Implicit Religion, Vol 15, No 4 (2012)

Nominal Christian Adherence: Ethnic, Natal, Aspirational

Abby Day
Issued Date: 19 Feb 2013

Abstract


It is the desire for belonging, not believing, that explains why so many apparently non-religious people who do not believe in even the minimal tenets of organized religion will claim a religious identity in specific contexts. This paper draws on qualitative longitudinal empirical research seeking to explain that claim through exploring mainstream religious belief and identity in Euro- American countries. What is often described as nominal, fuzzy, or marginal adherence is far from an empty category, but one loaded with significance and similar to an ever-present, implicit religious oritentation described by Durkheim. The author develops nominalism as characterized by a lack of a strong belief in a higher power, and indifference towards churches, but an (irregular) adherence to religion as a significant cultural, familial, and moral marker.

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.v15i4.439

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