The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism

By Ralph W. Hood, Jr.; Peter C. Hill et al. | Go to book overview

About the Authors

Ralph W. Hood, Jr., was raised in the Unity faith for the first 12 years of his life. Since then, he has not identified with any religious tradition. After earning his PhD in a combined sociology and psychology program at the University of Nevada–Reno, Dr. Hood began to explore religious experience, heavily influenced by reading William James. He has always taught at a secular state university. While not identified with any church, he is committed to the belief that religious claims have ontological implications. They purport to be about what is real and, as such, allow one to experience the world in ways that psychology can explore but not necessarily explain. Although not a fundamentalist, Dr. Hood believes that fundamentalist religion has been poorly portrayed in the psychology of religion by researchers and scholars who are so distant from the assumptions and worldview of fundamentalists that they offer explanations for a phenomenon they have not adequately or fairly described.

Peter C. Hill was raised an evangelical in a family strongly committed to the church. He considered ministry as a career option until he took a general psychology course, where his interest in social psychology was kindled. He earned his PhD in social psychology at the University of Houston and has spent much of his professional career applying social psychology to the study of religious experience. Dr. Hill is also the editor of the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, which welcomes “theoretical and research articles [that] have a bearing on the relationship between psychology and Christian faith, including the interface of psychology with theology and the psychology of religion.” He is currently a professor of psychology at Biola University's Rosemead School of Psychology. Biola University played a significant role in the early days of the Protestant fundamentalist movement and today identifies itself as an

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