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István KAMARÁS OJD: Religiosity, way of life, habitude

2013.09.20

 

Kamarás István OJD:
Religiosity, way of lilfe, habitude
 
1. Social position, lifestyle and religiosity
            P. Bourdieu (2002) analysed the correlation among the fields of a) social positions, b) the dispositions (the habitude, the way of doing things) c) standpoints and choices in the several spheres of the life (meal, sport, politics, art). He found that the field of standpoints and choices reflects the field of social positions mediated by the fields of dispositions. I think the disposition is more or less suitable for the lifestyle, the value-system or the taste. My question is how we can fit the religiosity in this correspondence. M. Weber (1992) and others verified convincingly, that the different kinds of religions and religiosities can be connected loosely or tightly with both social positions and lifestyles. A certain religion or religiosity very rarely coincidences completely with a certain social position, but - I think - it does so rather with a certain lifestyle, habitude, value-system, taste, which influence
es the particular decisions, behaviours and judgments of taste[1] of our everyday life.
            When  P. Bourdieu compares the sphere of the social positions with the sphere of the lifestyles, he finds the following lifestyle elements in the sphere of a self employed: piano, whisky, golf, bridge, water ski, but in the sphere of skilled workers and foremen he finds beer, football, accordion, angling, snap. (Bourdieu, 2002:17) It’s questionable whether we could find such special lifestyle elements among Catholics, Reformed believers, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Krishna believers. I think Andrew Greeley’sempirical research can serve as the basis of this hypothesis.
            Having compared the Protestant and Catholic imagination, Andrew Greeley finds the catholic imagination (we can say also style, taste, habitude) richer in pictures, illustrations, rites and stories, and he names it sacramental imagination that rather perceives and interprets the reality as sacral and a manifestation of God’s presence. He also finds that the Catholic imagination collocates with a special Catholic lifestyle.[2] By means of statistical data he verifies that the Catholics of USA like the opera, classical music, fine art, dance, parties, bars and other places of entertainment, meetings with neighbours and friends more than the Protestants, as well as their sexual life is more creative than that of the Protestants (Greeley, 2000). He also demonstrated, that the world-view of Catholics is more optimistic than that of the Protestants, moreover they tend to think that a good man must deal with the things of the world. The Catholics also think that God is reflected in the arts. Similarly, the Catholics give proof of sympathy towards women and PWA-s.[3]As in the USA the Protestants[4] are mostly white Anglo-Saxons and among the Catholics we can find all sorts of non Anglo-Saxon ethnic groups, I suspect that the reason of the difference in lifestyle found by Greeleyis not only the difference of religion but also the difference of ethnicity that is partly a positional difference. Of course apart from the ethnic differences, at the same time there are social, economical and cultural differences, namely the Catholics in the USA are poorer than the average and the Protestants are above average.[5]The question remains open: is there any difference in lifestyle between Catholics and Protestants, and if it is so, what is the role of social position and the religiosity in the explanation? In other words: to what extent does belonging to a religious or ethnic group account for the reason of the differences in lifestyle and taste? Another question arises: are there differences in lifestyles in the same religious groups? To what extent does religiosity influence the lifestyle, and of course vice versa?
 
2. About the survey[6]
            Partly in order to check the Greeley hypothesis about the difference between the Catholic and Protestant habitude[7], and partly in order to examine the lifestyle of people belonging to different protestant denominations (Calvinists, Lutherans, Baptists, Adventists, Methodists, Jehovah’s-Witnesses, Pentecostals) and non-Christian religions (Jewishes, Muslims, Buddhists and two groups of Krishna-believers[8]), I have analysed[9] religiosity in ten different groups:
a) the character of religiosity (the dominant dimensions of religiosity[10], the preferred holy things[11], the concepts of God, the world and the man), as the independent variable of the research;
b) the lifestyle, that is free-time activities, the scale of values as an organic part of the habitude and the attitude towards sexuality, humour;
c) the taste, that is their attitude and behaviour to arts[12], as the dependent variable of the research.
            From economic and cultural aspects all the groups (30-80-strong) proved quite homogenous, since their members are in their twenties holding a university degree or studying at tertiary level. The members of the different religious groups are regularly practising their religion.[13] Beside the religious groups I investigated as two control-groups non-religious and youths and older than 50-year-old Catholics, Calvinists, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and non-religious with the aim of investigating the differences   between the two generations, and to what extent the age is the reason for differences.
 
