Saturday, April 07, 2018

Domestic violence and Calvinism

This article:

Jankowski, P. J., Sandage, S. J., Cornell, M. W., Bissonette, C., Johnson, A. J., Crabtree, S. A., & Jensen, M. L. (2018, March 22). Religious Beliefs and Domestic Violence Myths. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. Advance online publication.

makes the following claim:

We examined select tradition-specific religious beliefs (i.e., beliefs, informed by and consistent with the Calvinist tradition within Christianity) and beliefs about hierarchical relating, complementarian gender ideology, and specialness and certainty, and their association with DVMA [Domestic violence myth acceptance]. Findings suggested that DVMs are defined by nonacceptance of out-group members, hierarchical relationships, and gender inequality. Furthermore, given construct validation evidence for the DVMA scale, the scale may be used as a measure of the extent to which an individual holds stereotypes and prejudicial attitudes that blame the female victims of male perpetrated family violence. As such, the DVMA scale may be used to assess intolerant beliefs, which could then permit practitioners to tailor prevention and intervention strategies to target specific religious beliefs that support violence myth adherence.

It was plugged by Arminian Scot McKnight and SEA:

Unless they actually read the article rather than the abstract, it says something about their ethics that McKnight and SEA promote an article without knowing the arguments used in the body of the article to support the defamatory conclusion. Let's examine the article:

Participants were 238 students from an evangelical Protestant seminary with campuses in the midwestern and western United States. Though evangelical Protestant in affiliation, the context can be described as ecumenical (Williamson & Sandage, 2009) with faculty and students representing diverse theological beliefs. In fact, a prior study that utilized a person-centered approach to data analysis on an independent sample of students at this seminary found that participants endorsed complex combinations of Calvin- ist and complementarian gender beliefs (Sandage, Jankowski, Crabtree, & Schweer, 2017). We considered this diversity conducive to detecting significant associations among constructs, using a variable-centered analytic approach with our sample. They ranged in age from 22 to 62 years (􏰀 34.06; SD 􏰀 9.33). The sample was 41.6% female, and participants identified as 80.7% White, 13.4% Asian, 2.9% Black/African American, 5.0% Hispanic/Latino, 2.5% American-Indian/Alaskan Native (note that re- sponse options allowed participants to identify more than one ethnicity). The majority of participants (81.9%) identified current Protestant religious affiliation (e.g., 19.7% Baptist, 14.7% nondenominational, 7.1% Pentecostal/Charismatic, 5.5% Evangelical Free Church, 5.0% Presbyterian, 5.0% Lutheran, 4.6% Christian Missionary Alliance). Another 2.5% claimed no affiliation and 15.1% provided no response. It may be that the 15.1% corresponded to a “nothing in particular” group of religious adherents, estimated to represent 15.8% of the U.S. population (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2015). Approximately half of the participants were enrolled in ministry training programs (58%; master’s level degree in divinity [39.1%], ministry practice [5.0%], family ministry [3.8%], doctorate in ministry [10.1%]) and another 23.1% were enrolled in master’s degree programs in marriage and family therapy/counseling.

How in the world is that supposed to be a representative sample of Calvinists? If you want to survey the views of Calvinists, shouldn't the sample group single out Calvinists? 

The article frequently refers to a "rape myth" without defining the label. And I don't find an explicit definition of "Domestic violence myth acceptance". However, the general idea seems to be a variation on:

interpersonal violence myths (i.e., beliefs that function to rationalize, justify, and/or perpetuate men’s violence against women

of which DVMA seems to be a specific variety, viz.

stereotypes and prejudicial attitudes that blame the female victims of male perpetrated family violence

stereotypes and prejudicial beliefs about family violence, with emphasis on attributing responsibility for the violence to the female victim. 

So the allegation is apparently that Reformed theology conditions or predisposes Calvinists to "blame the female victims of male perpetrated family violence". It's hard to pin down the thesis of the authors because their wording is so elliptical. 

Interpersonal violence myths (IPVMs) are conceptually grounded in the historical feminist-informed paradigm of unidirectional heterosexual violence characterized by male dominance, control and perpetration.

