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Religious Practice and Religious Socialization: Comparative Research among Christian, Muslim and Hindu Students in Tamilnadu, India

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This article seeks, first, to offer a comprehensive theoretical framework of religious practice — based particularly on the works of Stark and Glock — that may be used in comparative research among adherents of different religious traditions. Secondly we clarify the role of the agents of religious socialization and their function as "reference others", taking into account the contributions of Bajzek, Milanesi and Schlenker. The empirical analysis of the data based on these theoretical considerations brings to light a model of institutional religious practice whereby Christian, Islamic and Hindu traditions may be compared. The results also underscore the association between the religious community and involvement in institutional religious practices in the case of the three religious groups and the differentiated impact of the other agents of religious socialization in the case of each religion. A further finding is that gender affects particularly the Christians in their institutional religious practices. The paper ends with a discussion of these findings.

Affiliations: 1: Salesian Pontifical University, Rome; 2: Department of Empirical Practical Theology at the Radboud University Nijmegen

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