3. The character of religiosity
3.1. The concept of God
            I have found a surprisingly firm similarity regarding both the concept of God and the personal relationship with God. The concept of God resulted on average in the middle of the „near-far” scale[14] in all the ten groups. On the near end of the 1-5-grade scale are the ones who consider God rather far, stranger, powerful, commander, judging, impersonal spiritual power, father, king, master; on the far end are those who consider God rather near, inside, encouraging, consoling, personal, mother, friend, loving mate.Regarding the relationship with God – except for the Krishna believers – those who reported a personal, intimate relationship were in majority. With the exception of Calvinists (2,7) the majority of every group[15] (3.4 -3.8) feels God rather near to him/her, than far from themselves. God – in every group – is rather encouraging than commanding, rather consoling than judging, rather a friend than a king but at the Krishna-believers only, God is rather mother than father. However the subtle differences are characteristic. Pentecostals and Jehovah’s Witnesses feel God somewhat nearer and more personal to themselves than the others, but they feel the God to a lesser degree mother, than the others. (Above all the ISKCON Krishna-believers.) In this respect we cannot find essential differences between the two age groups.
3.2. The cognitive-emotional character of religiosity
            We can place every answerer on the 1-5-grade scale on the evidence of the cognitive-emotional characteristic of religiosity.[16]In this way the order of the investigated groups (in brackets the number of the members of the groups) is the following:
            Jehovah’s Witnesses                           4.7 (24)
            Pentecostals                                        4.0 (48)
            Baptists                                                 3.9 (34)
            ISKCON Krishna-believers                 .7 (29)
            Adventists                                           3.6 (23)
            Calvinists                                             3.6 (69)
            Buddhists                                            3.5 (41)
            Lutherans                                             3.4 (41)
            Catholics                                             3.3 (68)
            HBM Krishna-believers                      3.0
Apparently, the religiosity of the representatives of the most fundamentalist trends of Christianity[17] is strongly cognitive; on the other hand the religiosity of the HBM Krishna-believers (and lesser to a degree that of the Catholics, Buddhists and Lutherans) is more balanced. In this respect the religiosity of the two Krishna-believer groups differ to a high degree.
            The believers of so called “historical” (Catholic, Calvinist and Lutheran) churches show the most similarities in view of eight dimensions of the religion. We can perceive differences in two other important religious dimensions (belief and knowledge). The believers of the “historical” churches consider the community less important than the others. The emotion and the experience are the most important for the HBM Krishna-believers, for the Jehovah’s Witnesses they are less important. The rites and meditation are the most important for the two Krishna-believer groups, and least of all for the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pentecostals. For the Catholics both of them are more important than for the protestants. The importance of the moral principles is proclaimed first of all by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the traditional (ISKCON member) Krishna-believers. Adventists and Baptists in most cases occupy a position between the traditional (such as Catholic, Calvinist and Lutheran) and fundamentalist (such as Pentecostal and Jehovah’s Witness) Christians.
            With the exception of Calvinists, in this aspect we can experience higher values (by 0.1-0.4) among elderly people than among the younger ones, which means that the religiosity of youth is less emotional than that of the elderly group.
3.3. Preference of “holy things”
            In respect of importance attached to “holy things” (in other words in respect of religious habits)   the differences are larger. The holy scriptures are a bit more important for the Baptists, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Krishna-believers than for the members of the three traditional Christian denominations. Then holy music is a bit more important for the Pentecostals and Krishna believers than for the others. In the appreciation of the other “holy things” we can find more significant differences, as the average values of the 1-5 scale of the importance show in the following table[18]:
 
