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THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS: A PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL EXAMINATION OF IDOLATRY

by Lynn, Quinten K.

Abstract (Summary)
Although psychologists have studied a wide range of religious experiences, practices, and beliefs, a question of considerable importance to most religious traditions has been neglected; this is the question of idolatry. The goals of this study were to 1) define idolatry as a psycho-spiritual construct, 2) develop a reliable and valid measure of idolatry, and 3) examine the implications of idolatry for a variety of psychological and spiritual criteria. Idolatry was defined and the Idolatry Index was created to measure this construct. Based on theoretical considerations, higher levels of idolatry were hypothesized to be related to 1) lower levels of general well-being, spiritual well-being, life meaning and satisfaction, global religiousness, intrinsic religiousness, and 2) higher levels of extrinsic religiousness, alcohol and drug use, and narcissism. Data from 200 participants from a Midwestern university were collected and examined. A factor analysis of the Idolatry Index was conducted. Pearson and semi-partial correlations between the Idolatry Index and criterion variables were calculated. In general, analysis of the results supported both hypotheses and suggested that idolatry, as measured by the Idolatry Index, is not uncommon and that idolatry can be measured reliably (Cronbach's alpha = 0.95). Furthermore, the results suggested that idolatry is a promising construct that deserves additional study within the psychology of religion.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:psychology of religion idolatry

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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