Identity, “Identology” and World Religions


Identity serves as a vehicle for World Religions (WRs), and WRs are indispensable in the study of identity—Identology. The concept “identity” itself has become an overly used deflationary term that has lost some of its connotation, authenticity, or effectiveness. The claim for a persistent identity is slowly becoming scarce or often illusory. This paper explores the meanings and manifestations of the terms “identity” and “identification,” and then reintroduces “sense of identity” as a more evocative construct for the 21st century, especially in the context of WRs. Sense of Identity is then operationalized into three primary components: 1) personal beliefs, 2) communal attributes, and 3) sociopolitical attitudes, or for the sake of brevity, beliefs, attributes, and attitudes. These three key components furnish a concentric model with beliefs at the core, attributes surrounding that core, and attitudes at the periphery. But this theoretical model is incomplete without a second pivotal structure of concentric circles drawn from different perceptions of Sense of History, with the personal view of history at the core, the communal view of history surrounding that core, and the dominant historiography inhabiting the periphery. These two structures may differ in their configuration from one person or community to another, and from one time to another, but they interact with, shape, and are shaped by, each other. Eventually, the two structures merge into one coherent, sensible, and emancipatory model for any discourse on WRs.

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Swayd, S. (2014) Identity, “Identology” and World Religions. Open Journal of Philosophy, 4, 30-43. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.41006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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