We can experience the most striking difference between the Krishna-believers and the others: for the Krishna devotees − with the exception of the holy scriptures − all the holy things are more sacred than for the others, that is to say the world of Krishna-devotees is less mundane, in their world the holy and mundane spheres are less separated. (It is also true for those Krishna-devotees who do not live in their “holy village”[19] but in the secular world.) In this respect the Catholics are nearest to them, the farthest are the Jehovah’s Witnesses who manifest themselves as most puritan. The holy scriptures − which are considered as most important in every religious group − are less important for the members of traditional Christians. The holy spectacles and actions − verifying Greeley’s thesis − are more important for the Catholics than for the Protestants. The more emotional religiosity correlates with the fondness of holy spectacles and actions. (The value of Pearson-number is +0.35)           
3.4. Appreciation of the world and the man
            I can find significant differences in the degree of the optimism and pessimism of the world-view and the notion of the human.[20]
            MBM Krishna-believers                        4.2
            Catholics                                             4.1
            Buddhists                                            3.7
            Lutherans                                             3.6
            ISKCON Krishna-believers                    3.5
            Calvinists                                             3.3
            Baptists                                                           3.0
            Adventists                                           3.0
            Jehovah’s Witnesses                           2.7
            Pentecostals                                        2.6
Both religions and the lifestyles within a religion can be significantly different in the respect whether they consider the world or the human nature good or bad, abandoned by God or enriched by God. In this respect we can experience differences between Catholics and Protestants, between the traditional Christians[21] (Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans) and the other Christians, between the traditional and the individualistic Krishna believers. The attitude of the majority of Pentecostals and Jehovah’s Witnesses towards the world and the man is distinctly pessimistic. All of the members of the ten religious groups completely agree with the statement “All over the world we can find a lot of good that is the sign of the goodness of God”[22], but the degree of agreement with the statement “The world is basically wicked and guilty” is very different: the majority of Pentecostals (4.2.), Baptists (4.0), Jehovah’s Witnesses (4.0), Adventists (3.8) and Calvinists (3.6) agrees with the statement, but a definitive majority of Catholics (2.1), the “modernized” (HBM-member) Krishna-believers (1.6) and Buddhists (1.4) disagrees. With the statement “The good man has to take part in solving the problems of the world” only the Jehovah’s Witnesses disagree. In this respect the other pole is represented by the traditional Christians, Buddhists and the HMB-member Krishna-believers. With regard to good or evil character of the man, Baptists, Adventists and Pentecostals are the most pessimistic, Catholics and Buddhists are the most optimistic. In this respect we can experience rather a great difference between Catholics and traditional Protestants (Calvinists and Lutherans). We can find similarity in the appreciation of the statement “Most of the human activities are useless and idle”, the only difference: in his respect we find the most pessimistic attitude among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Important task for further investigations to the nature of the optimism experienced among Catholics and HBM-member Krishna-believers: whether it is responsible or easygoing. Similarly: how far means the pessimism of Pentecostals and Jehovah’s Witnesses denying of values or suffered of responsible world view.
            Among Calvinists, the aged and among the Jehovah’s Witnesses the youths are more optimistic than the others.
            I found positive connection (the Person-number is +0,27) between the optimistic worldview and the emotional character of religiosity as well as between the optimistic worldview and the emphasising the importance of the holy actions and spectacles. (+0.47). The optimistic worldview correlates positively with the intrinsic image of God and negatively with the non-personal or distanced image of God.
 
