Religious identities : self-identification and denominational affiliation.




Rhodes, Jeremy R.

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Although a substantial body of theory addresses identity as both a social and individual phenomenon, this literature has largely neglected religious identity. The studies that do explore religious identity often operationalize religious identity as denominational affiliation rather than as a religious label chosen by the individual as a self-descriptor. This study will examine data from the 2005 and 2007 waves of the Baylor Religion Survey, as well as multi-level data from the 2001 U.S. Congregational Life Survey, to explore religious identity as a subjective religious label chosen by survey respondents. Religious identity will be analyzed as both a shaper of religious and non-religious facets of our lives, and as the result of demographic and congregational forces. Findings indicate that religious identity is not merely a reflection of denominational affiliation, but is deserving of greater exploration as a type of self-identification.