New study: religiosity often serves as a deterrent rather than a mobilizing force for nonviolent political engagement

11 Oct 2017

(phys.org) Because religion often influences people's opinions on hot-button issues, such as same-sex marriage and abortion, most would expect religious people to be more motivated to engage politically overall.

However, a new study led by a University of Kansas researcher has found that religiosity by itself often serves as a deterrent rather than a mobilizing force for nonviolent political engagement.

"Since religious beliefs, by themselves, do not suffice to motivate individuals to act politically, it is incorrect to infer  from  alone," said Mariya Omelicheva, associate professor in the KU Department of Political Science. "Religion interacts with secular structures and pressures to encourage or deter individuals from engaging with the political world."

Omelicheva is lead author of the study published recently in the journal Religion, State & Society with her co-author Ranya Ahmed of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights of Harvard University and who earned her doctorate from KU in 2017.

The researchers examined data on the influence that various religious factors had on  in a large cross-national sample of data that covered 1981 to 2014. The study integrated longitudinal data from the aggregated World Values Survey with country-level data, which included more than 65 percent of the world's population. [...]

Read More © phys.org