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Moral Voices of Women and Men in the Christian Liberal Arts College: links between views of self and views of God

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Views of self (using Gilligan's paradigm) and of the Christian God (using a similar, newly-developed paradigm) were explored in 44 first-year and senior Christian college students. Men aligned with a self-ethic of justice; women, more often with justice than predicted. Moral voice thus appears contextually dependent, contrary to Gilligan's earlier predictions. Senior students integrated both views of self, but not both views of God, more often than first-year students. This suggests that the Christian liberal arts context nurtures integrated and complex views of the self, but authoritative views of God. All but one student described God as authoritative; most did not see God as relational. This preference for authoritative views of God perhaps shaped the heavy justice self-ethic. Consistent with earlier findings, justice views of the self were generally elicited by impersonal dilemmas; authoritative views of God, in contrast, were equally associated with both impersonal and personal dilemmas.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Gordon College, Wenham, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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