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1. Psychology As Religion: The Cult
2. Neuroscience, Psychology, and
3. The Psychology of Religion and
4. The Psychology of Religion, Fourth
5. Handbook of the Psychology of
6. Psychology and Religion: West
7. Psychology and Western Religion
8. Psychology and Religion (The Terry
9. The Psychology of Religion, Third
10. Psychology of Religion: Classic
11. The Psychology of Religion for
12. Invitation to the Psychology of
13. Psychoanalysis and Religion (The
14. Psychology, Religion and Spirituality
15. Attachment, Evolution, and the
16. Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality
17. An introduction to the psychology
18. The Psychology of Religion
19. The Psychology of Religion, and
20. Religion Explained

1. Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship
by Paul C. Vitz
Paperback: 173 Pages (1994-05)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$6.77
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Asin: 0802807259
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This is a virtually rewritten second edition of New York University Professor Paul Vitz's profoundly important analysis of modern psychology. Vitz maintains that psychology in our day has become a religion, a secular cult of self, and has become part of the problem of modern life rather than part of its resolution. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars Probably a Pass
In `Psychology as Religion' Paul Vitz criticizes the self-focused psychologies of Jung, Rogers, Maslow et al and their derivative popularizers.The following comments refer to the second edition of this text published in 1994 (original 1977).

Though Vitz raises some valid scientific and philosophical criticisms of contemporary self-focused psychologies his primary critique is from a religious perspective (largely Christian).He correctly notes that many of the assumptions that underlie these theories are contrary to the Christian worldview.For instance many self-theorists assume that human nature is essentially good, and, if left to their own devices such uninhibited individuals would produce a good, if not utopian society.This is obviously in stark contrast with the Christian view of fallen humanity and the need for salvation through God.

Though I tend to agree with the author regarding the non-Christian worldview of much modern self-help psychology, and, its unscientific nature, Vitz's approach seems overstated.The text has an anti-cultist feel, assuming that many modern Westerners have deeply bought into the underlying narcissistic (and often silly), suppositions of these theories.While there may be such people, it is contrary to my experience.I have used some of these tools, e.g. Transactional Analysis and Maslow hierarchy, and have rarely encountered anyone who wholeheartedly accepts their underlying presuppositions.Most individuals who have been exposed to these theories appear to view them as blunt paradigms occasionally helpful in understanding human behavior.

Overall, this is not an unimportant or uninteresting topic.Indeed in the hands of the right commentator it could make an interesting read.Vitz, however, I do not think is the person to do this.Even having a strong interest in these issues, and sharing a Christian worldview, I found it a tedious read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Same Vitz, different day
In the mid 60s I had Paul Vitz as a psychology prof for three semesters at NYU. In those days he was a flag-waving atheist and Skinnerian behaviorist. If any students might challenge him on that, he would not only use his position at the podium to make a scathing spectacle of them in front of the whole class, but also to issue veiled threats that they could flunk the course if they persisted. Now he promotes Catholicism with comparable bile. Same Vitz, different fundamentalism.

4-0 out of 5 stars Religion or science?
Reviewer Helms misses the point, it seems to me. Dr. Vitz correctly identifies psychology as social science as no science at all, but a belief system. (Vitz clearly distinguishes experimental and social psychology and exempts the scientificexperimental type from his critique).
The Christian model of man as a creature fallen from his relationship with his creator into a pit of self offers a solution: reunion. The humanist's solution to man's unhappiness is a stronger self, or a self submitting itself with other selves to a greater self (the state, etc.). The Christian ideal, if followed, leads to peace. The humanist's leads to conflict ("will to power", one self or state vs another self or state).
For all the talk of the damage done in the name of religion, the mishief has come not from religion of man submitting him-self tohis creator and its rules, but from the arrogance of self-righteousness. The isms of the 20th Century had nothing to do with religion involving God. 200 million people were killed in the struggle for humanist utopias. The religion of self and the ideologies it spawns (Dostoevsky: socialism is a Tower of Babel without God, e.g.) had its chance and failed miserably.
Science is simply a search for truth through observation and when done honestly is self-correcting. Religion is a faith-based search for truth. If psychology continues believing in the value of self- confidence, esteem, assurance, worth, help, realization, actualization, determination, sufficiency, etc., in spite of observable evidence of the anti-human results of their promotion, is it sclence or a belief system? Dr. Vitz's book does an excellent job showing us that distinction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good book for genuine & intellectual persons
"Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship"

A very good book to read. Would be best read by those with (minimum) high school intelectual background. The book covers more on the misleading 'sef-centred/help' psychology which are very prevalent nowadays, along with it's potential negative/destructive effect to the society as a whole.

Since before 1980, in the book, the writer proposed some social & moral [degeneration] model/scheme which would be expected to happening in modern society beyond 2000 due to the 'Selfist Psychology'. Most of the scientific predictions made there are coming into existence today, along with its negative effects.

Best Regards:

1-0 out of 5 stars Just More Desperate Science Bashing By the Religious Right..
I don't know where to begin deconstructing this idiotic book.Although the author certainly did his homework, detailing the history of Psychology with great accuracy, its entire premise is without merit.The oldest enemies of Science have always been Christians, and this book is just another attempt to reconcile the superstitious beliefs of Christianity with the FACTS Christians are presented with every day which refute their beliefs.And PLEASE don't start with that tired old argument of "Psychology is just a bunch of theories."From the heliocentric solar system, to gravity, to the origins of life on our planet, to the Big Bang, EVERYTHING is just theory...but we still have electricity, internal combustion engines, medicine, and countless other scientific marvels that make our lives incalculably more enjoyable and fruitful than they would be if we simply followed the Bible's explanations.Vitz is simply adding Psychology to Christianity's long list of the persecuted (Copurnicus, Galelio, Blacks, Gays, Women, etc., etc.)

Religion/Science battles aside, the whole idea of Psychology being a religion is preposterous.Religion is a philosophy based upon blind acceptance, not facts.Psychology is a SCIENCE, a totally different philosophy which requires tentative acceptance of the simplest correct explanation for an event based upon observation, AND willingness to accept new explanations when evidence suggests we are wrong.Religions are designed to be static, and their followers never admit to having "changed the rules," even though they often do so to fit their own needs as people become less and less naieve (read as "more and more educated").

In short, this book is ridiculous propaganda from a Right-Wing Conservative Christian who has written numerous books in an attempt to fend off the ensuing doom of his own superstitious beliefs.It's a "if you can't beat 'em, bash 'em" mentality that drives this author, and anyone with even a cursory understanding of Psychology will resist the temptation to buy this waste of paper. ... Read more

2. Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature (Templeton Science and Religion Series)
by Malcolm Jeeves, Warren S. Brown
Paperback: 168 Pages (2009-03-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.95
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Asin: 1599471477
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars Eloquently written review!Best of Class.Congratulations!
In my early 20's, circa 1973, I questioned why each culture had it's own distinct religion much like they spoke a distinct tongue?Clearly, people speaking a language addressed a universal need to communicate.Did religion address some need so fundamental to human nature that, like our different languages, groups of people, separated in time and space would evolve different religious systems independently?The 1960's saw the world grown smaller by telecommunications and jet travel, increasing awareness of the disparities in belief systems and the consequent conflicts arising therefrom, convinced me that we were entering an era in which an appreciation of our universality was critical as our capacity for self-destruction grew.The works of individual, like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, began to build bridges across an enormous chasm of endless distinctions in practices and details.

A rare accomplishment, this book journeys to the heart of those questions at the level of a Scientific American article; with eloquence and an impressive scope and command of the research.It is the most balanced account of the neuroscience perspective on religion that I have had the pleasure to read. Readers seeking more imaginativeinterpretations of the neuroscience data, where authors find "the God Module" on fMRI or proof of God's existence in the brain's design, will be disappointed.Here, as well, there is no treatise of comparative religious mythology or proof in the validity of any particular belief system over others.Despite being written by two admittedly Catholic scholars, they are, as well, first-rate neuroscientists.The only faith peddled here is what brain science can inform us about the phenomenon of religiosity as seen on it's effect in the central nervous system and visa versa. This is a cutting edge neuroscience view of how the brain begets the mind and what is specific to a mind hooked on religion.

