Integrating the Study of Culture and Religion: Toward a Psychology of Worldview

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Abstract

We propose a psychology of worldview as an integrative framework for the study of culture and religion. We propose six aspects of worldview, each influenced by national and religious cultures: ontology (existential beliefs), epistemology (what can be known and how one should reason), semiotics (language and symbols used to describe the world), axiology (proximate goals, values, and morals), teleology (ultimate goals and the afterlife consequences of action), and praxeology (proscriptions and prescriptions for behavior). More attention to worldview can help remedy a lack of attention to: (i) the mutual influences of these different kinds of cultures (including national and religious), (ii) trans-national religious groups, (iii) non-religious belief systems, and (iv) the psychological predictors of cultural conflict. Worldviews can predict both individual and group behaviors and, further, afford a more nuanced understanding of cultural and religious processes as well as providing a platform for interdisciplinary dialogue.

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