4. Value-system
4.1. Important matters
            “If the religious persons give up themselves to God, loved by all of the valuable and valueless elements of the world, the values will organize themselves into hierarchical structure for them”, declares R. Schaeffer (2003:151) and asks: “Does the acts of the catching of the values and constructing of the value-structure posses specifically religious character? Are the definitely secular, moreover expressly anti-religious methods of the ranking of the values possible?” I endeavour to answer these questions, may be not at this preliminary study but at the end of my research. To investigate the value system in my survey, I apply the Shalom Swartz’s test (1992) used in his survey seeking the common values of the very different cultures.
First of all we can point out that the value systems of the groups are on the same level of the cultural capital and the age shows only slight differences. The greatest difference shows up in the lowest degree acceptance of the value of delight of life. Table 2. also shows us that the value-system of Krishna-believers diverges most of all because of their asceticism and traditionalism. The value-systems of the Pentecostals and Jehovah’s Witnesses are most similar to these value-systems and least of all to the value-system of the three traditional Christian denominations. The Catholics show up themselves most “catholic” (i.e. universal) in the acceptance of the value called “universality”. The values of traditionalism are less popular among Buddhists and non-religious youths. The value-system of non-religious young persons is next to the modernized HMB-member Krishna-devotees.
4.2. Responsibilities and duties
Unambiguously, Jehovah’s Witnesses show up themselves passive, closed and family-centred. In this respect, the most secular but strongly individualized HMB-member Krishna-devotees are nearest to them. With regards to responsibilities, the traditional Krishna-devotees and Buddhists are the most open-minded towards the world. It could be explained by their high-degree of internationality. It is also important that most of the religious groups are more willing not only in helping the ones in need but in taking action against sex-related discrimination than the members of the non-religious control-group.
            In every group, those are in majority who do not consider act on all of the manifestations of the capitalism and liberalism, first of all the Jehovah’s Witnesses (1.4), the non-religious youth (2.0) and the Buddhists (2.1). The opinion of the Jehovah’s Witnesses call for explanation: maybe we can take into consideration that this church as an organisation has a specificallay international character and their Hungarian believers receive serious financial and moral support from the believers of the rich western countries.
            With regards to duties, Catholics, Lutherans and Adventists show themselves best of all ready to act. (Calvinists toward homosexuals, Baptists toward sects show themselves less tolerant than the others. In the field of the responsibilities and duties we cannot find significant differences between the two age groups.
 
5. Appreciation of sexuality and love
In this respect - at least at the level of declaration - the disposition of Krishna-believers differs from the others most of all, because they live in celibacy within the marriage too.[31] On the basis of agreement of statements which related to sexuality and love, the following order was found:
            Catholics                                                         3.5      
            Buddhists                                                        3.5
            Lutherans                                                        3.4
            non-religious youths                                         3.4
            Calvinists                                                         3.2
            Baptists                                                                       3.1
            HBM Krishna-believers                                                3.1
            Pentecostals                                                   3.0
            Adventists                                                       2.8
            Jehovah’s Witnesses                                       2.3
            ISKCON Krishna-believers                               2.1
            In this respect - as we can see not only in this - the Catholics, Lutherans, Buddhists and the non-religious youth are the most open-minded. (From another point of view: most mundane.) It is worthy of attention that in this respect we can not register any difference between the non-religious youth and the keenly and ecclesiastically religious one that is rather seriously regulated as well as self-regulating.  
We can point out that next to the attitudes of non-religious youth are Buddhists’ (small wonder that it is so) and Catholics’ (it is rather surprising) attitudes. While the attitudes toward sexuality and love of Baptists are more traditional and restrained than those of the members of traditional Christian churches, now in the appreciation of sexuality and love within the framework of the marriage we can not experience considerable differences. We can find a strong similarity among the young and educated members of rather different religions and denominations in agreement with four statements linked with sexuality and love: it would be a goof for religious men too 1) if they dealt with the building and smartening up their own body (values from 3.1 to 3.8); 2) if the wife and the husband delight in each other’s body (values from 3.5 to 4.2)[33] with the exception of Krishna-devotees - form 3.8 to 4.4); 4) if they consider desirable for the married couple to make love frequently, minimum two times a week (values form 3.2 to 4.3); 3) if the primary aim of sexual life within the marriage is not the procreation of offspring but giving pleasure and the expression of love (values -[34]. We can find significant differences between two age-groups of Catholics, Calvinists and Baptists in the appreciation of the importance of sexuality, especially among Baptists. On the contrary, among Jehovah’s Witnesses the young generation takes further the point of view of the old generation.
 
