Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship

Overview

A trenchant analysis of modern psychology — an enterprise that Paul Vitz maintains has become a religion, a secular cult of self, now part of the problem of modern life rather than part of its resolution. Virtually rewritten, this second edition of the original 1977 text takes into account much of what has happened in the field of psychology during the past seventeen years. Two completely new chapters are also included — one on education and "values clarification" and the other ...

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Overview

A trenchant analysis of modern psychology — an enterprise that Paul Vitz maintains has become a religion, a secular cult of self, now part of the problem of modern life rather than part of its resolution. Virtually rewritten, this second edition of the original 1977 text takes into account much of what has happened in the field of psychology during the past seventeen years. Two completely new chapters are also included — one on education and "values clarification" and the other on New Age religion.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802807250
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 173
  • Sales rank: 780,494
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul C. Vitz is professor emeritus of psychology at New York University. His other books include Sigmund Freud's Christian Unconscious and Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism.

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Table of Contents

About This Book
1 The Major Theorists 1
Carl Jung 2
Erich Fromm 4
Carl Rogers 7
Abraham Maslow 10
Rollo May and Existential Philosophy 11
2 Self-Theory for Everybody 15
Self-Esteem 15
The Self-Serving Bias 20
Encounter Groups 22
Recovery Groups 24
Self-Helpers 25
est and Forum 26
Self-Help Sex 28
3 Selfism as Bad Science 32
Psychiatry, Biology, and Experimental Psychology 33
Are We Intrinsically All That Good? 42
4 From a Philosophical Point of View 47
A Question of Definitions 47
The Empty Self 49
A Basic Contradiction 51
Browning's Critique 54
Ethical and Scientific Misrepresentations 55
5 Selfism and the Family 57
The Isolated Individual 57
Self-Theory and Divorce 59
Parents as the Source of Our Troubles 60
Christianity and the Family 65
6 Self-Theory and the Schools 68
Values Clarification 68
Self-Theory Again 70
A Philosophical Critique 72
A Critique of Procedures and Strategies 74
Research Evaluating Values Clarification 76
A Violation of Privacy Critique 78
Why Has Values Clarification Been So Popular? 81
Conclusion: Why Values Clarification Must Be Rejected 82
7 Selfism and Today's Society 84
A Creed for the Youth and Yuppie Culture 84
A Nation of Victims 85
Selfism and Language 87
Psychology for a Consumer Society 89
8 Selfism and Christianity: Historical Antecedents 95
Feuerbach 95
American Sources 97
Fosdick and Peale 99
Pietism 103
The Special Case of Carl Rogers 105
9 Psychology and the New Age Movement 111
Social and Economic Support for New Age 115
Psychological Origins of New Age 117
New Age as a New Gnosticism 121
New Age Spirituality: From Psychological to Spiritual Self-Worship 123
10 A Christian Critique 126
Selfism as Idolatry 126
The Problem of Depression 130
The Problem of the Human Doormat 131
Christian Love and Selfist Love 132
Creativity and the Creator 138
The Nature of Suffering 139
11 A Political Response 142
The Problem for Psychology 142
The Problem for Christianity 144
12 Beyond the Secular Self 151
The Bias in Being "Objective" 151
The Object's Revenge 154
The Dilemma of Existential Narcissism 155
Escape from the Self 158
13 A New Christian Future? 163
The End of Modern Heroism 163
The Failure of Careerism 164
The Tribalist Temptation 166
The Emerging Opportunity 167
Index 169
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