On Monday we launched a new survey started using Amazon's Mechanical Turk for participants. The Multi-faith Matters team wants to understand why a minority of evangelicals engage other religious adherents more positively, while the majority tends toward more defensive approaches. In light of the largely negative approaches that emphasize boundary maintenance and fears of syncretism and compromise, some of our related research questions include:
Does disgust lead to intergroup conflict? Is a difference in purity concerns and disgust reactions playing a part? Are Islamophobia and disgust positively correlated?
Our survey has been created to answer these questions, and will include measures not only for purity and disgust, but also intellectual humility, and Christian nationalism. You may recall my prior discussion of the importance of humility in multi-faith engagement, and that those Christians who exhibit more of this tend to have more positive forms of interaction with other religious adherents.
The survey is going through Kathryn Johnson of Arizona State University. She and Wade Rowatt of Baylor University are a part of our grant team's advisory group on the psychological component of our research. Results and interpretations in application to multi-faith engagement will come later.
By way of context, readers may recall that I am pursuing a supplemental grant from the Louisville Institute that follows from prior grant research where we put together case studies on evangelical churches involved in positive forms of engagement with other religions in their neighborhoods. This supplemental survey and research is designed to help shed light on why evangelicals pursue different theological frameworks and approaches to the religions around them.
I am looking forward to what we will learn from this study, and to learning more about our differing theological approaches in evangelicalism.