Notice the ideological slant that's driving the analysis. Why do Arminians like McKnight and SEA think that's a good paradigm? 

authoritarianism, social dominance, nonegalitarian attitudes toward women

i) Of course, feminism is characterized by authoritarianism and social dominance. The elevation of women in positions of power over men. Predictably, women in positions of authority sometimes abuse their authority, viz. Kathleen Sebelius, Loretta Lynch, Rose Bird, Elena Kagan, Annise Parker, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor. Consider institutional oppression against boys in public education, fueled by feminism (e.g. Christian Hoff Sommers). Whenever one individual or class has power over another, there's the potential for oppression or abuse. 

ii) You have dominance hierarchies and high rates of domestic abuse in gay and lesbian affairs. 

Higher externally regulated religiousness demonstrated an association with increased acts of physical and psychological violence by adult males…Higginbotham, Ketring, Hibbert, Wright, and Guarino (2007) found that increased personal religiousness (i.e., church attendance, importance of religion) was associated with increased perpetration of violence.

Notice that the allegation isn't confined to Calvinism, but organized religion and church attendance generally. Once again, did McKnight and SEA actually read the article?

given that certain Christian religious beliefs have been implicated as supportive of IPVMs (Edwards et al., 2011), including beliefs historically emphasized within evangelical Protestant theology (e.g., “female submission and male headship”)…

Once more, observe how the alleged link between IPVMs and religion isn't confined to Calvinism, but traditional generic evangelical theology. 

The tradition-specific religious beliefs we examined are derived from a Christian theological tradition started by French, Protestant reformer John Calvin (1509–1564; i.e., Calvinism) that emphasizes the total depravity of humans and the unconditional election by God of some people to be saved. Calvinism seems to represent a deterministic theological system that tends to deny human agency in favor of God’s causal sovereignty over all events. 

The requires some qualifications:

i) Calvinism only denies human agency from the standpoint of freewill theism. But determinism is philosophically consistent with human agency defined by compatibilism. 

ii) In Calvinism, total depravity is moderated by common grace, regeneration, and sanctification. 

Calvinism also tends to emphasize hierarchy in divine-human relating, which corresponds to contemporary Calvinist belief in the “ordering of the social relationships and organizations of society” (Vanderwoerd, 2015, p. 136). 

i) A "hierarchy in divine-human relating" is hardly distinctive to Calvinism. In Lutheranism or freewill theism, God and his creatures aren't peers. There's a fundamental asymmetry between the Creator and the creature. The inequality between God and man is intrinsic to the nature of God and man, respectively. 

Just read some traditional hymnals, from different denominations, and notice how pervasive "the hierarchy in divine-human relating". That's standard Christian piety. Are the authors of the article so provincial and hidebound that they don't know that? 

ii) A divine-human hierarchy does not imply a corresponding man-women hierarchy. That's a complete non-sequitur. Complementarianism can simply be grounded in the distinctive nature of men and women. That doesn't mirror the relationship between God and man.  

There appears to be increased and/or renewed interest in Calvinist theology within the United States, and some have described this renewed interest as a neo-Calvinist movement (Hansen, 2008; Horton, 2010; Oppenheimer, 2014; Vanderwoerd, 2015; Vermurlen, 2016). 

That may well be. 

In addition, these scholars have argued that the contemporary Calvinist movement (or new Calvinism) “has had a significant impact on North American Christianity” (Vanderwoerd, 2015, p. 175; see also, Oppenheimer, 2014), including within evangelical Protestantism (Vermurlen, 2016). They have suggested this influence is particularly evident in the surge of conservative stances on social issues within the U.S. Gender complementarianism appears to be a core tenet of neo-Calvinism, along with beliefs about hierarchical social relations and Sovereign agency/control (Vermurlen, 2016). 

At best, that's a half truth. A divine/human hierarchy does not entail male/female hierarchical counterpart. 