The book begins with Dostoyevsky's Prince Myshkin, in The Idiot, describing a temporal lobe seizure: "His brain was on fire, and in an extraordinary surge all his vital forces would be intensified.The sense of life, the consciousness of self, were multiplied tenfold in these moments.His mind and heart were flooded with extraordinary light; all torment, all doubt, all anxieties were relieved at once, resolved in a kind of lofty calm, full of serene, harmonious joy and hope, full of understanding and the knowledge of the ultimate cause of things."Do such experiences reflect the divine or pathology, or are such black-and-white judgements even relevant?Much like the hyper-religiosity of certain bipolar and schizophrenic patients, what are the connections between the wiring in our brains and these pathologic states which occur beyond the patient's will or, in these cases, betterment?

Evolutionary theorists have suggested that our brains developed a propensity for religious belief as an extension of a survival advantage in developing the ability to infer, or detect, the presence of an organism that might do us harm.There might be a survival cost, in evolutionary terms, if rustling grass was not assumed to be secondary to a predator.These realities prompted the mind to evolve a "causal narrative" for natural events, eventually leading to the conclusion that other people also have minds of their own.Things in nature have causes.Agent detection, causal reasoning, and theory of mind developed as automatic cognitive processes.Eventually, as Barlett suggests, "our brains are primed for religious belief, ready to presume the presence of agents even when such presence confounds logic."

From a search for the soul (mind) as embodied in the brain, including a discussion of phrenology and current efforts to localize complex functions in the brain, the book discusses what we currently know about the neuroanatomical circuitry that contribute to the phenomenon of the mind.The book's neuroscience authors thoughtfully present the fundamental historic, philosophical, and neuroanatomical underpinnings, before launching into the Neuroscience of Religiousness, where they discuss religious experience associated with hallucinogenic drugs, Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, brain stimulation experiments using TMS, fMRI imaging of various practitioners of religious practices (speaking in tongues to meditative techniques), and even genetics twin data of transcendental experiences.Here, in psychological and philosophical terms, these concerns are placed within a contemporary framework.

Missing from the book, and part of my own take of this field, is the issue of the human burden of anticipation and flexible choice based upon our capacity for switching between multiple perspectives.We do not concern ourselves only within this moment, but with what may be possible in the future as well as re-experiencing our past.Just as motility allows organisms to take advantage of feeding further from where we find ourselves or not becoming other's nourishment, senses develop to guide us so that our excursions are not a waste of metabolic energy.As the central nervous system becomes increasingly complex, the senses and the capacity to process data evolved which allowed for greater anticipatory capacity.Our vision and hearing extend our attention ever further into the future as, for example, something approaching from far away.We sense things that may have a significant impact upon us in a future moment in time and have developed predictive capacities along with behavioral strategies to address these concerns.We may act, or not, upon a momentary event, based upon a capacity to vary our perspective.Beyond the explanatory role of anthropomorphizing natural forces, the complex nature of our own cognitive capacities have made us increasingly aware of the uncertainty we face.That one would seek or imagine a higher authority in whom to entrust one's fate and reduce the psychic burden seems...well, human.

Religious structures and practices are so vast and multifaceted that many additional biologically significant purposes, such as encouraging social interaction, support for the needy and vulnerable, faith for the desperate, must involve CNS systems concerning attachment, reward, stress reduction, and many other healthful functions.Although almost every activity human's are capable of has, at one point or another, been done in the name of some higher power, the authors have concerned more narrowly with what I've discussed above.

As advances in all scientific fields occur at breakneck rates, perhaps something in the archaic structure of century-old religious systems, in seeking to preserve their authoritative voice on all fronts to guide behavior and provide structure, lacks the adaptive capacity within their treatise and practices, to coexist harmoniously with such progress.Change in our understanding of the universe, throughout the time of homo sapiens, has never progressed at such a pace.Neuroscience understanding has advanced in the last 20 years to a greater extent than throughout the entire history of man. The nature of scientific query, although somewhat conservative, is relatively more forgiving of it's own self-examination and tolerant of questioning the structure of the universe than is religious query.Yet, still there are possibly concerns about our nature and place in the universe only addressable in religious terms.No one suggests science can make poetry or music irrelevant. In other words, perhaps future religions will introduce new rituals and practices which accept and respect the transient nature of our current state of knowledge to allow us to preserve a sense of sanctity, continuity, and belonging essential to our humanity.

This is a great book.I hope the review has provided a sense of the breadth and intellectual curiosity of this very significant arena.Not mentioned here is a lot of really cool stuff, like passages from the books of William James, Jung, Freud, and countless other greats as they have pondered the relationship between religion, psychology, and neuroscience.I'd pray, using the appropriate brain areas, to whatever higher power you profess faith to that the book store does not run out of copies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insights into current neuroscience and religion
Having read Brown's earlier work, Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?, a very technical book on current neuroscience developments and what those developments suggest about the human condition, I looked forward to this small volume which targets a less formal readership.The book is a great intruduction to the development of the neurosciences, but especially neuropsychology and religion, and offers a sound argument countering the views of a host of contemporary writers dismissing religion as an illusion, or at best, a product of the God-spot in the brain.I recommend it highly, especially in that it simplifies a very complex set of ideas without slipping into over-simplification.

[[ASIN:978149677267 The Badenweiler Waltz]] ... Read more

3. The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice
by Kenneth I. Pargament
Paperback: 548 Pages (2001-02-15)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$30.89
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Asin: 1572306645
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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When faced with a crisis, why do some people turn to religion to helpthem cope, while others turn away? Is religious belief merely a defense or a form ofdenial? Is spirituality a help or a hindrance in times of stress? Building a much-neededbridge between two different worlds of thought and practice--religion and psychology--this volume sensitively interweaves theory with first-hand accounts, clinical insight, andscientific research.The book underscores the need for greater sensitivity to religionand spirituality in the context of helping relationships, and suggests a range of waysthat faith might be used more fully to help people in crisis. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars indispensible
A serious scholar of psychology and religion should have this book prominently displayed on the bookshelf, particularly those with a clinical bent.In fact, a good clinical psychologist would benefit from this one too, as often patients turn to religion in their attemtpts to cope, yet clinicians receive little to no training on the subject of religion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely important research!
This was a key reference book when I wrote "Spiritual Health Psychology" (ISBN: 0966841735).Dr. Pargament has helped to establish the scientific link between the endorsement of religious beliefs andbehaviors and a healthier lifestyle.Must reading for any therapist and/orscientist who wants to fully understand the link between religion andhealth.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent integration of religion and psychology
Pargament provides an excellent summary of the clinical, research, and theological lierature on religion as it relates to coping and well-being. he also develops a useful,jargon-free framework for integrating psychology and religion. This book will be of interest to mental health clinicians, researchers in the field, as well as members of the lay public. ... Read more

4. The Psychology of Religion, Fourth Edition: An Empirical Approach
by Ralph W. HoodJr. PhD, Peter C. Hill PhD, Bernard Spilka
Hardcover: 636 Pages (2009-07-15)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$60.75
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Asin: 1606233033
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Scholarly and comprehensive yet accessible, this state-of-the-science work is widely regarded as the definitive psychology of religion text. The authors synthesize classic and contemporary empirical research on numerous different religious groups. Coverage includes religious thought, belief, and behavior across the lifespan; links between religion and biology; the forms and meaning of religious experience; the social psychology of religious organizations; and connections to morality, coping, mental health, and psychopathology. Designed for optimal use in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, every chapter features thought-provoking quotations and examples that bring key concepts to life.

New to This Edition

*Revised and updated with the latest theories, methods, and empirical findings.
*Many new research examples.
*Restructured with fewer chapters for better “fit” with a typical semester.
*More attention to the differences between religion and spirituality
*Covers emerging topics: genetics and neurobiology, positive psychology, atheism, and more.


