Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Bruce Hunsberger

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The present study attempted to account for previous contradictory findings with regard to the relationship between religiosity and the belief that the world is a just place. There were 252 participants who each completed a questionnaire containing the manipulations of a 2 X 2 X 3 factorial experiment and a number of measures used for a correlational analysis. Part 1 found that varying the salience of religion influenced victim derogation (a common index of the belief in a just world) in high and low religious participants differently. Low religious participants only derogated an ill person relative to a healthy person when religion was not salient. It is argued that these findings are accounted for by the fact that the salience of religion evokes just world beliefs in the highly religious and benevolence in the weakly religious. This is qualified by the fact that the use of definitions of religiosity other than Christian Orthodoxy as well as dependent variables that controlled for the tendency to generally like others resulted in only a derogation effect overall with no interactions with religiosity or the salience of religion. In Part two, we found no overall correlation between measures of religiosity and the belief in a just world. Problem solving style (with or without God), the tendency to see God and religion as care as opposed to justice oriented, and religious denomination all provided some rare instances in which religiosity and the belief in a just world correlated either negatively or positively. Generally, though, religiousness and just world beliefs were not significantly related. It is concluded that overall quantifications of religiosity may be related to indices and measures of the belief in a just world only under specific circumstances. Depending on the nature of an individuals’ religiousness, they may be either positively or negatively related. It may be that most often they simply are not related at all.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season