Implicit Religion, Vol 7, No 1 (2004)

Implicit Religion as Commitment Process: Insights from Brickman and Bailey

Rodney J. Hunter
Issued Date: 28 Mar 2007


The concept of implicit religion is closely associated with the idea of commitment,

so it would seem useful for students of implicit religion to examine what

is known about personal commitment from social psychological studies. This

article does so by focusing on what is arguably the major social psychological

theory of commitment, Philip Brickman’s
Commitment, Conflict, andCaring (1987), which derives fundamental processes and patterns describing

the development, maintenance, and dissolution of commitments from cognitive

dissonance theory. The article concludes that the Brickman theory offers

important supplemental insight into the formative processes of everyday transcendence

or implicit religion. At the same time Edward Bailey’s empirical

findings in implicit religion challenge and illuminate Brickman’s theory with

respect to Bailey’s central discovery of a deep commitment to humanity,

including a commitment to the self, within contemporary implicit religion. The

author also notes several practical and ethical implications of his analysis.

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.


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