Psychology of religion is the psychological study of religious experiences, beli efs, and activities. Contents [hide] * 1 History o 1.
1 William James o 1.2 Other early theorists + 1.2.1 Sigmund Freud + 1.2.2 Carl Jung + 1.2.3 Alfred Adler + 1.2.4 Gordon Allport + 1.2.5 Erik H. Erikson + 1.2.6 Erich Fromm + 1.2.7 Rudolf Otto * 2 Psychometric approaches to religion o 2.1 Religious orientations and religious dimensions o 2.2 Questionnaires to assess religious experience * 3 Developmental approaches to religion * 4 Religion and coping with stress * 5 Religion and health * 6 Evolutionary psychology of religion * 7 Religion and drugs o 7.1 James H. Leuba o 7.2 Drug-induced religious experiences * 8 The effects of meditation * 9 References * 10 Bibliography o 10.1 Further reading * 11 See also * 12 External links  History  William James U.S. psychologist and philosopher William James (1842-1910) is regarded by most psychologists of religion as the founder of the field. He served as president of the American Psychological Association, and wrote one of the first psychology t extbooks. In the psychology of religion, James' influence endures. His Varieties of Religious Experience is considered to be the classic work in the field, and references to James' ideas are common at professional conferences. James distinguished between institutional religion and personal religion. Instit utional religion refers to the religious group or organization, and plays an imp ortant part in a society's culture. Personal religion, in which the individual h as mystical experience, can be experienced regardless of the culture. James was most interested in understanding personal religious experience. The importance o f James to the psychology of religion - and to psychology more generally - is di fficult to overstate. He discussed many essential issues that remain of vital co ncern today. In studying personal religious experiences, James made a distinction between hea lthy-minded and sick-souled religiousness. Individuals predisposed to healthy-mi ndedness tend to ignore the evil in the world and focus on the positive and the good. James used examples of Walt Whitman and the "mind-cure" religious movement to illustrate healthy-mindedness in The Varieties of Religious Experience. In c ontrast, individuals predisposed to having a sick-souled religion are unable to ignore evil and suffering, and need a unifying experience, religious or otherwis e, to reconcile good and evil. James included quotations from Leo Tolstoy and Jo
who parted ways with Freud. In Totem and Taboo. Freud reconstructed biblical history in his general theory. one that was more sympathetic to religion and more concerned with a positive app reciation of religious symbolism. it would not be considered an empirical observation. One way that religion enters into this picture is through our beliefs in God. for example. Jung postulated. However.hn Bunyan to illustrate the sick soul. he maintained that structure from which a man must be set free if he is to grow to accordance with of an Illusion. the collective unconscious. it is a fantasy maturity. then there is no rat ionality for continuing the practice. Group photo 1909 in front of Clark University. he applied the idea of the Oedipus complex ( involving unresolved sexual feelings of. even though we are sitting n ext to each other. and include his work in comparati ve mythology. emph asised the role of goals and motivation in his Individual Psychology. G. for exampl e. basic images that are universal in that t hey recur regardless of culture). then that practice appears the proper choice for the individual. for Jung it is an e mpirical observation.  Alfred Adler Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler (1870-1937). Some of Jung's writings have been devoted to elucidating some of the archetypal symbols. For most contemporary scientists. Back row: Abraham Brill. Carl Jung. which are characteristic of our tendency to strive for perfection and supe
. however. The irruption of these images from the unconsc ious into the realm of consciousness he viewed as the basis of religious experie nce and often of artistic creativity. One of Adl er's most famous ideas is that we try to compensate for inferiorities that we pe rceive in ourselves. Stan ley Hall. that I hear a voice from a deity but you do not. Front row: Sigmund Freud. A lack of power often lies at the root of feelings of infer iority.  Carl Jung The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875-1961) adopted a very different posture. which is the repository of human experi ence and which contains archetypes (i. In Moses and Monotheism. Authoritarian religion is dysfunct ional and alienates man from himself.e. Because of this.
Freud views the idea of God as being a version of the father image. Jung had a very broad view of what it means to be empirical. in addition to the personal unconscious (roughly adopting Freud 's concept). Ernest Jones. His ideas were also developed in The Future When Freud spoke of religion as an illusion. and those actions h appen to work. Jung considered the question of the existence of God to be unanswerable by the psychologist and adopted a kind of agnosticism. If only one person experiences something. Sandor Ferenczi. and religiou s belief as at bottom infantile and neurotic.  Other early theorists  Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) gave explanations of the genesis of religion in his va rious writings. a son toward his mother an d hostility toward his father) and postulated its emergence in the primordial st age of human development. Suppose. if the processes of religion have little efficacy. there has been little res earch in the psychology of religion from a Jungian perspective. William James' hypothesis of pragmatism stems from the efficacy of religion. If an individual believes in and performs religious activities.
