The Psychology of Religion

The Psychology of Religion

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The Psychology of Religion

The Psychology of Religion

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Excerpt

This work is intended primarily as a handbook for beginners in the psychological analysis of religion. The foremost concern, therefore, has been to make clear the nature of the problems, the kinds of data, the methods of research, and the achieved results.

The justification for attempting such a handbook lies partly in the inherent difficulty of analyzing religious experience, and partly in conditions that grow out of the extreme youth of the psychology of religion. We are still in the beginnings--plural--of this enterprise. Of ten recent writers who have published volumes of a general character devoted largely or wholly to the subject, no three pursue the same method, or hold the same point of view as to what the religious consciousness is. I refer to Ames, Durkheim, Höffding, James, King, Leuba, Pratt, Starbuck, Stratton, and Wundt. Such disparity is not a reproach to a scientific inquiry in its first stages, but rather a sign of its vitality. But students who are approaching the subject for the first time are likely to be confused by the seeming babel, even though it be more apparent than real, or else--and this is a more common and a greater evil--to suppose that the first tongue that they happen to hear speaks the one exclusive language of science. I have therefore attempted, not only to sharpen the outlines of problems, but also to provide, particularly in the alphabetical and topical bibliographies, convenient apparatus for following up . . .

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