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Research Article

Belief as Lived Relations


Dirk Hutsebaut

Psychologisch Instituut Tiensestraat 102 3000 Leuven, BE
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The results of classic measurements of religious attitude pose difficulties for psychological interpretation. This article describes a research project on the relation to God as it is lived. Based on interviews on belief, seven forms of relations are traced: dependence, autonomy, rebelliousness, guilt, identification, co-humanity, and ethical norm. Along with this, we examine acceptance and rejection of dogmas, importance attached to religion, and fear of uncertainty. The basic hypothesis is that forms of relations better distinguish subgroups than the measurement of acceptance and rejection of the various articles of belief. The hypothesis is confirmed for a number of significant variables such as socio-economic grouping. We tried to validate the instrument by correlating it with a Personality Test (VIR). The relation to God and to the other shows important similarities. In a last part we tried to understand, using Hermans’ Confrontation Method, the remarkable structure of the relations to God of a low socio-economic group.

How to Cite: Hutsebaut, D., 1980. Belief as Lived Relations. Psychologica Belgica, 20(1), pp.33–47. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 1980.
Peer Reviewed


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