The oneness beliefs scale: Connecting spirituality with pro-environmental behavior

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The inherent unity of all phenomena, or oneness, is a central concept of mysticism, but there have heretofore been no measures of oneness beliefs. We developed the Oneness Beliefs Scale, with spiritual and physical oneness subscales. The spiritual oneness subscale fills a need in the field for a short, reliable measure of spirituality not characterized by the language of traditional Western religiousness. The physical oneness subscale allows researchers to juxtapose spiritual beliefs with a nonspiritual, materialist counterpart. We found that spiritual oneness beliefs were more strongly related to mystic experiences and spirituality than to traditional religiousness. Physical oneness was not strongly associated with either religiousness or spirituality. Both spiritual and physical oneness were positively associated with pro-environmental attitudes but not with depression, anxiety, or negative affect. Spiritual oneness was a better predictor of pro-environmental attitudes than was religiousness. Spiritual oneness also predicted donating to a pro-environmental group, making this to our knowledge the first empirical study to show a positive association between a religion or spirituality measure and observed, rather than self-reported, pro-environmental behavior. © 2014 The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

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