Calvin’s (1856/ 1948) ideas about gender complementarianism (e.g., “woman was created afterwards . . . to render obedience to [the man] . . . God did not create two chiefs of equal power”; p. 69) while rooted in his 16th century culture seemed to focus more on women’s subordination than Martin Luther (1483–1546), another major Protestant reformer (Arts, 2013). 

Calvin's position is hardly distinctive to Calvin. Consider John Wesley's interpretation of 2 Tim 2:

2:9With sobriety - Which, in St. Paul's sense, is the virtue which governs our whole life according to true wisdom.Not with curled hair, not with gold - Worn by way of ornament.Not with pearls - Jewels of any kind: a part is put for the whole. Not with costly raiment - These four are expressly forbidden by name to all women (here is no exception) professing godliness, and no art of man can reconcile with the Christian profession the wilful violation of an express command.2:12To usurp authority over the man - By public teaching.2:13First - So that woman was originally the inferior.2:14And Adam was not deceived - The serpent deceived Eve: Eve did not deceive Adam, but persuaded him. "Thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife," Genesis 3:17 . The preceding verse showed why a woman should not "usurp authority over the man." this shows why she ought not "to teach." She is more easily deceived, and more easily deceives. The woman being deceived transgressed - "The serpent deceived" her, Genesis 3:13 , and she transgressed.2:15Yet she - That is, women in general, who were all involved with Eve in the sentence pronounced, Genesis 3:16 .Shall be saved in childbearing - Carried safe through the pain and danger which that sentence entails upon them for the transgression; yea, and finally saved, if they continue in loving faith and holy wisdom.

Conversely, consider the classic statement by Puritan (Calvinist) Matthew Henry:

That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.

The authors then say:

Calvin’s influence on gender complementarian ideas persist into the present…

Yet the authors present no evidence that Calvin's position in that regard is a major influence on contemporary Calvinists. Did they even bother to ask their Reformed respondents the source of their complementarianism? How many of the respondents have read even read Calvin's commentary on the Pastorals? 

You can be a Calvinist without reading a word of Calvin. He founded a theological tradition, spawning many distinguished Reformed theologians. In addition, layman often get their theology from popularizers like Pink, MacArthur, Horton, Sproul, Spurgeon, Boettner, and Lloyd-Jones–or creedal statements like the Westminster Confession and the Westminster Shorter Catechism. 

In addition, it's important to distinguish between the views of religious elites and the rank-and-file. 

…and there is also anecdotal evidence that neo-Calvinist beliefs might be associated with domestic violence myth adherence, given statements made by proponents of the movement. For example, John Piper, a leading contemporary neo-Calvinist author and pastor, rearticulates Calvin’s explicit counsel and suggests that women should endure violence from their husbands (at least temporarily) unless it is life threatening (though it is not clear who should assess the degree of danger; see Eaandfaith, 2009; Piper, 2012).

i) It's fallacious to use anecdotal evidence to justify generalizations. 

ii) Why assume that there's any relationship between Piper's Calvinism and his complementarianism? He came of age in the Deep South when traditional gender roles were taken for granted. The origin of his complementarianism may well be the old Southern chivalric code. 

iii) In addition, his position on battered wives doesn't necessarily have anything to do with complementarianism–much less Calvinism. Traditional Protestant theology acknowledges just two biblical grounds for divorce: adultery (Mt 5:32; 19:9) and desertion (1 Cor 7:15). If you think those are only two permissible grounds for divorce, then that severely limits the options a pastor can offer a battered wife. That's not based on complementarianism, but a traditional interpretation regarding the licit grounds for divorce. 

I myself take a more flexible position. I doubt Jesus intended to address every conceivable situation in his statement. He wasn't asked a question about a wife who unwittingly marries a serial killer or an active homosexual. There are lots of circumstances which his statement doesn't attempt to cover.

Moreover, Scripture classifies marriage as a covenant, but parties to a covenant can be in breach of covenant, which may void the covenant. 

