As more social scientists study religion, there has been a significant growth of new scales and measurements to gauge religious beliefs and practices– enough to make it difficult for scholars to communicate with each other. Science & Theology News (June) reports that it is especially in the burgeoning field exploring the connections between faith, spirituality and health where these “spiritual scales” have proliferated.
Popular measures include the R-COPE scale, which gauges how patients use religious beliefs to cope with illness and trauma, the “daily spiritual experiences scale,“ which evaluates spirituality in people’s everyday life, and the new SpReuk scale, originating in strongly secular Eastern Germany and designed to capture non-theistic and non-institutional beliefs.
These attempts to make the scales as broad as possible may not allow them to capture much of anything of value concerning how religion and spirituality impacts people’s lives, says Thomas Plante, who founded his own “Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire.“ The more scales will make it harder for researchers to share data effectively, and eventually they may be consolidated into a smaller number, writes Julia Keller.
(Science & Theology News, P.O. Box 5065, Brentwood, TN 37024)