, "knowing" the Bible, etc.-in short, doing what religion is. Such substantive definitions of religiosity have been termed the "components" of religion by Verbit (1970). Viewing religion componentially gives a one-dimensional picture, for religion has a depth-a degree of intensity-not ta d by such easily quantifiable measures, such as orth3oxy. Therefore, Verbit suggests that studies focus in on the second aspect of religious behavior, the aspect he refers to as the "dimensions" of religion, such as the frequency or intensity of religious thought or deed. As measured both ways, the researcher is able to depict the respondent as, to some degree, a "believer", as well as to gauge the degree of commitment for such an individual. (It is obviously possible to be orthodox in one's belief while at the same time not caring too much about the matter; commitment cannot be assumed to be an automatic correlary to religious belief.) From this little insight have come several research reports which shed some light on our original proposition: that orthodoxy and prejudice are positively related, (Figure 1).

ORTHODOXY       <=> 

Figure 1.

If the components and dimensions of religiosity are seen as separate, yet related, variables, then the bypothesis can be expanded to fit a triangular causal model, depicted in Figure 2.

                                        (religious commitment)

              ORTHODOXY                       PREJUDICE

Figure 2.

In effect, when the degree of religious "salience" is added to the equation whereby orthodox and prejudicial attitudes are compared, we find that the original positive correlation is reduced, thus showing the orthodox-prejudice relationship to be at least partially spurious; (e.g., Allport, 1954, 1966; Allport and Ross, 1967; Feagin, 1964; Wilson, 1960). Although the research findings are not all of one piece,+ it is possible to conclude that orthodoxy per se and committed belief ("salient orthodoxy') have very dissimilar relationships to prejudicial attitudes. Such a conclusion not only heartens those who see Christian ethics opposed to bigotry but forces us to search for possible empirically-based explanations as to why this should be the case.

Before directly considering the subject of explanation, however, it will be necessary to introduce some rudimentary ideas from social-psychology and to relate these ideas to contemporary religious behavior in America.

Personal Identity' Religious Salience, and Secularized Religion: Self-identity is constructed socially out of the web of interactions in which the individual is biographically located. In effect, the person becomes the roles he or she learns to play. In a highly differentiated society such as ours, where a plurality of specialized roles is assigned or otherwise available to each actor,6 identities are composites of these role-expectations assigned by other social factors with whom we are in daily contact. The internalization of such normative expectations-as a result of biographical experience constitutes the process of identity formation. Leaving aside the specific question of how one becomes a "religious" person,7 we can describe the religiously "committed" person as one who considers religious values salient to all areas of daily behavior and decision making. Such a person, whose religious role pervades his total identity, is apparently an anomaly in modern secularized society-a society which has had religion removed from nearly all institutional arenas not specifically religious in nature-save the family and "private life.118

On the other hand, "secularized" and non-salient religiosity abounds in modern America. For the middle and upper classes, "being religious," (that is, being identified with the organized church in various capacities), is socially "in." One's moral career-whether it be motivated by cynically Machiavellian intentions (as perhaps in the case of church-going politicians) or by the simple desire to "do what is right"-is usually advanced by at least periodic church attendance. At the same time, getting "too serious" about religion is generally seen as a social handicap, for anything which smacks of fanaticism is frowned upon. The mainstream norm is religious tolerance, and being "overly serious" about religion is seen as a deviation from this standard. Being "close minded" about such things is tantamount to being "un-American"-a charge the super-patriots of the Fundamentalist right must find particularly ironic.

All of this is, of course, quite different from the Biblical intention of the term "Christian." There it has a special significance: i.e., one who is mastered rather than one who is master. To be a true "Christian" in the Biblical sense, one must be committed to seeking the intervention of Christ in daily affairs. To be a "Christian" in the cultural sense one must simply seek to "fit in," to conform-religious conformity in modem industrialized states being equated with secularized ethics rather than total commitment.

