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Conference Proceeding

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Research on social responsibility shows that community and social organizations play an important role in developing social responsibility. Religious groups comprise a considerable number of community and social organizations. The present study explored the impact of spirituality on social responsibility and assumed a positive correlation. Measures included a demographic questionnaire with questions about religious affiliation and social service, the Social Responsibility Scale (Starrett, 1996) which measures global social responsibility and social activism, the Religious Orientation Scale (ROS) by Allport and Ross (1967) which measures Intrinsic (I) and Extrinsic (E) religious orientation, and the Quest scale (Q) by Batson and Schoenrade (1991) which measures religious searching . Data were gathered from student volunteers. Results indicated that GFU students generally reported that they were Christian, intrinsically oriented, and attended religious services at least once a week. Reed students generally reported they were atheist/agnostic, were extrinsically oriented, and attended religious services less than three times per year. On the Starrett scale, GFU students indicated they were more socially conservative and were more likely to focus social service on individuals, while Reed students were more likely to focus on global and institutional expressions of social service. The two groups were similar on Quest and on Traditional Values and Fatalistic Indifference. The groups also showed similar levels of giving and volunteering. Two distinct patterns of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to social service emerged. One is characterized by Christian commitment, intrinsic religious orientation, high religious participation, and social service focused on individuals. The second is characterized by atheism/agnosticism, extrinsic religious orientation, low religious participation, and social service focused globally and on institutional change. The original goal of identifying three patterns of spirituality and social service was partly successful.