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Psychology of Religion UnitedTheologicalCollege

Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

Course description

Psychology is a science and community of scholarship whose endeavor is to utilize rational models to organize empirical data about human nature. And what aspects of human behaviour experience could be more challenging and interesting than religion? Psychologically speaking there is need in the human psyche to understand our lives in terms of the meaning of our existence. This course is designed to introduce students to the psychological study of religion and mystical experiences through a critical and reflective study of major themes and perspectives that have characterized research in this field. The study focuses on what can be learned from religion if examined from psychological point of view. It consists of the application of psychological theories, methods and interpretive framework to religion especially religious experience and behaviour. Its challenge is threefold:
1) To provide a thoroughgoing description of religion content (e.g. traditions, ritual observances. Individual experiences attitudes and conduct.);
2) To account in psychological terms for the causes and maintenance of such phenomena and
3) To clarity the outcomes or results of these phenomena for individuals and the society at large.
The psychological-religion area is very broad. Therefore in an attempt to do justice to studying religion from the standpoint of psychology we will attempt to make progress in answering such questions as: What are the causes of religious behaviour and religion? Of what value are religious/religion practices? What psycho-social variables are involved in the function of such features of religion/religion as ritual, mystical experiences, prayer, conversion, worship and meditation? How do individuals differences in motivation and personality relate to differences in religion? How do religious beliefs and religion values develop throughout life? What is the difference between pathological and healthy religious beliefs, religion and practices? Can religion contribute to well-beingness? Etc.

Objectives

  1. To involve students in an introductory exploration of the field of psychology. This exploration highlights experiences, theories and results that represent or are relevant to our African context.
  2. To help students learn the approaches, perspectives and vocabularies introduced in our endeavor to explore the psychological aspects of religion life.
  3. To explore some psychological issues pertinent to religion and ministry.
  4. Critically discuss prominent psychological theories on selected themes on religion life.
  5. To identify the main fields and paradigms, (forces) within psychology and in particular psychology of religion.
  6. To critically apply some of the conceptual and theoretical arrangements in explaining religious behaviour and religion, health and pathological elements in religion and religion.
  7. To demonstrate the ability to think critically about religion considered from a psychological point of view.

Requirements

Add information about the skills and knowledge students need to take this course.

Course Staff

Fr. Kenneth Makamure

Lecturer: Fr. Kenneth Makamure

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