One explanation for the correlation between secularized faith and prejudice can be found in the analysis of conformity itself. While theories dealing with conformity as a psychological variable do exist,9 a detailed consideration of them here would run far beyond the intended analytical scope of this paper-which is to pursue a sociological analysis of the problem.

. However, certain "sociological" explanations (which focus on committed faith) involve assumptions which are difficult to validate empirically. For example, Gorsuch and Aleshire (1974) conclude that persons who exercise a commitment to the faith and persons who are free from bigotry have at least one thing in common: neither conforms to the mainstream American world view which (1) does not take religion "seriously" and (2) prescribes at least subtle racist attitudes as a normal cultural outlook. Why then are the two (low prejudice, high religious commitment) associated? Because, say the authors, "such a selection of religious values generally not widely accepted requires a critical evaluation of the religious tradition, and, we assume, a critical evaluation shows the problems of a racist position," (p. 288). Non-conformity apparently fosters moral introspection and, as a consequence, logical consistency. It is important to note that such an explanation rests on the familiar "rational man" presumption: that the truly committed believer can "see" the inconsistency between being a truly committed Christian on the one hand, and being a bigot on the other. Although such a thesis is difficult to test directly, it does appear to have a certain Plausibility as well as a good deal of social psychological research to base it on.10

However, there seems to be at least one problem which is difficult to analyze: if religious commitment means what most peopletake it to mean the most "committed" Christians appear to be among the most bigoted as well, if we include in this category those who describe themselves as "Fundamentalists." Garrison's study of denominational affiliation in Georgia demonstrates that members of rigidly orthodox denominations are more likely to be prejudiced than are members from less Fundamentalistic denominations. Similar conclusions are reached by researchers in other geographical areas: O'Reilly and O'Reilly (1954), "nonSouth"; Gregory (1957), California; Photiadis and Biggar (1962), South Dakota; Kersten (1970), Detroit.

In attempting to understand the complex relationship between religious faith and ethnocentrism, several difficult questions have been encountered. First, many studies reveal an apparent and unexplained association between ethnic tolerance (low prejudice) and committed faith (salient religiosity). Secondly (and paradoxically), certain forms of traditional faith, such as Fundamentalism, have a pronounced affinity for ethnocentrism. If these two apparently contradictory findings are to be explained, we must seek to develop a theoretical perspective which will successfully integrate them to a more general socio-psychological process.

Such an approach appears to be offered in the analysis of the role of religion in the origin and maintenance of worldview.11 In considering this issue, we move our analysis from the salience of religious belief, our initial interest, to the second area of analytical focus: religious belief as sustaining important definitions of reality, or as has just been stated, a "worldview" approach to religiosity.

Religion and Worldview

Human interaction is an interpretive process: that is, interaction is always meaningful to the actors involved. Such meanings (symbolized by language, gestures, material objects, etc.) pre-exist the interaction situation itself, (although this assumption does not preclude the creation of new symbols via the interactive process). In other words, culture-embodied for an actor in an overall worldview-exists "outside" the actor, (in the form of the expectations and demands of other actors with whom he comes in social contact), as well as "inside" (in the form of the internalization of these expectations). Man, then, confronts culture (as an external reality), and vice versa.

There is one other important point to recognize: culture (embodied in any particular worldview) is a human product.12 Cultural change, therefore, results from human activity. Stated in a way that is more illustrative of the point being pursued here: cultural stability is the result of human inactivity. Worldviews remain fairly consistent over great periods of time due to the fact that people continue to believe in the symbols they (or their ancestors) have created. Thus, cultural symbols such as wedding rings, crosses, flags (and all they stand for) have surprising longevity. This propensity towards passing on symbol systems intact is the result of the process of reification: that is, endowing cultural symbols with an ontological status they do not "deserve." Objectified culture is perceived as existing sui generis; the "world" (as perceived) is "taken-for-granted." Such worldviews are stable insofar as they command universal adherence; one of the most convincing indications that a given worldview is reality (rather thas just one version of it) is the simple fact that no one believes in anything else. There are no alternatives available. Therefore, the problem of legitimation (i.e., making the worldview accepted as the reality rather then as one of a number of alternative perspectives) does not exist in simple societies. Cultural stability and cultural monopoly go hand in hand.