Calvinistic beliefs. We used 6 items from the Calvinist-Arminian Beliefs Scale (CABS; Sorenson, 1981) that assess a particular strand of Christian religious belief, that of Calvinistic beliefs about Divine-human relating. Sample Calvinism items were “Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only” and “God eternally perseveres in His faithfulness with those whom He has chosen” (with items rated 1 [disagree strongly] to 6 [agree strongly]). Higher scores reflected greater adherence to Calvinism. Construct validity evidence was previously observed through predicted associations with convergent and divergent constructs (Sorenson, 1981). In the current study, the Cronbach’s alpha for the six items was .82.

And what's the logical connection between that and domestic violence? There isn't any. 

Consider charges of sexual harassment at atheist conferences, perpetrated by male "feminists".

Existential defensiveness. We assessed the extent to which participants repress existential anxiety through belief in God’s control, special protection and provision using the 22-item self-report Defensive Theology Scale (DTS; Beck, 2004, 2006). The DTS has demonstrated internal consistency and evidence of con-struct validation (Beck, 2006). Sample items included “God has a very specific plan for my life that I must search for and find,” and “When making a choice or tough decision, God gives me clear answers and directions.” Items were rated from 1 (disagree strongly) to 7 (agree strongly). Higher scores represented more belief in God’s control, special protection and provision. Cronbach’s alpha for the DTS in this study was .88.

i) Although Calvinism does affirm that "God has a very specific plan for one's life,' that's true for elect and reprobate alike. Moreover, it doesn't follow that "I must search for and find [that plan]”. Doing God's will, in the decretive sense, doesn't presume one must be privy to God's "very specific plan" for one's life. 

Again, Calvinism doesn't teach that "When making a choice or tough decision, God gives me clear answers and directions." 

These sample items have at least as much in common with charismatics, many of whom are freewill theists. 

One methodological error is the failure of the authors to distinguish between Calvinism and the folk theology of lay Calvinists, which may be unrelated to Reformed theology. There's a difference between Reformed theology and the adventitious beliefs of lay Calvinists. 

ii) In addition, what's the logical connection between "existential defensiveness" and domestic violence. There isn't any. 

Relational hierarchy expectations. We used the 8-item self-report Interpersonal Hierarchy Expectation Scale (IHES; Mast, 2005) to assess the degree to which persons expect “dominance hierarchies to be present or to form in interpersonal interactions or relationships” (p. 287; sample item: “Every group needs to have someone with extra power or authority to be sure things get done properly,” with items rated 1 [disagree strongly] to 6 [agree strongly]). Evidence supporting reliability and construct validity for the IHES has been observed (Mast, 2005). Cronbach’s alpha for the IHES in the current study was .74.

i) Once again, how does that select for Calvinists? 

ii) Presumably, the authors of the article all subscribe to human evolution. But in that event, the source of dominance hierarchies isn't religion but ancestral instinctual primate behavior. 

Complementarian beliefs. We used the 10 items comprising the complementarian subscale from the Egalitarian-Complementarian Scale (ECS; Colaner & Warner, 2005; Colaner & Giles, 2008) to assess select Christian beliefs about gender in marital relationships. A sample item is “Marriage should be a relationship of leader (husband) and follower (wife)” (rated from 1 ([always true] to 7 [never true]). Higher scores reflect greater belief in complementarianism. Evidence supporting construct validity was found in theoretically predicted associations between subscales and measures of career and mothering aspirations (Colaner & Warner, 2005; Colaner & Giles, 2008). Cronbach’s alpha for the complementarian subscale in this study was .89.

Historically, complementarianism has been the default position of most denominations and Christian traditions. And as of now, aren't most Confessional Lutherans complementarians? Likewise, many evangelical Baptists who reject Calvinism espouse complementarianism. 

Social justice advocacy. We measured commitment to social justice advocacy using a 3-item scale adapted from the Faith Maturity Scale (FMS; Benson, Donahue, & Erickson, 1993): (1) “I care a great deal about reducing poverty in the United States and throughout the world,” (2) “I speak out for equality for women,” and (3) “I speak out for equality for people of color.” Items were endorsed on a scale from 1 (never true) to 7 (always true), with higher scores representing greater social justice advocacy. The three items had an internal consistency 􏰁 of .81.

i) Are they using "social justice advocacy" as a euphemism for the LGBT agenda, Black Lives Matter, distributive justice (Rawls), intersectionality, &c.? If so, it's true that many Calvinists reject that because they're politically conservative, but that's true for Christian conservatives generally–as well as libertarians. 

ii) In general, conservatives believe in equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome. 

iii) Furthermore, modern-day Calvinism has competing political philosophies, viz. Kuyper, Two-Kingdoms.  

