Religiosity is an important area of individual life and psychology tries to understand its characteristics. Religious experience can receive a push from within or without. Let us try to understand what intrinsic religiosity entails.
Religious orientation is a fundamental object of investigation for human beings. As it aims to understand how one of the fundamental experiences is lived to answer the existential questions concerning our life. How and why do we respond so differently to these needs? The first difference concerns the source of the spring that pushes us towards religion. Here then is what intrinsic religiosity means.
Religiosity – a personal and social issue
A first consideration that must be made when speaking of intrinsic religiosity concerns the sphere that the religious sense occupies in the life of an individual. The term intrinsic can mistakenly lead us to think that it is the personal sphere as opposed to the social one. In reality, intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity are both individual ways of living religion.
Religion and religiosity in its social being refer to phenomena that include groups, a group identity, and their collective actions. For this, we could ascribe phenomena such as orthodoxy, pacifism, and religious fanaticism. In this sphere at an extreme level and far from true spirituality, we also find religious sects that try to annihilate the individual in a group totally devoted to the holy man.
The intrinsic orientation
Inherent religious orientation is a personal way of experiencing spirituality and was described by Gordon Allport. Those who have an intrinsic orientation consider religion as an absolute value on which life rests and which gives value to it. There is no utilitarian intent of religion, only the fulfillment of man.
These people experience religion as a practice embodied in everyday life and who feel the presence of the Absolute in their existence. Everything then manifests itself as a personal and inner conviction. Allport himself has built a scale to measure the type of religiosity of a person and the intrinsic orientation is traced back to high levels of agreement to such sentences.
- It is not very important what I believe in, the important thing is to be a good person.
- It is important for me to spend time in meditation and prayer
- I often had a strong feeling that God was present.
Religion and prejudice
Further consideration of Allport concerns the relationship between religious orientation and the phenomenon of prejudice. Prejudice is a cognitive phenomenon for which a priori beliefs are created about specific groups or people with certain characteristics. According to Allport, intrinsic religiosity becomes the substratum for a more tolerant and open orientation.
Extrinsic religiosity leads man to use religion for his own purposes (not necessarily evil, only more utilitarian), this leads to a greater propensity to believe that others also have purposes in relating to us regardless of what they really are.