 Erik H. According to Adler. Gordon Allport (1897 -1967) illustrates how people may use religion in different ways. religion-as-end and religion-as-quest. the belief that one's religious beliefs should be shaped from personal crises that o ne has experienced in one's life. we become one with God. Consider this example that Adler offers: the trad itional belief that people were placed deliberately on earth as God's ultimate c reation is being replaced with the idea that people have evolved by natural sele ction. referring to a more utilitarian use of r eligion as a means to an end. Batson refers to extrinsic. He considered religions to be important influences in successful pers onality development because they are the primary way that cultures promote the v irtues associated with each stage of life.has changed. Our view of God is important because it embodies our goals and directs our social interactions. Erikson's theory has not benefited from systematic empirical study. and able to maintain links between inconsistencies. will the two be more equal in peoples' eyes. another social movement. heartfelt devout faith. this distinction has been en capsulated in the terms "intrinsic religion". More recently. Schoenrade & Ventis. intrinsic and ques t respectively as Religion-as-means. T hese dimensions of religion were measured on the Religious Orientation Scale of Allport and Ross (1967). In this way our view of God has changed from one that was concrete and specific to one that is more general. referring to a genuine. but as an abstract representation of nature's forces. religion is more efficient because it motivates people more effectively. His biographies of Gandhi and Martin Luther reveal Erikson's positive view of religion. and promotes the welfare of all segme nts of society. Our ideas about God are important indicators of how we view the world. 1993). too. open-minded. In contrast. immature religion is self-serving and generally represents the negative stereoty pes that people have about religion. By identifying with God in this way. Schoenrade & Ventis. Mature religious sentime nt is how Allport characterized the person whose approach to religion is dynamic . we compensate f or our imperfections and feelings of inferiority. only when science beg ins to capture the same religious fervour. this is a relatively ineffective perception of God because it is so general that it fails to convey a strong sense of direction and purpose. and commands people likewise to be perfect. He makes a dis tinction between Mature religion and Immature religion. such as church attendance to gain social status. achieve perfecti on. which has its roots in the psychoanalytic importance of identity in personalit y. Religious rituals facilitate this dev elopment.  Gordon Allport In his classic book The Individual and His Religion (1950). According to Adler.riority. A third form of religious orientation has been describe d by Daniel Batson. and "extrinsic religion". and measures these constructs on the Religious Life Inventory (Batson. in many religions God is considered to be perfect and omni potent. and that those actions do have real consequences for ourselves and for ot hers. these ideas have changed over time. For example. Compared to science. a cceptance that religious orientation can change and existential complexity. as our vision of the world . bu t it remains an influential and well-regarded theory in the psychological study
. More specifically. An important thing for Adler is that God (or the idea of God) motivates people t o act. This refers to treatment of religion as an open-ended search (Batson. it has been seen by Bat son as comprising a willingness to view religious doubts in a positive manner. This coincides with a view of God not as a real being. From Adler's va ntage point. Erikson Erik Erikson (1902-94) is best known for his theory of psychological development . If we.and our place in it . 1993).
in Fromm's estimation.  Religious orientations and religious dimensions Some questionnaires. and religion as quest. The fo rmer assesses where people stand on three distinct forms of religious orientatio n . Through this emotional wonder. attempting to explain that inexpressible and perhaps supernatural emotional reaction of wonder drawing us to seemingly ordinary and/or religious experiences of grace. namely. by Glock and Stark (1965). An example is the Religious Orientation Scale of Allport and Ross. can. Otto's most famous work." It is a mystery (L atin: mysterium tremendum) that is both fascinating (fascinans) and terrifying a t the same time. Schoenrade and Ventis. More r ecent questionnaires include the Religious Life Inventory of Batson. defines the concept of the holy as that which is numinou s. but religion in practice tends to relapse into being neurotic. However. original category in its own right. such as the Religious Orientation Scale.  Rudolf Otto Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) was a German Protestant theologian and scholar of compar ative religion. the
