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The main purpose of this course is to introduce psychology of religion and its focus on understanding a variety of religious experiences from psychological, particularly psychoanalytic and developmental, perspectives. The nature of interdisciplinary relationship between psychology and religion will be explored with a review of classical and contemporary theories of psychology of religion. Such important topics as idealization, conversion, faith development, religious coping, and violence will be surveyed. Special attention will also be given to the role of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and culture in religious experiences and their interpretations. In conversation with a variety of resources and viewpoints, students will be able to deepen their awareness of the dynamics between psychological experiences and religious faith as well as apply their gained knowledge and insights to the practice of ministry in multiple contexts.
At the end of the course students will be able to:
- Become more aware of the complexity of the human nature and condition
- Engage in critical reflection on the psychological dynamics operating in the religious experiences and phenomena at personal and collective levels
- Develop facility in the application of psychological perspectives and theories to “living human documents”
- Utilize critical analysis and cultural sensitivity skills as well as psychological insights for the practice of ministry
- Evaluate how differences in gender, sexuality, race, and culture shape and change the formation of faith or religious identity
- Appreciate how an individual’s faith or religious experience is psychologically and socio-culturally constructed and changes over time due to a variety of factors
Librarians are available Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.