However, as we have already discussed above, modern societies abound in alternative worldviews. For example, we find in contemporary society such divergent worldviews as those of the "mainstream American" vs. the "Hippie," the South vs. the non-South, the lower vs. the middle class, and so on. The simultaneous existence of so many divergent (and often antagonistic) worldviews+ would cause more normative confusion than they already do were it not for the operation of certain compensatory mechanisms. The process of reification, already mentioned, is usually complemented by the operation of one such mechanism: anihilation, a process whereby divergent (and therefore threatening) reality definitions (and those who are committed to them) are "mentally exterminated." Nihilation involves the attempt "to account for all deviant definitions of reality in terms of concepts belonging to one's own universe."14 In this case, alternative worldview "B" is "explained" by persons committed to worldview "A", but in "A's" own terms. For example, if "everyone knows" (i.e., all "A's" know) that to be "normal" means to have white skin, then the standards of "B" (black skin) can be regarded as "abnormal," the label "abnormality" being meaningful only with respect to "A's" normative standards, (whiteness)." "A" successfully disposes of "B", and in so doing reinforces the sanctity of his own white world. This is the process whereby ethnocentrism (or racism) operates to "nhilate"  alternative ethnic groups; e.g., Black inferiority ipso facto defines the superiority of Whites.

Our theory of reality maintenance proceeds, therefore, from the fact that socially constructed reality confronts the actor in objectified terms: that is, cultural norms are perceived as "rear' through the process of reification. Alternative worldviews, which, by their very presence, threaten the ontological status of the original worldview, are "handled" via nihilation. To go one step further, we incorporate the fact that religion has historically functioned to legitimate worldviews by means of sacredization.

We note that nihilation and sacredization are often cojoined processes which support the process of reification. The bigot's efforts to reify a world constructed around the proposition that all White men are superior to all Black men is given a substantial boost when the bigot "discovers" that God has ordained the Whites to dominate the Blacks. Hence, "reality" of White superiority as normay is augmented by beliefs that "God would have it this way." The Southern institution of slavery was therefore given a sacred character ("divinely ordained")-that is, one which is not to be tampered with lightly. Now Black inferiority (justifying White prejudice) is viewed as part of the divinely ordered plan of the cosmos, rather than simply as a convenient scheme to make the Black folks do all the dirty work. Presumably such a conception constitutes considerably less of a moral burden to bear. In fact, it can sponsor outright fanaticism in its defense, for now the bigot is defending not only his own narrow interests, but the work of the Lord as well. Questioning racial orthodoxy becomes tantamount to questioning doctrinal orthodoxy. Both become damnable heresies.

Such views can still be found in modem societies. But it should not be necessary to stress that there are worldviews in modem society which operate on quite different assumptions. The "modem" worldview is one where alternative worldviews are more likely to be given legitimate status; everyone is predefined as "OK" ' no matter what their social location. Such a tolerant outlook may not represent the majority view in today's society, but it is characteristic of the urbane sophisticates found in certain social locations, typically in the most educated sectors of our society.

Tolerance (or the absence of it), whether for religious or ethnic difference, is an underlying factor in worldviews presently existing in this society. The thesis being developed here postulates that individuals who remain committed to a traditional worldview do so because their reality is successfully reified, alternative worldviews having been successfully nihilated. In a society dominated by ideas which are generally incompatible with traditional Christian dogma,16 and where a reified worldview is increasingly less likely, it is necessary to inquire into the social circumstances whereby some members continue to be committed to this view.