... Read more

5. Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Hardcover: 590 Pages (2005-08-24)
list price: US$80.00 -- used & new: US$64.57
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Asin: 1572309229
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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From foremost authorities in the field, this comprehensive volume synthesizes the breadth of current knowledge on the psychological processes underlying spirituality, religious behavior, and religious experience. Presented are cutting-edge theories, conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and empirical findings emerging from all psychological subdisciplines. Coverage includes the neural and cognitive bases of religiousness; social, personality, and developmental issues; religion as a meaning system; and implications for behavior, mental health, and clinical practice. Seamlessly edited, the Handbook provides a definitive portrait of the current state of the science, fosters the development of integrative theory, and identifies vital directions for future research.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential reading to separate fiction from fact
The research in this book essential for understanding the complexity of religious beliefs and practices. For years, I have objected to the ways that many fine authors have portrayed religious activity in America; if writers like Dawkins, Harris, and others had accessed this book, they might find that not only are most religious practices benign, but they would also discover that America is far more secular than many people suspect. For example, in the child development chapters, I discovered that teens are far more skeptical of their parent's religion than I would have thought. I was also intrigued to discover that some young children, even when raised in anti-religious families, still maintained their belief in God. There are even some independent youngsters who will stand by their belief in the reality of the Easter Bunny, even when presented with evidence to the contrary!

The chapters on fundamentalism are particularly important because the researchers detail how authoritarian ideologies govern small communities of people.This raises the question: is religion the culprit when violence erupts, or authoritarianism (a socio-political ideology that lies at the root of genocidal acts of hatred)?

If you want to speak knowledgeably about the religious landscape of America, this is the book you must own. Don't trust public-opinion polls; they only show you 10% of the picture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finest Review of Research of These Subjects in 20 Years
Paloutzian and Park have gathered an excellent group of scholars to make contributions to this book. The articles in the field review the research conducted in this field from before Starbuck (1899) and James (1902) to 2004. Each article not only reviews the literature but makes major contributions to the issue it discusses such as Paloutzian's article on conversion and Alemeyer and Hunsberger on fundamentalism and authoritarian.
Many of the articles have practical applications for both secular and religious counselors. Oman and Thoresen article on spiritual and health strongly suggests that these two issues are deeply related. I strongly recommend any one conduction research on the psychology needs to own this important work. ... Read more

6. Psychology and Religion: West and East (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 11)
by C. G. Jung
Hardcover: 699 Pages (1975-01)
list price: US$92.50 -- used & new: US$71.92
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Asin: 0691097720
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Sixteen studies in religious phenomena, including Psychology and Religion and Answer to Job. ... Read more

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1-0 out of 5 stars Jung should have left religion alone
as much as I impressed by Jung's powerful intellect and insight into the mysterious processes of the soul, his ideas in religion have serious problems.
Jung wrote about religion with totally disregard from its historical records.
He's atotatlly babbling fool on most of these pages, saying many contradictory opinions based on his other studies.
Avoid this book, stay with his strict psychological studies.
Oh my god, I can just see the reactions on the faces of the JungianISTS.
All contorted with vehemence.
New Orlaens

4-0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read, but worth the trouble/expense
This lengthy tome, while not an easy read and including rather detailed analyses of certain Christian processes as well as the less than scientific (but certainly different) Answer to Job, provides a number of wise observations on the psychology of religion, applicable to both Eastern and Western religious traditions.Some of his main areas of cross-religious focus are:

Belief vs. Thought:
p. 110 "People who believe and don't think always forget that they continually expose themselves to their own worst enemy: doubt. Wherever belief reigns, doubt lurks in the background.But thinking people welcome doubt: it serves them as a valuable stepping-stone to better knowledge.People who can believe should be a little more tolerant with those of their fellows who are only capable of thinking.Belief has already conquered the summit which thinking tries to win by toilsome climbing.The believer ought not to project his habitual enemy, doubt, upon the thinker, thereby suspecting him of destructive designs...let the believer rejoice that others, too, seek to climb the mountain on whose peak he sits."
p. 449 "Irritability, bad moods, and outbursts of affect are the classic symptoms of chronic virtuousness."

The Statistical Distribution of Human Development In Terms of Years and Historical Periods:
p. 308 "There are people who, psychologically, might be living in the year 5000 B. C., i.e., who can still successfully solve their conflicts as people did seven thousand years ago.There are countless troglodytes and barbarians living in Europe and in all civilized countries, as well as a large number of medieval Christians.On the other hand, there are relatively few who have reached the level of consciousness which is possible in our time.We must also reckon with the fact that a few of our generation belong to the third or fourth millennium A. D. and are consequently anachronistic."
p. 333-5: "It takes about twenty years for the ordinary run of people to begin thinking the thoughts of the educated person of today...it takes about twenty years for the general outlook and problems of the educated to percolate down to the uneducated masses."

The nature of human development through neuroses and withdrawal of projections (when a person projects his or her inner perspectives, problems, etc. onto the external world or onto other people, thus denying the internal origin of the projection-and associating it with denial of responsibility for it).Jung's Individuation process involves integrating the split off pieces of one's personality-including projections.The process implies accepting oneself rather than condemning one's faults.
p. 43 "fairly complete human beings are exceptions.It is true that an overwhelming majority of educated people are fragmentary personalities and have a lot of substitutes instead of the genuine goods."
p. 85 "the development of consciousness requires the withdrawal of all the projections we can lay our hands on."
p. 256 "So long as they are unconscious our unconscious contents are always projected, and the projection fixes upon everything `ours,' inanimate objects as well as animals and people...they are more than what they are in themselves and function as such."
p. 339 "We cannot change anything unless we accept it.Condemnation does not liberate; it oppresses...if the doctor wishes to help a human being he must be able to accept him as he is.And he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is."

Psychological problems can result from resisting this process; resulting neuroses and suffering help to spur on the process despite egoistic attempts to derail it:
p. 75 "neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering."
p. 350 "A neurosis is never more complicated than the person who has it."
p. 335 "with the decline of religious life, the neuroses grow noticeably more frequent."

Thus, the religions (spiritual) life can be identified with Individuation as opposed to neurosis.Further:
p. 283 "A concrete event by itself can never create meaning, but is largely dependent for this on the manner in which it is understood."
p. 339 "simple things are always the most difficult.In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple."

Such an approach (to simplicity and creation of meaning) implies further similarity between psychology and religion (West and East).

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely ESSENTIAL
_Psychology and Religion: West and East_ is definitely one of the top three most important books in the Princeton/Bollingen series of Jung's collected works.As of now, it is only available in the ...hardcover edition, but you cannot put a price on the life-enhancing knowledge contained in this volume.
I will go over this volume one essay at a time:

The first essay is entitled "Psychology and Religion" and is a very useful, readable, and somewhat generalized overview on Jung's opinions on religion, and its usefulness in preventing neurosis.This essay is an ideal introduction.

Next comes the esaay "A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity".This is a very complex and profound essay, and deals with some of the most perplexing and mysterious concepts in all of theology.Specifically, it attempts to explain the precise nature of the Holy Ghost.It may be hard to relate to this essay unless you have had a numinous religious experience, such as a connection of coincidences with an underlying Biblical message.But Jung does a remarkable job dealing with this complex subject.

Next comes the essay "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass".This is my least favorite essay in this collection.Jung describes in excruciating detail the painstaking procedures involved in carrying out a proper symbolic mass.This wouldn't be so bad if Jung would have actually given us his interpretation of the symbolic significance of the procedures contained within the mass, but he does not do this.Instead, he simply explains in a very boring and dry manner what is to be done in performing the mass, and does not venture an interpretation of what any of this means.This is the only weak essay in this volume, however, and the rest of the book is classic, vintage Jung. But to avoid getting bogged down and demotivated, I suggest you skip this essay.

After a few other short but useful essays, we come to the centerpiece of this volume, Jung's masterwork, "Answer to Job".This is Jung's single greatest achievement, and one of his longest essays.This essay alone is worth the price of this collection (although "Answer to Job" is available by itself in paperback).Some critics have accused Jung of blasphemy because of this book, but in my opinion it is the greatest work of theology ever written, by anyone, ever.For more details on this specific masterpiece, refer to my review on the stand-alone paperback edition of this great essay.

Finally, we have the section on Eastern religion.Although this discussion on Asian religion comprises only about 1/4 of _Psychology and Religion: West and East_, it is perhaps the best interpretation of Eastern religion ever written by a westerner, eclipsing even the work of Zen masters Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley.First is the discussion on the Tibetian Book of the Dead, which is fascinating (also see Timothy Leary's companion piece to this ancient work).Next is a very poignant discussion on Yoga and the West.It basically criticises westerners for "doing" Yoga like it is only a type of aerobic exercise, and neglecting the literary, scholarly, and philosophical aspects of Yoga.

