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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