In addition, we observed a significant positive association between the latent construct of Calvinist beliefs and the latent construct of hierarchical relationality, which suggests that belief in Divine–human hierarchical relating corresponds to expectations of hierarchical relating in interpersonal relationships…

Complementarianism isn't fundamentally hierarchical. Rather, it's based on the principle that while men and women can do many of the same things equally well, men and women normally have physical and psychological differences which equip men to do some things better than women and women to do some things better than men. So there's a partial division of labor. That will manifest itself at the leadership level, but it's not a prescription for universal male dominance. 

…and belief in the specialness of one’s in-group identity. The construct of existential defensiveness is oriented toward epistemological certainty, and existential defensiveness has demonstrated a negative association with quest religious motivation (i.e., openness, exploration; Beck, 2006). Beck (2006) also found that those scoring high in existential defensiveness showed bias against out-group religious persons. Thus, belief in the specialness of one’s relation to God appears to foster exclusion toward out-group members (i.e., separation of the “not I” from the “I;” see Volf, 1996). The significant positive association between Calvinist beliefs and hierarchical relationality also supports the idea that particular Christian beliefs about Divine-human relating (e.g., beliefs in unconditional election and predestination of certain individuals for eternal life)…

i) To begin with, the distinction between elect and reprobate is essentially invisible. 

ii) Calvinism stressed God's demerited grace. "There but for the grace of God go I". 

iii) How does what the authors describe distinguish Calvinism in particular from Christian exclusivism in general?

iv) Domestic violence involves members of the in-group, not the in-group in relation to the out-group. Family members are members of the in-group. So the in-group/out-group dichotomy is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand.

v) By the "out-group", do the authors have in mind homosexuals, transgendered, illegal immigrants, Muslim immigrants? If so, they're using this article as a pretext to propagandize for the social agenda of secular progressives. 

Within this framework, individuals may relate to God as a way to self-soothe affective states, and the regulation of interpersonal togetherness and separateness impulses manifests as a dialectic between dwelling and seeking. Intra- and interpersonal self-regulatory aspects intersect with attachment theory in the form of safe haven (i.e., dwelling; that is, increasing perceived closeness with God during time of distress) and secure base functions (i.e., seeking; that is, exploration during times of nondistress; inter-personally distancing in order to question and experiment with change from a position of felt security).

So much psychobabble. 

The emerging religious leader can be encouraged to target specific religious beliefs that may undergird the intolerance displayed by IPVM adherence in oneself and others. Current violence prevention and intervention strategies already work toward changing individuals’ belief in specific IPVMs (Aosved & Long, 2006; Edwards et al., 2011), and it seems that there may be added benefit to also encouraging the critical reflection and exploration of the religious beliefs tied to IPVM adherence...Challenging religious beliefs introduces uncertainty, and those religious beliefs may function to reduce anxiety for the individual. Not only are religious beliefs deeply held aspects of identity that meet basic personal needs, religious beliefs are tied to community level supports and practices (Edwards et al., 2011). Hence, self-of-the-practitioner training and violence prevention and intervention efforts may need to move beyond the individual level and involve a coordinated community level response in order to be effective (Nason-Clark et al., 2009).

Observe how that lays the groundwork for gov't intervention. They claim that certain religious beliefs foster domestic violence. That easily becomes an excuse for gov't to move in to crack down on this alleged threat to public safety. 

The whole article is an exercise in innuendo rather than logical or empirical reasoning. A smear job. They never produce any actual evidence that Calvinists "blame the female victims of male perpetrated family violence."


  1. There are some real problems in how they formulate things, but I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as you say. At several points I think you're misreading the structure of the article and what each piece is doing in their presentation.