Next comes the discossion on "Zen Satori".This is probably the best essay in the section on Eastern religion.Within this relatively short work, Jung provides invaluble insight into Zen enlightenment, and succeeds in showing us the way to a betterlife, breaking free of fear, hate, negative emotion, and all other sources of neurosis.Words cannot describe the positive and joyous forces which are unleashed by the Zen master Jung within this spectacular essay.

Finally, we have a masterful discussion of the I-Ching.This essay, though brief, is a succint and insightful interpretation of this ancient work.It is absolutely essential for anyone who is interested in the I-Ching, and it is also a competent and thorough introdution for those unfamiliar with the I-Ching.

Overall, this volume of essays is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL for all Jungians.5 +++stars.Highest recommendation.

4-0 out of 5 stars a liberating experience...
i have found this book really interesting and if not for the usuall difficult jargons, i would have rated this a five star book. What i found of special interest is the portion of the ANSWER TO JOB...it containedideas which are controversial yet liberating! Even when i was a child, Ialready harbored the same questions posited in this work i.e. someirrationalities in the way God works. I also love the psychologicalanalysis of the book of revelation which includes the analysis of theshadow of its author...it was a learning experience for me since i becamemore convinced that in order for us to be truly human and be morepsychologically balanced, we have to integrate all the aspects of ourpersonality including the SHADOW! You'll have an enlightening experience byreading this book. ... Read more

7. Psychology and Western Religion (Ark Paperbacks)
by C. G. Jung
Paperback: 320 Pages (1988-12-01)
list price: US$16.50 -- used & new: US$16.50
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Asin: 0744800919
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Jung's principle interest was in the psychology of Western men and women. The son of a pastor, he was also deeply interested in their religious life and development. This selection of his writings enables us to understand his interpretation of Western religion as central to his psychological thought. The topics he covers include the Trinity, transformation symbolism in the Mass, the relationship between psychotherapy and religious healing, and resurrection. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars The debate continues
I find this book interesting because many of the issues Jung analyzed and debated here is still of contemporary interest.Firstly it is the Christian Trinity doctrine (and later the incorporation of Virgin Mary as a possible fourth element). For Jung, the unconscious and its archetypes (including God-image) is amoral and holistic, therefore, can't guarantee to be 100% good (like Christian God) or 100% bad (like Christian Devil).Unlike the Christian dogma, eastern religions do not ask for perfection, and hence more respectful to the unconscious.Perfection belongs to the domain of consciousness.Because of its compensatory nature with the unconscious, disregard to the reality of the unconscious is likely to backfire with psycho-pathological problems.According to Jungian analysis, the inclusion of Virgin Mary (mother earth) should be considered a step forward, but the tension between conscious and unconscious remains.And the debate continues.

Another debate concerns the issue "Psychotherapists or the Clergy" (an article in the book, page 195).With the progress of science and the triumph of consciousness in delivering to mankind a better and better world (incidentally Jung praised the good contribution of consciousness in the west vs-a-vs the east, and he categorically said copying the east is NOT the proper/correct spiritual route), the need for spirituality has become an important pursuit for the west - if not in our Universities, then certainly at our Shopping Malls!Needless to say our Christian groups and leaders have to compete with the psychotherapists in addition to other religious or spiritual groups in this big business of spiritual healing.Hence the debate continues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jung on Christianity
The psychology of Carl Jung (1875-1961) is the system of psychology mostreceptive to the beneficial influence of religion in a person's life.Inthis selection of writings, mostly from Volume 11 of the Collected Works,Jung focuses on the strengths and limitations of western religion.ForJung, western religion is the organic unity of Church Christianity and its"shadows": Gnosticism and alchemy.Two thirds of the book consist of twolong essays, "A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity" (1942)and "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass" (1942).In these essays, aswell as the shorter ones, Jung walks a fine line.His analysis couldscandalize a traditional (and otherwise unimaginative) Christian believer;at the same time, Jung's profound respect for the depth and wisdom ofChristianity stands in stark contrast to the flippant disregard someelements of the New Age movement pay it.For Jung, Christianity (with itsshadows) is an organic system that contains, though sometimes in obscureways, everything needed for psychology growth and individuation.Foranyone who was raised Christian but who now finds Christianityunaccountably unsatisfactory, this book could catalyze renewed spiritualexplorations in any one of number of directions. ... Read more

8. Psychology and Religion (The Terry Lectures Series)
by Carl Gustav Jung
Paperback: 138 Pages (1960-09-10)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
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Asin: 0300001371
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This 1938 book is based on a series of lectures given at Yale University, and is divided into chapters on "The Autonomy of the Unconscious Mind," "Dogma and Natural Symbols," and "The History and Psychology of a Natural Symbol."

Here are some representative quotations from the book:

"Speaking for instance of the motive of the virgin birth, psychology is only concerned with the fact that there is such an idea, but it is not concerned with the question whether such an idea is true or false in any other sense."
"I am not at all certain whether the unconscious mind is merely MY mind, because the term 'unconscious' means that I am not even conscious of it. As a matter of fact the concept of the unconscious mind is a mere assumption for the sake of convenience."
"My psychological experience has shown time and again that certain contents issue from a psyche more complete than consciousness... Consequently I explain the voice, in the dream of the sacred house, as a product of the more complete personality to which the dreamer's conscious self belongs as a part, and I hold that this is the reason why the voice shows an intelligence and a clarity superior to the dreamer's actual consciousness."
"But the gods in our time assemble in the lap of the ordinary individual and are as powerful and as awe-inspiring as ever, in spite of their new disguise--the so-called psychical functions."
"The inherited quality, I fancy, must rather be something like a possibility of regenerating the same or at least similar ideas. I have called the possibility 'archetype,' which means a mental precondition and a characteristic of the cerebral function."

4-0 out of 5 stars The Formation of Religious Symbols and the Unconscious
This collection of three lectures given by Carl Jung in 1937 presents an early version of his mature view on the role of the unconscious in formulating religious symbols. The three foci of this book are a case study of a neurotic man plagued by irrational fears of cancer, a natural history of the generation of religious symbols, and a consideration of the psychological consequences of the crisis of faith that was striking the heart of Europe.

Jung's case study is absolutely fascinating -- he presents and interprets a small number of the patient's dreams and relates them to the symbolic literature of the Gnostics, Hermetics, and Alchemists, three of Jung's favorite symbolic modalities. It's extraordinary to see a modern man completely disinterested in religion or esoterica unwittingly produce symbols that clearly serve the same psychological function as similar images in these somewhat obscure traditions.

His social analysis is crude and in my eyes profoundly misguided. Jung waxes nostalgic for a medieval Europe governed by the Catholic church in which the common folk could assimilate the transpersonal symbolic structures of the ecclesiastical matrix as a bulwark against the intrusion of the unconscious into their daily lives. He polemicizes in a most disagreeable fashion against the Protestant church and blasts the Utopian fantasies of Communism.

In his odious analysis Jung shows himself to be completely disinterested in, and probably ignorant of, the economic or material realities that govern man's existence. There is no sense that liberation from theocratic regimes produced a commensurate reduction of the degree to which the great majority of people were ruthlessly exploited by the great minority.

Perhaps Jung can be forgiven for making a classic error of Modernism and nostalgically aggrandizing a great old Europe that never was. The tenor and focus of his occasional social critiques was dramatically different post World War II, when his primary concern rightly shifted to the conditions of nationalistic totalitarianism. But as they stand in this work his social views are repugnant and anachronistic, and lack all sense of self-awareness.

One additional quarrel I have is that Jung's protestations that he is not interested in theology and philosophy, and that he deals with religious images purely as a psychological phenomenon, are not persuasive in the face of the many metaphysical claims that he in fact makes, such as offhandedly referring to atheism as a "stupid error". Few readers will agree that he has no particular religious convictions of his own, or that they don't absolutely play a core role in shaping his scientific theories.