One way to remain uninfluenced by the ideological pluralism found in any modem society is to simply ignore it. This can be accomplished by maintaining a narrowly defined "breadth of perspective."17 Reification is fostered only when monopolistic worldviews (i.e., those which claim absolute truth) are seen as plausible (legitimate); it is suggested here that a

To say that many Christians are bigots is one thing; to say that Christianity actually causes bigotry is quite another matter.

parochial perspective will support reification (and consequently, "nihilation" or ethnocentrism) more successfully than will a broadened perspective. Ethnocentrism is therefore a more likely attribute of the secloistered. native than for the world traveler. Since both ethnocentrism and commitment to traditional dogma are elements characteristic of a monopolistic worldview,18 both can be believed only by persons capable of reifying them as absolute. It follows, then, that the "true believers" will be those persons with a narrow breadth of perspective.19

Some empirical work which substantiates this proposition has been completed. These studies have used the localism-cosmopolitanism index developed by Merton (1968) as an indication of breadth of perspective. This index measures the extent to which an individual identifies with reference groups available in one's immediate community ("local") or with extra-local (national or even international) reference groups ("cosmopolitan"). This distinction calls attention to the varying degree of influence local normative patterns have which predisposes a person's perceptual, evaluative, and cognitive responses. The "localite" is a person who "lives" (cognitively, but not necessarily geographically) in a small town world where local events and local norms take precedence over events and standards elsewhere. More importantly, the "elsewhere" is defined in terms of the "local." Hence, for the localite, the politics of Washington, D.C. are simply hometown politics writ large (and are taken to be less interesting as well).

Roof (1972) has found localism to be a successful predictor of commitment to traditional dogma-almost as important a predictive factor as age, sex, education, and occupational prestige combined. In addition, be has demonstrated that the moderately negative correlation so often observed between education and ethnocentrism is a partially spurious relationship-substantial variation being explained by the factor of localism (1974). This is an important finding in that it suggests that education does not, in itself, broaden perspective and therefore reduce the tendency to reify, (a necessary condition for prejudicial attitudes). Some people can apparently be well-educated while still retaining a localistic orientation, and hence a predisposition toward ethnocentrism. The negative correlation between education and prejudice, then, indicates that education facilitates, but does not guarantee, a broadened breadth of perspective and hence a decline in localistic reference.


This paper, in seeking to develop an explanation of the apparent positive correlation between orthodoxy and ethnocentrism, has investigated two related areas of current research. The first concerns the varying types of religiosity related to orthodox belief. Rather than simply measure what religion "is" (i.e., what people believe), researchers must consider what Zahn (1970)

A narrow-minded (and consequently bigoted) non-believer remains narrowminded (and most probably bigoted) upon conversion.

terms the "commitment dimension,"-i.e., the influence that faith has in the believer's life. Research findings appear to establish the fact that committed or "salient faith is unrelated to ethnocentrism, whereas secularized or "conformist" faith is positively related.

Any adequate theory of religious belief must seek to explain such findings. One way to tackle this problem is by looking at the committed believer. However, this approach involves some rather tricky theological issues, such as the effect of "cognitive consistency," (i.e., the ideological incompatability between racist and Christian ideals). Rather than pursue this path in any detail, this paper has focused analytical attention on the other side of belief-the "use" of religion for non-religious ends.

The second area of investigation, the study of world views, follows from the writings of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann. Here, social "reality" is viewed as a creation of human interaction. In culturally pluralistic societies such as ours, where opposing worldviews do co-exist, several alternative perspectives arise which "handle" this discrepancy in widely divergent ways.

