Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2017 Volume 13 :: Article 6
2017 Volume 13, Article 6
Christian Theology and Attitudes Toward Political and Religious Ideological Groups

Author: George Yancey (University of North Texas), Marie A. Eisenstein (Indiana University Northwest), and Ryan P. Burge (Eastern Illinois University)

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In this paper we examine the influence of Christian theology on attitudes toward various ideological groups, both political and religious. We know how religious affiliations, behaviors, and beliefs in the U.S. influence voting, political party affiliation, and specific issue attitudes, but we do not fully understand how Christian theology influences one’s favorable/unfavorable attitudes to different ideological groups. Using feeling thermometers from the 2012 American National Election Survey (ANES), we test logit models for favorable/unfavorable scores toward four different ideological groups: liberals, conservatives, Muslims, and atheists. While progressive Christians are more likely to exhibit an unfavorable attitude toward groups with political differences, conservative Christians are not. On the other hand, conservative Christians are more likely to exhibit an unfavorable attitude toward groups with religious differences, while progressive Christians are not. These findings have import for understanding the religious fault lines in U.S. Christianity and how those fault lines amplify polarization.

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