Despite these problems the book on the whole provides a powerful and persuasive argument that he carefully builds to a gripping crescendo. His consideration of mandala symbolism in the last lecture is absolutely riveting and offers a vital empirical glimpse at the state of the religious mind in modernity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Christainity, Muslim, Judism
All these religions have bought the unbalance between male & female. Jung nails it totally the Divine Feminine which has been nearly lost in religions that have become so powerful these days.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not great, but short
This one won't change the way you see religion, but if you're curious what Jung would say, it's somewhat worth the read.At least it's shorter than Man and His Symbols.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great book on the unconscious
The Psyche is a very important area he looks at in the whole book. I consider the whole book to be a theory on unraveling the unconscious. He argues for the existence of the psyche and he says, " the only form of existence we know of immediately is psychic." He continues that psychical dangers are much more dangerous than epidemics or earthquakes. While I accept with Jung that psychical dangers are dangerous, I believe he has overemphasized the role or place of the Psyche. This is vividly seen in the context of religion. Rather than religious faith being the deepest part of man, it is only a means aided by its symbols to understand the unconscious self.
Unlike Sigmund Freud who looks at religion as an illusion, Jung sees some usefulness in religion and holds that religion is not created by persons as escape valves but they are victims of religion. He sees religion as the collective unconscious that is present in every person's unconscious. The task of religion is to reveal what is in the unconscious and the psyche. This is the reason he validates the use of Christian symbols in uncovering the unconscious.
Jung describes archetypes as "forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth as constituents of myths and at the same time as autochthonous, individual products of unconscious origin." Using his theory on archetypes to analyze some of his patient's dreams, he tries to return to the primordial remote times when these things existed. I find his theory on archetypes very problematic. My question is how these primordial things get into the psyche? Are these archetypes present at the time of birth of every child? His theory I believe will presuppose that if we all were helped to unravel the unconscious, we will think alike and behave alike since if we go back to a million or more years ago, we either were children of the same parents or evolved from one family of animals.
He sees in dream a means of unraveling the unconscious. Jung's book is helpful in understanding the psyche and the unconscious. It is however not helpful in understanding authentic religious experiences in people.
... Read more

9. The Psychology of Religion, Third Edition: An Empirical Approach
by Bernard Spilka, Ralph W. HoodJr. PhD, Bruce Hunsberger DECEASED, Richard Gorsuch
Hardcover: 671 Pages (2003-08-06)
list price: US$79.00 -- used & new: US$30.71
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Asin: 1572309016
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Now in a fully revised and expanded third edition, this landmark text provides comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of an increasingly rich and varied field. The authors synthesize classic and contemporary research on religious thought, belief, and behavior across the lifespan; the forms and meaning of religious experience; the social psychology of religious organizations; and connections to biology, morality, coping, and mental health. As in previous editions, the focus is on scientific work that is moving the psychology of religion into the mainstream of academic psychology, rather than broad interpretative and conceptual discussions. Organized for optimal use in advanced undergraduate- or graduate-level courses, every chapter features thought-provoking quotations, sidebars, and examples that bring key concepts to life.

New in the Third Edition
*Restructured and expanded to accommodate the rapidly growing literature
*Fully updated with the latest findings and interpretations
*New chapter on religion and biology
*New chapter on empirical foundations
*Coverage of such timely topics as religious extremism and clerical child abuse
... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's A *Must* For Serious Researchers!!
First of all, I consider this book a "Must", in every theologian's, psychologist's, sociologist's, or researcher's in humanities book collection. It's got tons of information on various subjects, by dozens of researchers on the field, of the past and the present. It's referring to a lot of empirical research, with tables as accompanying features. It's good for the beginning and seasoned researcher, as well.

The only drawbacks, I've seen, are the minor mispellings and syntax errors, which sometimes (when you're trying to figure out what's the meaning of a theory, or to find the correct reference article at the back of the book) get annoying. But that's all in the "game"! Besides, we should all read the "original text", if we wish to understand something correctly! ;D

5-0 out of 5 stars EMPIRICAL ALRIGHT!
Wow jeez dam - this is a college student coming out of a PSY Religions class (undergraduate thank you very much!!). This is definately an empirical approach. Studies, references, surveys gALORE! This is really great when studying religion, which can be so ...wishy-washy I'll say. I agree with the other commentor -the references are quite valuable when studying in this area, and a lot of other studies as well. Spilka et. al. do a wonderful job of succinctly speaking on what seems to be nearly every highly desired topic in the subject, and more. WELL DONE SPILKA AND those-of-you-who-don't-get-your-name-in-the-reference-and-have-to-settle-with-ET-AL...YA ET ALS!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars no serious student of the topic should be without this book
This book is _the_ reference on the topic of the psychology of religion.The reference section itself is worth the price of the book!As a text, it would be more appropriate to a graduate level than an undergraduate level class, but then few schools offer a class on the subject at all.However, anyone interested in pursuing this topic would do well to have a copy of this book on their shelf, preferably within reach at all times. ... Read more

10. Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary
by David H. Wulff
Hardcover: 784 Pages (1997)
-- used & new: US$100.00
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Asin: 0471037060
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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An unbiased, comprehensive introduction to the psychology of religion. This book integrates clinical, theoretical, and empirical literature, as well as biographical information of the lives of significant psychologists and their works. It contains new research on meditation, the correlational study of religion, religion and mental health, object relations theory, pluralism and social constructionism. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Textbook
This textbook was in good condition with only a little highlighting. It was a pretty interesting book in a very specific field.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but boring.
David Wulff's text, Psychology of Religion: Classic & Contemporary can be a bit dry at times.As a student, I felt at times that the content was difficult to digest -- not because of the difficulty of the material, but more due to the nature of the writing.Although I was very interested in the subject, I found myself having trouble focusing while reading.

Although at times it's dry, it is still a very good textbook for students entering a Psychology of Religion course.Wulff (most times) does a very good job explaining the material.Most of the book is very clear, very detailed and thoroughly researched.I think Wulff did a good job of staying as objective as he could.Although he is a psychologist with his own views, all the other fields seemed to be represented fairly and accurately.

5-0 out of 5 stars a nearly ideal introduction to the field
"Disguised as a textbook, this magnificent handbook encompasses the field in twelve chapters of forty to sixty pages. Exposition and insight flourish at every turn. Chapter 1 outlines history of the field; chapter 2 examines biological approaches to bodily states (G. Stanley Hall); chapter 3 presents behavioral theory and comparative studies of ritual behavior (in dogs and apes). Chapter 4 outlines laboratory experimentation, while chapter 5 probes statistical studies. Chapter 6 on Freud leads to chapter 7 on object-relations theory and narcissism (Suttie, Pruyser, Kohut) and thence to chapter 8 on Erikson. All are gems of synthesis and discernment. Chapter 9 on Jung and chapter 10 on James offer masterpieces of exposition and critique. Chapter 11 on the German descriptive tradition explores authors neglected in North America (Otto, Spranger, Girgensohn). Chapter 12 on the American humanisticsynthesis expounds Allport, Fromm and Maslow, as well as transpersonal psychology. Case studies from major religions (particularly Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Hindu) dot the text. An epilogue assesses the field in light of both the humanities and the social sciences....Indexes of persons and concepts are superb.

"David Wulff has written the closest thing to a German-style handbook that North Americans are likely to see. Exhaustiveness, clarity in both organization and explication, and common sense combine to produce a nearly ideal introduction to the field. History of the discipline shines.... [The] bravura pieces on Freud, Erikson, Jung and James are among the best anyone has written on the masters. The same can be said of the chapter on "Object Relations Theory and Religion." Nearly every chapter climaxes with several pages of "Evaluation," in which the author weighs pros and cons. The style is lucid and nuanced but never boring. Until this volume appeared, few would have thought such a handbook to lie within the capacity of a single author. For a single scholar to synthesize literature of the past 125 years while exuding poise, common sense and uncommon insight exceeds all expectations. This work set a standard for handbooks in the social sciences....

"This masterpiece accomplishes something that cries out to be done for sociology of religion and anthropology of religion. Dispensing exposition, critique and hints for further research, Wulff makes the field accessible and attractive. Mastery resounds."

--comments on the first edition of this book, by William M. Johnston, Recent Reference Books in Religion: A Guide for Students, Scholars, Researchers, Buyers & Readers (rev. ed., 1998), pp. 275-276.

