Psychological Theories of Religion

by
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2002-06-19
Publisher(s): Pearson
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Summary

This book surveys the major theorists in the psychology of religionSigmund Freud, C.G. Jung, William James, Erich Fromm, Gordon Allport, Abraham Maslow and Viktor Franklwho are all seminal thinkers and represent the classical theories in this field. Each of these theorists presents a more or less comprehensive theory of religion, which attempts to give an account of the psychological origin and/or value of religion. The approach of the book, in each case, shows how the theory of religion emerges not only from the theorist's psychological theory, but also from his own life experience.Each chapter contains an introductory overview of the theory, biographical material on the theorist, his theory of personality, his theory of religion, and an evaluation of the theory of religion. This consistent chapter format discusses the theorists' influence on the field, points out some developments from and reactions to the theory, and raises certain questions in order to stimulate readers' own critical responses.For individuals who wants to viewand better understandreligion from the psychological perspective.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xiii
I. Sigmund Freud
Religion and the Father Complex
1(50)
Life
3(4)
Theory of Personality
7(9)
Theory of Religion
16(12)
Evaluation
28(18)
Suggested Readings
46(1)
Notes
47(4)
II. C.G. Jung
Religion and Archetype
51(52)
Life
52(7)
Theory of Personality
59(9)
Theory of Religion
68(20)
Evaluation
88(10)
Suggested Readings
98(1)
Notes
99(4)
III. William, James
Religion and Temperament
103(32)
Life
105(5)
Philosophical Context
110(5)
James' Psychology of Religion
115(12)
Evaluation
127(4)
Suggested Readings
131(1)
Notes
131(4)
IV. Erich Fromm
Religion and Humanism
135(30)
Life
137(5)
Theory of Personality
142(7)
Theory of Religion
149(8)
Evaluation
157(4)
Suggested Readings
161(1)
Notes
162(3)
V. Gordon Allport
Religion and Personality
165(30)
Life
167(4)
Theory of Personality
171(5)
Theory of Religion
176(12)
Evaluation
188(4)
Suggested Readings
192(1)
Notes
192(3)
VI. Abraham Maslow
Religion and Self-Actualization
195(28)
Life
197(6)
Theory of Personality
203(6)
Theory of Religion
209(8)
Evaluation
217(3)
Suggested Readings
220(1)
Notes
220(3)
VII. Viktor Frankl
Religion and Self-Transcendence
223(22)
Life
225(2)
Theory of Personality
227(5)
Theory of Religion
232(6)
Evaluation
238(5)
Suggested Readings
243(1)
Notes
243(2)
Appendix Questions and Answers 245(6)
I. What Is Religion?
245(1)
II. What Is the Psychological Source or Root of Religion?
246(1)
III. What Is the Psychological Value of Religion?
247(2)
IV. What Is Religious Experience?
249(2)
Index 251

Excerpts

The title of this book suggests that religion is a phenomenon that can be studied psychologically. It is also true that religion cannot be reduced to a merely psychological phenomenon nor its meaning exhausted through psychological understanding. Since religion deals with transcendence, that is, with what transcends or lies beyond our ordinary life experience, it lies--at least in this respect--beyond the scope of psychological analysis. What then does the psychologist of religion study? The traditional answer is "religious experience." As this term suggests, the subject matter of the psychology of religion is the human side of religion, that is, religion as it is experienced by the human subject. Thus, while psychologists cannot study God as an ontological reality (since this lies beyond the scope of psychology), they can study the image of God existing in the mind of the believer; while they cannot judge the validity of the believer's faith, they can study the psychological roots and consequences of that faith; while they cannot study the transcendent object of religion, they can study the religious personality whose faith makes God, to use Jung's phrase, "psychologically real."Even as a human reality, however, religion is a many-faceted phenomenon. To speak of religion as a psychological phenomenon is to speak of only one aspect of this human side of religion. Accordingly, the psychology of religion is only one discipline within the field of religious studies. When we speak of the human side of religion, we are speaking of the human relationship and response to the transcendent realities of religion (God, revelation, afterlife, etc.). Such a response suggests that human personality has a "religious" dimension to which religious realities correspond or certain needs to which religion provides an answer and which, therefore, make religion meaningful. One of the preoccupations of the psychological theorists surveyed in this book is to locate and describe this religious dimension of personality and thereby account psychologically for the phenomenon of religion. In a preliminary way, however, it should be pointed out that, in its human aspect, religion is rooted in the desire forself-transcendence.This fundamental human desire has sometimes been described as the quality of "more" or the human desire to go beyond the limitations of one's everyday life and consciousness. What it amounts to is a desire for a new level of existence which transcends the limitations of one's present existence.It is easy to see how such a desire can translate into a desire for an afterlife, for life after death which is not merely an extension of one's present life but a qualitatively different life. The great religions, however, also speak of the possibility of a transformation of one's present existence. The desire for self-transcendence is frequently expressed in images which transform the hoped for transcendent level of existence into a place, whether an afterlife in heaven or an earthly utopia. The fact that this is a fundamentalhumandesire is illustrated by the fact that it finds expression in both religious and secular forms. A church congregation singing a hymn about the joys of heaven where all the troubles of this life are left behind, is expressing the same fundamental desire as is found in a secular song such as "Over the Rainbow" with its dreams of a place where "the clouds are far behind me" and "troubles melt like lemon drops."When religion speaks of salvation or enlightenment, these words become meaningful only in the context of the limited and incomplete nature of our human existence. These limitations are experienced at three levels: as the limitations of human consciousness; as the limitations imposed by the individuality and uniqueness of the human person; as the limited and fragmented state of our knowledge--our failure to grasp the ultimate meaning and destiny of our hu

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