One "strategy" (one which is hardly a deliberate policy, of course) is to nihilate opposing worldviews, and in so doing maintain a reified world which claims a monopoly on truth- all other views are declared false and summarily dismissed from serious consideration. Such a tautological scheme is plausible only to those with extremely narrow social perspectives. Thus, localism, as an independent variable, is seen as maintaining the plausibility of monopolistic worldviews-one where absolute truth is confined solely to the in-group. The in-group is perceived as racially and religiously "correct '; all else is inferiority and heresy. It is not surprising, therefore, that we find a close association between absolutist dogma (as in the case of "Fundamentalists") and racial bigotry.

Another "strategy" is to base one's worldview on an ethic of tolerance. Thus, competing worldviews, (for example, traditional vs. radical conceptions of women's roles in modern society), are seen as at least partially legitimate in their own right. Issues are discussed with some deeree of logic and interest rather than dismissed as nonsense. Thi-s ethic of tolerance, the basis for modem political and social structures such as democracy, is sponsored by a cosmopolitan worldview, one which is incompatible with culturally monopolistic elements like religious fanaticism and racial bigotry.

We are left, however, with the paradox we encountered before: how is it that committed religion is associated with ethnic tolerance? Is not total commitment the mark of a pre-modern (hence, localistic) mind, whereas tolerance in issues such as ethnic difference characterizes the modern cosmopolitan outlook?

One possible solution lies in the analysis of commitment itself. What does it mean when we speak of "religious commitment"? Commitment to what? Several recent studies show that religious commitment can and does vary widely even within a single denomination. According to Strommen's (et. al.) study of three major branches of the Lutheran denomination, entitled A Study in GenerationS,20 certain church members, otherwise described as "highly orthodox," can be divided into two distinct theological categories: those who are primarily "law-oriented7 and those who are "gospeloriented ." The law-oriented believers, stressing the divinity of Christ and the depravity of man, demonstrate a marked penchant for religious absolutism, yielding a moral system which has no tolerance for "grey" areas. On the other hand, the gospel-oriented believers, whose belief incorporates not only the divinity of Christ but his humanity as well, have as their central theological focus the atonement of man's sins by the saving grace of Christ. As might be expected, law-oriented believers (referTed to as "bereti&' by the authors, due to their denial of the dual nature of Christ), demonstrate a decided antipathy toward change of any sort and a greater likelihood of ethnocentrism. Strommen and his associates conclude that it is the "misbelief' of the law-oriented believers which causes these persons to be bigoted and ethnically narrowminded. Unfortunately such a thesis is, of course, simply another variation on the ill-conceived "cognitiveconsistency" theme (although the authors reject the similar Clock and Stark thesis).

An alternative explanation can be derived from the worldview approach developed previously-a theoretical approach which incidently evades the pitfalls of the rationalistic thesis, while benefiting from the insights into religious commitment which the Strommen study contributes. Rather than presuming the causal primacy of religious belief (or misbelief), it is bypothesized that church members who are prone toward reification, due to their localistic orientation, would adopt as a consequence those aspects of traditional Protestant orthodoxy which allow for  monopolistic interpretations. For the localite, religious commitment means the security of theological absolutes and the necessary nihilation of all which runs counter to these absolutes. Their religious bigotry is of course matched
by their ethnic bigotry. (Interestingly, Strommen and his co-workers found law-oriented believers most in tolerant of minorities who represented a different worldview: not Blacks or Jews, so much, but rather Communists, homosexuals, Hippies, and Students for a Democratic Society.) Any "big easy
" answer to life's
questions (whether theological or otherwise) is most threatened by alternative big easy answers; alternatives
must be nihilated, and prejudice or other forms of hatred accomplish this quite satisfactorily. However,
it would be a mistake to label such believers "uncommitted" for their commitment is usually quite intense. It is therefore necessary, as the Strommen study points out, to inquire into the nature of this commitment. To
say that it is religious belief per se which shores up the tottering Weltanschauung buffeted by the cultural
pluralism found in modern society is to overlook this more fundamental-aspect of causal analysis.

