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Zorica Kuburi

Ana Kuburi
Faculty of Philosophy
University of Novi Sad

Original scientific paper


UDK: 159.922.8:159.923.2
Received: 27. 04. 2006.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SECULAR AND SPIRITUAL


IDENTITY

Razlike izmeu svetovnog i duhovnog identiteta


APSTRAKT U ovom radu opredelile smo se za empirijsko istraivanje u transferzalnom
preseku sadanjeg trenutka u Srbiji u kome pratimo ulogu religije u procesu formiranja
identiteta. Pole smo od pitanja: Na koje aspekte slike o sebi posebno utie religija? Po
emu se sve razlikuju oni koji su orijentisani ka svetovnim, a po emu oni koji su orijentisani
ka duhovnim vrednostima, i da li su te razlike bitne? Uzorkom su obuhvaeni uenici
gimnazije i uenici bogoslovije Srpske Pravoslavne Crkve, oni koji su orijentisani ka
svetnovnim zanimanjima i oni koji su se opredelili za duhovne vrednosti i poziv unutra njega.
Od statistikih postupaka raene su korelacije i diskriminantna analiza. Rezultati ukazuju da
su razlike izmeu svetovnog i duhovnog identiteta vidljive u slici o sebi koju imaju mladi i
koja se odnosi na kontrolu vlastitog ponaanja. Moralnost, seksualnost i krivica su take
razdvajanja populacije mladih onda kada religioznost nije samo deo deklarativnog iskaza.
KLJUNE REI adolescenti, identitet, pravoslavlje, bogoslovi, moralnost, sekularizacija
ABSTRAKT We have chosen this empirical research and a transversal section of the
current moment in Serbia, integrating religion, individual identity, and the process of
secularization. We have used the comparative method in our research of differences and
their contribution to the atmosphere that currently prevails in Serbia. We also researched
differences between high school students and students of the Theology Seminary of the
Serbian Orthodox Church. Through statistical data processing we composed graphs which
represent two groups within the youth population: those oriented towards secular
professions, and those oriented towards a spiritual vocation. We wondered whether these
differences are present only in students who are religious as opposed to those who are from
the same school but not religious. What connects believers and makes them different from
those who are not religious? The results show that differences between secular and spiritual
identity are visible in the self-image, which is possessed by the young and especially
referring to the control of one's own behaviour. We find that there is a connection between
religiosity, morality, sexuality and guilt.

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KEY WORDS
secularization

SOCIOLOGIJA, Vol. XLVIII (2006), N 1

adolescents,

identity,

orthodoxy,

theological

students,

morality,

Preface
There is a need to understand what has been happening in both our society
and our personal lives in this period of great transformation in Eastern Europe over
the last 15 years. In the field of Social Psychology and Sociology of Religion, we
tried to find the psychological consequences of religious belief in adolescence, and
the differences between orthodox theology students and the secular population.
There is also a need to understand the unique organisation of the
characteristics which create personality. Although each individual is unique,
everything that creates one person is present in others as well, but organized in
different ways, both quantitatively and qualitatively. This wealth of variations
creates a need for qualifications to make the understanding of humankind easier.
An image of self as a whole unique creature is a goal always strived for,
including its discernment through the analysis of particular psychological processes.
And every individual is for himself/herself one of the most outstanding objects from
experience. It is often necessary to identify which social group someone belongs to,
and what role he/she plays. Belonging to gender, profession, social stratum, and
national, religious, political or some other adherences reveals the essence of our
personality and makes a central dimension or characteristics that are both marginal
and passing.
First of all, in this work we wanted to direct our research toward the complete
self-image that an individual develops during the formation of his/her identity. The
questions we try to answer are: What is self-image? What are the elements of selfimage that are present in all young people regardless of their religious affiliation?
What are the differences between those directed toward secular and those directed
toward spiritual values? Are these differences significant?
Beside theoretical definitions of terms which are present in both psychology
and sociology, we also want to find answers to these questions in experimental
research, and in that way to contribute to a better understanding of this problem. As
we have participated in research of the Centre for Empirical Research of Religion
(CEIR) during the project "Religion and the Young", we will use one part of that
research in this work.

