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The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality: From the Inside Out

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The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality: From the Inside Out

Timothy Sisemore

ISBN: 978-1-119-17540-7 December 2015 392 Pages

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The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality: From the Inside Out, by Timothy Sisemore, provides an introduction to the field of the psychology of religion and spirituality utilizing a mixed method approach allowing persons of faith (and one who is an atheist) to give voice to their experience to supplement the quantitative research that has been done in the field. This text honors the value of religion and spirituality in the lives of the majority of humans while acknowledging the weaknesses and problems that come with faith as well.

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Preface ix

1 The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality: Outside-In and Inside-Out 1

From the Outside]In: Psychological Science Looks at Religion and Spirituality, 2

Religion and Spirituality from the Inside]Out, 10

Introducing the Cast, 11

Summary, 15

2 A Brief History of the Psychological Study of Religion and Spirituality 17

Major Theorists and Approaches of the 20th Century, 19

Religion Responds to Psychology, 37

Summary, 41

3 Biological Aspects of Religion and Spirituality 43

Evolutionary Psychology of Religion, 44

Genes, Heredity, and Religion/Spirituality, 48

The Cognitive Science of Religion, 50

The Neuroscience of Religion and Religious Experience, 58

Summary, 64

4 Religious and Spiritual Development in Childhood 67

Theories of Development, 68

The Stage Theories, 68

Born Believers?: Natural Foundations of Children’s Religion and Spirituality, 81

Children’s Religious Thoughts and Behaviors, 86

Moving Outward: Children and Attachment to God, 89

Summary, 92

5 Religion and Spirituality in Adolescents and Emerging Adults 93

Religious Demographics of Adolescents and Emerging Adults Or, an "Instagram" of Young Persons' Spirituality, 94

Forging a Religious Identity—or Not, 100

Religion, Spirituality, and Thriving, 118

Summary, 121

6 Religion in Adulthood 123

Religion and Spirituality in Adulthood, 123

Atheists and Agnostics, 137

Dimensions of Adult Religion: Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Quest, 142

Summary, 146

7 Religion and Spirituality in Aging and Death 147

Religion and Spirituality in Old Age, 148

Faith, Death, and the Afterlife, 157

Summary, 167

8 Individual Spiritual Transformation 169

Background of the Study of Spiritual Transformation and Conversion, 170

The Nature and Patterns of Spiritual Transformation and Conversion, 171

Explaining Conversion and Spiritual Transformation, 174

Summary, 187

9 The Individual and Religious Experience 189

Ordinary Religious Experiences, 190

Extraordinary Religious Experiences, 204

Summary, 212

10 Religion and Spirituality Promote Virtues and Values 213

Religion, Spirituality, and Goals, 214

Striving to Be Virtuous, 219

The Relationship of Religion and Spirituality to Moral and Altruistic Behavior, 230

Summary, 237

11 The Psychology of Religious Coping and Psychotherapy 239

The Psychology of Religious Coping, 240

Religion and Spirituality in Psychotherapy, 257

Summary, 262

12 Religious Communities 263

Religion and Spirituality in Families, 263

Religious Communities, 274

Religious Ritual, 279

Controversy in Religious Communities, 286

Summary, 290

13 Religion in the Context of Culture 291

Contributions of Religious Communities to Culture, 294

Fundamentalism and Right]Wing Authoritarianism, 295

Issues Creating Conflict between Culture and Religion, 304

Summary, 313

14 Epilogue: The Road Ahead 315

Themes in the Current Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 315

Future Directions for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 316

References 319

Author Index 357

Subject Index 371

  • Begins with the genetic aspects of religion and spirituality and moves outward through their growth over the lifespan, their impact on individual functioning and coping, and then their social manifestations from family to community.
  • Enhances understanding and respect among all parties.