The Psychologies in Religion: Working with the Religious Client

By E. Thomas Dowd; Stevan Lars Nielsen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Mainline Protestants:
Christian Faith in the
Reflective Tradition

Donald L. Bubenzer, Amy B. Quillin, and Paul Ashby

In writing about Mainline Protestants, the authors are taking a view that religion and spirituality are perhaps most helpfully understood from a cultural rather than a psychological perspective. This view is taken for two reasons. First, it seems as though religion is an expression of culture if culture is understood as a “socially transmitted system of ideas—ideas that shape behavior, categorize perceptions and give names to selected aspects of experience” (Locke, 1998, p. 3). Second, world religions long preceded the development of the discipline of psychology; thus, trying to apply psychological lenses and language to religious schema and symbols may not be helpful or appropriate. If therapists attempt to draw forth different realities and experiences by the language chosen to describe them, then it might behoove those in the helping professions to learn the language of those served. Therefore, the reader is invited to enter the culture of Mainline Protestantism and suspend the desire to automatically translate what is written into the language of psychology. Perhaps the thought and language of Mainline Protestantism might inform psychological thinking and practice.


OVERVIEW OF MAINLINE PROTESTANTISM

Mainline Protestants represent the historic churches that were the dominant expression of Protestantism in America from the time of the landing of the Mayflower until the 20th century movements of fundamentalist

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