    1. You point to their entire sample (not the Calvinist part but all of it) and complain that it isn't Calvinism. I don't understand the complaint. That's the point. If they don't have any controls to see how other groups respond to the same questions, then it's not a scientific study. The correlation they're trying to find is between Calvinists and whatever they're looking for, and they need to see that Calvinists have a higher rate of it than other people do, so they need that larger sample size for comparison.

    2. The stuff about violence and religiousness isn't their work. They're just pointing to it to situate what they're doing among the stuff we already know from other studies. Their study was looking at something more specific.

    3. They do seem to be particularly poor at representing what Calvinists actually believe and distinguishing it from any other theological formulations. They should have worked with actual theologians in formulating their questions, particularly when the people they were surveying were seminary students. Philosophers and sociologists regularly work together when doing studies of sociological differences on questions of philosophical import. They could not do this properly without working with people who know the theological questions a lot better than they did.

    4. A good amount of complementarian reasoning today does explicitly ground the gender differences in mirroring role relationships in the Trinity (in I Cor 11, for example) and between God and humanity, particularly between Christ and the church (in Eph 5, for example). But you're right that one could be a complementarian without having those reasons. Grounding it in actual factual differences between men and women is sometimes how complementarians do it, although a number of very influential complementarians today will insist that those differences are not sufficient to ground complementarianism (e.g. Don Carson, to take one very influential complementarian). At any rate, one of the things they were testing for is whether there is any correlation between the Calvinist beliefs they highlight and the hierarchical thinking they highlight, and their result is that there is some correlation. (I'm not a statistician, so I don't know what the numbers mean. They look like low numbers to me, though, as if there's a slight correlation but a statistically real one. Can anyone comment on that?)

    1. "1. You point to their entire sample (not the Calvinist part but all of it) and complain that it isn't Calvinism. I don't understand the complaint. That's the point. If they don't have any controls to see how other groups respond to the same questions, then it's not a scientific study. The correlation they're trying to find is between Calvinists and whatever they're looking for, and they need to see that Calvinists have a higher rate of it than other people do, so they need that larger sample size for comparison."

      But it's a small sample to begin with, and the Calvinist subset is a fraction of the overall sample, so why think that's a large enough sample of Calvinists to be representative?

      "A good amount of complementarian reasoning today does explicitly ground the gender differences in mirroring role relationships in the Trinity (in I Cor 11, for example)"

      There's the eternal functional subordination faction of complementarians, but I don't know how widespread that was. In Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (1991), which was a founding document of the complementation movement, there were already scientific arguments for complementarianism:

      Chapter 16: Biology The Biological Basis for Gender-Specific Behavior Gregg Johnson (Bethel College, St. Paul)

      Chapter 17: Psychology Psychological Foundations for Rearing Masculine Boys and Feminine Girls George Alan Rekers (University of S. Carolina School of Medicine)

      Chapter 18: Sociology The Inevitability of Failure: The Assumptions and Implementations of Modern Feminism David Ayers (The King’s College)

      So even in that pioneering stage of the formulation, it wasn't necessary to use the Trinity as a template. Human nature was sufficient.

  2. 5. They do not say anything that I noticed about Calvinism and complementarianism going hand in hand logically, as if they were confusing the two or thinking complementarianism is part of Calvinism. It looked like they were seeing if there was a correlation between Calvinism and violence narratives/social justice views, and then they were independently looking for a correlation between complementarianism and violence narratives/social justice views. They did notice some correlation between Calvinism and complementarianism too. Particularly, Calvinism and complementarianism occur together at a higher rate than Calvinism and egalitarianism or non-Calvinism and complementarianism. And that correlation should not be surprising, given the people I know in all these categories.

    6. The Piper thing isn't being used as an argument for anything other than as an indication that there might be something to indicate a reason to look into this. It's in the section of the paper explaining the concepts and their reason why they were pursuing this to begin with. You're right about a lot of what you say there, but it's not being used as an argument for anything other than to explain why they were interested in this subject to begin with. Their argument is that there appears to be anecdotal evidence that a correlation might occur, so they wanted to investigate whether there actually is one.

