Chapter 7 One, Many or None: Religious Truth-Claims and Social Perception of Religious Freedom

In: Religious Freedom: Social-Scientific Approaches

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Abstract

Do individual positions toward religious truth-claims matter for perceptions of religious freedom? Relying on a survey of 1,035 university students from Northern Italy, this chapter conducts a micro-level analysis on the social perceptions of religious freedom (sprf). Using a five-dimensional measure of the sprf concept, we find that four out of five dimensions are widely accepted with the main differences occurring between Catholic youth and religious nones. The analysis of religious truth-claims suggested that pluralism, agnosticism, and interreligious perspectives were endorsed in the sample, and all truth-claims positions were selectively associated with religious freedom dimensions. The causal relationship between pluralistic truth-claims and the religious freedom measure is not depicted while atheism, compared to other truth-claim positions, is less supportive to the societal values of religious freedom. Moreover, positive views toward religious diversity have strong positive influences on the perceptions of religious freedom as individual autonomy, societal value, and a human rights principle while neglecting religious diversity leads to the disrespect to religious freedom as a human right.

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