The Attitudes Toward Religion and Philosophy of Life Survey is a set of seven scales designed to assess relationships between various aspects of individual reli­gion among college students. These are measures of Religious Conflict, Philosophy of Life, Hostility toward the Church, Reli­gious Tranquility, Religious Solace, and Change of Religious Attitudes. It also con­tains a modified version of the Myers (1952) Orthodoxy Scale.


The scales are defined as fol­lows:

  1. Religious Conflict. (22 items). This is defined as “simultaneous tendencies to react in opposing and incompatible ways to the same religious attitude ob­ject” (Funk, 1958, p. 240).

  2. Religious Orthodoxy. (9 items). Five of Meyers (1952) originally developed items were supplemented by four new statements. Orthodoxy is conceptual­ized as “the tendency to accept the teachings of religious authorities, and conform to prescribed religious prac­tices” (Funk, 1958, p. 240).

  3. Philosophy of Life. (5 items). This is defined as “an integrated system of meanings and purposes which relates the individuals goals to the goals of humanity and the wider structure of the universe” (Funk, 1958, p. 241). This may or may not involve religion.

  4. Hostility toward the Church. (6 items). This is denoted as “aggression or withdrawal toward religious attitude ob­ jects” (Funk, 1958, p. 242).

  5. Religious Tranquility. (6 items). Reli­gious tranquility is said to “characterize the attitude of those who see religion, not as a compensation, but an aid to hap­piness and favorable socio-psychologi­cal adjustment” (Funk, 1958, p. 242).

  6. Religious Solace. (7 items). This mea­ sure assesses the “use of religion as a means of compensating for the unhap­piness and disappointments of life” (Funk, 1958, p. 242).

  7. Change of Religious Attitudes. (10 items). This measure was designed to assess the “stability or instability of re­ligious beliefs since college entrance” (Funk, 1958, p. 243).

Practical Considerations. Administering a 65-item instrument might be regarded as rather demanding and time-consuming. One may however select among the scales and employ those that are appropriate to one’s theoretical stance. Taking the items out of context, placing them in a different order, and considering that this overall measure was primarily utilized about 40 years ago, researchers should recompute reliabilities and also reexamine issues of validity. Scor­ing is quite simple (true and false), and no special training is required.


 The scales were administered to 255 Purdue University un­dergraduates and were developed on this sample. Essentially no further data are available on the use of this instrument. The items for all scales were randomly mixed in the final survey.


 Only test-retest reliabilities for a three-week period are available. Gener­ally, these look good, but there is need to examine internal consistency. The coeffi­cients for the scales are as follows: Reli­gious Conflict (.84), Religious Orthodoxy (.95), Philosophy of Life (.81), Hostility to­ ward the Church (.88), Religious Tranquil­ity (.84), Religious Solace (.87), and Change of Religious Attitudes (.90).


 The individual scales are likely to correlate highly, and therefore, the face va­lidity of the various instruments must be doubted. In all likelihood, they would re­ duce to a smaller set of item composites if treated factor-analytically.

Construct and content validity for the Re­ligious Conflict Scale is supported by a highly significant .43 correlation with the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale (Taylor, 1953). It also correlates significantly and negatively with orthodoxy. Shaw and Wright (1967) question the distinctiveness of the Religious Solace and Religious Tran­ quality scales frofll each other. In addition, the Hostility toward the Church scale comes across more as a general hostility toward re­ligion. The meaning of the change of attitude scores is in considerable doubt since the original stance of the respondents is not known. Overall, lack of use of these instru­ments severely limits our knowledge of their validity.

A Survey of Attitudes toward Religion and Philosophy of Life

Instructions: This inventory consists of numbered statements. Read each statement and decide whether it is true as applied to you or false as applied to you. If the question is multiple choice, blacken in the space corresponding to your choice.

You are to make your answers on the answer sheet you have. If a statement is true or mostly true, as applied to you, blacken between the lines in the column headed T. If a statement is false or not usually true as applied to you, blacken between the lines in the column headed F.

