Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

O. Jane Thayer

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Trevor O'Reggio

Abstract

Purpose. Although the Seventh-day Adventist (Adventist) Church promotes love of God and love for fellowmen, there is a perception that its members are generally intolerant of persons who do not hold religious beliefs that are similar to theirs. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which spiritual maturity and religious orientation are related to religious tolerance among Seventh-day Adventists in East Jamaica Conference.

Method. The Jamaican Adventist Religious Life Profile, the questionnaire used to collect data in this study, consists of the Intrinsic/Extrinsic–Revised Religious Orientation Scale; the Spiritual Maturity Index; and the Religious Tolerance Inventory developed for this dissertation to reflect a continuum of religious tolerance from intolerance, to critical tolerance, to hypertolerance. The questionnaire was given to 500 participants drawn from Adventist churches randomly selected from across the territory of East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The categories of tolerance encompassed tolerance toward members as persons, tolerance toward members’ beliefs and practices, tolerance toward non-members as persons, and tolerance toward non-members’ beliefs and practices. Scores for tolerance were subjected to methods for analysis of categorical data as well as for continuous data to assess the nature of the association of tolerance scores with demographic as well as spiritual maturity and religious orientation variables.

Results. Generally, Adventists in this sample scored high on the spiritual maturity scale (M=4.96, SD=0.64). They also scored high on intrinsic religiosity (M=4.36, SD=0.74) and low on extrinsic religiosity (M=2.58, SD=0.79). With Adventists, they are (a) intolerant with respect to members who wear jewelry (97.8%), and woman who wear pants to church (62.5%); (b) critically tolerant with regard to members who commit adultery (94.10%), members who practice homosexual behaviors (93.30%), pastors who have had a child out of wedlock before becoming a Christian (89.30%), members who hold views contrary to Adventists’ fundamentals (85.30%), Adventist preachers who do not preach against non-Saturday-keeping churches (74.70%), and on issues such as literature of dissident Adventists (68.60%), change of church format (61.80%); and (c) hypertolerant regarding members with AIDS (95.00%), members who are not fully knowledgeable of fundamentals witnessing (95.00%), disfellowshipped members (94.10%), and on the issues of loud shouting in church (81.60%), attending funerals on Sabbath (77.20%), and the wearing of casual clothing for Sabbath afternoon worship service (75.50%). With non-Adventists, they are (a) intolerant with respect to non-Adventists who wear jewelry (92.00%), non-Adventists teaching in Adventist schools (83.30%), and the issues of non-Adventist books being sold in Adventist book stores (76.30%); (b) critically tolerant regarding Sunday worshippers (98.10%), those who eat biblically unclean foods (94.60%), Adventist young people’s non-Adventist friends (93.10%), people from another religious denomination who force literature on them (86.40%), Sunday-keeping pastors (62.40%), and the issues of non-Adventist books used in Adventist schools (88.60%) and non-Adventist church services (71.20%); and (c) hypertolerant pertaining to non-Adventists involved in social projects (89.40%). Numerous significance tests (p

Subject Area

Religious tolerance--Jamaica, Religious tolerance--Seventh-day Adventists, Spirituality--Seventh-day Adventists.

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