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Measuring Religious Fundamentalism

Photo by Geoff W. Sutton, 2017

Researchers define religious fundamentalism in different ways. One recent model focuses on the way religious people view their sacred text. I have written about the Intratextual Fundamentalism model in a previous post (October 2013). In this post, I provide some data related to the 5-item version of the Intratextual Fundamentalism Scale (IFS), which I have found useful in research projects.


The revised version of the scale (IFS) has five items--each measuring a dimension of intratextuality (Williamson, Hood, Ahmad, Sadiq, & Hill, 2010). Here are the five dimensions (from my previous blog):

  1. Divine: The sacred text is a revelation from God (or of divine origin) to humans. Regardless of the involvement of people in the writing of the text, God (or a deity) is the author.
  2. Inerrant: The sacred text does not contain errors, inconsistencies, or contradictions. The text is objectively true.
  3. Privileged: The sacred text of the fundamentalist group is not just another sacred writing. It is the truth. Fundamentalists may show respect to people from other religions and their sacred writings but they do not consider other texts to be on the same level as their own text.
  4. Authoritative:  The sacred text is the final authority. If a conflict in belief arises, the sacred text wins.
  5. Unchanging: The sacred text is unchangeable and true for eternity. The truths are absolutes. The truths can be depended on to understand the world and as a guide for life.
You can find the scale items in the article by Williamson et al. (2010)--See reference below.


Reliability and Validity Data

In a recent study (Sutton, Kelly, Griffin, Worthington & Dinwiddie, 2016), coefficient alpha = .92). It was highly correlated with a measure of religious practices (r = .51).

Selected items (alpha = .83), but not the full five, were also correlated with Christian Beliefs Index (.56), Christian Social Values (.64), Christian Service Scale (.23), and Christian Practices (.36) in Sutton, Arnzen, and Kelly (2016).

More recently, Heather Kelly and others (2017) used the IFS in two studies of Christians' views of sin. In study one, alpha = .85. Christian Beliefs (.68) and Practices (.30) were significantly correlated with the IFS. Big Five traits also supported the validity: Conscientiousness (.23) and Openness (-.19). And in study two alpha = .93 following are the significant correlations with the IFS:  Beliefs .64; Practices .44; Openness -.19; Conscientiousness was not significant at -.10.






Although I have only used the IFS in Christian samples, it has been used with people of other religions.

Resource Link:  A – Z Test Index


References

Kelly, H.L., Sutton, G. W, Hicks, L., Godfrey, A. & Gillihan, C. (2018). Factors predicting the moral appraisal of sexual behavior in Christians. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 37, (2), 162-177.

Sutton, G. W., Arnzen, C., & Kelly, H. (2016). Christian counseling and psychotherapy: Components of clinician spirituality that predict type of Christian intervention. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 35, 204-214. Academia Link ResearchGate Link



Academia Link    ResearchGate Link

Williamson, W. P., Hood, R. W. Jr., Ahmad, A., Sadiq, M., Hill, P. C. (2010). The Intratextual Fundamentalism Scale: Cross-cultural application, validity evidence, and relationship with religious orientation and the big 5 factor markers. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 13, 721-747. doi:10.1080/13674670802643047

Read more about Religious Fundamentalism and related concepts of Selective Fundamentalism and Fact Fundamentalism.



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