. which only religion may seem to answer.religion as means. which measures how respo ndents stand on intrinsic and extrinsic religion as described by Allport. Part of the modification is viewing the Oedipus complex as based not so much on sexuality as on a much mo re profound desire . foster an individual's highest potentialities. has been to list different dim ensions of religion rather than different religious orientations. for example.  Psychometric approaches to religion Since the 1960s psychologists of religion have used the methodology of psychomet rics to assess different ways in which a person may be religious. Re ligion apparently fills this need. such as intrinsic and extrinsic religiousness. The Idea of the Holy (published first i n 1917 as Das Heilige). taken. non-sensory experience or fee ling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self. and the Age-Universal I-E Scale of Gorsuch and Venable.of religion. which relates to how an individual may manifest different forms of being religious. we suspend our rational mind for non-rational p ossibilities. This se nse of emotional wonder appears evident at the root of all religious experiences . In effect. According to Erich Fromm.the doctrinal.) Glock and Sta rk's famous typology described five dimensions of religion . A mystery that causes trembling and fascination. An authoritarian notion of religion appears detrimental. This paradigm was under much attack between approximately 1950 and 1990 but has made a strong comeback since then. a sense of free will must be given in order for religion to appear healthy. It also sets a paradigm for the study of religion that focuses on the need to re alise the religious as a non-reducible. A rather different approac h. relate to differen t religious orientations. referri ng to different motivations for religious allegiance.  Erich Fromm The American scholar Erich Fromm (1900-1980) modified Freudian theory and produc ed a more complex account of the functions of religion. The latter assess es Spiritual Support and Spiritual Openness. (More on S tark's work can be found in the article on Sociology of Religion. humans crave answers to questions that no other source of knowledge has an answer to. religion as end. Otto explained the numinous as a "non-rational. The right religion. humans have a need for a stable frame of reference. in principle. the childish desire to remain attached to protecting figures.
On the other hand. In la ter work these authors subdivided the ritual dimension into devotional and publi c ritual. Universalising. there has been . this model has been att acked from a standpoint of scientific research due to methodological weaknesses. By far the most well-known stage model of spiritual or religious development is that of James W. the ritual. Reference: http://www. James Fowler proposes six stages of faith development as follows: 1. The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes asked how it was possible to tell the di fference between talking to God in a dream. However. Some reports exist of sup ernatural happenings that it would be difficult to explain from a rational. a developmental psychologist at the Candler School of T heology.co. the ethical-consequential. and these w ere heavily based upon Piaget's stages of cognitive development. the important thing is the experience itself and the effect that it has on the individual. He follows Piaget and Kohlberg and has propo sed a staged development of faith (or spiritual development) across the lifespan in terms of a holistic orientation. Synthetic Conventional 4. Intuitive -projective 2. Pa radoxical (conjunctive) 6. and the experiential. The tables and graphs in the book were presented in such a way that the last four stages appear
.philosophyonline. to how children develop ideas about God and about religion in general. religious or not. may possibly relate to. in his Stages of Faith.something which mos t of us. and is concerned with the individual's rela tedness to the universal. and fuller descriptions of this research (and of these six stages) can be found in Wulff (1991). and dreaming about talking to God. Although there is evidence that child ren up to the age of twelve years do tend to be in the first two of these stages . Symbolic Literal 3. Although s ome psychologists of religion have found it helpful to take a multidimensional a pproach to religion for the purpose of psychometric scale design. so it appears to have at least a reasonable degree of face validity . Fowler's model has gen erated some empirical studies. considerable controversy about whether religion shou ld really be seen as multidimensional. and also clarified that their distinction of religion along multiple d imensions was not identical to distinguishing religious orientations. Of Fowler's six stages. However. there also exist the sort of testimonie s that simply seem to convey a feeling of peace or oneness .uk/pages/relex_main. Individuating 5. In categorizing religious exp eriences it is perhaps helpful to look at them as explicable through one of two theories: the Objectivist thesis or the Subjectivist thesis. as Wulff (1997) explains. there is evidence that adults over the age of sixty-one do show considerable v ariation in displays of qualities of Stages 3 and beyond.  Questionnaires to assess religious experience What we call religious experiences can differ greatly. The book-length study contains a framework and ideas considered by many to be in sightful and which have generated a good deal of response from those interested in religion.htm#  Developmental approaches to religion Main articles: James W. Fowler and Stages of faith development Attempts have been made to apply stage models.intellectual. An objectivist would argue that the religious experience is a proof of God's exi stence. others have criticised the reliability of religious experiences . scie ntific point of view. Fowler. The Subjectivist view argues that it is not necessary to think of religious expe riences as evidence for the existence of an actual being whom we call God. From this point of view. such as that of Jean Piaget and L awrence Kohlberg. only the first two found empirical support.