Zorica Kuburi, Ana Kuburi: Differences Between Secular and Spiritual Identity

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Self-image between secular and spiritual identity


Observing the world around them while growing up, the young look at
themselves in it, seeking answers to the questions: "Who am I"," Where is my
place", and "How am I accepted?". Continous communication with parents, peers
and teachers provides answers to those questions, which gradually gather, forming
self-consciousness.
"The conscience about self is a part of personality's structure of every person,
for it influences how our features will form, how our characteristics will manifest
and develop. Self-conscience develops gradually. Contents of self-conscience
depend on expressed estimations of others about us and our values. If these
estimations are positive, the self-image is more positive, and feeling of security and
self-respect is stronger'' (Rot & Radonji, 2000: 141).
The theories of personality that try to draw us to the truth about personality,
its structure and function, are numerous. Regarding the usage of the terms superego, ego and id in this text, we will provide explanations in the frame of the psychoanalitical theory of Sigmund Freud. According to him, the strength of one person is
in ego, which is, on one side, under the influence of id- biological drives, and on the
other, under the influence of super-ego, moral demands, which are learnt first of all
from parents, while religions then provide the social context for moral norms. In that
way the personality has an opportunity to determine the holding to internal demands,
measuring them according to the demands coming from the internalized conscience.
The strength of personality and self-respect are hidden in a person's ablity to balance
these powerful forces.
Id is the innovative (creative) component contenting drives, a reservoir of
psychic energy, which serves other activities and processes in personality. Id does
not know rules or norms; it works elementally. The principle acknowledged by id is
that of satisfaction. Id functions within this principle, which makes it impulsive,
irrational and narcissistic.
Ego is the headquarters of the intellectual functions, active in the process of
testing reality. Plans and actions are defined through the cognitive process, in order
to come to objects which can satisfy drives in the best way without endangering
anyone. Therefore, the ego is an executive organ, controlling actions, selecting, and
choosing behaviour according to the principle of reality. Driven by the energy of id
and guided according to the demands of reality, ego must be strong or integrated in
order to survive. Sometimes, ego begins to fall apart and looses its integrity because
of the excessively strong demands of id, which are opposed to reality.
If it develops at all, superego develops last, in the process of socialisation. It
originates under the influence of society and enables life in it. The superego is the

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SOCIOLOGIJA, Vol. XLVIII (2006), N 1

moral guardian of personality and its main function is to judge what is good or not in
a person's behaviour and conduct. In the superego, Freud identifies two parts:
conscience and ego-ideal. The conscience functions to and is capable of punishing
an individual for actions not in harmony with social norms, judging proposed
actions by moral prohibitions, feelings of guilt and sin. The conscience reacts when
behaviour is not in harmony with ideals. The ego-ideal regulates the behaviour of
personality in the way it sets on personal goals and aspirations, which, when
acquired, cause feelings of pride and self value. Accordingly, conscience represents
social prohibitions and punishments, while the ego-ideal represents praise and
permission. Only when both are developed, the superego is mature and capable of
totally replacing the parents, thus enabling self-control.
Superego, the object of all world religions, does not function on the principle
of reality, yet strives for ideals. Therefore it comes into conflict with id, ego and
reality. Thus the ego functions to manage the behaviour of personality, and special
significance is given to its strength. Ericsson (1950) and other psychologists have
created the concept of the creative ego, which finds solutions in every period in life
and in every situation.
Id, ego and superego do not represent separate structures of personality with
independent existence, yet they are the marks of specific processes within
personality and of specific strengths which are active. The concept of id, ego and
superego, as well as the concept of different levels of consicence can merge together
and be shown in graphs, as Fulgosi (1981) and Raki (1983) did.
The term self has a long history in psychology and has been defined
differently. Sometimes, attitudes and feelings which an individual has for
him/herself were understood under this term. In other definitions, this term was
understood as the group of psychological processes that govern the behaviour of
others. The first concepts were called "own me as an object", and the second "own
me as a process". The first are closer to the Rodgers' self, and the second to Freud's
ego. Hilgard has included subconscious attitudes. In that way, self became capable
of self-deception and was tied to feelings of guilt, which could influence it.
Beside his/her own self, every individual has the image of his/her own ideal
self. It represents what every individual wants to be. In certain aspects, the ideal me
of Rodgers corresponds with the superego of Freud. Ideal self and real self can be in
different mutual relations. According to Rodgers, when there is no coordination
between ideal and real self this can cause non-adjusted behaviour and feelings of
discontent (Fulgosi, 1981).
The term self originates from the process of differentiation, from the entire
experience of the individual. This term consists of conscious perceptions and values
concerning self. Self signifies understanding which an individual has about
him/herself and his/her personality. According to Fulgosi, self is a kind of image or

