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Going to Hell in Asia: The Relationship between Risk and Religion in a Cross Cultural Setting
Alan S. Miller
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 42, No. 1 (Sep., 2000), pp. 5-18
Published by: Religious Research Association, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3512141
Page Count: 14
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This paper explores the relationship between an individual's risk preference and his or her personal religiosity. Miller and Hoffmann (1995) proposed that being irreligious is a form of risk-taking behavior, and further found that approximately half of the difference between male and female levels of religiosity was due to differences in their risk preferences. In this paper, the relationship between risk preference and religiosity is explored from a cross-national perspective. It is proposed that being irreligious only represents risk-taking behavior in Western (i.e., Christian and Muslim) societies, since those religious traditions emphasize exclusivity, claiming to be the one and only correct spiritual path. In Eastern (i.e., Hindu and Buddhist) societies, where religions tend to be non-exclusive and the emphasis is on personal behavior rather than organizational affiliation, not participating in the mainstream religion does not necessarily constitute risk-taking behavior. Data from the World Values Survey are used. Results strongly support the research hypothesis.
Review of Religious Research © 2000 Religious Research Association, Inc.