2-0 out of 5 stars May the Generic Transcendent save us
No help supposedly from science, especially not those "rational fundamentalists" who are "absolutizing the scientific method". Wulff says "the behaviorist paradigm has proven inadequate even for the prediction of the behavior of rats and pigeons". Yet behaviorists have worked with severely impaired autistic youths and enabled some to return to public school.

No help supposedly from religious fundamentalism: the "correlational studies" Wulff cites question the relative mental health of religious fundamentalists. Who created the correlation studies? And is it, after all, just a correlation, which could be due to many factors including favorable ones. For example, people who take responsibility may have more anxiety than those who slack off.

No help supposedly from atheism, other "correlational studies" Wulff cite (one with a whopping seven participants) indicate atheists often ended up that way after the loss or parent or an unhappy youth. Missed Sunday school maybe?

Instead seek out the mystics. They wil transcend this world. And in this time of crisis, it's up to psychologists of religion to "give the experience of transcendence the prominance it deserves".

I read the entire book (although much of it seems material a general reader in psychology may well have encountered elsewhere) but the epilogue seemed to make sense of Wulff's way of presenting the earlier survey. In the epilogue, Wulff presents a "summary schema" of 4 fundamental attitudes in the psychology of religion. Conveniently, 3 of them he's able to essentially dismiss due to their expressing literal and/or reductive views. The remaining view is the one conducive to sensitivity to others' transcendent experiences and also the one Wulff cites only positive "correlational study" results for.

Wulff's glossary definitions seem consistent with his evaluationsin the main text. Behaviorism is an "ideology". Evolutionism is just a "view", not a scientific theory. Creationism similarly is a "view", not a belief. This levelling may be a result of Wulff's application of postmodernism (which seems not to be applied to itself or to Wulff's special place for transcendence). Wulff favors Transcendence as "the crucial, ultimate dimension toward which all religious expression is directed...". At this point it may not be clear whether one is studying the psychology of religion or Wulff's religion within psycholgy. Is it important whether the Good Samaritan who saves a stranger had a transcendental experience? When that atheist or Fundamentalist or scientist reaches out a helping hand, you may want to take it.

It seems unlikely that those with vested interests about religion will stay away from working within the psychology of religion. The student of the psychology of religion will have to be especially on guard for bias. After all, how likely is it that anyone could be unbiased in this area?

5-0 out of 5 stars A thorough review of psychology of religion
This is a great resource for anyone looking for a thorough overview of the psychology of religion literature.Although it's a bit expensive (what textbook isn't these days?), it will pay dividends to both researchers beginning a review of the relevant research in this field and to the casual reader who's interested in the subject, but wants more than the typically trite, overly-simplistic pop-psychology they'll find in most large-chain book stores. ... Read more

11. The Psychology of Religion for Ministry (Integration Books)
by H. Newton Malony
Paperback: 184 Pages (1995-03)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$143.04
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Asin: 0809134837
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12. Invitation to the Psychology of Religion (2nd Edition)
by Raymond F. Paloutzian
Paperback: 304 Pages (1996-02-23)
list price: US$93.80 -- used & new: US$71.85
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Asin: 0205148409
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This is the only newly revised book on themarket to target the mid-level undergraduate student. Providing awell-balanced and thorough look at the psychological literature, this book ismeant to be “an invitation to the psychology of religion, not anencyclopedia of it,” and therefore, particular emphasis has been placed onwriting style as well as scholarship. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Keep looking......Very boring!
This book was utilized in a psychology of religion class I just took and it is boring beyond belief.Much of the research that was used in the examples were questionable. (Sample sizes were too small and control of extraneous variables in some seemed non-existant).This field of psychology is very young and needs books that can present credible research in a way that can stimulate interest.This book constantly says more research is needed in this or that area, but does little to show that the field has any credibility to it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A smooth intro to the psychology of religion
The psychology of religion, unlike such well entrenched divisions in psychology as developmental or social psychology, is in its infancy. So much so that it is only beginning to establish itself in the institutions of higher learning.

Thus, one of Dr. Paloutzian's objective in writing this book is to encourage students to see the value of doing psychological studies in religion. Surveying the various research undertaken in the past and present, the author gives a summary of the accomplishments of the discipline as well as the areas in which further studies are needed.

Responding to the clamor for an introductory material to the psychology of religion, Paloutzian has written this readable overview of the field. Being introductory in nature the author does not give lengthy discussions of the theories and empirical studies he cites. His goal is not to expound on these but to whet the appetite of reader and then lead him to the pertinent authors and works. On the other hand in the first few chapters Paloutzian elucidates on the various methodologies employed in the psychology of religion, as well as defining what the psychology of religion is and is not.

For those interested in the psychological aspects of religion, or even for those simply curious to know what this seldom heard of area of study is, Paloutzian's work offers a smooth and enlightening entry into this most fascinating field. ... Read more

13. Psychoanalysis and Religion (The Terry Lectures Series)
by Erich Fromm
Paperback: 126 Pages (1959-09-10)
list price: US$18.50 -- used & new: US$8.14
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Asin: 0300000898
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Naive in the typology of religion
I had trouble rating this. The biggest failing is that Fromm really has only a layman's grasp of what religion is and consequently makes dumb statements like "secular religion". He confuses Weltanschauung with religion and they are not necessarily the same thing. He also makes some fairly trite comparisons with religion and psychoanalysis.The bulk of the book is a commercial for his particular brand of humanistic Neofreudianism viz. classical Freudianism.It is not his best book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading!
Another great book by a great mind. Although, this volume is not his masterpiece work, it is definitely worth reading. Fromm taps into the core issues of religion, and addresses the schizm that exists within the bureaucracy of organized religion. One side is pulling toward a patriarchal, authoritarian, fear and guilt orientation, while the other is geared toward self-realization, as well as the promotion of human ideals. He does not agree with Freud on many issues, and he warns about the limits of psychoanalysis as a tool in the search for man's higher spiritual self. Although psychoanalysis is not trendy any longer, it remains the core and the glue that holds the subjective field of psychology together.

2-0 out of 5 stars Where is the author's evidence?
In a time of psychopharmacological drugs, cognitive science, and behavioral psychology, Freudian psychoanalysis is not at center stage anymore, as it was in the early to mid twentieth century. Written over a half a century ago, it is readily apparent in this book that the author has been considerably influenced by Freud's ideas, no doubt because of the time and context in which the author lived. It is also clear that the author is one who is not ready to remove himself totally from the influence of religion when formulating criteria for human psychological and emotional health. And interestingly, he describes Freud as being one who also takes this view, in spite of Freud's militant atheism. After expressing disappointment that "academic" psychology has been attempting to imitate the natural sciences emphasis on quantitative and empirical methods, he asserts that psychology must be concerned with matters of the "soul", the latter being the "higher" human powers of love, reason, conscience, and values. Freud he says, via his method of psychoanalysis which uses dreams, fantasies, and free associations, concentrates on the soul. Therefore the author makes it clear that a scientific approach to psychology, where case studies and data and statistical analysis are essential, is to be rejected.
This attitude is consistently applied throughout this book, as the author does not attempt to justify his beliefs with any historical evidenceor patient case histories. Instead, readers are asked to believe that their life is not based on a "solid foundation", and that anxiety, uneasiness, and confusion are currently (at least at that time) permanent facets of their existence. But the author does not advise the reader to return to religion, but to "live love and think truth". If a person cannot do this on their own, they should seek the assistance of a psychoanalyst. Psychoanalysis and religion thus have an intersection, in that they both seek to cleanse and restore the individual's soul.

The author devotes and entire chapter to correcting the view that Freud is "against" religion and his contemporary, Carl Jung is "for" religion. This discussion serves also to set up the groundwork for his own thinking developed later in the book. Both Freud and Jung were deeply religious, he argued, for they were concerned with the true requirements of the soul, that they were indeed "physicians of the soul" as the author calls it. But the author clearly distinguishes between "humanistic" religion and "authoritarian" religion. Jung and Freud are in the former category, and assist in giving the individual genuine psychological health. The latter however, the author argues, results, and is a symptom of, severe emotional and psychological maladjustment, and its consequence is a lack of love and respect for the individual. His thinking on these issues is interesting, but it lacks support from an empirical point of view. The author never quotes case studies as to how certain individuals were helped by the psychoanalytic theories that he expouses. Such studies would help to decide whether in fact the approach advocated by the author does in fact result in a more adjusted and fully functional individual, and such an individual would be better off than what traditional, authoritarian religion would be able to contribute. Such studies though would require scientific analysis, and the author will have no part of this.

