Article

The Development of Religious Judgement

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Abstract

Religious judgment is the way in which an individual reconstructs his or her experience from the point of view of a personal relationship with an Ultimate (God). Religious development is concerned with the age-related, meaning-making qualities of this reconstruction.

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... The period between late childhood and middle adolescence is one of dramatic development in many areas of intellectual, emotional and social functioning (Damon, 1989; Damon & Hart, 1988; Goswami, 1998; Harris, 1989; Meadows, 1993; Inhelder & Piaget, 1958; Piaget & Inhelder, 1969). It is also a period during which a number of interesting shifts appear to occur in people's religious beliefs and attitudes (Benson, Donahue, & Erickson, 1989; Donelson, 1999; Elkind, 1978; Fowler, 1981; Goldman, 1964; Hyde, 1990; Markstrom, 1999; Oser & Gmunder, 1991; Tamminen, 1994; Willits & Crider, 1989). It is therefore a particularly interesting period on which to focus in order to identify whether and how religious thinking changes as people get older. ...
... These later stages of Fowler's model appear to be an array of parallel alternatives rather than a sequence of hierarchically ordered developmental steps. related to particular stages of religious judgment is sketchier still (Oser & Gmunder, 1991: 85-95). ...
... However, contrary to the predictions of Oser's theory, the stages of elderly participants were significantly lower than those of middle-aged participants. Oser and Gmunder (1991: 186) suggest that this may be due to a specific cohort effect related to experiences of the Second World War. Higher levels of education were positively associated with higher stages of religious development, but there was little evidence of any gender or denominational effects. ...
... Fowler (1981) also confirmed the strong relationship between moral and religious thinking. Over the years, a distinction has been made between moral reasoning and religious reasoning (Hoehn and Fowler 1983;Oser 1991). Religion can be understood as a belief set that regulates the relationship of a person or community to transcendence or another type of sanctity (Boschki 2017). ...
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This paper aimed to introduce the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion KMDD® as one of the most effective methods that are designed to foster moral competence and, therefore, to promote tolerance and equality, regardless of cultural background, religion, or views. It is mainly used within the educational context, but it can be also implemented in different environments and conditions. The Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion should also be considered as the representative of a psycho-didactic approach to education. There is a possibility of assessing KMDD®’s effectiveness with the Moral Competence Test (MCT®), as well as comparing its significance with other methods that are not only based on the discussions of moral and spiritual dilemmas. Therefore, dilemma discussions would seem to be the best framework for practicing not only social skills and a democratic attitude but also positive mental health and psychological stability by providing a background for personal moral and spiritual growth.
... In what follows, an attempt will be made to go beyond moralizing about the acquisitive child in order to investigate a developmental structure at a deeper level. A starting point for our study is suggested by the developmental psychology of Oser (1991aOser ( , 1991b), who has developed Kohlberg's (1981) stages of moral, or justice, reasoning by postulating an autonomous sphere, or domain, of religious judgment. The central characteristic of religious judgment as described by Oser is the way consciousness T he similarities between human conceptualizations of God and of money may be traced: historically, in the impact of money on the development of philosophy in ancient Greece ( Thompson, 1961); philosophically, through analyzing the structure and functions of money ( Simmel, 1990); linguistically, through the study of analogies and metaphors ( Belk & Wallendorf, 1990); and theologically, through the examination of salient biblical narratives ( Hull, 1996). is modified as the individual grapples with the contingencies of life in the light of the reality of God, or whatever else is taken to be the ultimate reality. ...
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In view of the developmental conceptual and emotional similarities held by individuals with regard to both God and money, it seems likely that in an intense money culture the ultimate reality of God will be confused with, and even displaced by, the ultimate reality of money. Bargaining appears to be a developmental stage in both economic socialization and in the development of relationships with God, and, therefore, a study of the similarities between economic and religious bargaining offers a starting point for considering the impact of money upon the spiritual development of both children and adults. User's (1980) theory of religious judgment describes the second stage of the religious development of children as the bargaining stage. User's theory thus enables us to perceive an analogy between religious development and economic socialization, and to trace the implications of this potential confusion into adolescence and adult life. In the more mature stages of spiritual development, self-centered bargaining is gradually transformed into a covenant of sacrificial love, in the light of which the idolatry and false consciousness of the earlier confusion is revealed.
... This means that, during a crisis period, the mental horizon is broken open and new perspectives are possible. Boisen's observation can be connected with what Oser (1991) called religious judgment: a mode of thought that links the reality stemming from experience to something that transcends it with the purpose of providing meaning and direction. This mode of thought surfaces especially during periods of crisis. ...
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In two articles, the author highlights the need for a multidimensional approach toward religious coping. Not only should the interaction of religion and coping be seen as a bidirectional influence, the interactions with dimensions of identity and social context should be taken into account. Furthermore, the author claims that each of these dimensions should be conceptualized as a process. Implications for theory and research are discussed. Besides this multidimensional approach, the author advocates a narrative reformulation of religious coping theories and tries to show the usefulness of a narrative approach. The first article in the two-part series proposes a multidimensional approach based on a review of literature on religious coping, with a focus on the work of K. I. Pargament. Shortcomings of present approaches are discussed. Then 4 central dimensions of religious coping are described: crisis and coping, religion, identity, and context. A multidimensional framework is construed, in which the interactions among the 4 dimensions are highlighted. Hypotheses and questions for further research are formulated. The aim of this article is to evaluate the present situation in religious coping research and theory and to contribute to a more integrative approach.
