Sunday, October 2

Can you statistically model Mysticism?

I would never have imagined this but looks like you can. Amazing.

Hood developed a Mysticism Scale based on the theoretical work of Stace. The scale was tested by Hood and others in a comparative perspective. Using an abridged version of Hood's Mysticism Scale, we join the debate with a study of a much larger number of Christian, Muslim, and Hindu respondents (1,920 college students) living in Tamil Nadu, India. Our empirical analysis yields a moderately reliable model of mystical experience that permits comparison between the three religious traditions. We argue for the usefulness of a comparative model of vertical mysticism that combines with the complementary common characteristics of noetic quality and ineffability. Vertical mysticism has a revelatory, ineffable character and is comparable in the experience of adherents of the Christian, Islamic, and Hindu traditions.

So what’s this scale, eh? I quote:

Hood's Mysticism Scale is based in part on the conceptual framework of mysticism propounded by Stace. Stace (1961) outlines a conceptualization of mysticism that is cross-cultural, a-historical, and unbiased by religious ideology. His conceptual framework rests on three constructs: (a) a distinction between mystical consciousness and its interpretation; (b) a distinction between the core characteristics of extrovertive and introvertive mysticism; and (c) identification of universal common characteristics…….Hood's Mysticism Scale comprises 32 items, half of which are formulated negatively to prevent response set. Eight common core characteristics were operationalized with four items each from Stace's concept of mystical experience.

Some very interesting results came up: For example:

We found that item 12 (“Did you ever have an experience in which you realized the oneness of yourself with all things?”) yielded low commonality for Christians and Muslims. The factor loading for Hindus, by contrast, was quite high (.51).

Looks like, well, as the numbers say, Hindu’s have a greater affinity to Mysticism. Agreed. All those bloody rules and regulations in Christianity and Islam, heh. Next one:

Are there significant differences in the levels of mystical experiences between Christian, Muslim, and Hindu students?

As shown in Table 3, the experience of vertical mysticism reported by Hindus tends slightly toward ambivalence (mean 2.89), whereas Christians and Muslims affirm it as “probably yes” (means 3.13 and 3.05, respectively).

While saying that, this tends to mean that Hindu’s are more blasé about it as its more part of their worldview and day to day experience??

Next question:

Which personal (sociocultural, socioeconomic, and socioreligious) characteristics are related to the level of mystical experiences among Christian, Muslim, and Hindu college students?

Among Christian students, female students report a higher level of vertical mysticism (r  = .12). Four socioreligious characteristics are also associated with vertical mysticism: perceived favorable influence of friends, religious community, teachers/professors, and media. The association between the influence of teachers/professors on the religiosity of Christians and vertical mysticism is strongest (r = .19).

Among the Muslim students, only the socioreligious characteristics are associated with vertical mysticism: influence of relatives, religious community, teachers/professors, and media. The strongest associations are with regard to the favorable influence of relatives (r = .23) and of media (r = .20).

Among Hindu students, female respondents report a higher level of vertical mysticism (r = .10) as do those who speak the Tamil language (r  = .09). In the case of Hindus all socioreligious characteristics are significantly connected with vertical mysticism. The strongest association refers to the perceived favorable influence of teachers/professors on the religiosity of Hindu students (r = .18).

Curious divergences, eh?

Fascinating study, maybe one day I can delve deeper into this area.

No comments: