The Psychology of Religion: An Introduction to Religious Experience and Behavior

The Psychology of Religion: An Introduction to Religious Experience and Behavior

The Psychology of Religion: An Introduction to Religious Experience and Behavior

The Psychology of Religion: An Introduction to Religious Experience and Behavior

Excerpt

This book has been written in response to a need for an up-todate, comprehensive treatment of the field of the psychology of religion. Recently there has been much work done in the area of religion and mental health, but other areas of the general field have been neglected. I have not omitted the important subject of religion and mental health, but I have tried to make my coverage full and inclusive. Consequently the reader will find something said about nearly all the important areas, though obviously none could be treated exhaustively in a survey volume.

In my subtitle I have called my work an "introduction." The intent has been not so much to present a study of high creativity or originality as to define and describe the field. Hence the reader will find that I have leaned heavily on the works of others in my search for ideas that will help to conceptualize the subject. A further aim has been to introduce students and readers to the important works and theorists of the psychology of religion. The book is up-to-date in the sense that I have preferred the contemporary wherever it seems to represent a real advance over an older psychology. But rather than be merely up-to-date, I have preferred to use studies and concepts that seem useful and significant. Hence recent neglect of the psychology of religion has sometimes forced me as far back as the turn of the century to that incomparable volume, The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, and to other studies of the time. I want my book to be modern but durable as well. Above all I want it to make sense.

The reader will find here the elements of a consistent theory of the place of religion in personality. But in the eclecticism of my ap-

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