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Psychology of Prejudice

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In describing the relationship between religious Involvement and prejudice. it must first be noted, as described in our book. “almost all the research on the relationship between religion and prejudice has been conducted In North America and most of the participants in the research have been White, middle-class & Kite, 2010, p. 256) That being said, there has consistently been found a positive correlation between certain types of White Christian religion and prejudice (p. 257).

These findings upset religious leaders and psychology of eligion researchers of that faith because of the stigma of, what Is essentially, being labeled as racist and homophobic in todays society. These findings also go against what is considered one of the tenets of the Christian faith, love thy neighbor as thy self. So when you tell those in the religious community that their religion is associated with intolerance of others, of course, they are not going to be displeased with the findings.

These findings did, however, start researchers on a different approach to studying the correlation between religion and prejudice. The change involved switching from studying how much involvement people had in the church to the actually content of their belief In their religion (p. 257). This led the researchers to coming up with four categorizes of religious orientation: Intrinsic, Extrinsic, Quest, and Fundamentalism. People with Intrinsic religious orientation are those who try to live their lives by the dogma set forth by their religion.

They have a real faith in their religious teachings and genuinely want to follow It. These Individuals tend to have little or no orrelation to racial prejudice, but, there is a correlation between being anti-gay prejudice. Many researchers believe this is because while not tolerating someone because of the color of their skin Is proscribed, homosexuality Is seen as Immoral and wrong In their faith. (p . 257) Those who are considered to be of extrinsic religious orientation, basically, Just like the look of being religious and tend to pick and choose which beliefs will fit into their social and economical needs.

Those who are labeled extrinsic tend to have a small correlation with racial prejudice. (p . 7) The third orientation Is labeled as Quest These individuals view religion as Whitley and Kite (2010) describe it “search, or quest, for answers to questions about the meaning of life. ” (p259) The only correlation for prejudice associated with this group Is a bias against people who are intolerant of others. The final orientation is Religious fundamentalism. These Individuals believe that theirs Is the only one true religion and tend to follow it with an almost fanatical devotion.

These people tend to have a high correlation with negative feelings towards homosexuality and average orrelation for racial prejudice. p. 262) In conclusion, although almost all religions teach that we ought to love all people regardless of race or sexual preference, more  tour religious views and not those who we look at as in violation of those beliefs. It should be noted, as well, that all these studies were correlational. So, it can’t be said that religion causes prejudice or vice versa.

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