Spiritual but not Religious Being: Exploring Structural Antecedents for the pairing of Spiritual and Non-Religious Identities across National Boundaries
qualitative comparative analysis
structure and personality
Committee ChairRagin, Charles
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractRecent research and popular discourse offers evidence of a significant number of people in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world that self-identify as both "spiritual" and "not religious." Based on the conventional religious paradigm that has previously been supported by western scholarship, spirituality is a factor of religious involvement and such an identity combination should be rare in societies where people overwhelmingly participate in church activities. However, these new empirical data challenge this supposition. This quandary has renewed an interest among academics in understanding the relationship between spirituality and religion and in identifying mechanisms that have an impact on variance on particular combinations of the two. This dissertation explores the antecedent nature of certain combinations of structural conditions across nation states in association with substantial aggregations of "spiritual but not religious" populations in an effort to offer empirical evidence that can be used to support theoretical arguments about the cross-national variation of this population. Using fuzzy set qualitative comparative methods and data from 32 nation states, this analysis explores the necessity and sufficiency of individual demographic and economic conditions, church and state relations, and popular attitudes about church involvement in politics while examining the consistency of their presence in paths that lead to "spiritual non-religious" identification. The results suggest that in the midst of an atmosphere of attitudes that oppose the involvement of religious organizations in politics that is related to the size of the institutional religious canopy, a nation's structural economic forces may be driving the variance in religious identification that is associated with spiritual identification. However, a full understanding of this relationship can only be gained through combining tests offered in this work with future qualitative cross-national studies that also consider subjective meaning.