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A Comparative Study of Religiocentrism among Christian, Muslim and Hindu Students in Tamil Nadu, India

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This article presents a theoretical framework for religiocentrism that is suited to cross-religious comparisons between Christians, Muslims and Hindus. Religiocentrism is defined as the combination of positive attitudes toward the religious ingroup and negative attitudes toward religious outgroup(s). Empirical research proves the relevance of the construct 'religiocentrism' among Christian, Muslim and Hindu college students in Tamil Nadu. Full score comparability is possible for positive ingroup attitudes but is hampered in the case of negative outgroup attitudes because of the specificity of outgroup prejudice to each religious group. Cross-religious differences between levels of positive ingroup attitudes can be explained in terms of the differential effects of socio-cultural, socio-economic and socio-religious characteristics. This topic calls for further reflection, taking into account contextual factors such as majority versus minority position and specific religious convictions for each religious tradition, more particularly within the context of Tamil Nadu. The article ends with a discussion of the findings.

Affiliations: 1: Radboud University Nijmegen; 2: Salesian Pontifical University, Rome


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