Religion can be a source of undemocratic attitudes but also a contributor to democratic norms. This article argues that different dimensions of religiosity generate contrasting effects on democratic attitudes through different mechanisms. The private aspect of religious belief is associated with traditional and survival values, which in turn decrease both overt and intrinsic support for democracy. The communal aspect of religious social behaviour increases political interest and trust in institutions, which in turn typically lead to more support for democracy. Results from multilevel path analyses using data from fifty-four countries from Waves 4 and 5 of the World Values Survey suggest there is some regularity in mechanisms responsible for the effect of religiosity on democratic support that extend beyond religious denomination.
Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (email:
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61 See Inglehart and Welzel, Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy, Appendix B. We removed one item from each of the original measures, due to redundancy with one of our other variables (importance of God in life was used in religious belief; trust is highly correlated with a key mediator). Our versions of the values measures correlate highly with the original measures (r = 0.93 for rational-traditional values; r = 0.90 for self-expression-survival values).
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75 Still, because of the strong positive correlation between religious belief and social religious behavior, the extent to which the negative effect of belief will govern the positive effect of social religious behavior depends on the strength of individual's belief and frequency of participation. Thus, for the strongest believers (when belief = 1) the positive effect of behaviour is not strong enough to cancel out this negative effect even if the individual is a frequent participant (social behaviour = 1), but as belief weakens (when, say belief is 0.5), frequent participation may cancel out the negative effects that religiosity has on pro-democratic attitudes.
76 We would like to thank anonymous reviewer 1 for raising this point.
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* Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (email: Pazit.BenNun@mail.huji.ac.il); Department of International Relations, Yasar University, respectively. Earlier drafts were presented at the 2009 MPSA and the 2011 Israeli Political Science Association conferences. The authors wish to thank these audiences and the Journal's editors and five anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. An online appendix with supplementary tables is available at http://www.journals.cambridge.org/jps.10.1017/S0007123412000427.
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