  3. 7. Your objection to their criteria for figuring out who counts as a Calvinist is that there is no logical connection between that and domestic violence. I'm not sure what you are getting at here. When they gave their larger sample above, you criticized it as not being Calvinism. But it was never intended to be. When you get to the part where they define who in the survey counts as a Calvinist, you don't say anything about it other than to say there's no logical connection between those views and violence, which of course is obviously true. But they aren't asserting any. All they're doing is defining who counts as Calvinist in the survey. You repeat the same charge about their very weird existential defensiveness category. But all they're doing there is defining what they mean by a term. They're not asserting any logical connections. Then when they define the relational hierarchy group, you complain that it doesn't select for Calvinism. But they're not trying to. They're defining another variable that they can check for correlation with violence narratives and social justice, as they define those terms.

    8. When they define the social justice advocacy group, they say outright how they determine who is in that group. They give them only three questions: whether they care a great deal about reducing poverty, whether they speak out for the equality of women, and whether they speak out for the equality of all people of color. There's nothing there about LGBT stuff, BLM, intersectionality, or distributive justice. It's a well-defined category. I don't see the problem with seeing whether people who respond to those questions positively correlates negatively or positively with some other factor.

    9. When it comes to the actual study, it does show a correlation between Calvinism and the relational hierarchy thing. What that means is that the relational hierarchy view is more common among Calvinists than among some of the other groups. They also discovered that the relational hierarchy view correlates more strongly with the domestic violence views and the social justice views they were looking for. And the interesting result is that the extent to which Calvinism tracks with the latter two things is close enough to the extent to which it tracks with relational hierarchy views, such that they think that's the method by which Calvinism correlates with those other things. I don't have a clue about whether their numbers actually show this, since I know nothing about the mathematics of statistics, but the interesting conclusion they draw is that Calvinism is not in fact doing the work in giving people the bad views about domestic violence and social justice. It's relational hierarchy that's doing that. They say Calvinism correlates with those but only indirectly through relational hierarchy. With Calvinists who don't have that, they say there's a lowered result with the domestic violence stuff and social justice stuff. I didn't see any attempt to check for the group of complementarians who did have complementarianism but did not have the social hierarchy thing, so they may have ignored a huge class of people who may or may not correlate as well with what they're checking for. But with what they say their study does show, it seems Calvinism is actually exonerated. I suspect if we could check their data, complementarianism might be too, but it looks to me that they didn't bother to check for the one combination that would tell us that. It's the relational hierarchy thing that seems to be doing all the work.

  4. I'm curious whether this is meant to imply that relational hierarchy is the cause of said activity. It seems by their proposed remedy to attack the religious believes that "undergird" such behavior evidences this. I sense a non sequitur if the fallacy of correlation implying causation is being employed. Perhaps relational hierarchy creates masculinity and relational equality reduces it. The sins of those who are more masculine would certainly be the abuse of masculinity, where the sins of those who are less masculine would not take upon itself this expression as much. Whatever may be, as said before, correlation does not imply causation.

  5. I think all they're saying is that there's a higher percentage of these bad beliefs among those who score higher on the relational hierarchy measure. They are taking the explanation for that to be religious beliefs, but I don't think they're saying this particular set of beliefs is the cause. What's far more likely is that a certain cultural context has those bad beliefs more prevalent in it, and it also includes relational hierarchy. I imagine both are more common in the South, for example, than in other parts of the country. I expect the more foaming at the mouth Reformed circles will have both in higher amounts than other Reformed circles. The alt right is mostly dominated by atheist bigots, but the ones that are more Calvinistic are going to be a large part of the skewing of Calvinism in that direction in these sorts of studies.

  6. Actually, there's a pretty big struggle between Arminians and Calvinists among, specifically, *southern* Baptists. For a long time I would have said that southern Baptists were more likely to be Arminian than Calvinist. That may be changing now, but it just sounds to me like the designers of the study don't know much about religious anthropology in the U.S.