Atheists on the Santiago Way: examining motivations to go on pilgrimage

Pedro Pestana Soares, Miguel Farias, Thomas J. Coleman, III, James E. Bartlett, Lluís Oviedo

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the past thirty years the camino to Santiago de Compostela has been recreated as an eclectic pilgrimage, open to both religious and atheist travellers. Following previous work on motivational orientations and religion (Farias and Lalljee 2008), we conducted a study examining atheist vs. religious pilgrims’ motivations to walk the Santiago way. We assessed pilgrims (N = 360) at various parts of the northern Spanish camino using a questionnaire that measured motivations to go on pilgrimage. In addition, we measured levels of positive and negative affect, physical exertion and emotional problems. Atheists scored significantly lower on Community and Religious types of motivations. However, in several measures no differences were found between groups. We suggest that both atheist and religious pilgrims are exploring forms of horizontal and vertical transcendence characterised by a desire to connect to nature and one’s deeper self.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalSociology of Religion
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018

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    Soares, P. P., Farias, M., J. Coleman, III, T., E. Bartlett, J., & Oviedo, L. (2018). Atheists on the Santiago Way: examining motivations to go on pilgrimage. Sociology of Religion, 1-30.