Table of Contents
The Theological Index was developed to identify areas of disagreement among members of the Protestant community of faith. The index, which is comprised of numerous subscales, was one of many measures used in a series of research studies using Presbyterian samples.
The Theological Index con sists of 53 questions. These items are intended to measure 12 components of theological position: spiritual-secular dual ism (6 items), freewill behavior (6 items), otherworldliness (3 items), scriptural authority ( l item), social optimism (3 items), ethicalism (4 items), religious nationalism (3 items), creedal assent (6 items), religious despair (5 items), orientation to growth and striving (5 items), devotionalism (4 items), and salience: behavior (6 items).
The items for subscales creedal assent, religious despair, orientation to growth and striving, devotionalism, and salience: behavior, were taken from King and Hunt (1972). Only the devotionalism scale was identical to that of King and Hunt, with the other theological index subscales omitting one or two of the King and Hunt items. For an analysis of the King and Hunt scales, the reader is referred to page 334 (Religious Variables: Ten Scales review) in this volume.
Respondents are asked to indicate their position by a circle around one of 4 responses: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree. Appropriate changes in response categories are made for a few questionnaire items which deal with behavior frequency. Some items must be reverse scored. Subscale scores require summation of numerical scores for items appropriate to that concept.
Administration of the questionnaire is straightforward, with very minimal need for instructions.
Wording of questionnaire items reflects traditional use of theological concepts and pronouns. Many persons using the index today would wish to edit scale items to reflect more inclusive language.
For the scales constructed by Hoge, l O to 15 items were written for each of the constructs to be measured. Two pretests were con ducted, one with 48 Presbyterian laypersons and ministers and the other with 53 laypersons and ministers. Final items for the subscales were selected based on reliability coefficients and face validity.
The sample for which Cronbach 's alpha coefficients are reported for each subscale from a sample of 872 Presbyterian laity and 667 Presbyterian clergy. Reliabilities for the scales prepared by Hoge are spiritual-secular dualism, .65 for minis ters and .56 for laypersons, freewill behavior, .68 for ministers and .50 for laypersons, otherworldliness, .75 for ministers and .71 for laypersons, social optimism, .63 for ministers and .44 for laypersons, and ethicalism, .68 for laypersons.
No validity coefficients are provided in Hoge (1976) or in the Technical Supplement. The Technical Supplement indicates that items were chosen for their face validity.
Unless instructed otherwise, please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each item by using the following scale
- 1 = strongly disagree
- 2 = disagree
- 3 = agree
- 4 = strongly agree
Spiritual-Secular Dualism Index
- The true Christian's loyalties must be to the spiritual part of man, not the bodily part.
- Spiritual, and not worldly, affairs in human life should be the concern of the Christian.
- Christians should look at man as a total unity and not concern themselves with only a "spiritual" part. (R)
- The true Christian should avoid much involvement in the secular structures of society; his loyalties should first of all be to spiritual things.
- Christianity is clear about separating spiritual and secular realms and putting emphasis on spiritual values.
- The Christian should identify himself with secular social forces working for justice and humanization in society. (R)
Freewill Behavior Index
- Most human behavior is a result of social pressures and conditions. (R)
- Any person's behavior is largely determined by the influences of society upon him. (R)
- The individual, and not his society, determines his personal fate in life.
- Converting men to Christ must be the first step in creating a better society.
- To bring peace in the world, we must first of all cleanse men's hearts of sin.
- Freedom in Christ has little meaning for persons living amid oppressive social conditions. (R)
- The primary purpose of man in this life is preparation for the next life.
- I believe in a divine judgment after death where some shall be rewarded and others punished.
- It is not as important to worry about life after death as about what one can do in this life. (R)
Scriptural Authority Item
1. Scripture is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, not only in matters of faith but also in historical, geographical, and other secular matters.
Social Optimism Index
- The world is so full of human sin that we can expect little improvement in the human condition in history. (R)
- All human undertakings are corrupted by sin and therefore will eventually fail. (R)
- Human action can create a substantially better world than we now have.
- For the Christian, the man-to-man relationship should be at least as important as the man to-God relationship.
- A good Christian should be as concerned about personal and social ethics as about his own spiritual growth.
- A correct relationship to God is far more important than proper ethical behavior toward other people. (R)
- It is the correct relationship to God and not good works in society which should be the foremost concern of the Christian. (R)
Religious Nationalism Index
- A good Christian should never criticize an American president while he is in office.
- America is a nation chosen by God to lead in the regeneration of the world.
- In the church Christianity should be distinguished as much as possible from patriotism. (R)
Creedal Assent Index
- I believe in eternal life.
- I believe that God revealed himself to man in Jesus Christ.
- I believe in salvation as release from sin and freedom for new life with God.
- I believe that the Word of God is revealed in the Scriptures.
- I believe in God as a Heavenly Father who watches over me and to whom I am accountable.
- I believe that Christ is a living reality.
Religious Despair Index
- The Communion Service (Lord's Supper, Eucharist) often has little meaning to me.
- I find myself believing in God some of the time, but not at other times.
- My personal existence often seems meaningless and without purpose.
- My life is often empty, filled with despair.
- I have about given up trying to understand "worship" or get much out of it.
Orientation to Growth and Striving Index
l. I try hard to grow in understanding of what it means to live as a child of God.
- I try hard to carry my religion over into all my other dealings in life.
- How often to you read literature about your faith (or church)?
- How often do you read the Bible?
- The amount of time I spend trying to grow in understanding of my faith is:
somewhat little somewhat much
l. Private prayer is one of the most important and satisfying aspects of my religious experience.
- I frequently feel very close to God in prayer, during public worship, or at important moments in my daily life.
- How often do you ask God to forgive your sin?
- How often do you pray privately in places other than at church?
- When you have decisions to make in your everyday life, how often do you try to find out what God wants you to do?
Salience: Behavior Index
l. How often do you talk with the pastor (or other official) about some part of the worship service, for example, the sennon, Scripture, choice of hymns, etc.?
- How often in the past year have you shared with another church member the problems and joys of trying to live a life of faith in God?
- When faced with decisions regarding social problems, how often do you seek guidance from statements and publications provided by the church?
- How often do you talk about religion with your friends, neighbors, or fellow workers?
- During the last year, how often have you visited someone in need, besides relatives?
- How often have you personally tried to convert someone to faith in God?
(R) indicates item to be reverse scored
Hoge, D. (1976). Division in the protestant house. Philadelphia: Westminster.
King, M., & Hunt, R. (1972). Measuring the religious variable: Replication. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11, 240-251.