This scale measures four dimen­sions of Christian ideology : (a) orthodoxy (the belief in some traditional Christian doc­ trines), (b) fanaticism (the desire to share Christianity with others), (c) importance (the personal significance of religion), and (d) ambivalence (the self-awareness of hav­ing contradictory attitudes toward religion). The instrument clearly assesses religious identity and ways of being religious within that identity, but it is not as clear that the items necessarily tap Christian identity. For example, the orthodoxy items refer to the church, a divine plan, and devil and hell, but there is no specific reference to God or Jesus Christ. The other dimensions simply refer to “religion.” Christians would under­ stand and probably agree with most of these items, but the questionnaire doesn’t seem to allow Christians to affirm many beliefs that are distinctly Christian. Interestingly, al­ though the instrument seems to have been used largely with Christian populations, re­ searchers have generally referred to the in­strument as a “religious” measure (e.g., Benson et al., 1980), instead of using the more narrow concept of “Christian.”


The Orthodoxy, Fanaticism, and Importance Scales were constructed using the Likert method, which emphasizes internal consistency and discriminatory power. Each of these scales has six items with most of the items positively worded (some of the items are negatively worded).

The ambivalence scale contains only one item: “Although one is stronger than the other, there is part of me that believes in re­ligion and part of me that does not.” Partici­pants respond to all 19 items using a 7-point scale with the end points of “strong agree­ment” and “strong disagreement.”

Practical Considerations:

 Putney and Mid­dleton presented the actual items in their ar­ticle, but they did not specify the instruc­tions given participants. When the instrument is scored, a participant’s score is computed separately for each scale by re­ versing any negatively worded items and then summing the responses for that scale. When using the scale, Putney and Middle­ ton used the strategy of splitting participants into high and low categories using the theo­retical midpoints for each scale (e.g., on the Orthodoxy Scale, where scores can range from 6 to 42, the cutoff for “highs” and “lows” was 24).

An interesting question is whether the scales are independent. Putney and Middle­ ton administered the instrument to 1,200 college and university students in the north­ eastern and southeastern parts of the United States. When Jewish and other non-Christ­ian students were excluded from the analy­ses, 1,126 students remained. Using a non­ parametric measure of association (Yule’s Q), the authors found that the Orthodoxy, Fanaticism, and Importance scales were positively related. The ambivalence scale

was negatively related to the other three scales. Further, the positive relationships were stronger than the negative relation­ ships.


 The only pub­lished normative data has been reported by Cygnar, Jacobson, and Noel (1977) with Catholic high school students. However, this information is hard to interpret and apply to new samples because some of the items may have been dropped from the scales and the means and standard devia­tions that are reported appear to be based on factor scores.

Reliability: Cygnar, Jacobson, and Noel (1977) also reported data on the reliability of the Orthodoxy, Fanaticism, and Impor­tance Scales. To make sure the scales were unidimensional, Cygnar et al. factor-ana­lyzed the items for each scale, dropping the items that did not load on each first factor and computing factor scores for the remain­ing items. Using these factor scores, the re­ liability coefficients for the scales were (a) orthodoxy = .50, (b) fanaticism = .49, and (c) importance= .60.

Seyfarth et al. (1984) administered the Fanaticism Scale to 124 introductory psy­chology students. The mean age for these students was 20.7, and 55% of the sample was male. The researchers used the Spear­ man-Brown prophecy formula for comput­ing split-half reliability and the resulting co­ efficient was .77.


 In the Seyfarth et al. (1984) study, the fanaticism scale was used to provide construct validity for a measure of evange­lism that the authors developed. This Atti­tude Toward Evangelism Scale included items like: (a) “I like to listen to a religious evangelist,” (b) “Religious soliciting is an infringement on my right to privacy” (re­ verse scored), and (c) “There is a strong need for more people to openly attempt to convert others.” When this scale was corre­lated with the fanaticism scale, the resulting validity coefficient was .76. Cygnar et al. (1977) administered modi­fied versions of the ritual, ideology, knowl­edge, experience, and consequence scales from Faulkner and Delong (1966) along with the Orthodoxy, Fanaticism, and Impor­tance Scales. The responses of Catholic high school students were factor analyzed and factor scores were computed for each stu­ dent (dropping items that did not load on the factors). When the results for all of the scales were compared, the scales from Di­mensions of Religious Ideologies correlated positively with all of the Faulkner and De­ Jong scales (the correlations ranged from .32 to .52). The only exception to this pat­ tern was the Consequence Scale. This scale measures the extent to which religion is in­tegrated into everyday life. The correlations between the Consequence Scale and the Di­mensions of Religious Ideologies scales were lower (ranging from .04 to .16).

Dimensions of Religious Ideology

Please read the following statements carefully, and then indicate agreement according to the following scale:

strongly agree

moderately agree

slightly agree

no response

slightly disagree

moderately disagree

strongly disagree

Orthodoxy Scale

l. I believe that there is a physical hell where men are punished after death for the sins of their lives.

  1. I believe there is a supernatural being, the devil, who continually tries to lead men into sin.
  2. To me the most important work of the church is the saving of souls.
  3. I believe that there is a life after death.
  4. I believe there is a divine plan and purpose for every living person and thing.
  5. The only benefit one receives from prayer is psychological. (reverse scored)

Fanaticism Scale

  1. I have a duty to help those who are confused about religion.
  2. Even though it may create some unpleasant situations, it is important to help people be­ come enlightened about religion.
  3. There is no point in arguing about religion because there is little chance of changing other people’s minds. (reverse scored)
  4. It doesn’t really matter what an individual believes about religion as long as he is happy with it. (reverse scored)
  5. I believe the world would really be a better place if more people held the views about re­ligion which I hold.
  6. I believe the world’s problems are seriously aggravated by the fact that so many people are misguided about religion.

Importance Scale

  1. My ideas about religion are one of the most important parts of my philosophy of life.
  2. I find that my ideas on religion have a considerable influence on my views in other areas.
  3. Believing as I do about religion is very important to being the kind of person I want to be.
  4. If my ideas about religion were different, I believe that my way of life would be very dif­ferent.

  5. Religion is a subject in which I am not particularly interested. (reverse scored)
  6. I very often think about matters relating to religion.

Ambivalence Scale

  1. Although one is stronger than the other, there is part of me which believes in religion and part of me which does not.

Items should be placed in random order.


Putney, S., Middleton, R. (1961). Dimensions and correlates of religious ideologies. Social Forces, 39, 285-290.


Benson, P. L., Dehority, J., Garman, L, Hanson, E., Hochschwender, M., Lebold, C., Rohr, R., & Sullivan, J. (1980). lntrapersonal correlates of non­ spontaneous helping behavior. Journal of Social Psychology, 110, 87-95.

Cygnar, T. E., Jacobson, C. K., Noel, D. L. (1977). Religiosity and prejudice: An interdimen­sional analysis. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 16, 183-19 I.

Faulkner, J. E., DeJong, G. (1966). Reli­giousity in 5-D: An empirical analysis. Social Forces, 45, 246–254.

Pargament, K. I., Ensing, D. S., Falgout, K., Olsen, H., Reilly, B., Van Haitsma, K., Warren,

R. (1990). God help me: (I): Religious coping ef­ forts as predictors of the outcomes to significant negative life events. American Journal of Commu­nity Psychology, I 8, 793-824.

Seyfarth, L. H., Larsen, K. S., Lamont, K., Haasch, C., Hale, T., Haskin, D. (1984). Attitude toward evangelism: Scale development and valid­ity. Journal of Social Psychology, 123, 55-61.