DOI: 10.3390/rel14091126 ISSN:

Religious Diversity Predicts Religions’ Population Growth in Tighter (vs. Looser) Cultures: A Study of Personality & Self-Reported Religion across 111 Countries

Ibrahim Senay
  • Religious studies

It is unclear whether religious affiliations and non-affiliations might grow differently in specific cultural environments populated by individuals with a particular personality profile, or how religious diversity in society might influence such growth. In the present study, mixed-effects analyses of moderated mediation conducted on online data collected from 111 countries (Valid N = 52) and across 4270 individuals (Valid N = 3632) showed that personality factors (Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness) could predict religiously affiliated populations growing faster between the years 2000 and 2015 in tighter (vs. looser) countries, which strictly impose social norms and have a low tolerance for deviant behaviors. This finding suggests that religious affiliations and non-affiliations might grow together in moderately tight–loose countries, supporting religious–secular pluralism. Moreover, the faster growth of religions in tighter cultures was stronger in countries ranking higher on the Religious Diversity Index (RDI), showing that all varieties of religions and faiths might become useful in tighter cultures for keeping an interest in religion alive among individuals with distinct personality profiles while ensuring the pervasiveness of social norms in society, toward furthering multi-religious pluralism and the growth of religious affiliations.

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