Presentation Title

Sanctified: A Thematic Analysis of Reasons for Perceived Holiness/Transcendence

Location

Room 2901

Session Format

Paper Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Humanities & Social Sciences - Psychology, Sociology & Political Science

Abstract

As divine qualities are assigned to activities, values, people or objects, they become more important and people are willing to invest more time and effort (Mahoney et al., 2005). But so far, little is known about sanctification itself (Pargament & Mahoney, 2005). What factors influence sanctification and cause an item, person or value to become holy or transcendent?

To examine this question, we first familiarized 37 participants with the topic by giving them 128 survey items that they rated for either their holy or transcendent qualities on a 1 (Not Holy/Not Transcendent) to 5 (Holy/Transcendent) Scale.

More importantly, we then asked them to describe the reasons for their ratings. Thematic analysis revealed that participants rated those aspects of life the highest that:

a) create a feeling of awe/uniqueness,

b) are able to cause a certain mindset described as awareness/openness/mindfulness

c) create interpersonal and intraindividual harmony

d) are held holy/transcendent by the surrounding environment, e.g. culture, religions, personal network

Evaluation of the ratings on the Likert-Scale showed that 43 % of the Items were rated for holy/transcendent qualities at an intermediate level (2, 3 or 4) on the Scale. The fact that items are rated at intermediate levels suggests that sanctification may be a process, where the holiness/transcendence of items changes as feelings of awe, mindfulness, harmony and culture change. Alternatively, it may indicate that items are construed as having innate but variable degrees of sanctification out of the mentioned reasons.

This qualitative study suggests factors that influence judgments regarding the sanctification of objects, values and people. It also has implications regarding the emergence and maintenance of different spiritualities. Further research can build on this study in order to examine, if sanctification indeed is a process and how the proposed factors interact with each other (e.g how mindfulness can increase the feeling of awe and vice versa) as well as with individual personalities (e.g. if a certain personality type reacts more to a specific factor)

References:

Mahoney, A., Pargament, K. I., Cole, B., Jewell, T., Magyar, G. M., Tarakeshwar, N., Phillips, R. (2005). A Higher Purpose: The Sanctification of Strivings in a Community Sample. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15(3), 239-262. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15327582ijpr1503_4

Pargament, K. I., & Mahoney, A. (2005). THEORY: Sacred Matters: Sanctification as a Vital Topic for the Psychology of Religion. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15(3), 179-198. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15327582ijpr1503_1

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-16-2016 9:30 AM

End Date

4-16-2016 10:30 AM

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Apr 16th, 9:30 AM Apr 16th, 10:30 AM

Sanctified: A Thematic Analysis of Reasons for Perceived Holiness/Transcendence

Room 2901

As divine qualities are assigned to activities, values, people or objects, they become more important and people are willing to invest more time and effort (Mahoney et al., 2005). But so far, little is known about sanctification itself (Pargament & Mahoney, 2005). What factors influence sanctification and cause an item, person or value to become holy or transcendent?

To examine this question, we first familiarized 37 participants with the topic by giving them 128 survey items that they rated for either their holy or transcendent qualities on a 1 (Not Holy/Not Transcendent) to 5 (Holy/Transcendent) Scale.

More importantly, we then asked them to describe the reasons for their ratings. Thematic analysis revealed that participants rated those aspects of life the highest that:

a) create a feeling of awe/uniqueness,

b) are able to cause a certain mindset described as awareness/openness/mindfulness

c) create interpersonal and intraindividual harmony

d) are held holy/transcendent by the surrounding environment, e.g. culture, religions, personal network

Evaluation of the ratings on the Likert-Scale showed that 43 % of the Items were rated for holy/transcendent qualities at an intermediate level (2, 3 or 4) on the Scale. The fact that items are rated at intermediate levels suggests that sanctification may be a process, where the holiness/transcendence of items changes as feelings of awe, mindfulness, harmony and culture change. Alternatively, it may indicate that items are construed as having innate but variable degrees of sanctification out of the mentioned reasons.

This qualitative study suggests factors that influence judgments regarding the sanctification of objects, values and people. It also has implications regarding the emergence and maintenance of different spiritualities. Further research can build on this study in order to examine, if sanctification indeed is a process and how the proposed factors interact with each other (e.g how mindfulness can increase the feeling of awe and vice versa) as well as with individual personalities (e.g. if a certain personality type reacts more to a specific factor)

References:

Mahoney, A., Pargament, K. I., Cole, B., Jewell, T., Magyar, G. M., Tarakeshwar, N., Phillips, R. (2005). A Higher Purpose: The Sanctification of Strivings in a Community Sample. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15(3), 239-262. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15327582ijpr1503_4

Pargament, K. I., & Mahoney, A. (2005). THEORY: Sacred Matters: Sanctification as a Vital Topic for the Psychology of Religion. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15(3), 179-198. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15327582ijpr1503_1