Two forms of
the single instrument were used in the Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey: a paper
survey circulated primarily at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California,
and an email survey, using SurveyMonkey.com on the web as a tool for distribution
and tabulation of results. Both surveys asked the same questions, but an early version
of the paper version did not yet have the question directed at non-religious participants
(#5 in the final draft). 90 of the respondents completed this version. The final
version had a set of ten questions, two of which identified the survey respondents,
eight were statements for the respondent to assess.
we benefitted from a previous model, the Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey.
We pursued a similar agenda but with more elaborate and nuanced detail. The
Peters survey attempts to confirm or disconfirm Alexanders key question: Official
confirmation of the discovery of an advanced, technologically superior extraterrestrial
civilization would have severe negative effects on the countrys moral, social,
and religious foundations. Our variant subdivides this question into three parts,
allowing the respondent to express how confirmation would affect their personal
beliefs (Question 3); the beliefs of their own religious tradition (Question 4)
and the beliefs belonging to other world religions (Question 5).
Whereas the Alexander
instrument distinguished only three religious categories (Protestants, Catholics,
and Jews), the Peters instrument distinguished persons self-identifying with 11
- Roman Catholic
- Protestants: mainline
- Protestants: evangelical
- Orthodox Christian
threshold of 35 or more respondents were Protestants: mainline; Protestants: evangelical;
Orthodox Christian; Mormon; Jewish; Buddhist; Other; and Non-Religious. The samples
of those identifying with Hinduism and Islam were too small, in our judgment, to
incorporate into our numerical analysis. Yet, we did pay attention to the comments
made by individuals in these categories.
Within the Other
category some respondents volunteered to identify themselves as unaffiliated theist,
mystic, Swedenborgian, Jehovahs Witness, and one a combination of Jewish and atheist.
The traditions or denominations of most self-identified Other respondents are
unknown. Gained from the respondent comments, those self-identifying as Non-Religious
apparently included agnostics and atheists along with a variety of different persuasions
that stand over and against organized religious communions.
In addition, we asked respondents
to select which category of church involvement best applied to them:
- Religious (monk, nun...)
The data for distinguishing these
categories is in; but to date we have left this matter unanalyzed. See Appendix
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