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Andrew Village

Abstract

This study examines the relationship of psychological type preferences to membership of three different traditions within the Church of England: Anglo-catholic, broad church and evangelical. A sample of 1047 clergy recently ordained in the Church of England completed the Francis Psychological Type Scales and self-assigned measures of church tradition, conservatism and charismaticism. The majority of clergy preferred introversion over extraversion, but this preference was more marked among Anglo-catholics than among evangelicals. Anglo-catholics showed preference for intuition over sensing, while the reverse was true for evangelicals. Clergy of both sexes showed an overall preference for feeling over thinking, but this was reversed among evangelical clergymen. The sensing-intuition difference between traditions persisted after controlling for conservatism and charismaticism, suggesting it was linked to preferences for different styles of religious expression in worship. Conservatism was related to preferences for sensing over intuition (which may promote preference for traditional worship and parochial practices) and thinking over feeling (which for evangelicals may promote adherence to traditional theological principles and moral behaviour). Charismaticism was associated with preferences for extraversion over introversion, intuition over sensing, and feeling over thinking. Reasons for these associations are discussed in the light of known patterns of belief and practice across the various traditions of the Church of England.

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Andrew Village

Lynn White’s controversial hypothesis, that Judaeo-Christian belief led to attitudes towards the environment that have spawned an ecological crisis, has received much attention from sociologists of religion, notably in the United States. Surveys of the general population show negative correlations between biblical literalism and environmentalism, but these seem to be due to the particular nature of religion and politics in the usa. This study uses more nuanced measures of biblical interpretation and theological stance to examine the issue among a sample of 537 committed churchgoers from a range of mainly conservative Protestant denominations in the United Kingdom. Literal interpretation of Genesis was directly negatively correlated with concern for the environment, after allowing for indirect effects through dominion and stewardship theologies. The effect of symbolic interpretation was mediated by sacramental understanding of creation and stewardship. Stewardship was a key belief that mediated the effects of symbolic interpretation and theological stance on concern for the environment. Biblical interpretation, dominion and sacramentalism were uncorrelated with willingness to sacrifice to protect the environment, but stewardship was indirectly positively correlated through its effect on environmental concern.

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Andrew Village

The Village Bible Scale, a measure of biblical conservatism, was completed by 3,243 Church of England readers of the Church Times in 2013 alongside a measure of psychological type. Overall, biblical conservatism was higher for men than women, for those under 60 than those over 60, for those with school-level than those with university-level qualifications, for laity than clergy, and higher among evangelicals and charismatics than among those in Anglo-catholic or broad-church traditions. For the sample as a whole, the perceiving process was the only dimension of psychological type to predict biblical conservatism, which was positively correlated with sensing and negatively correlated with intuition. Within church traditions, sensing scores predicted biblical conservatism in Anglo-catholic and broad-church traditions, but not for evangelicals. Thinking function scores were positively correlated with biblical conservatism among evangelicals, but negatively correlated among Anglo-catholics. The findings point to the possible roles of psychological preferences in influencing predispositions for retaining or changing theological convictions.

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Andrew Village

Abstract

Perceived levels of belonging and frequency of disagreeing with local teaching were assessed in a sample of 404 lay members of the Anglican Church in England. Belonging and disagreeing were inversely related, although occasional disagreement was common even among those who felt entirely at home in their church. The power of individual differences and external factors to predict sense of belonging and frequency of disagreeing was tested using multivariate binary logistic regression analysis. Sense of belonging was strongest among people who, in terms of psychological type, recorded high feeling and high judging scores, who were older, who attended church frequently, and who had low frequency of charismatic practice. Disagreement was most frequent among people who, in terms of psychological type, recorded high intuitive scores, who had experienced higher levels of education and who were in larger congregations. Belonging and disagreeing seemed to be related more to intrinsic and acquired individual differences than to external factors associated with congregations.

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Andrew Village and Leslie Francis