Religious Conflict Scale

1. I cannot decide what to believe about religion.

10. I sometimes wonder just what life is all about and why we are here.

12. I am actively trying to decide by reading or other means what the truth is about religion.

14. At times I have felt guilty because of my religious upbringing.

20. I sometimes feel disloyal to my parents because I cannot entirely accept their religious beliefs.

24. I wish I was perfectly sure of my belief in God.

26. I am not as strict in my religious practices as I feel I should be.

28. My church is too strict.

38. There are too many things about religion that I don’t understand.

42. I am in danger of losing my faith.

44. Sometimes I feel guilty because of my lack of faith.

46. Education has led me to question some teachings of my church.

50. Sometimes I believe in Hell and sometimes I don’t.

56. I wish I could be sure my religious beliefs are correct.

60. Contradictory religious ideas make one wonder which ones to accept.

64. I feel that I shouldn’t question my religion, but I sometimes do, anyway.

66. I feel that I should be more religious than I am.

68. I might be happier if I did not believe in my religion.

72. I wish I did not believe in Hell, but I do.

76. I sometimes wonder why God lets terrible things happen to people.

84. It is hard to reconcile science with religion.

86. Although basically I believe in my religion, my faith often wavers.

The Orthodoxy Scale

l.(a) I believe in the basic teachings of my church and attend regularly.

4. I believe firmly in the teachings of my church.

6. I never doubt the teachings of the church.

90. I believe that religious faith is better than logic for solving life’s important problems.

92. I believe our fate in the hereafter depends on how we behave on earth.

94. I believe God knows our every thought and movement.

96. I believe God controls everything that happens everywhere.

98. I think my prayers are answered.

a. Always (2) b. Sometimes (I)

I 00. I attend church

a. Once a week or more (2) b. Once a month or more (I)

Each true response I; Note on 98 and 100, scores of 2 and 1.

Philosophy of Life Scale

l.(d) I do not believe in any particular religion; instead I have a philosophy of life. (If

checked, score as 2.)

8. Although at one time I believed in a religion, I now believe in a code of ethics.

62. If you are a strong person, you do not need religion.

82. Promoting a better world is more important to me than religion is.

88. We make our own heaven or hell here on earth.

The Religious Tranquility Scale

30. Religion has brought me peace of mind.

32. Religion’s chief purpose is to make people happy.

40. Religion makes me feel safe and secure.

70. Religion helps me to be a better person.

74. I feel secure in the knowledge that God is always with me.

80. I believe in a merciful God, not a punishing one.

Religious Solace Scale

16. Religion helps me when I feel blue.

18. Some unhappy experiences have made me tum to God for help.

22. Sometimes religion is the only thing we can rely on.

34. If I were to lose my belief in God, there would be little comfort left.

36. I feel a strong need to believe in God.

52. You can always tum to God when you are in trouble.

78. At times only my belief in God has prevented me from feeling hopeless.

Hostility to the Church Scale

l.(e) I believe that religion is of little use in present-day society. (If answered true, score as 2.)

2. I am indifferent to the subject of religion.

48. I have little use for religion.

54. Religion has not kept pace with the times.

58. Religion has too often been used to promote prejudice.

82. Promoting a better world is more important to me than religion is. Item 82 also contributes to the Philosophy of Life Scale score.

Religious Attitude Change Scale

(Here are a number of beliefs. Please indicate, by checking the appropriate column, whether your attitude toward each is the same (S), partly different (P), or very different (D) from what it was when you entered college).

Item no. Item

104. The church

105. A personal God

106. The immortality of the soul

107. Hell

108. Heaven

109. Adam and Eve

110. Angels

111. The divine inspiration of the Bible

112. The power of prayer

113. The divine authority of the church

Note: Items for all scales were randomly mixed in the final survey, and a true-false response mode was employed. A separate standard IBM true-false answer sheet was used. The original item numbers are pre­ sented above as a guide to mixing the items.


Funk, R. A. (1955). A survey of religious atti­tudes and manifest anxiety in a college population. Unpublished . Doctoral Dissertation, Purdue University.

Funk, R. A. (1958). Experimental scales used in a study of religious attitudes as related to manifest anxiety. Psychological Newsletter, 9, 238-244.


Myers, M. S. (1952). The latent role of religious orientation. Studies in Higher Education, Purdue University, No. 78.

Shaw, M. E., Wright, J. M. (1967). Scales for the measurement of attitudes. New York: McGraw­ Hill.

Taylor, J. A. (1953). A personality scale of man­ifest anxiety. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psy­chology, 48, 285-290.