... Paradójicamente, se constata que personas de diferentes religiones y culturas, que experimentan una vivencia religiosa de este tipo, gozan de una fenomenología común, como, por ejemplo, sensación de atemporalidad, de ser Uno con el ser o universo divino, o de experimentar el amor divino (Runions, 1979;Hay, 1990;Runehov, 2004). Además, es importante señalar que la experiencia religiosa puede producirse en todas las etapas del desarrollo de un individuo, desde la infancia y adolescencia, hasta la edad adulta (Fowler, 1981;Oser, 1991;Tamminen, 1994). ...
... There has been a fairly extensive literature regarding the developmental aspects of religion and spiritual experience (Fowler 1981;Tamminen 1994;Oser 1991). These reports consider the overall development of spiritual experience from infancy through adolescence and into adulthood. ...
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... One potentially important influence on the emergence of moral identity is religiosity (Hart & Atkins, 2004;Walker & Reimer, 2006). During adolescence, identity, morality, and religiosity all become more ideological (Erikson, 1968;Oser, 1991). Religion thus becomes a salient source of both one's sense of right and wrong (Hardy & Carlo, 2005b;Walker & Reimer, 2006) as well as one's sense of who one is (Hardy et al., 2011). ...
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... The Religious Judgment Test (RJT), developed by Antti Räsänen and colleagues (Räsänen, 2003;Räsänen, Tirri, & Nokelainen, 2006), is based on Fritz Oser's developmental theory of religious judgment (Oser, 1991;Oser & Gmünder, 1991), which, in turn, resembles Kohlberg's theory of moral development (1969). The five developmental stages of religious judgement focus on various forms of the relationship between the individual and the Ultimate (God in the monotheistic religions). ...
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To figure out whether the main empirical question "Is our brain hardwired to believe in and produce God, or is our brain hardwired to perceive and experience God?" is answered, this paper presents systematic critical review of the positions, arguments and controversies of each side of the neuroscientific-theological debate and puts forward an integral view where the human is seen as a psycho-somatic entity consisting of the multiple levels and dimensions of human existence (physical, biological, psychological, and spiritual reality), allowing consciousness/mind/spirit and brain/body/matter to be seen as different sides of the same phenomenon, neither reducible to each other. The emergence of a form of causation distinctive from physics where mental/conscious agency (a) is neither identical with nor reducible to brain processes and (b) does exert "downward" causal influence on brain plasticity and the various levels of brain functioning is discussed. This manuscript also discusses the role of cognitive processes in religious experience and outlines what can neuroscience offer for study of religious experience and what is the significance of this study for neuroscience, clinicians, theology and philosophy. A methodological shift from "explanation" to "description" of religious experience is suggested. This paper contributes to the ongoing discussion between theologians, cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists.
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Is moral development a necessary condition for religious development, or is it the other way around? Or could each development be conceived of as self‐directed yet interactive? All three views have their advocates. What is the role of a (religious) world view in this context? We attempt to answer these questions by way of analyzing empirical data within a developmental framework. After explicating this framework and defining moral judgment (MJ), religious judgment (RJ), and world view (WV), we compare Kohlberg's MJ and Oser's and Gmünder's RJ stages. The result helps to hypothesize a dynamic model for the MJ‐RJ‐WV relationship and logical thought. Data from about a dozen empirical studies in various domains are then compared with the predictions from the model. Not unexpectedly, some data match the expectations, for other data the predictions are not detailed enough. However, there are two clear results: (1) essential expectations derived from the ‘standard’ model ('moral development is a necessary but insufficient condition for religious judgment') are not borne out by the data, (2) a dynamic model, varying with stage, and with socialization and/or a given subject's experience, does seem to be required to explain the ‘discrepant’ findings concerning questions like ‘In the life of a given individual, which stage should be higher than which?’, or ‘Which development should benefit from which stimulation?’. Refined empirical relationship studies are proposed for deepening our understanding, and improving the hypothesized dynamic model.
Cognitive argumentation patterns of religious judgment among athe-ists Kritische Lebensereignisse und religiose Strubur-transfornationen [Critical life events and transformation of religious structures
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Die Himmekymbolik in Menschheitsgeschichte und individueller Ent-wicklung " [The symbolism of heaven in human history and individual develop-ment
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Dimensionen und Erfassung des religiken Fami-lienklimas " [The dimensions and perception of the religious family climate
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EnMchlung und Religiositiit [Development and reli-giousness] Bericht zur Erziehungswissenschaft, nr Moral Judgment, Religious Judgment, Worldview, and Logical Thought: A Review of Their Relationship
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Kognitive Argumentationsfiguren des religiösen Urteils bel Atheisten” [Cognitive argumentation patterns of religious judgment among atheists
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Drei transkulturelle Erhebungen des religiösen Urteils, eine Pilotstudie” [Three transcultural inquiries into religious judgment: A pilot study
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Die religiöse Entwicklung von Marrin Buber
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Bericht zur Erziehungswissenschaft
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