Religion and Psychology: Mapping the Terrain; Contemporary Dialogues, Future Prospects

Religion and Psychology: Mapping the Terrain; Contemporary Dialogues, Future Prospects

Religion and Psychology: Mapping the Terrain; Contemporary Dialogues, Future Prospects

Religion and Psychology: Mapping the Terrain; Contemporary Dialogues, Future Prospects

Synopsis

Religion and Psychology is a thorough and incisive survey of the current relationship between religion and psychology from the leading scholars in the field. This is an essential resource for students and researchers in the area of psychology of religion. Issues addressed are:* The Psychology-Theology Dialogue* The Psychology-Comparativist Dialogue* Psychology, Religion and Gender Studies* Psychology "as" Religion* Social Scientific Approaches to the Psychology of Religion* The Empirical Approach* International Perspectives

Excerpt

William B. Parsons and Diane Jonte-Pace

What is the relation of psychology to religion? Does psychology attack, critique, and challenge religion? Or does psychology collaborate with religion in promoting mental and spiritual wholeness? Do psychological models contain implicit cultural assumptions and visions of personhood and relationality that interfere with its ability to study and interpret religion objectively? Has a modern or even postmodern psychological worldview replaced a pre-modern religious worldview? How can we describe the terrain where psychology and religion intersect?

The scholars contributing to this volume each map a portion of this terrain. Unlike ordinary maps, which are schematic pictures of space, these essays offer both cartographies and chronologies of the intersections between psychology and religion. The contributors to this volume describe how and where psychology has encountered religion earlier in this century and in recent decades: they look back to the past. At the same time, they look forward: a major aim of the contributions is to provoke sustained debate over future directions for the field. The essays thus represent and “map” the parameters of distinct approaches and dialogues found in that domain which designates the intersection between religion and psychological studies.

Framing the debate: “and,” “of,” “in dialogue with”

Even a cursory historical overview reveals that the domain which is the subject of this volume has been circumscribed by various designations. There is good reason for this fact. The differences between psychological models utilized, the religious responses evoked, and the inclusion of internationally based scholars and religious professionals who locate themselves and their institutions in multiple social settings (the clinic, the seminary, the church, and the university) have invariably led to specialization, segmentation, and the development of distinct approaches and arenas of dialogue. Indeed, the perspectives have become so diverse that it is questionable whether the multiplicity of dialogues and approaches gathered here can be said to constitute a single “field”; that, for example, what has been called the

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