Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith

Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith

Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith

Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith

Synopsis

A multidisciplinary team of scholars shows how spiritual and religious practices actually do power psychological, physical, and social benefits, producing stronger individuals and healthier societies.

Excerpt

Few topics receive the kind of constant media attention, debate, and expression of strong emotions as religion and spirituality. While many claim that religion and spirituality are inspiration for great good in the world (e.g., charity, love, kindness), many others would claim they provide motivation for much that is wrong in the world (e.g., hate, prejudice, intolerance, warfare). Religion and spirituality seem to bring out the very best and the very worst in people and have done so for centuries. In more recent years, academic scholarship has begun to address these issues and has tried to determine, using the very best that methodological and statistical techniques can offer, if religion and spirituality make us better people. The integration of behavioral and medical sciences with spiritual, religious, and theological approaches has unfolded with collaborative projects, programs, and institutes being developed at a rapid pace.

The purpose of this book is to bring together some of the best minds on this topic in order to offer thoughtful and evidence-based reflections about the potential benefits of religious and spiritual engagement. The book is a companion to several earlier edited books on this topic published by Praeger/Greenwood/ABC-CLIO that include Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health (2010) and Spirit, Science and Health: How the Spiritual Mind Fuels Physical Wellness (2007).

We have used a centering and guiding theme of “fruit of the spirit” referred to in sacred scriptures. As mentioned in the Christian New Testament, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22).

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