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The Formation of a World View and the Religious Socialization of Young People

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

This paper is based on a longitudinal study encompassing two age groups, people born in 1965 and in 1968. Data were collected from the same young people in four phases, in 1975-76, 1982-83, 1984-85, and 1991-92. The first sample consisted of 125 elementary school students and their parents, 66 of them participated all phases of the study at ages of 8 and 11, 14 and 17, 17 and 20, and 24 and 27. The data were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods and projective tests. In terms of theories of cognitive development, social learning and socialization a new theory of world view socialization was developed. The young people perceived the world in ways classifiable as religious, magic-metaphysical and scientific - quasi-scientific. Most of them had elements of all three types. The formation of the personal world view was a process which involved some permanent elements resulting from socialization in childhood. Religious attitudes at home and the significance of Sunday School in influencing of a religious world view were evident. The implications of these results are discussed.


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