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Dimensions and Types of Non-Religiosity

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We are unaware of any extant instrument able to distinguish among types of non-religious individuals. Although various labels exist to describe non-religious and secular positions (such as atheist or agnostic), these are often misunderstood or misapplied by laypersons. Even where they are correctly used, it is clear that—for example—atheists vary in their emotional responses to religion, their intellectual interest in religion, and their behavioural repertoire with regard to religious individuals and institutions. Rather than attempting to generate a typology from philosophical grounds, we see merit in allowing a typology to emerge empirically, thus tapping non-religiosity as it is lived. This paper presents data from a new 24-item scale intended to capture dimensions of non-religiosity within a sample of 594 British adults self-describing as atheists or agnostics. Five dimensions of non-religiosity emerging from factor analysis are examined together with an exploration of types of non-religiosity emerging from cluster analysis of subjects.

This talk is part of the Psychology and Religion Research Group (PRRG) series.

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