Zorica Kuburi, Ana Kuburi: Differences Between Secular and Spiritual Identity

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idea about oneself. Important elements of this term are the consciousness of
existence ( I am) and of function (I can).
Self-image as part of a personality's structure has also its own structure.
Namely, it concerns the social mirror. An individual looks at him/herself in others,
like in a mirror. The structure of personality differs from the structure of self-image,
yet this image is not alienated from personality, it is a constitutional part, which is
always redefined.
According to Offer's theory (Ofer et al., 1982), variables of self-image can be
classified into 5 groups, which are characteristic for adolescents and represent the
framework of the identity's formation. We have added to that structure the religious
self, and variables that represent it and refer to the theistic view of the world, church
loyalty, and religious practice, which integrates belief and behaviour.
Psychological self:
1. Impulse Control is a variable that measures the strength of the ego
apparatus, the defence from pressures from internal and external environment,
managing aggressive and sexual energies. Maturity represents moderate aggression
without reactions of anger and hatred, but also without fear of reacting.
2. Emotional Tone measures emotional stability within opposite emotions
when feelings hesitate.
3. Body and Self-image measures adaptation to changes of appearance. During
life, the feeling of one's own body remains the place of support for selfconsciousness.
Social self:
4. Social Relationships measure objective relations and friendships, feelings
of loneliness and isolation, and the ability to empathise with others. This concerns
relations between the adolescent and significant others.
5. Morals measure the degree of development of conscience and superego.
Maturity is also shown through moral attitudes and behaviour; it demands tolerance
and vigilance for the demands of moral beings.
6. Vocational and Educational Goals measure the extent to which an
adolescent has succeeded to fulfill the task of studying and planning a professional
future.
Sexual self:
7. Sexual Attitudes measure the feelings, attitudes and behaviour of
adolescents towards the opposite sex (openness- reserve).
Family self:

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SOCIOLOGIJA, Vol. XLVIII (2006), N 1

8. Family Relationships are the feelings and attitudes toward family, the
prevailing emotional climate in family, and communication.
Adaptional self:
9. Mastery of the External World, represents the overcoming of frustrations
and shows the ability to adapt to everyday events and troubles and tolerance
regarding frustrations.
10. Psychological Health Psychopathology assesses psychical stability.
11. Superior Adjustment measures the extent to which an adolescent copes
with him/herself, significant others and with his/her world. It also measuers the
strength of ego.
Religious self:
12. Trust in God,
13. Theistic view of the world,
15. Loyalty to the church,
16. Religious practice.
In our psychology, there is not much stated about religious self and religiosity
in general. What we have found is Spranger's typology of personality according to
dominant values. The religious type of personality expresses high interest in
understanding and comprehending the uniqueness of the universe. Individuals in
whom this kind of interest prevails love to deal with mystical experiences and try to
reveal something divine in every phenomenon (Stojakovi, 2002: 161).
Importance of self-image
Havelka (2000) writes that a person is not realistic in assessing his/her own
characteristics; he/she always underestimates or overestimates them. Realistic selfimage is knowledge about one's own experiences and a realistic estimation of one's
own characteristics. Self-image is the foundation for important characteristics of
personality: the experience of identity, integrity and peculiarity of every particular
characteristic. Identity represents our knowledge and certainty that we are the same
personality in different situations and different periods of time. Integrity or
uniqueness of personalities present mutual connections and dependence of our
experiences and characteristics, and their mutual influence. This allows for relative
harmony of these characteristics and experiences of self as a unique person. The
peculiarity of personality exists not only as manifested behaviour but also as
experience. As objective reality, it means the peculiarity of every person and his/her
differences from every other person. As an experience, it represents not only the

