Justin Feng

BA: UC San Diego, Bioengineering

Areas of specialization: comparative-historical, politics and religion, culture, Middle East studies, medicine and science in post-Islamic world

How Religious Identity Informs Attitudes and Practices: Examining the Therapeutic Role of Religion in the United States

In the past several years, important lawmakers and public figures have been skeptical about the severity, existence, or need to combat global climate change. Interestingly, one justification for this skepticism is based on religious beliefs about the nature of God's Creation. Despite enormous amounts of scientific evidence, some religious believers are still convinced that global climate change is not a pressing world problem. This attitude among the religious may not be limited to global climate change, but may apply to other issues that face the world. While plenty of quantitative studies exist examining various beliefs among the religious, this study takes a qualitative approach and looks at beliefs from the perspective of religious identity. I am interested in how religious identity informs internally consistent logics which may be at odds with generally accepted beliefs. In particular I ask if eschatology, or belief about the end of things, has a therapeutic effect on conservative Protestant anxiety, and how such belief might inform responses to current events and global issues. This project is based on participant observation and interviews with members of conservative Protestant small groups.

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