Psychology of Religion
Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Brian Eck
January 14, 2002
"Introduction to Psychology of Religion"

Dimensions of Religious Experience
(Glock, 1962, Spilka, Hood, & Gorsuch, 1985)
(ex: Do you take communion, do you tithe, do you look at Sunday as God's and the rest of the week yours?)
Doctrine, orthodoxy, beliefs
(ex: even within Christianity this differs in the sense Calvinists do not have the same doctrine as Armenian)
Emotion, devotional
(Quakers come to God in silence; Pentecostal will jump around and be excited to God)
Knowledge, cognitive, religious teachings
(Evangelicals very caught up in their educating; Other religions may not stress knowing stuff
Ethics and community
Understand that religion is not just limited to one thing. Religiosity is not just being intellectual with the Bible or being ethical in the community.
Pervasiveness of Religion in America
95% of Americans report they believe in God (stable since the 1940s - this fact has decreased in Europe)
93% believe in angels
92% identify with a religious group
88% report they pray to God (stable since the 1940s)
87% report that God answers prayers
84% try to live according to their religious beliefs
82% report they pray for health or success
80% report that religion is very or fairly important in their lives or that they consider themselves to be a spiritual or religious person
75% believe in an after life or heaven
75% accept the divinity of Christ
58% feel the need to experience spiritual growth
53% report they have felt the direct presence of God
45% meditate outside of church
79% of clients felt religious values should be discussed in counseling
Belief in God by Occupation & Education
Natural Scientists' Belief in God
(Leuba, 1916; Larsen & Witham, 1996)
1916 = 41.8% 1996 = 39.3%
Religion Reported as Very or Fairly important
All Subjects 88%
Post grad 85%
College Graduate 86%
No College 93%
Psychologists (religion) 48%
Psychologists (spiritualness) 73%
-Spirituality seems to be more accepted (relativism) and does not force one to identify with an organized body
-Researchers have not found a way to separate religion and spirituality
Definition of Religion
-To connect one back to God because something (or someone) has disconnected us from him (linguistically defined)
-Distinction of Christianity versus all the worlds religion is that we cannot do anything to reconnect us to God
-Religion is not communicated at all in the Old Testament
-Religion is only taught as an outward expression in the New Testament
Fears of Relating Psychology of Religion
Fear of Naturalistic Explanations
Fear of Determinism & Irresponsibility
Fear of Humanistic Views
Fear of Sex
Fear of Feelings
Fear of a Superficial Understanding of Religion
Fear of Psychology's Identify as a Science
Different Perceptions of Truth
Realities and Limit of Time