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consciousness about particularity, but also the difference from other persons.
(Havelka, 2000: 141)
Is it necessary that a person respects him/herself? From what sources does an
individual obtain a positive self-image? What are defence mechanisms for if it is not
natural that a person protects his/her fairly positive self-image? According to Maslov
(1982), the need for love is a precondition for work on oneself. In contrast to Freud,
who emphasized the sexual drive in the feeling of love, Maslov claims that the
components of love are mutual respect, admiration, and trust. Love creates the
feeling of one's own value. Love fulfills one with feelings of friendship, fullness,
and usefulness. Without love an individual feels empty, useless and rejected. The
need for self respect is in fourth place in the hierarchy of needs and reveals when the
need for love and affiliation is satisfied. The need for self-respect means that an
individual wants to consider him/herself as worthy, able to cope with tasks and
difficulties and to solve them successfully. Maslov claims that the healthiest means
of self-respect is that based on the respect of others, earned by one's work, and not
based on status or talk (Fulgosi, 1981: 259). Depending on the particular situation
one goes up and down the hierarchy ladder of motives. In that way the same conduct
of parents at one moment causes a need for love, and when this need is satisfied,
parental care diminishes self-respect because it sends a message to the child of
his/her inability to make it on his/her own, and causes the resistance of adolescents.
When enough love has accumulated, a person becomes freer to deal with his/her
own development.
During the period of adolescence, feelings of insecurity are characteristic, first
of all for one's own future. Youth feel insecure about their own appearance. Their
behaviour is disorganized (Fulgosi, 1981: 144). The changes in their own body in
the process of maturation create the psychological attitude towards oneself, which is
formed by messages and reactions to those changes. Therefore, self-image is a
reflection of the social mirror (Opai, 1995).
Adolescents between spiritual and secular identity
According to Rot and Radonji (2000: 141), "identity signifies our knowledge
and certainty that we are in different situations and different periods of time, the
same personality". The period of the identity's formation is in adolescence.
Psychologically, an adolescent is an individual in the transitional period between
behaviour typical for a child and behaviour typical for an adult. From the
sociological view, it is a period of directing and choosing a future profession, and of
increased independence from parents. In general, psychologists agree it is the period
between the age of 13 and 19.

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According to Ericsson (1950), the formation of identity is one of the phases of


development. When we observe dimensionally, on the one side there is firmly
formed identity, and on the other the confusion of identities. Where an adolescent
will be depends on his/her success in solving crises in the earliest periods of life. If a
feeling of security and self-respect is created, he/she will probably succeed in his/her
efforts to create a stable identity. Mistrust in self and others, an insufficiently clear
image of oneself, others and society, lack of success in school, lead to feelings of
worthlessness, anxiety, agression or depression, the most frequent equivalents of this
situation (Hrnjica, 1994: 123).
Answering the question of what a mature personality is, many psychologists
(Furlan, 1981; Hrnjica, 1982; Janakov, 1988; Kuburi, 1996; 2001; Stojakovi,
2002) emphasize that the mature person, in achieving his/her goals, cares not only
for his/her own welfare, but also for the welfare of others. The mature person values
him/herself realistically and accepts self as it is, also striving for self-development
and self-control. Thus, the principle of reality is what characterizes a mature person,
and at the same time enables his/her further development. In that context, self-image
can be realistic or perverted. Of course, culture makes a greater contribution to this
than the individual, since different cultures have different criteria about the desirable
features of a mature person.
What is important for this work is the conflict between spirituality and
secularity, which has lasted for centuries. The most desirable feature of personality
from the medieval period was of course religiosity. However, science began to
undermine the certainty of religious beliefs and secularity became the desirable
pattern of life. Not so long ago, atheism was the dominant ideology in our country,
which aimed to build a scientifical view of the world within the educational system.
However, with the fall of communism and the system of values it was based on,
complete chaos ensued, which firstly could be escaped from through the return to
traditional values and religion. In that uproar occurred the adolescent period of many
of us, where we recognized the conflicts between spiritual and secular patterns of
living.
Therefore, if the identity was certain about its own uniqueness, then it came to
a confusion of identities, since the old and new patterns of behaviour clashed in front
of our very eyes. It has happened that in almost the same generation religious
instruction as a school subject was glorified, then rejected and prohibited, and then
brought back into the educational system. It is enough to ask about the significance
of religious phenomena. What is important for this work is how this conflict of
social values is transferred to the self-image of the young, whose grandfathers and
grandmothers attended religious instruction and believed in God, while mothers and
fathers thought that there was no God, but now the religious principle is
reestablished as desired. The question "where is the truth", as well as "what is the