6. The structure of the free-time activities
            Having considered the diversity and the five grades of the frequency of the 21 main and 24 subordinate activities, I have made a combined index of diversity and intensity of free-time activities. By means of this, the following order has been formed: 
            Catholics                                             3.3
            Calvinists                                             3.3
            Lutherans                                             3.2
            non-religious youths                             3.1
            Buddhists                                            3.0
            Baptists                                                           2.9
            Adventists                                           2.9
            Pentecostals                                        2.9
            Jehovah’s Witnesses                           2.8
            HBM Krishna-believers                         2.6
            ISKCON Krishna-believers                    2.5
Although the differences are not too notable, the tendencies seem rather evident. The traditional Krishna believers doing most religious activities have the least time for secular activities. We have to consider that even the content of several non-religious activities may be religious, for example the reading, listening to music, playing music, but many devotees also watch religious tv- and video-programs. It is characteristic that in this (young and educated) circle we find only very small (maximum 0.4.) differences in using of internet, which is rather rare and slight. Verifying the Greeley hypothesis a few notes: not only in visiting theatre, museum, art-gallery and historic buildings but also in liking of parade, fireworks and sport festivals, Catholics take the lead, contrary to Baptists, Pentecostals, Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and traditional Krishna-devotees. Ignoring the content in frequency and intensity of watching television and video, non-religious youth (3.8) Lutherans (3.7) Catholics (3.5) and Calvinists (3.5) take the lead, contrary to both Krishna believer groups (2.2). In this respect we cannot find differences between generations. Sports are the most frequent activities in the three highest degree secular groups (HBM-member Krishna believers, Buddhists and non-religious youth) and Catholics (values from 3.1 to 3.3). The frequency of artistic activity is rather high in every group (values from 2.8 to 3.4), but while among Krishna-devotees it is has mainly, among Adventists, Baptists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, only partly sacral character.  
7. Understanding of humour and openness 
7.1. The importance of humour
            Tamás Nyíri regards the humour as one of the light of the other world, one of the advance of happiness of the next world (1972:262-264), P. Berger considers it tiny transcendence (1997:214). On the basis of agreement with the answers offered by the researcher to the question “What sort of role does humour play in Your life?” the following picture has been formed about the attitudes toward humour:
            Calvinists                                             3.5
            Catholics                                             3.5
            non-religious youths                             3.5
            Lutherans                                             3.3
            Buddhists                                            3.3
            Baptists                                               3.1
            Adventists                                           3.0
            HBM Krishna-believers                         2.9
            Pentecostals                                        2.9
            Jehovah’s Witnesses                           2.9
            ISKCON Krishna-believers                    2.7
Once again the three traditional Christian churches, Buddhists and non-religious youth are on the one end of the scale, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals and traditional Krishna-devotees on the other end. We cannot find significant differences in the judgement of jokes, anecdotes as well as - with the exception of Krishna devotees - of parodies, film- and theatre-comedies. We can find significant differences in liking of cabaret, satire, joking, irony, kidding and clowning. In doing them, non-religious youth, Buddhists, HBM-member Krishna-believers and the members of traditional Christian denominations take the lead. In the judgement of importance of humour I have found relatively considerable difference (from 0.3 to 0.7) between the two age groups.
7.2. Can we make fun of holy things?
            On the basis of the answers to the question “Could you imagine the religion, the church, the religious community, priests and other church persons as a topic of joking, cabaret, satire?” the former picture is changing slightly (using a 5-grade openness-closeness scale).
            Buddhists                                            3.3
            non-religious youths                             3.2
            Lutherans                                             3.0
            HBM Krishna-believers                         3.0
            Catholics                                             2.8
            Baptists                                                           2.8
            ISKCON-member Krishna believers      2.6
            Calvinists                                             2.6
            Adventists                                           2.6
            Pentecostals                                        2.4
            Jehovah’s Witnesses                           2.1                  
            In this case Catholics are slightly behind Lutherans. We can explain it with the rather serious idiomatic expression “I make fun of holy things” regarding to serious sins. We can experience again that the religiosity of Buddhists we can consider as rather mundane, and Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pentecostals is the opposite. In this respect we can found also relatively considerabledifferences (from 0.4 to 0.9) between two age groups.  
7.3. Openness toward culture
            We have asked the questioned subjects to classify several genres and works (novels, films) of the mass and high culture form the point of view how appropriate they are for believers.[35]
 

 

 
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