Faith and Moral Development in Fundamentalist Communities:Lessons Learned in Five New Religious Movements Open Access

Green, Andrea Doria (2008)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/fx719m49w?locale=en
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Abstract

"Faith and Moral Development in Fundamentalist Religious Communities: Lessons Learned from Five New Religious Movements" is, first, a work of practical theology. The practical theology employed in this study understands religious communities as carriers of practical reason, asking of each of them the normative and descriptive questions: Are these communities representing the ideals and norms of their respective traditions as carriers of religious knowledge? In what ways are these communities implementers of practical religious wisdom and what is it that this wisdom teaches?

Second, this study represents an effort to take seriously subcultures of fundamentalist New Religious Movements (fNRMs). It is a response to prevailing theories of moral and faith development as suggested by the cognitive structuralist tradition. Suspecting that cognitive structuralist based assessments, and thus, their theories, render fNRM adherents' faith and moral development in overly simplistic terms, this study proposes a qualitative method to analyze the sociological, historical, theological, and anthropological factors involved in the religious worlds created within fNRMs. This method, alongside traditional developmental assessments, elevates, for full view, the complexities of faith and moral development in fundamentalist communities. The studies of these five fNRMs moved in different directions, but systematically revealed different but complex factors, sophisticated styles and modes of integration in patterns of reasoning involved in the daily negotiations of living in faith communities, thinking through the contents of faith, and maintaining faith-based commitments. The results of this study point toward poststructuralism, with its theories of multiple subjectivities, to account for the complex patterns of reasoning required to negotiate multiple subjectivities in a complicated world. Perhaps poststructuralist theories of moral and faith development are needed to more accurately describe both of these processes in the context of postmodernity. Poststructuralism suggests that, rather than stages of development, individuals adopt constellations of patterns of reasoning that are locally and communally driven.

Table of Contents

Introduction.......................................................................................................... 1

Epistemology........................................................................................................... 9

Practical Theology................................................................................................. 24

Chapter 2: Models and Measures of Morality and Faith 38

Introduction........................................................................................................... 38

Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987)............................................................................ 39

Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview (MJI) ...................................................... 42

James R. Rest (1941-1999).................................................................................... 42

Rest's Early Research and Implications for Moral Judgment Research ................. 43

The Defining Issues Test (DIT) ........................................................................... 44

Neo-Kohlbergian Stage Development: The Minnesota Model ............................. 46

Schema Theory and the Minnesota Model .......................................................... 50

The Three Predominant Schemas and Their Epistemological Features .................. 53

From Stage to Schema ....................................................................................... 60

DIT Structure .................................................................................................... 62

DIT-2 Administration ......................................................................................... 63

DIT-2 Scoring ................................................................................................... 63

DIT-2 Validity ................................................................................................... 65

Fowler's Faith Development Theory....................................................................... 65

Fowler's Faith Development Interview (FDI) ...................................................... 74

FDI Structure .................................................................................................... 75

FDI Administration ............................................................................................ 75

FDI Scoring ....................................................................................................... 75

FDI Validity ....................................................................................................... 77

Narrative Analysis with Faith Development Interviews (FDI)................................... 78

Chapter 3: Hare Krishna (Gaudiya Vaisnava) Communities, a.k.a. ISKCON 89 Introduction............ 89

Overview of this Community.................................................................................. 91

Why this is a "Fundamentalist" New Religious Movement (fNRM) ...................... 94

History .............................................................................................................. 96

Outside View...................................................................................................... 104

Sociological Context ........................................................................................ 104

Social and Psychological Perspectives .............................................................. 111

Theological Context ......................................................................................... 121

Inside View: Ethnography................................................................................. 129

Central Rituals ................................................................................................. 129

Challenges and Questions for this Community ................................................... 144

Chapter References............................................................................................. 148

Chapter 4: Jehovah's Witnesses.................................................................... 151

Introduction......................................................................................................... 151

Overview of this Community................................................................................ 153

Why this is a "Fundamentalist" New Religious Movement (fNRM) .................... 157

History ............................................................................................................ 160

Outside View...................................................................................................... 170

Sociological Context ........................................................................................ 170

Theological Context ......................................................................................... 175

Inside View: Ethnography..................................................................................... 182

Challenges and Questions for this Community ................................................... 194

Chapter References............................................................................................. 198

Chapter 5: Seventh Day Adventists............................................................... 201

Introduction......................................................................................................... 201

Overview of this Community................................................................................ 202

Why this is a "Fundamentalist" New Religious Movement (fNRM) .................... 205

History ............................................................................................................ 209

Outside View...................................................................................................... 225

Sociological Context ........................................................................................ 225

Theological Context ......................................................................................... 230

Inside View: Ethnography..................................................................................... 245

Challenges and Questions for This Community .................................................. 256

Chapter References............................................................................................. 260

Chapter 6: The Restoration Movement/Churches of Christ 263 Introduction......... 263

Overview of this Community................................................................................ 264

Why this is a "Fundamentalist" New Religious Movement (fNRM) .................... 271

History ............................................................................................................ 275

Outside View...................................................................................................... 287

Sociological Context ........................................................................................ 287

Theological Context ......................................................................................... 298

Inside View: Ethnography..................................................................................... 305

Challenges and Questions for This Community .................................................. 315

Chapter References............................................................................................. 318

Chapter 7: The Charismatic Restoration Churches in the 21st Century 322

Introduction......................................................................................................... 322

Overview of this Community................................................................................ 325

Why this is a "Fundamentalist" New Religious Movement (fNRM) .................... 331

History ............................................................................................................ 338

Outside View...................................................................................................... 346

Sociological Context ........................................................................................ 346

Theological Context ......................................................................................... 351

Inside View: Ethnography..................................................................................... 361

Challenges and Questions for This Community .................................................. 371

Chapter References............................................................................................. 374

Chapter 8: Results and Conclusions Across Five fNRMs 377 Quantitative Results........... 378

Results from DIT-2 .......................................................................................... 378

Results of FDI Classic Structural Analysis ......................................................... 381

Faith Development Theory and Religious Fundamentalism ................................. 386

Results of Narrative Analysis ............................................................................ 390

Group 1: Hare Krishnas ............................................................................ 396

Group 2: Jehovah's Witnesses ................................................................... 410

Group 3: Seventh-day Adventists ............................................................. 423

Group 4: The churches of Christ Congregations ......................................... 433

Group 5: Charismatic Restoration Movement ............................................. 442

Chapter 9: Conclusions and Discussion......................................................... 454

Differences between Individual DIT and FDI Interview Data......................... 466

Practical Theological Lessons Learned ............................................................. 470

Emerging Questions for Further Study................................................................... 483

Main Bibliography........................................................................................... 486

Appendix 1....................................................................................................... 507

Consent To Participate In A Research Study......................................................... 507

Appendix II...................................................................................................... 511

Faith Development Interview Guide...................................................................... 511   

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