The most disconcerting part of the book is that the author continually takes the position that he speaks for everyone in the society he is analyzing. "We cling to the belief that we are happy" he says in one paragraph, and in another, where he discusses the situation of children, he proclaims that "we are as helpless as they are", and that "we do not know the answer because we even have forgotten to ask the question. We pretend that our life is based upon a solid foundation and ignore the shadows of uneasiness, anxiety, and confusion which never leave us." Does the author himself feel this way? Does every reader feel this way? The author seems very confident that he speaks for everyone, but he eschews statistical sampling, so why are readers supposed to believe his sweeping generalizations? Did it ever occur to the author that the technological society in which we find ourselves is itself the product of happy, productive individuals? Innovation at the current grand scale is not done by dysfunctional, maladjusted "freaks of the universe". Such a society is a product of the ingenuity of many individuals, confident in themselves and the future.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not his best....
Fromm rigidly adheres to his version of the humanist position here by claiming that the mystics of all faiths have been imbued with the glow of man's powers--powers of heart, mind, spirit--rather than God's, God being a symbol of those same powers, awaiting unfoldment.

From a theistic/mystical perspective, however, this is a side-effect, and if taken for the Source of the experience brings on a tremendous inflation of the ego.No mystic really thinks, as Fromm does, that man is the measure of all things.Fromm is best when he sticks to human psychology--THE SANE SOCIETY, ESCAPE FROM FREEDOM, THE ART OF LOVING are worth buying. ... Read more

14. Psychology, Religion and Spirituality
by David Fontana
Paperback: 272 Pages (2003-06-09)
list price: US$40.95 -- used & new: US$30.28
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Asin: 1405108061
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At a time when religious fundamentalism is having a huge impact upon the world, this book helps us to understand how people acquire, conceptualise and practise religion at both personal and social levels. At a time when religious fundamentalism is having a huge impact upon the world, this book helps us to understand how people acquire, conceptualise and practise religion at both personal and social levels.

  • Explores religion both as a social phenomenon and as a form of inner experience.
  • Explains why people believe what they do.
  • Looks at the effects of religious and spiritual belief upon behaviour, and upon physical and psychological health.
  • Outlines the various approaches to religious and spiritual experience.
  • Surveys all relevant research.
... Read more

15. Attachment, Evolution, and the Psychology of Religion
by Lee A. Kirkpatrick PhD
Hardcover: 400 Pages (2004-10-18)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$41.84
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Asin: 1593850883
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In this provocative and engaging book, Lee Kirkpatrick establishes a broad, comprehensive framework for approaching the psychology of religion from an evolutionary perspective. Within this framework, attachment theory provides a powerful lens through which to reconceptualize diverse aspects of religious belief and behavior. Rejecting the notion that humans possess religion-specific instincts or adaptations, Kirkpatrick argues that religion instead is a collection of byproducts of numerous psychological mechanisms and systems that evolved for other functions. This integrative work will spark discussion, debate, and future research among anyone interested in the psychology of religion, attachment theory, and evolutionary psychology, as well as religious studies. It will also serve as a text in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting
Although I have read other theories with which I agree more (evolutionary theories elaborated upon by Atran and Boyer), the Attachment Theory perspective is a very interesting point of view on how people form and maintain relationships with supernatural beings. The book as a whole makes some pretty persuasive arguments for the Attachment Theory and does it with humor and facts combined. For a subject that has great potential to be dry and boring, Kirkpatrick leads the reader through the points in a very fluid and entertaining way. Again, I really enjoyed this book, both as a Psych major and as a Philosophy & Religion major.

5-0 out of 5 stars An eminently readable and balanced approach to the psychology of religion
I began reading this book in the library of the college where I teach psychology, and after finishing Kirpatrick's introduction I knew I had to purchase the book for myself.

Kirpatrick provides a rigorously scientific approach to the psychology of religion.Couching religious belief, or at least parts of our religious belief, in the context of attachment theory is both intuitively appealing and empirically supported.Wrapping the whole in the metatheoretical framework of evolutionary psychology is the final piece that puts everything together, and Kirkpatrick does just that, in an eminently readable way.

Certainly there is much more research to be done in this area before we can even begin to provide potential answers to all questions about religious belief, but Kirkpatrick does an excellent job summarizing the state of the research at present, and drawing reasonable--and interesting--interpretations.

Finally, I was impressed by the intellectually balanced approach Kirkpatrick provides.There is no hint of an agenda or an axe to grind; theist and atheist alike can read this book and learn from it without having their sensibilities offended.I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars an intelligent look at religion
Kirkpatrick has given us a scholarly, comprehensive and comprehendable discussion of an extremly important part of human experience.This work is well and carefully documented for the scholar and clearly written for the casual (but curious) reader.It's too bad Dennett didn't read this before he wrote "Breaking the Spell."He could have saved hinself a couple of years and sent us to read "Attachment, Evolution, and the Psychology of Religion."

2-0 out of 5 stars a marginal contribution, at best, to religious studies
My excitement upon purchasing this book did not last long.Kirkpatrick argues that a person's "attachment" style, shaped at an early age by his relationship with his primary caregiver, plays a role in his subsequent relationships with peers, lovers, spouses, and even God.I find the theory and evidence marshalled in support of this argument unpersuasive.

Suppose a mother is cold and avoidant in her relationship with her infant.According to Kirkpatrick, this environmental stimulus leads the infant to form an internal model of social interaction in which ALL agents are seen as cold and avoidant.Having learned not to trust or depend on others, the infant grows up to become a cold and avoidant himself.He doesn't hug his parents, he doesn't buy his wife flowers, he doesn't warm to the idea of a benevolent God.

I don't buy it.Some of the studies Kirkpatrick describes in support of his thesis are interesting, but most are so profoundly confounded with hereditary factors that they cannot possibly support the conclusions that Kirkpatrick forces upon them.The evidence from behavioral genetics shows that, typically, fifty percent of the variance in stable behavioral treats is caused by genetic variation in the population.Moreover, many behavioral geneticists now accept that NONE of the variance is attributable the environment that siblings in a household share (which assuredly includes parental childrearing style).With this data in hand, we see that the dogma of attachment theory dissolves.Yes, nurturant parents produce children who grow up to become nurturant adults.Yes, mean parents produce children who grow up to become mean adults.Yes, clingy parents produce children who grow up to become clingy adults.But this is all because children inherit the genes for these traits from their parents.Adopted children, who are objects of the same parental "attachment style" as the other children in their household, grow up to become as different from their adoptive siblings as can be.The theoretical arguments against attachment theory, based on evolutionary grounds, are also powerful; but in this case data suffices to cast it thoroughly in doubt.

What is left of Kirkpatrick's book?The last hundred pages are useful in overviewing the theory of religion as spandrel that has been developed in recent years, but they fail to redeem the whole.The same ground has been already covered by Pascal Boyer and Scott Atran in much greater detail.In any case, Kirkpatrick is not a particularly compelling writer.

Individual differences in religiosity is a gold mine waiting to be tapped, but Kirkpatrick's approach is a dead end in my view.Save your money and pass on this one.

Recommended instead:THE NURTURE ASSUMPTION by Judith Rich Harris, RELIGION EXPLAINED by Pascal Boyer, THE BLANK SLATE by Steven Pinker, IN GODS WE TRUST by Scott Atran ... Read more

16. Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality
by James M. Nelson
Hardcover: 731 Pages (2009-02-27)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$39.92
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Asin: 0387875727
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Product Description

The past century has seen the relationship between psychology and religion progress from wary antagonists to strange bedfellows to complementary worldviews. Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality is designed as a text that reflects this history while illuminating the robust dialogue that continues to accompany it.