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truth" or better "who is the truth" still prevails in philosophical and theological
discourse. In whose hands is the power to expose some of the truths is a question of
sociology, yet our interest in this work is the psychological aspect of understanding
the self-image of those who are oriented towards spiritual values, where God is the
top value of a personality's integrity; and also the self-image of those whose
personality is integrated within the principles of this world, where God is only an
idea of human imagination, and even if God existed philosophically, he died for
many after the World War Two in concentration camps. Namely, in the Christian
understanding of God, he died on the cross at the beginning of the AD era, in the
image of the man Jesus Christ. In any event, people have killed God and that is how
we understand secularity. Spirituality is an effort to overcome the fear of temporaryness and to seek condolence in the possibility of eternal life, through trust in God
and His power to defeat death.
The youth's choice of their professions arises from their need for selfrealization. The development of professional consciousness is the gradual
differentiation of self-image and the acquisition of ever new integration on a higher
level, until one's profession becomes an inalienable part of self-understanding
(Szentmartoni, 1998).
The psychological study of priestly and monastic professions began only 30
years ago. A spiritual vocation is a life project, a dynamic process where an
individual feels summoned by God. Psychology examines that subjective feeling of
one's own competence for spiritual vocation. The decision to dedicate one's life to
service within the church for other people is followed by 3 psychological
experiences: consciousness of one's own uniqueness; having one goal in life that is
worth living and dying for; as well as the fulfilment of that assumed goal in a
particular form.
The important question concerns the characteristics of persons who choose
spiritual professions. According to some research, these individuals were
"precocious" in their childhood, and in their professions feel closest to their selfimage, mediating now on a higher level between man and God. According to a
second theory, the basis of a spiritual profession cannot be image or the idea of self,
but rather the ideal me, what I want to be in the future. According to that theory, the
initiator of spiritual development is an aspiration to overcome self (Szentmartoni,
1998).
The question is whether personal improvement is possible only in priestly and
monastic professions, or whether believers in general are guided by their spiritual
needs, so that we can talk in this work about two levels of spirituality: one that can
be seen in the choice of profession and other where religiosity is independent of
monastic and priestly vocations. The next question we can pose is about the

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peculiarity of the self-image of persons who decide to go to seminary in contrast to


those of the same age attending secular schools.

Empirical research
The subject of our empirical research was the self-image of adolescents who
live in Serbia. Within this population we tried to find out what makes the young
people who are religious particular, in comparison to those who are not. If we define
religiosity by spiritual values, then we can define no religiosity as being secular, and
in that is framed the search for differences within the young population.
The sample of our research consists of 274 respondents, students of High
school in Zemun and from Theological school in Belgrade. As students of
Theological school are exclusively male, we have separated exclusively males from
the sample to enable a comparison between girls and boys in the variables of selfimage. We conducted the reseach in the same period for both schools, in May 2003.
The instruments we used in this research have several subscales. The
questionnaire of self-image (Offer et al., 1982) consisted of 130 assertions covering
11 areas, which according to the clinical experience and empirical data are the most
important for the psychological well-being of young people (OSIQ scale). The entire
result represents an index of adjustment. The religious self was researched by 37
different questions, grouped into 7 areas. Religiosity is expressed as religious
practice, church loyalty and trust in God.
The selection of statistical methods was determined by the goals and nature of
data acquired. We used discriminative analysis, a technique that differentiates in the
best way groups of respondents in the entire system of variables. We also calculated
correlations needed to estimate which variables are inter-correlated, and the
percentages where this was necessary.
The characteristics derived from general data are as following: 147 students
from secular school (High school in Zemun) and 127 from seminary in Belgrade
were interviewed. Their age ranged from 14 to 20 years. The greatest part of the
young (69%) were baptized when they were 1 year old; 4% at the age of 2; 2% at the
age of 3; 2% at the age of 5; 1% at the age of 6; and 3% when they were 13 and 14
years old. Only 14% of students are not baptized. 56% of students go regularly to
church, 36% rarely, 8% never. 88% of the young people were of Orthodox faith and
12% from others confessions. Atheists were also included in the sample. On the
question "How are your religious beliefs treated by those of different beliefs?", 88%
answered: "I am accepted like everyone else", whereas 12% answered "I am not
completely accepted by the environment, I have problems because of my religion".

