Parameters and Limitations of Current Conceptualizations

Fraser Watts

in The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199729920
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Parameters and Limitations of Current Conceptualizations

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  • Cognitive Psychology



The current state of the psychology of religion is reviewed, and it is argued that there would be mutual benefit in it having closer links with general psychology. At present the psychology of religion is too selective in the range of phenomena it covers, and it should be broader geographically and in terms of faith traditions. In view of the diversity of religion, better ways of classifying religious phenomena are needed if research is to work with homogeneous categories. Though questionnaire methods have played an important role, the psychology of religion would benefit from making more use of both experimental methods and qualitative, first-person accounts. The “outsider's” perspective of the psychology of religion could usually be brought into dialog with the insider's perspective of theology. Finally, there is a case for developing an approach to the psychology of religion that tackles applied practical, applied issues while remaining research based.

Keywords: general psychology; consciousness; taxonomies; data; theology; applied

Article.  7991 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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