Paper Example on Psychology of Religion

Published: 2024-01-26
Paper Example on Psychology of Religion
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology Religion
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1260 words
11 min read


Like discrimination, prejudice has quite a long history in the world. These two psycho-sociological concepts have greatly influenced the presence of in-groups and out-groups in society. Hunsberger & Jackson (2005) consider prejudice a series of attitudes that are often directed to particular individuals or groups. Prejudice has, for long, been a major source of problems when it comes to emerging and establishing a society. According to Hunsberger & Jackson (2005), prejudice would, in most cases, highlight the negative stereotypes of individuals or a group. Historical forms of prejudice have been evidenced through various series of societal changes like civil rights campaigns and immigration.

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While people are always informed of the most common sources of prejudice, Johnson et al. (2011) took a rather different approach to uncover one popular community that has for many years managed to escape the blame of being known as a source of prejudice. In their research, Johnson et al. (2011) decided to explore the connection between prejudiced behavior and religion. Before the study, Johnson et al. (2011) speculated that religion might be capable of promoting and reducing prejudiced behaviors among worshipers. While exploring how religion could enable prejudice, the researchers introduced the indent theory as Johnson et al. (2011) introduced some common historical relationship between prejudice and religion. Several meta-analyses were cited and highlighted a quite strong correlation that exists between prejudiced attitudes and religious affiliation.

Despite religious teachings, as Johnson et al. (2011) explain, we proved that prejudice and religion go hand to hand. Their study showed that prejudices often showed up in belief differences, racial differences, and sexual differences. There is a general belief that religious fundamentalism (RF) and right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) might be confounding variables, making prejudice appear more through data than the general religious belief.

Problem Statement

The problem to be addressed by this study is the rise of intolerance with religious prejudice and discrimination, just like discrimination, religious prejudice retaliation, harassment as well as adverse treatment based on both nonreligious and religious affiliation of a person. Religious-based prejudice might happen in different areas. For instance, creating a coercive or hostile working environment or prevention of religious observance while at work. As Gervais & Norenzayan (2012) explain, religious prejudice can impact diverse religious groups, and the outcome effect could include isolation from people, loss of self-esteem, and depression. Additionally, religious prejudice could also cause increased anxiety in people (Gervais & Norenzayan, 2012). According to a study carried out by Graham & Haidt (2010), minority religious preference may contribute highly to anxiety levels. That has been evidenced by several Muslim populations in North America and Europe. Despite such findings, the consequences of anxiety and religious prejudice can be researched with other irreligious and religious groups in America. Religious minorities, including nontheists, non-Christian, and irreligious groups, have a high probability of being discriminated against.

Shariff & Norenzayan (2007) reinforce how religious acts have grown to become a major source of acceptance among individuals. In the end, this phenomenon has increased religious and racial intolerance. As religious groups present a form of a social outlet for people to involve in prejudice acts, Johnson et al. (2011) alert their readers to several critical psychological frameworks that they got to uncover in their research. In the study by Gervais & Norenzayan (2012), the concept of priming is perfectly documented. As Gervais & Norenzayan (2012) explains, priming relates to familiar stimuli and has a quite special relationship with religion. Many people in the United States relate words such as 'prayer,' 'bible,' and 'Jesus' to conservative social values. Through priming, people might be exposed to discriminatory and prejudiced attitudes.

One fascinating aspect of research conducted by Shariff & Norenzayan (2007) relates to the concept presented in social identity theory. As Shariff & Norenzayan (2007) explain, the social identity theory indicates that individuals might easily be influenced by either their social or personal identity. As Hunsberger & Jackson (2005) urges, social identity theory can remove or reinforce discriminatory attitudes and behavior. Regarding the minimization of prejudice, Gervais & Norenzayan (2012) study points to specific examples like civil rights movements whereby religion is said to have played a significant role in support of civil rights activists. As Gervais & Norenzayan (2012) points out, such experiences were commonly associated with several positive aspects of religious groupings. Alternatively, there is a possibility that religious members and groups might have fallen victims to religious identity threats, which Graham & Haidt (2010) labels as a threat to the entire religious community and religion in general. Religious threats, according to Shariff & Norenzayan (2007), can impact the dramatically social identity of a faithful religious person hence in the process, creating a discriminatory or negative attitude towards members of an out-group.

Researchers like Hunsberger & Jackson (2005) suggest the need to conduct further research to determine any relation between religious prejudice and anxieties among minority religious groups. There is currently limited research available detailing anxiety expressed by nontheists and non-Christians in America due to prejudice. There is a need to address the literate gap. That would result in a lack of treatment options for various non-Muslim groups whose anxiety has been said to encounter religious prejudice.

Discussion of the problem and evidence of its existence

Today, religious prejudice is evidenced in numerous ways. There have several public and private demonstrations on religious prejudice abound, either veiled or forthright. As Hunsberger & Jackson (2005) notes, some religious identifications, such as Atheists, may have unenviable status and are the least accepted in the United States. This social derision, as Gervais & Norenzayan (2012) state, has some negative consequences. Considering correlation ageism, homophobia, racism, sexism, and ageism, being a target of religious prejudice, as Shariff & Norenzayan (2007) explains, is probably subject to the consequences that were traditionally related to being a target of other prejudice expressions like limited social opportunities and poor psychological and physical health. Despite numerous historical investigations into various forms of prejudice, not much is known about religious prejudice.

An example of religious prejudice involves Islamophobia acts that have been witnessed across Europe and America. For instance, on July 18th, 2017, a van was driven through a crowd of Muslims coming from prayers at Finsbury Park mosque. A Moroccan lost his life in the process as the driver drove off, yelling that he would kill all Muslims. When caught and asked why he wanted to kill Muslims, the van driver started laughing. This laughter is a clear indication that the driver's actions were deliberate and in sound mind.

Potential Consequences if the Problem Is Not Addressed

If religious prejudice takes place at the workplace, then legal consequences may apply. Just like discrimination, the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cases of prejudice. While the penalty differs, it ranges from $50,000s for small businesses to about $300,000 for big firms with 500 or more employees.


Gervais, W. & Norenzayan, A. (2012). Like a camera in the sky? Thinking about God increases public self-awareness and socially desirable responses. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology., 48(1), 298–302.

Graham, J., & Haidt, J. (2010). Beyond Beliefs: Religions Bind Individuals Into Moral Communities. Personality and Social Psychology Review., 14(1), 140–150.

Hunsberger, B. & Jackson, L.M. (2005). Religion, meaning, and prejudice. Journal of Social Issues, 61, 807-826., M., Rowatt, W., Barnard-Brak, L., Patock-Peckham, J.,

LaBouff, J., & Carlisle, R. (2011). A mediational analysis of the role of right-wing authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism in the religiosity–prejudice link. Personality and Individual Differences., 50(6), 851–856.

Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2007). God Is Watching You: Priming God Concepts Increases Prosocial Behavior in an Anonymous Economic Game. Psychological Science, 18(9), 803–809.

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