Religion and the Individual

Religion and the Individual : A Social-Psychological Perspective

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What leads a person to become religious? What happens psychologically in a religious experience? Does religion make a person happier, more open, more psychologically healthy, more tolerant, more caring? Bold and thoughtful, this book employs social-psychological theories and research to build an understanding of the source, nature and consequences of religion in individual life. The authors' goal is to provide an integrated and coherent perspective, one that honours the diversity and mystery of individuals' experience of religion, yet is scientifically sound. Drawing on the classic psychological treatment of religion by William James, Sigmund Freud and Gordon Alloort, as well as the more recent empirical literature, the authors develop a three-dimensional model of different ways of being religious a means to self-serving ends, as an end in itself, and as an open-ended quest. They explore the origins of these dimensions of personal religion, tracing them to more or less creative responses to such existential questions as: What is the meaning and purpose of my life? and How do I deal with the fact that I am going to die?
They then explore the consequences of each of the three dimensions, both for the religious individual and for others in society. Finally, building on the foregoing analysis, the authors address one of the basic questions of our age - whether relgiion is a force for good or evil in human life.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 440 pages
  • 154 x 232 x 24mm | 599.99g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised ed.
  • line figures, tables
  • 0195062094
  • 9780195062090

Review quote

'an encyclopaedic and critical summary of empirical research into religion. ... The outcome, expressed in an elegant style, is a comprehensive account of psychological reflection on religion.' Expository Times 'Religion and the Individual triumphantly escapes being trivial, tedious and irrelevant. Indeed, it is a most stimulating and challenging book which poses many important questions ... clearly and lightly written throughout. This book will be an important and possible chastening stimulus and resource for teachers, students and practitioners in practical theology and pastoral care.' The Editor, Contact, 112, 1993 'This text is a valuable bargain for scholars in the social psychology of religion, moral development and related disciplines. It is also an excellent textbook for students.' Journal of Psychology and Christianity 'They use a wide variety of empirical studies and include many tables summarizing the work of researchers and writers ... they have avoided technical details and complex statistical analyses which would baffle the uninitiated.' TD Book Survey 'the coverage is broad enough to serve as an introductory text in the psychology of religion if one wishes to use it that way (I have) ... It remains a "must read" volume in the field.' John Tisdale, Psychology of Religion Newsletter - APA Division 36
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