Psychological Perspectives on Religion and Religiosity  book cover
1st Edition

Psychological Perspectives on Religion and Religiosity

ISBN 9780415682879
Published August 14, 2014 by Routledge
328 Pages

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Book Description

Is religion to blame for deadly conflicts? Should religious behaviour be credited more often for acts of charity and altruism? In what ways are religious and ‘spiritual’ ideas, practices and identities surviving and changing as religion loses its political power in those parts of the world which are experiencing increasing secularization?

Written by one of the world’s leading authorities on the psychology of religion and social identity, Psychological Perspectives on Religion and Religiosity offers a comprehensive and multidisciplinary review of a century of research into the origins and consequences of religious belief systems and religious behaviour. The book employs a unique theoretical framework that combines the ‘new’ cognitive-evolutionary psychology of religion, examining the origins of religious ideas, with the ‘old’ psychology of religiosity, which looks at correlates and consequences. It examines a wide range of psychological variables and their relationship with religiosity. It is also provides fresh insights into classical topics in the psychology of religion, such as religious conversion, the relevance of Freud’s ideas about religion and religiosity, the meaning of secularization, and the crucial role women play in religion. The book concludes with the author’s reflections on the future for the psychology of religion as a field.

Psychological Perspectives on Religion and Religiosity will be invaluable for academic researchers in psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, and history worldwide. It will also be of great interest to advanced undergraduate students and graduate students across the social sciences.

Table of Contents

1. Defining Psychology, Defining Religion  2. Exceptional or Natural? Psychological Origins of Religion  3. Social Learning and Identity  4. Explaining Variations in Religiosity  5. Women and Religion  6. Consequences and Correlates of Religiosity  7. Conversion and Convert-Dependent Groups  8. Psychoanalysis and the Psychological Study of Religion  9. Secularization and the Persistence of Religion  10. Concluding Remarks: The New Psychology of Religion

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Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi is Professor of Psychology at the University of Haifa, Israel


"Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi is an eminent scholar in the psychology of religion and has made significant contributions to the field. Addressing a number of important areas, and written in a style that will be accessible both to students and academics, the book will be of value to a wide audience interested in psychology and religion." - W. Paul Williamson, Department of Psychology, Henderson State University, USA

"This is a comprehensive review of research in and relevant to the psychology of religion over the past century. Beit-Hallahmi draws on social and evolutionary psychology, psychoanalysis, anthropology and sociology for important and recent work on such topics of current interest as origins of religion, religious identity, conversion, and secularization." - Wayne Proudfoot, Department of Religion, Columbia University, USA

"This highly readable and authoritative text places the new twenty-first century psychology of religion in dialogue with other scientific disciplines concerned not with answering religious questions, but with understanding the nature of religion itself. It is authoritative and essential reading."  - Ralph W. Hood Jr., Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA

"[This book] is highly recommended. It reflects Professor Beit-Hallahmi's enlightened and seasoned perspective (from the Holy Land nevertheless) as to what is important to know about the psychological perspectives on religion and religiosity. It would be a good supplemental text for many different courses including psychology of religion, religious studies and theology." - Jay R. Feierman, in ESSAT News & Reviews