Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Member

Zhuo J Chen

Committee Member

Mary Anne Taylor

Committee Member

Ceren Gunsoy


Within the United States, there is an observable phenomenon that for many individuals Christianity and secularism are two incompatible and opposed rationalities. However, there is currently no conclusive evidence to explain the resultant conflict between religion and science. The current project aimed to establish causal relationships between analytical thinking and religiosity and build an explanatory model with defensiveness against secularism as the mediator for this association. Religious individuals reject secularism because they see it as a threat to their religious belief, value systems, and society at large. They perceive secularism as an abject rejection of those religious values they hold as important, and as a result they consciously and unconsciously resist cognitive strategies related to scientific reasoning. However, this study did not find support for the previously established negative relationship between analytic thinking and religiosity, even though Christians did find secularism to be a threat to their beliefs. Instead, there appeared to be a disconnect in individuals’ construals of their religiosity and secular reasoning. Further research is necessary to assess the generalizability of previous claims of a robust, negative association between religiosity and analytic thinking, and how dissonant cultural beliefs impact behavior.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.