"The role of religion is paradoxical. It makes prejudice and it unmakes prejudice."
The relationship between religiosity and ethnic prejudice is rather complex. Results of empirical studies support both positive and negative correlations between religion and prejudice. According to a meta-analysis by Hall et al., it depends on the aspects of religion that are considered. In general, religious dimensions such as extrinsic religiosity or fundamentalism positively correlate with prejudice (i.e., the higher religiosity, the higher the prejudice) while intrinsic religiosity and quest religiosity negatively correlate with ethnic prejudice (i.e. the higher religiosity, the lower the prejudice). Fundamentalism per se, however, does not seem to be automatically connected with prejudice. If authoritarianism is controlled, for instance, the positive correlation between religiosity and prejudice vanishes (Johnson et al., 2010).
- Johnson, M. K., Rowatt, W. C. & LaBouff, J. (2010). Priming Christian Religious Concepts Increases Racial Prejudice. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(2), 119-126.
- photograph of Ethel Muhammad Sharrieff (1922-2002), daughter of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, by Gordon Parks (1963) via