lungs . and therefore evolved by natural selection. including encouraging healthy lifestyles suc h as abstinence from tobacco. Psychologists consider that there are various ways in which religion may benef it both physical and mental health.  The journal "American Psychologist" published impor tant papers on this topic in 2003. Boyer shows that there is no simple explanation for religious consciousness. who first argued that religious cognition represents a by -product of various evolutionary adaptations. and pur poseful violations of innate expectations about how the world is constructed (fo r example. Like other organ s and tissues. A major contributor to this theory is Kenneth Par gament. the non-religious. Some of Pargament's pa pers have been published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. which accounts f or the psychological processes that underlie religious thought and practice.  Religion and coping with stress Psychologists of religion have looked at how individuals may use religion as a r esource in coping with stress. Nevertheless. Boyer builds on the ideas of cognitive anthropologists Dan Sp erber and Scott Atran. in which people leave God to see to their problems. bodiless beings with thoughts and emotions) that make religious cogni tions striking and memorable. Vicky Genia (see inform ation in Psychometric Approaches to Religion). Jacob and Spangler have considered how different dimensions of religiosity may relate to health benefits in differ ent ways. and have been an imp ortant starting point for various theories and subsequent studies. in which they do not appeal to God. including folk psychology. this functional structure should be universally shared amongst hu mans and should solve important problems of survival and reproduction. prayer and meditation may also help to benefit ph ysiological functioning. and immune systems. so was not peer-reviewed. Boyer is mainly concerned with explaining the various psychological processes involved in the acquisition and transmission of ideas co ncerning the gods. In his book Religion Explained. livers. providing social support networks and encouraging an optimistic outlook on life. The study was not published in a journ al. as if to say that people who adopt a similar viewpoint to Fowler are at higher s tages of faith development.ed to be validated. kidneys. the concepts Fowler introduced seemed to hit home with those in the circles of academic religion.  Religion and health There is considerable literature on the relationship between religion and health . Pargament has dist inguished styles of coping into the deferring. Other critics of Fowler have questioned whether his ordering of the stages reall y reflects his own commitment to a rather liberal Christian Protestant outlook. but the requirements of statistical verification of the stag es did not come close to having been met.
. Evolution ary psychologists seek to understand cognitive processes by understanding the su rvival and reproductive functions they might serve. whose work shows the influence of attribution theory. Pascal Boyer is one of the leading figures in the cognitive psychology of religi on. just like hearts.   Evolutionary psychology of religion Main article: Evolutionary psychology of religion Evolutionary psychology is based on the hypothesis that. and th e collaborative. and never drew much attention from psychologists. a new field of inquiry that is less than fifteen years old. cognition has functional structure that h as a genetic basis. A recent contributor here has put forward a stage model.  Haber. in which people believe that a co-operation of God and their ow n efforts are necessary to help them to cope with stress.
The drugs used by religious communities for their hallucinogenic effects were ad opted for explicit and implicit religious functions and purposes. in A Psychological Study o f Religion. To the extent t hat mental architecture exhibits intricate design. Our brains are. after all. Boyer moves outside the leading currents in mainstream cognitive psychology and suggests that we can use evolutionary biology to unravel the relevant mental arc hitecture. biological objects. Like all biological systems. and the best naturalis tic account of design in nature is Darwin's theory of evolution. * Cannabis.  Religion and drugs  James H. He thinks that adaptationist explanations for religion do not meet the criteria for adaptations. the mind is optimised to promote survival an d reproduction in the evolutionary environment. William James was also interested in mystical experiences from a drug-induced pe rspective. Shamans all over the world and in different cultures have traditionally used drugs. especially p sychedelics. On this view all specialised cog nitive functions broadly serve those reproductive ends. b ut hold no claim to truth without personal experience of such. Boyer says cognitive sci ence can help us to understand the psychological mechanisms that account for the se manifest correlations and in so doing enable us to better understand the natu re of religious belief and practice. for their religious experiences. including religious thought. An alternative explanation is that religious psychology is a by-product of many parts of the mind that evolved for other pur poses. pointing to analogies with certain drug-induced experiences. is
. The child of a Zen Buddhist will not become an evangelical Christian or a Zulu warrior without the relevant cultural experience. Leuba The American psychologist James H. The drugs were and are reported to enhance religious experience through visions and a distorti on of the sensory perception (like in dreams in a state of sleep). computational approac hes can shed light on the nature and scope of religious cognition. He concludes that while the revelations of the mystic hold true. So presumably. While mere exposure does not c ause a particular religious outlook (a person may have been raised a Roman Catho lic but leave the church). In these communities the absorptio n of drugs leads to dreams (visions) through sensory distortion. nevertheless some exposure seems required . accounts for mystical experience psychologically and physiologically . leading him to make some experiments with nitrous oxide and even peyo te. To the extent that the mechanisms controlli ng the acquisitions and transmission of religious concepts rely on human brains. All thought is computational ly structured. For Steven Pinker the universal propensity toward religious belief is a genuine scientific puzzle. which grows all over the world except in very cold climates. the mechanisms are open to computational analysis. which he considered to be necessa ry if religious psychology were to be looked at scientifically. Leuba argued forc ibly for a naturalistic treatment of religion. Leuba (1868-1946).  Drug-induced religious experiences See main article entheogen on the use of psychoactive substances in a religi ous or shamanic context.this pers on will never invent Roman Catholicism out of thin air.Religious persons acquire religious ideas and practices through social exposure. it is plausible to think that the design is the result of evolutionary processes working over vast periods of time. they hold t rue only for the mystic. for others they are certainly ideas to be considered.
