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Content Matters: Perceptions of the Science-Religion Relationship

Leicht, Carola, Sharp, Carissa A., LaBouff, Jordan P, Zarzeczna, Natalia, Elsdon-Baker, Fern (2021) Content Matters: Perceptions of the Science-Religion Relationship. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, . ISSN 1050-8619. (doi:10.1080/10508619.2021.2003111) (KAR id:93190)

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Science and religion are often portrayed as monolithic entities in perpetual and necessary conflict. We explore the extent to which perceptions of conflict or compatibility between science and religion are content dependent and are associated with participants’ own religious or non-religious social identities. In doing so, we develop a novel Science and Religion Conflict/Compatibility Scale. Across three studies (n = 1,506), we consistently find group differences between atheists, agnostics or other non-religious individuals, and religious individuals. Religious individuals reported the highest levels of compatibility and atheists the highest levels of conflict between science and religion. Additionally, perceptions of conflict between science and religion were divided into two distinct content areas. The first included items concerning big-picture explanations, such as understanding the origins of human life. The second content area formed around items that describe interactions between humans and the world, such as treating mental illness. We conclude that research examining perceptions of conflict between science and religion needs to adopt a more nuanced approach, that takes into account individuals’ identities and the context in which the relationship between science and religion is discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/10508619.2021.2003111
Projects: Science and Religion - Exploring the Spectrum
Additional information: Templeton Religion Trust
Uncontrolled keywords: Science, religion, scale development, social identity
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Depositing User: Carola Leicht
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2022 15:47 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 11:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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