Kontala, Janne (2016). Emerging non-religious worldview prototypes: A Faith Q-Sort-study on Finnish group-affiliates. Doctoral thesis, Åbo Akademi (Åbo, Finland: Åbo Akademi University Press, ISBN 978-951-765-838-6, ISBN 978-951-765-839-3 (digital).) (Available for download at http://www.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/125841/kontala_janne.pdf?sequence=2)

Abstract: This thesis contributes to the growing body of research on non-religion by examining shared and differentiating patterns in the worldviews of Finnish non-religious group-affiliates. The organisations represented in this study consist of the Union of Freethinkers, Finland’s Humanist Association, Finnish Sceptical Society, Prometheus Camps Support Federation and Capitol Area Atheists. 77 non-randomly selected individuals participated in the study, where their worldviews were analysed with Faith Q-sort, a Q-methodological application designed to assess subjectivity in the worldview domain. FQS was augmented with interviews to gain additional information about the emerging worldview prototypes. Three distinct worldview prototypes, or interpersonally shared preferences, could be discerned. These prototypes differ from each other along three dimensions: attitudes towards religion and spirituality, social and societal orientation, and emotional-experiential life. The Content Altruists have societal concerns, reject religion and spirituality moderately, and are emotionally stable and content. The Experientially Spiritual are more individualistic, reject traditional religion but are open to spirituality, and appreciate deep and nourishing experiences. The Communally Irreligious favour like-minded association, reject firmly and consistently both religion and spirituality, and are emotionally content, despite some signs of awareness for negative experiences. The results point to the multidimensionality of non-religion. Since FQS is able to assess both a variety of different worldviews, and to discern variation internal to a specific worldview constellation, it is concluded to represent a methodological advancement in religious studies in general, and in non-religious studies in particular.

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