Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders  
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders

religion and psychology

Postby sohel2009 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:01 pm

James distinguished between institutional religion and personal religion. Institutional religion refers to the religious group or organization, and plays an important part in a society's culture. Personal religion, in which the individual has mystical experience, can be experienced regardless of the culture. James was most interested in understanding personal religious experience. The importance of James to the psychology of religion - and to psychology more generally - is difficult to overstate. He discussed many essential issues that remain of vital concern today.

In studying personal religious experiences, James made a distinction between healthy-minded and sick-souled religiousness. Individuals predisposed to healthy-mindedness tend to ignore the evil in the world and focus on the positive and the good. James used examples of Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman

Walter Whitman was an United States Poetry of the United States, essayist, journalism, and humanism. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and literary realism, incorporating both views in his works....
and the "mind-cure" religious movement to illustrate healthy-mindedness in The Varieties of Religious Experience. In contrast, individuals predisposed to having a sick-souled religion are unable to ignore evil and suffering, and need a unifying experience, religious or otherwise, to reconcile good and evil. James included quotations from Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy, or Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy Tolstoy's further talents as essayist, dramatist and Education reform made him the most influential member of the aristocracy Tolstoy....
and John Bunyan
John Bunyan

John Bunyan was an English Christianity writer and preacher, famous for writing The Pilgrim's Progress, arguably the most famous published Christian allegory....
to illustrate the sick soul.

William James' hypothesis of pragmatism stems from the efficacy of religion. If an individual believes in and performs religious activities, and those actions happen to work, then that practice appears the proper choice for the individual. However, if the processes of religion have little efficacy, then there is no rationality for continuing the practice.
sohel2009
 
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