Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Arthur J. Riopelle


Individuals' religious beliefs were examined in terms of their effect on one's positions on various social issues. Beliefs regarding salvation were chosen as beliefs central to a Christian faith. Locus of control and Protestant work ethic were included as related concepts. A sample of Christian (primarily Protestant) seminary students was selected in this study in order to include individuals who are more likely to have actively considered both their theology and their beliefs on social policies. Most of the seminarians expressed a significantly internal locus of control and some acceptance of the concepts included in the Protestant work ethic. Most also endorsed a traditional view of salvation as a being freed from sins by the action of Jesus, but many also endorsed views of salvation that accented the role of the person in his/her own salvation. Most participants endorsed social policy positions consistent with governmental assistance with basic existence, i.e., housing, education, and health care. Regression analyses were, in general, weak. Few social policy positions were related to salvation beliefs: The Protestant work ethic concepts were found to be more related to positions on social policies than were religious beliefs regarding salvation. Rejection of the concepts of the Protestant work ethic was related to support for governmental assistance in basic life needs such as education and housing. It is suggested that religious concepts may be related to social policy choices, but these beliefs may be more temporal in nature. That is, perhaps, how the individual sees his/her responsibility in living the tenets of his/her faith in the world is more critical than core religious beliefs.