Zorica Kuburi, Ana Kuburi: Differences Between Secular and Spiritual Identity

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Results of the Research


The results of the research led us to an understanding of the very essence of
the difference between secular and spiritual identity. Through discriminative
analysis, one function which is statistically important for differentiating between
groups, was extracted. The more one value is closer to zero, the less differences
there are between groups. A canonical correlation below 0.60 is considered small.
According to this result we can see that there are significant differences between
high school students and seminary students. The central values for high school
students are 1.669, and for the seminary students are -1.932.
Table 1. Eigenvalues
Function

Eigenvalue

% Variance

Cumulative %

Canonical
Correlation

3.249

100.0

100.0

.874

The intensity of differences can also be interpreted by Wilk's Lambda, the


opposite process of canonical correlation.
Table 2. Wilks' Lambda
Test of
Function

Wilks' Lambda

Chi square

Df

Sig.

.235

379.785

19

.000

Standardised coefficients of the discriminative function for all variables can


be compared, and the absolute values of coefficients are used to estimate the
contribution of particular variables. The higher the absolute value of coefficient, the
higher its contribution to the discriminative function is. As can be seen in the table,
the variable Theistic view of the world has the highest contribution to the
differences. In second place is the variable Church loyalty. In the third is Image of
God; then religious practice. From the variables of self-image, the variable moral
has the greatest contribution to the differences.

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SOCIOLOGIJA, Vol. XLVIII (2006), N 1

Table 3. Standardized coefficients of discriminative function


Variables

Function 1

Impulses Control

-.028

Emotional Tone

-.008

Body and Self-image

-.039

Social Relationships

.046

Morals

.217

Vocational and Educational Goals

-.036

Sexual Attitudes

-.085

Family Relationsips

.025

Mastery of the External World

-.145

Psychical health, psychopathology

-.078

Superior Adjustment

-.086

Image of God

-.443

Way of salvation

.367

Religious practice

.411

Loyalty to the church

.444

Tolerance

-.312

Religiosity

-.386

Theistic view of the world

.916

Magic

-.315

However, taking into account the sensitivity of the coefficient of


intercorrelation among the variables, we will try to explain the content of this
discriminative analysis through the structure of discriminative factor, vector of
correlation. The structure of discriminative factor is expressed in table 4. The
coefficients show the intenisty of connection between variables and function. When
the value of coefficient is about zero, the variable and function have little in
common.

Zorica Kuburi, Ana Kuburi: Differences Between Secular and Spiritual Identity

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Table 4. Difference between high school students and seminary students,


calculated through the discriminative analysis. Correlation between discriminative
function and genuine variables.
Structure Matrix

Function

Religious practice

.737

Loyalty to the church

.638

Theism

.594

Image of God

.520

Religiosity

.489

Tolerance

-.362

Magic

-.362

Sexual attitudes

-.215

Body image

-.196

Moral

.193

Family relations

.146

Emotional tone

-.118

Educational goals

.116

Adaptation

.108

Psychological health

-.070

Way of salvation

-.058

Goals

-.053

Control of impulses

-.027

Coping with

-.013

Social relations

.011

This means that the students of the Seminary are less tolerant towards the
beliefs of others, not inclined to superstition, with conservative attitudes toward
sexuality. Actually, they pay attention to the control of the sexual drive, have a
negative attitude toward their own body (sinful), are more emotionally sensitive, and
have better relations in the family.
According to table 5 (in the supplement), which shows the difference between
high-school and theology students through the calculation of arithmetical average
values (M) and standard deviations (SD), the mutual graph for high school and
seminary students is formed:

