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Attitudes toward religious diversity among American exemplars of Christian virtue

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An important concern within contemporary Western societies is how religious adherents view and engage religious diversity. This study attempts to further understandings regarding religious diversity in contemporary society through the accounts of American Christian religious exemplars whose religious identification spans the conservative evangelical, liberal Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions. Ninety‐six in‐depth interviews were conducted with individuals recognized by their congregational leadership as exemplifying Christian virtues and thereby Christian commitment. Weak denominational allegiances, accompanied by salient identification with broad Christian religious traditions were found. Mainline/liberal Christians tended to identify conservative/evangelical Christians as ‘others', while conservative/evangelical Christians identified Mormons as ‘others.' Also, a shift in attitudes toward Catholics was found among Protestants, and attitudes toward non‐Christian religions were respectfully civil across a range of theological understanding of these religions. The implications of these findings for religious identity in contemporary society are explored with particular attention to religious diversity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, USA 2: Gordon College, Wenham, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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