1st Edition

Religious Hatred and Human Conflict Psychodynamic Approaches to Insight and Intervention

By Andrew Floyer Acland Copyright 2024
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    212 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Religious Hatred and Human Conflict focuses the lens of psychodynamic psychology on a phenomenon that often confounds conventional thinking – the intensity of conflict with religious or quasi-religious dimensions.

    The book highlights six dimensions of religion: identity, doctrine and practice, emotion and experience, mythology, sacred values and power and control, exploring how these can give rise to religious hatred and lead to marginalisation, persecution and even genocide. It also explores reasons for the evolution of religion and religious hatred, and their relationship with human behaviour through contemporary issues such as fundamentalism, martyrdom, clerical narcissism and apocalyptic belief. Acland examines how religious hatred and conflict may be transcended by facilitating processes of dialogue and diapraxis which enable a systematic understanding of prejudices and projections. Last, it offers practical methods and strategies for helping individuals and communities grow beyond the constraints of religious hatred, treating religious hatred as a psycho-spiritual problem that requires self-understanding.

    Identifying the implications for professionals in conflict resolution and mediation, politicians, community leaders, diplomats and anyone working to prevent or reduce conflict where religious belief is a factor, this book sets out how those tasked with intervening can respond to the challenges involved. It will also be highly relevant reading for students and researchers of psychology and religious studies.

    PART 1: Contexts and cultures

    Chapter 1: Beginning, background and biases

    Chapter 2: Three backstories

    Conflict resolution and transformation

    The psychology of religion

    Psychodynamic psychology

    Inspirational beginnings: Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung

    Rehabilitating Jung

    Beyond Freud and Jung

    PART 2: What is religious hatred?

    Chapter 3: Thinking about religious hatred

    Anatomies of hatred

    Hatred and evolution

    Hatred and the Other

    From hatred to genocide

    Hatred and thoughtcrime

    Religion and hatred as addictions

    Chapter 4: Psychodynamic approaches to religious hatred


    Complexes and religious traditions

    Cultural complexes

    The Shadow

    Complexes and Shadows in transmission

    PART 3: Religious hatred and the dimensions of religion

    Chapter 5: Six dimensions of religion

    Dimensions of religion

    The dimensions of religion, religious hatred and the problem of evil

    Chapter 6: The identity dimension

    Religion and identity

    Conflicting religious identities and the idea of the "Other"

    The narcissism of small differences

    The Persona, the Shadow and the Other

    Chapter 7: The doctrine and practice dimension

    Religious doctrine and the Golem Effect


    Fundamentalism, hatred and violence

    The psychology of fundamentalist doctrine and practice

    Groups and group practices

    Fundamentalism as a form of cultural complex

    Chapter 8: The emotional and experiential dimension

    The missing dimension

    Marks of religious experience

    Emotions and religious experience

    The psychology of religious experience

    Religious hatred and the Divided Self

    Healing the Divided Self

    Religious hatred as the failure to individuate

    Hatred and the Self

    Chapter 9: The mythological dimension

    Approaching mythology

    Social impacts of myth

    Impacts of myth on individuals

    Mythology and religious hatred

    Modern myths

    Cosmic wars

    When myth leads to martyrdom

    The psychology of Armageddon

    Mythmaking and scapegoating

    Chapter 10: The sacred values dimension

    The nature of sacred values

    Sacred values and personal motivation

    Valuing sacred values

    Pseudo-sacred values

    Secular values that turn sacred

    Sacred values and religious hatred

    Sacred values and uncertainty

    Chapter 11: The power and control dimension

    The impetus to control

    Constraints as control

    Compensatory control

    Terror Management Theory

    From control to paranoia

    Control through clericalism

    Evolution of religious control


    PART 4: Working through religious hatred

    Chapter 12: The search for answers

    Understanding religion

    Appreciating the emotional and unconscious

    Beyond dialogue

    Re-framing religious hatred as a psychospiritual problem

    Incorporating the transcendent function

    The practicalities of conflict resolution: dialogue and diapraxis

    Diapraxis: process and structures

    Using the dimensions of religion as a structure for dialogue and diapraxis





    Andrew Floyer Acland, PhD, has been an independent mediator and facilitator of dialogue in situations of conflict, most of them involving issues of beliefs and values, for over 30 years. Based in the UK, he has worked nationally and internationally with governments, businesses and civil society groups.

    'It is a unique publication and it fills an important practical and theoretical gap in the existing literature … It is innovative and refreshing that the author integrates psychodynamic perspectives into the work – this is an important lacuna in the literature. The work fills a gap by approaching the question of religious hatred and conflict with religious dimensions from multiple different conceptual angles, many of which are much neglected in the field.' - David Leech, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Religion and Theology, University of Bristol, UK