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Education and the Importance of Religion in Decision Making: Do Other Dimensions of Religiousness Matter?


Scott Schieman, 725 Spadina Ave., Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 2J4, Canada. E-mail:


The relationship between education and the importance of religion in everyday decision making is examined using data from two national surveys of American adults. People who have higher levels of education are less likely to rely on the Bible and the teachings of their place of worship for guidance in their decision making. However, previously undocumented contingencies attenuate the effect of education: (1) attending religious services regularly; (2) involvement in religious activities; (3) praying more frequently; (4) believing in the literal interpretation of the Bible; and (5) greater certainty in one's personal faith. These patterns hold net of income, which is also negatively associated with religious-based decision making—and only the socially integrative aspects of religiousness attenuate that association.

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