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SOCIOLOGIJA, Vol. XLVIII (2006), N 1

Table 5 shows the difference between High school student (1) and students of
the Theological school, through calculating arithmetical average values (M) and
standrad deviations (SD).
Variables
Control of impulses

Emotional tone
Body-image
Social relations
Moral
Educational goals
Sexual attitudes
Family relations
Coping with
Psychological health
Adaptation

school

SD

St.error

147

25.64

6.79

.56

127

26.40

8.47

.75

147

25.03

7.09

.58

127

28.31

8.13

.72

147

24.14

6.06

.50

127

28.69

6.66

.59

147

22.59

6.28

.52

127

22.31

7.36

.65

147

29.24

6.80

.56

127

24.60

6.31

.56

147

22.20

6.27

.52

127

19.73

5.25

.47

147

23.10

6.60

.54

127

28.36

6.79

.60

147

48.70

14.23

1.17

127

41.79

11.28

1.00

147

25.99

5.79

.48

127

26.27

5.72

.51

147

36.90

8.24

.68

127

39.18

9.67

.86

147

38.91

8.00

.66

127

35.72

8.23

.73

School: 1 = student of the High school from Zemun; 2 = students from the
Seminary in Belgrade; N = number interviewed in sample; M arithmetical average
value; SD standard deviation

Zorica Kuburi, Ana Kuburi: Differences Between Secular and Spiritual Identity

33

Graph 1. Differences between spiritual and secular identity in variable of selfconcept (Seminary = self-concept of theologian students; High school = self-concept
of secular students).
secular students

20

30

40

50

60

70

theologian students

Adaptation

Psychical health

Coping with

Family relations

Sexual attitudes

Educational goals

Moral

Social relations

Body-image

Emotional tone

Control of impulses

10

The highest points in the graph show high moral standards which exist in the
conscience of theologians. Those who have chosen spiritual professions have a
strong super-ego, which confirms the connection between religion and morality. It is
interesting that satisfaction with family is also present, which points to the
significance of family for the development of religiosity, especially of the traditional
values that are present in Orthodoxy.
Thus, there are differences between the spiritual and secular identity. Being
opposite, these two aspirations cannot defeat each other, and both views of the world
are equally strong and with full rights. The importance of connecting ideology with
the reality of living in this world can be of crucial significance for the happiness of
an individual. There is a need to encounter philosophy and theology, that is to say,
man's striving to comprehend with his limited mind the possible boundaries and
acceptance of complete truth through theology. Life in the extremes of theological or

34

SOCIOLOGIJA, Vol. XLVIII (2006), N 1

secular views does not express stability: it looks like standing on one foot, not a firm
support.
For centuries there was a conflict between the concepts of secular and sacred,
materialistic and idealistic. How do people become oriented toward one option or
the other? Is this through violence, manipulation, or freedom of choice? What
experiences contribute to one or other concept? A great part of experienced things
accumulate in self-image. However, this decision is mysterious. To what extent can
we explain this question? It is about religious experience, where the encounter
between a person and his/her own finality and need for God takes place.
The phase of spiritual development, of spiritual maturity, is recognized in the
following way. (According: Mihaly Syentmartoni, 1998):
Direction toward self and own feelings, a period when a person is directed to
hedonism.
Direction toward boundaries. What is allowed and what is prohibited.
Legalism.
Direction toward a leader. Idealism.
Direction toward tasks and the others. Realism.
It is interesting to notice the presence of the principle of reality in both
spiritual and personal maturity.
Can the theoretical part of maturing be achieved in theological education? Is
there a connection between the image that a person has about him/herself and
between the images he/she has about God? What about fear which can be found in
believers, although God is merciful and full of love?
In this text, the two dimensions of research are examined: observation of
spiritual and secular according to the chosen professions (secular and theological);
and observation in the frame of a secular school of those who feel more or less
religious. We have presented the results of the first dimension, and what was
obtained from the second dimension confirmed the first.
The significant question of relations between young students of the High
school and the Seminary, as representatives of secular and spiritual orientation, can
be observed in answers to their questions of personal relation to religion. The
question "What is your personal relation to religion?" were answered, for example,
with:
I am a convinced believer and I accept what my faith teaches (30.9%),
I am religious although I do not accept everything that my faith teaches
(31.5%),

