Many people are now interested in the relationship between religion and science, but links between Christian belief and psychology have been relatively neglected. This book opens up the dialogue between Christian theology and modern scientific psychology, approaching the dialogue in both directions. Current scientific topics like consciousness and artificial intelligence are examined from a religious perspective. Christian themes such as God's purposes and activity in the world are then examined in the light of psychology. This accessible study on psychology and Christian belief offers students and general readers alike important insights into new areas of the 'science and religion' debate. Fraser Watts is Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Science at the University of Cambridge, UK, and author of many books including Christians and Bioethics (SPCK); Science Meets Faith (SPCK), Psychology for Christian Ministry (Routledge), and The Psychology of Religious Knowing (CUP).
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction: relating the disciplines; Evolution; Consciousness, brain and God; Computer intelligence; Persons, souls and selves; Religious experience: cognitive neuroscience; Religious experience: interpretation and social context; Divine action and human experience; The fall, Christ, and the evolution of consciousness; Eschatology: subjective and objective aspects; Dichotomous thinking in theology; Bibliography; Indexes.
'Fraser Watts is the first Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Science at Cambridge ...(and this book is) an important contribution in his field. His is the science most concerned with what it is to be human. Watts sets out to approach 'the interface between theology and psychology by looking at each discipline from the perspective of the other'. He exhorts us not to go beyond the evidence... Watts is a kind and open-minded writer... There isn't space to do justice to everything on offer...' The Church Times 'Fraser Watts is uniquely qualified to write this book. He is currently Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Science at the University of Cambridge and comes to that post with 25 years experience in psychology... he is remarkably well read in both fields and writes with a tough and thorough lucidity. ...I found his theological probing sensitive, informed, and very carefully thought-through... Watts does provide an indispensable guide to both theologians and psychologists on why knowing about each others disciplines and methods will make for richer development and growth... Watts constantly shows that rather than there being a war between science and religion, as propounded by scientists like Dawkins, we can find many areas of mutual illumination and even marriage... a superb illustration of what the Ashgate series hopes to achieve: a flourishing interdisciplinary debate.' Ars Disputandi on-line journal '[Dr Fraser Watts] has produced another useful book that may outline the next area of Christian apologetic. This is where it has at other times also resided, namely around what it is to be human... this is an informative and intriguing book - especially the final six chapters - and will repay the study that it deserves.' Wesley Carr, Westminster Abbey, in Theology '... an extremely good book: I would like to say, a 'must' for every ESSSAT member's shelves... though succinct, [the author] is never shallow - on the contrary, he distills extensive scholarship, wide experience and clear, balanced thought into every chapter, illuminating each subject which he touches with wide knowledge and sane judgment... Thus the range is wide, and every topic is important. To have been able to throw so much light upon each, in modest space, is an enviable achievement. The book has a unity of balance and perspective but specific chapters can be turned to again and again, for the light each throws upon its particular topic.' ESSSAT News '... a very good book about the dialogue between theology and the science of psychology... Watts develops the theme he sets out well and I would recommend it to pastoral practitioners and academics alike.' Modern Believing '... presents a wide-ranging coverage and integration of a number of disciplines by someone trained in the field of clinical psychology, subsequently ordained and now a distinguished university lecturer in the combined fields of psychology and theology.' Crucible 'This valuable and ambitious book focuses on several key issues in the current dialogue between theology and psychology... This is an engrossing, informative and superb contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship, valuable to both theological and psychological perspectives.' Religious Studies Review 'This accessible study on psychology and Christian belief offers students and general readers alike important insights into new areas of the 'science and religion' debate.' Theological Book Review 'This latest work is timely in that many people are interested in the relationship between Christian belief and other fields of endeavor, including the relationship between religion and science. His work opens up a dialogue between Christian theology and modern scientific psychology... This is an informative and intriguing book, especially the final six chapters. It is an easy-to-read study on Christian belief and psychology offering students and general readers alike important insights into areas of the 'science and religion' debate. Watts provides an indispensable guide to both theologians and psychologists on why knowing about each other's disciplines and methods will make for richer development and gowth.' Australian Religious Studies Review