In addressing oneself to the question of breadth of perspective and the need for reification, (and hence nibilation), we raise other interesting questions as well: among them being, if religious secularization continues and rewer persons find traditional dogma plausible, yet the necessity for reification remains, what alternative cultural forms will arise as substitutes?21

This paper stresses the explanatory power of the worldview approach. Put simply, the theologically relevant conclusion of this approach is as follows: a narrow-minded (and consequently bigoted) non-believer, when converted, remains narrow-minded (and most probably bigoted). Whether such a person committed to a rigid and absolutist faith-constitutes a "true Christian" is a question for theologians, not scientists, to debate. The evidence reviewed here does not, of course, rule out the possibility of dramatic supernaturally induced "personality' transformations. Again, these are not questions open to empirical test. But the evidence does suggest, however, that the breadth of perspective with, which one views the world -in which he lives and finds meaning-does, in fact, have a strong influence on attitudes relating to other areas of life not specifically religious in nature.

lAn even stronger case can be made for the relationship between bigotry and church attendance: regular church attenders are typically more prejudiced than those who do not regularly attend: (Merton, 1940; Levinson and Stanford, 1944; Gough, 1951; Rokeach, 1960; Hadden, 1963; Blum and Mann, 1960). There is some evidence, however, that the relationship is actually curvilinear. In any event, church attendance is hardly a satisfactory index of religiosity, since people attend church for many reasons-some of which have little to do with "being religious." In the middle classes, for instance, going to church establishes a person in a favorable prestige category: hence, middle class Protestant membership is disproportionate to lower or working class membership. (Demerath, 1965). Gordon Allport, for example, has found that persons who "use" religion in this way are more likely to be prejudiced than are those persons who are "truly" religious-a point we will return to later. (Cf. Allport, 1954, 1960, 1966; Allport and Ross, 1967.)

20At least persons who declare themselves to be Christians

3As is evidently the case; all 15 studies which examine the relationship between conservative Protestant belief and prejudice reviewed by Gorsuch and Aleshire (1974), report a low to moderate positive correlation.

4The latest researchers to claim causality are Clock and Stark (1966). However, their study has been severely criticized by Russell Middleton (1973) and found to be methodologically deficient. Cf. the research summaries by Bourna (1970, 1973) and Rojek (1973), both of whom conclude that the causal primacy of the "religious factor" has not been adequately established.

5Cf. Bahr et. al., ( 1971) and Gibbs et. al., (1973) for studies which report other conclusions. See also Roof and Perkins ( 1975) for a detailed methodological critique of these two studies, plus an alternative theoretical scheme-compatible with many of the suggestions given in this paperwith supporting evidence.

6A term used to stress the fact that sociological interest is on the action system-in this case role behavior-rather than the actor himself.

7A question which Christians would give a non-empirical' (and therefore non-scientific) answer to anyway-at least insofar as the attempt is to "explain" the conversion of Christians. (Incidenfly, this explanation becomes thoroughly ideological, and totally biased as a result, when non-Christian religious conversion is seen by "Christian scientists" as within the realm of scientific explanation, whereas Christian conversion is not.)

8Cf. Luckmann's The Invisible Religion, New York: Macmillan, 1967.

91n the author's opinion, the most promising of these psychological theories is presented in Milton Rokeach's The Open and Closed Mind, New York: Basic Books, 1960. This and other theories dealing with personality functions are summarized in Ditties "Religion, Prejudice, and Personality" in Strommen (Ed.), Research in Religious Development, New York: Hawthorne, 1971.

10Cf. Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford; Stanford University Press, 1957).

1IThe sociological analysis of world-view is best represented in the writings of Alfred Schutz. His writings have been incorporated into a more general theoretical approach by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann. The discussion to follow is largely taken from their classic statement, The% Social Construction of Reality (New York: Anchor Books, 1967). "World View" is a concept referring to the integrated body of common sense knowledge (i.e., meanings, ideas) by which the ordinary person (not the scientist or intellectual) perceives and interprets 'the world." Reality is therefore defined by means of this systemic knowledge and, as such, this phenomenological apprehension must be understood as a critical factor in the analysis of social interaction.

