Does religion positively affect well-being? What leads to fundamentalism? Do religious beliefs make us more moral?
The Psychology of Religion explores the often contradictory ideas people have about religion and religious faiths, spirituality, fundamentalism, and atheism. The book examines whether we choose to be religious, or whether it is down to factors such as genes, environment, personality, cognition, and emotion. It analyses religion’s effects on morality, health, and social behavior and asks whether religion will survive in our modern society.
Offering a balanced view, The Psychology of Religion shows that both religiosity and atheism have their own psychological costs and benefits, with some of them becoming more salient in certain environments.
Table of Contents
1. Can we study religion in the lab?
2. Believers and atheists: what makes the difference?
3. Theist children, apostate adolescents, bigot late adults?
4. Does religion make us more moral?
5. Is religion good for you?
6. Will religion survive?
Vassilis Saroglou is Professor of Psychology at the University of Louvain, Belgium. He has conducted extensive research on religion from the perspective of social, personality, cross-cultural, moral, and emotion psychology.
Vassilis Saroglou wrote a wonderful book. The Psychology of Religion is a delicately crafted snapshot of what recent research in this field has to teach us. It presents a clear, compelling, and skillfully accurate account of the fundamental questions and the respective research conclusions. Scientific psychology seldom yields one-sided answers to important questions. This book is meticulously constructed with no bias or agenda – the best in scholarship, as we have come to expect from one of the most respected researchers in this area in this generation. Very highly recommended.
Raymond F. Paloutzian, Editor of The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 1998-2016
Although the psychological study of religion is more than a century old, it has only flourished vigorously in the last two decades. Vassilis Saroglou offers a master class in how to navigate this rich and variegated body of research. His overview is measured, balanced, and eminently readable. For readers who seek thoughtful, empirically-based answers to basic questions about the psychological antecedents and consequences of religion – as well as its likely future – this book should be a priority. It will be a trustworthy guide for experts and novices alike.
Paul Harris, Harvard University
This is a remarkable treatise of religion and religiosity from multiple approaches and psychological disciplines, and from an international, culture-sensitive perspective. The book provides a balanced approach of religiosity, fundamentalism, non-religious spirituality, and atheism. It is written in an accessible and engaging style by one of the foremost authorities on the subject. Highly recommended!
Constantine Sedikides, Professor of Social and Personality Psychology, University of Southampton