Zorica Kuburi, Ana Kuburi: Differences Between Secular and Spiritual Identity

35

I think a lot about it but I am not sure if I am religious or not (23.6%),


I am not religious but I do not have anything against religion (12.5%),
I am not religous and I am against religion (1.5%).
Table 6. Discriminative analysis of the attitude toward religion
Theistic vew of the world

.864

.059

.132

Religious practice

.694

.109

.039

Religiosity

.693

.252

-.209

Image of God

.663

-.179

.061

Way of salvation

-.427

-.258

.402

Tolerance

-.201

-.045

.154

Educational goals

.136

.477

.283

Loyality to the church

.142

.444

-.314

Sexual Attitudes

.030

-.391

.018

Morals

.031

.383

.243

Family relations

.188

.320

.044

Psychical health

-.040

.262

.208

Social relations

.146

.136

.526

Emotional tone

.043

.176

.396

Control of impulses

.070

.272

.376

Coping with

.123

.225

.250

Adaptation

.153

.140

.224

Body and self-image

-.040

.196

.213

Namely, discriminative analysis of the attitude toward religion among high


school student highlights statistically significant differences that refer to religious
variables. Three functions were extracted. As in the sample with theologians, here is
also extracted the theistic view of the world, which gives tone to the religious life. In
the second function of separation, the self-image of believers understands more
conservative relations to sexuality, increased responsibility for others, respect for
parents, and control of impulses (which shows that the spirituality is at the same
time the demand for a strong super-ego, led more by the ego ideal than by id).
Therefore spirituality contributes to good human relations, unless it is not
exaggerated by idealization, when a person gives up the principle of reality.

36

SOCIOLOGIJA, Vol. XLVIII (2006), N 1

Conclusion
There had been little research of religion in our country. However, there are
researchers who try to answer the question of what is happening today in the aspect
of religiosity. The sociological research shows that there is a tendency for increased
acceptance of a confessional declaration. Comparing research from before 1990 to
now, 15 years later, the number of those who declare themselves religious has more
than doubled, whereas the number of those who are not religious, especially atheists,
has decreased drastically.
According to the results of that research, we can conclude that young people
in Serbia are in conflict in choosing a system of values, which is again being defined
on the level of their personalities. Within the structure of self-image, there are
different layers which are especially under the influence of the religious factor, such
as: moral, sexuality and impulse control. If we use psychoanalitical terminology, we
can talk about ego, which is in genuinely religious persons under the influence of id,
as the energetic potential of sexual and agressive drive, and, on the other hand, under
the influence of super ego, formed through the family and moral norms in relations
of one person to other. The conscience of religious people is more sensitive and
demanding.
As for the profile of person craving for work and study, the process of
religion, the moral person is also endangered. Although global tendencies show an
increased number of those who declare themselves as religious, the disharmony
between declaration and practice shows more the particular trend than true
spirituality.
What was the upbringing of the young generation whose results we have
presented in this research like? That generation escaped the introduction of religious
instruction into the school system. However, through family influence, the religion
reached the young in Serbia. One group decided to choose a profession where
religiosity is a measurement of maturity and a condition for salvation. The second
decided to keep spirituality within their private life. In our context, to be a believer
means to have a feeling to be guilty. Salvation is the state of being saved from the
power of evil.
Certain patterns fought against are now accepted as a general rule. It is
important for the young population to know whom to identify with. Healthy persons,
who have power to amaze others with an authority which is not derived from their
function or power, but from their personality, are lacking. Because of insecurity in
the ideological and emotional level, chaos arose in society, which is escaped through
resorting to spirituality, which offers order and peace.

Zorica Kuburi, Ana Kuburi: Differences Between Secular and Spiritual Identity

37

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