12This is not a theological proposition, but rather a scientific statement. Of course, the scientific status of such a statement does not, ipso facto, negate the validity of theological statements. To say that culture is a human product is not to deny that certain cultural forms (e.g. monogamous marriage) can also claim to have divine origination. All must recognize, however, that ( 1) the former statement has empirical validity, whereas the latter does not, and (2) that science has absolutely no "say" as to the accuracy of theological statements.

131t is not being suggested that the alternative world views are totally divergent. There may in fact be considerable overlap in the "knowledge" contained in two otherwise antagonistic world views. Both the Hippie and the business executive "know" that two o'clock comes 60 minutes after one o'clock, and that it is gravity which makes objects fall. What they "know" to be true about such subjects as work, drugs, or patriotism will be quite a different matter how ever.

14Berger and Luckmann, op.cit. p. 115.

150f course, the exact reverse is also possible; hence, such definitional disputes usually become political disputes with the group with the greatest power successfully labeling the less powerful group "deviant" and making the label "stick."

16Such as science, although the possibility for ideological compatibility is real. (This magazine demonstrates that quite well.) However, for obvious reasons, this compatibility is less likely in the social sciences than in the physical sciences, a fact illustrated by the membership list of the A.S.A. and the articles appearing in this Journal-most of which are written by physical scientists.

17A concept developed by Gabennesch (1972).

18Ethnocentrism claims that one's cultural standards are superior and, presumably, that there are absolute standards by which superiority can be judged (e.g., "civilization"). Similarly, traditional Christian dogma claims absolute truth: only Christians are "saved"; everyone else is "lost." Hence, there is only one correct way-the Christian way. Both ethnocentrism and traditional Christian dogma are therefore monopolistic. There are, of course, very important possible differences between the two as well. Were it not for the fact that these differences may exist, the explanation which is being pursued here would riot be applicable. Ethnocentrism is always monopolistic, inevitably involving "us" against "them". Christianity (or any religion for that matter) can also involve such exclusive formulations-a fact amply demonstrated by world history; but it need not be this way.~ While the dogma of the "saved" vs. the "lost" ("heathen", "pagan", etc.) can imply exclusivity, there is nothing in the teachings of Christ which would promote such a view. The Apostle Paul's assertion that Christ died so that all might be saved is quite non-exclusivistic. The point is therefore this: religion can be (and often is) "used" to shore up an illiberal world view (based upon ethnocentrism and other reified monopolistic orientational principles). Therefore, the correlation between orthodoxy and bigotry should not be surprising. On the other hand, a religiosity marked by committed ("salient") faith-a faith which is characterized by the universalistic appeal of St. Paul and the humility and sincerity of Christ-would be incompatible with bigotry. The issue-in empirical terms-therefore revolves around the manner in which people respond to religion and the factors which influence them to do so. I am suggesting here that it is a limited breadth of perspective (localism) which fosters the -tendency towards reification necessary for traditional Christian doctrine to remain plausible and (what is more important) to support a dogmatic and exclusivistic commitment to it typical of "fundamentalistic" faith. Such persons are likely to be believers in both religions as well as racial "orthodoxy". It is an error, therefore, to assume, as some do, that it is Christian beliefs which "cause" bigotry. In addition, we must be careful to note that "religious salience" must be carefully conceptualized to include differences between parishioners who are committed to exclusivistic dogma, vs. those committed to humanitarian and universalistic dogma.

19Nelson's analysis of sectarianism proceeds along a similar theoretical scheme: "Sectarianism, World-View, and Anomie," Social Forces, Vol. 51 (Dec. 1972), 226-233.
20Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1972.
210ne possible answer already receiving wide attention is the subject of "civil religion" (cf. Bellah, 1967).


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