The elegant, accessible coverage ranges from early psychological critiques of religion and responses from major religious thinkers to positivist and constructivist philosophies; from Jung’s archetypes to neurobiological research into the religious brain; from scientific constructs of prayer, meditation, and mindfulness to collaborative interventions for mental health. The book’s distinctive teaching/learning presentation:

  • Discusses non-Western religious traditions in addition to Christianity.
  • Balances theoretical literature with empirical research on each topic.
  • Reviews contemporary research and debates in psychology and religion.
  • Examines developmental approaches to religious and spiritual growth.
  • Provides a variety of practical applications.
  • Includes review questions, exercises, and other student materials.
  • Encourages readers to develop their own ideas on this subject.

These are valuable perspectives for graduate or undergraduate courses in the psychology of religion, and a rich resource for graduate courses in psychology and counseling. In addition, Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality makes an inviting text for seminary courses in spiritual and pastoral counseling.

... Read more

17. An introduction to the psychology of religion
by Robert Henry Thouless
Paperback: 304 Pages (2010-05-14)
list price: US$29.75 -- used & new: US$17.57
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Asin: 1149419636
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This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

18. The Psychology of Religion
by George Albert Coe
Paperback: 186 Pages (2010-10-14)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$16.82
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Asin: 0217635059
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This is an OCR edition without illustrations or index. It may have numerous typos or missing text. However, purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original rare book from GeneralBooksClub.com. You can also preview excerpts from the book there. Purchasers are also entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Original Published by: University of Chicago Press in 1916 in 386 pages; Subjects: Psychology, Religious; Philosophy / Religious; Religion / Philosophy; Religion / Psychology of Religion; ... Read more

19. The Psychology of Religion, and Its Application in Preaching and Teaching
by James Henry Snowden
Paperback: 196 Pages (2010-01-01)
list price: US$28.01 -- used & new: US$28.01
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Asin: 1151802883
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Publisher: New York, Chicago, Fleming H. Revell companySubjects: Psychology, ReligiousPreachingNotes: This is an OCR reprint. There may be typos or missing text. There are no illustrations or indexes.When you buy the General Books edition of this book you get free trial access to Million-Books.com where you can select from more than a million books for free. You can also preview the book there. ... Read more

20. Religion Explained
by Pascal Boyer
Paperback: 384 Pages (2002-04)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$8.94
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Asin: 0465006965
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.Amazon.com Review
What's it all about? Though we might never answer the really big questions--with good reason--maybe we can understand why we ask them. Cognitive anthropologist Pascal Boyer tackles this topic in the unapologetically titled Religion Explained, and it is sure to polarize his readers. Some will think it's an impermissible invasion of mental territory beyond the reach of reason; others will see it as the first step toward a more complete understanding of human nature--and Boyer is acutely aware of the emotionally charged nature of his work. This knowledge informs his decision to proceed without caution, as he warns readers early on that most will risk being offended by some of his considerations. Readers who can lay aside their biases will find great rewards here; Boyer's wide scholarship and knack for elegant writing are reasons enough for reading his book.

That gods and spirits are construed very much like persons is probably one of the best-known traits of religion. Indeed, the Greeks had already noticed that people create gods in their own image.... All this is familiar, indeed so familiar that for a long time anthropologists forgot that this propensity requires an explanation. Why then are gods and spirits so much like humans?

Peppering his study with examples from all over the world, particularly the Fang people of Africa, Boyer offers plenty of evidence for his theory that religious institutions exist to maintain particular threads of social integrity. Though he uses the tools of evolutionary psychology, he is more careful than most EP proponents to avoid ad hoc and circular arguments. Best of all, at least to those unmortified at the idea of examining religion critically, his theories are potentially testable. Even if he turns out to be dead wrong, at least Religion Explained offers a new and powerful framework for thinking about our spiritual lives. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (68)

2-0 out of 5 stars Cognitive pre-adaptations enabling religion explained - not religion itself
Reading Pascal Boyer trying to explain religion by explicating the cognitive pre-adaptations enabling the formation, spreading and transmission of religious concepts is like listening to a Hindu explaining goulash by citing in detail the content of a kitchen and the autonomy of a cow: not many factual mistakes, sprinkled with plenty of negative sentiment against the whole concept, roughly on target but misses the point almost completely. The tittle over-promised and the book underwhelms. Two stars for effort.

There is nothing wrong in itself with Religion Explained, as long as one takes it for what it does well: explaining the mind it takes for religion to be possible in the first place. The title however is not justified by the content.

For a far deeper and more enlightening exploration of the matter I highly recommend Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity (Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology). Not an easy read, not focusing on the cognitive aspects, but far far superior in wisdom, insight and much closer to 'the truth'.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking
One of my all time favorite books. I can't remember a book quite as thought provoking as this one (The Selfish Gene, maybe). The author explores evolutionary psychology as it pertains to religious belief, and he addresses, in my view, most of the right questions. What is really going on in people's mind as they formulate, accept, and propagate religious ideas? How and why did this evolve over time. Why has religion been so strongly connected with violence throughout history, and so on. The bottom line is that this book offers one of the most penetrating analyses of religious belief that I've come across and it opens up many new ways of looking at it.

I am the author of a novel, Kaleidoscope, in which I explore some of the ideas raised in this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing
The book promises to view religion from a new perspective: that of cognitive processes in the human brain, shaped by evolution. It would be fascinating, if it fulfilled the expectations. Unfortunately, the valuable ideas are too few for such a lengthybook. The result is an over-elaboration of obvious concepts, and endless repetitions. The author dismisses too readily the 'traditional' explanations of religion, but fails to offer suitable substitutes. For example, according to the author, religion does not provide any comfort for the angst involving the inevitability of death. Maybe there are religious beliefs in the world that do not provide any hope of an afterlife, but they have not had much success. The author has the annoying habit of presenting well-established concepts about the origin and functions of religion, only to add immediately that they do not make much sense and offer his own explanation. Having said that, if you bear with the tiresome prose and slow progression, there are detours into cognitive science and descriptions of very primitive religious beliefs that you may find interesting.

3-0 out of 5 stars Author needs writing lessons, but makes interesting points.
Holy cow. I have read numerous books on religion, atheism, evolution, physics etc. by a variety of authors including scholars and scientists. "Religion Explained" is without a doubt the most tedious read in memory. While I don't doubt Boyer's expertise in his field, he desperately needs to take a couple of writing classes if he wants to reach an audience of more than fellow anthropologists. In this book he gives us what he clearly feels is necessary background on various arenas of the evolution of the human mind to make his conclusions understandable. But he winds up using 320 pages of prep work in order to summarize his conclusions in the last five pages of the book. The groundwork needs to be there, certainly, but I was overwhelmed by the second chapter with repetition and anthropological jargon that continued throughout the entire book. Aside from that, I gleaned a few gems about the brain's innate needs concerning social interaction and evolution that make religion essentially a byproduct of psychology. I suspected this for many years, but Boyer explains - in longwinded fashion - HOW and WHY the mind produces lasting religious concepts that seem too counterintuitive to take root. If you believe, as I do, that all religions are manmade, this book will interest you if you learn to do some scanning and speed reading to wrestle the important points from the clutter.

3-0 out of 5 stars thought-provoking yet very poorly written
This book is larded with thought-provoking ideas about religion and its foundations in the human mind. Unfortunately the style of its author makes it very difficult to read comfortably. It is composed of a succession of statements that, one hopes, are related to each other but that one must connect logically in order to make sense of the content of the book and appreciate the import of its thought-provoking ideas. Boyer does not feel the need to use conjunctions such as "but", "however","although", "and" etc. to organize his discourse. And this is really regrettable because the poor quality of the packaging may turn off many readers and render their jounney toward enlightening ideas very arduous if at all worth it. And yet i found myself plodding on because the content was just too compelling to ignore. Too bad Boyer is such a poor writer though. There is nothing particulary intellectually abstruse in his argument; it is just that his ponderous and ill-organized style makes the reading very frustrating. To remedy the problem it takes several readings sometimes. By the end of the book you are confronted with this paradox: the ideas expounded in the book have to have originated from anintelligent mind, and yet this very intelligent mind could not manage to express these ideas in a logical manner. It also raises the question of the role of editors.
To sum up: very interesting ideas about the foundations of religious thinking (in the human mind) written in a very illogical style that makes the reading needlessly frustrating.
P.S.: I chose not to dwell on the content since so many other reviewers had already done so beautifully. But too few addressed the issue of readability which i think should be treated. ... Read more

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