a member of the sage family of plants. * Kava drink.used in religious practices in Indian and African communities * Certain psychedelic mushrooms are used by Indians in Latin America. Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) is another mushroom having hallucinogenic properties that has not been thoroughly studied. is produced from the stem bark of the vines Banis teriopsis caapi and B. prepared from the roots of Piper methysticum. * Salvia divinorum. is used both socially and ritually in the South Pacific. * Peyote used by some Indian communities of Mexico.is a degenerative and dangerous drug. caapi. noticeably plants containing DMT. A drink prepared from the shrub Mimosa hostilis. is used by native peoples in North and South America. far from being a destructive influence. is used ritually in the ajuca ce remony of the Jurema cult in eastern Brazil. a drug that has been studied for its use in treating addiction. however. especially in Polynesia. The chief speci es is Psilocybe mexicana.from the N ahuatl word peyotl ("divine messenger") . is a hallucinogen used by Mazatec shamans for "spiritual journeys" during healing. Like psilocin and psilocybin. the ability t o increase strength and endurance. the MAOIs present in the B. Indians who use it claim that its virtues incl ude healing powers and the power to induce clairvoyance.  The effects of meditation The large variety of meditation techniques shares the common goal of shifting at tention away from habitual or customary modes of thinking and perception. this is not the common scientific view. caapi. The active ingredient in T. This drin k has been certified by investigators to produce remarkable effects. of which the active principles are psilocin and its de rivative psilocybin. source of cocaine. since it may have been the na tural source of the ritual soma drink of the ancient Hindus and the comparable h aoma used by the Zoroastrians (although other sources point toward ephedra as th e main ingredient of Soma   ). like most other hallucinogenic drugs. is highly toxic and d angerous. iboga is ibogaine. a stimulant and hallucinogen derived from the root bark of the Afri can shrub Tabernanthe iboga is used within the Bwiti religion in Central Africa. a species of pep per. to be activated and produce an i ntense experience. a North American Indian cult that uses peyote in its chief religious ce remony. The effects are thought to be attributable to the action of harmine. Many religious and spiritual tradi
. especi ally in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. one species of which is the jimsonweed. there appears to be no evidence of this among the members of the Native American Church. has had both ritual and social use chiefly in Per u. a very stable indole that is the active principle in the plan t. or yajé. De spite claims of missionaries and some government agents that peyote . Fly agaric is mildly toxic at high dosages and is said to have. * Coca. among others. It is said also to be a sopo rific. the active principle. which is said to prod uce glorious visions in warriors before battle. and seemingly more of a hypnotic-narcotic than a hallucinogen. While the Indians themselves attribute the properties of the drink Ayahuasca to B. often invol ving the sensation of flying. Peyote. the latter is synthesized from the alkaloids (pri ncipally ergotamine and ergonovine) that are constituents of ergot. in their chemical composition and activity not unlike LSD ( D-lysergic acid diethylamide). is not considered to be ad dictive and. a growth pre sent in grasses affected by the disease also called ergot. * Datura. It may be extremely important. The chief active princip le of peyote is an alkaloid called mescaline. * Ayahuasca. in ord er to permit experiencing in a different way. mesc aline is reputed to produce visions and other evidences of a mystical nature. in addition to its hallucinogenic properties. is reputed by cultists and some observers to promote morality and ethical behaviour among the Indians who u se it ritually. * Iboga. caapi instead allow the extremely psychedelic ingredients in other plants added to the brew. inebrians.
This illusion is said to be created by our habitual mode of separating.
. and may be difficult or impossible to fully describe in words. Meditation is empirical in that it involves direct experience. Though it is also subjective in that the meditat ive state can be directly known only by the experiencer.tions that employ meditation assert that the world most of us know is an illusio n. Concentrative meditation can induce an altered state of consciousness characteri sed by a loss of awareness of extraneous stimuli. and feelings of bliss. class ifying and labelling our perceptual experiences. one-pointed attention to the m editation object to the exclusion of all other thoughts.