Psychology, Religion and Spirituality / Edition 1

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At a time when religious fundamentalism is having a huge impact upon the world, this book helps us to understand how people acquire, conceptualise and practise religion at both personal and social levels. At a time when religious fundamentalism is having a huge impact upon the world, this book helps us to understand how people acquire, conceptualise and practise religion at both personal and social levels.

  • Explores religion both as a social phenomenon and as a form of inner experience.
  • Explains why people believe what they do.
  • Looks at the effects of religious and spiritual belief upon behaviour, and upon physical and psychological health.
  • Outlines the various approaches to religious and spiritual experience.
  • Surveys all relevant research.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"These two books are valuable because, unlike the scientificmaterialists and religious exclusivists, the author's argue thatthere is a need (indeed, much scope) for critical thinking as wellas spiritual hope in a world ravaged by instability, hatred andbloodshed." (Muslim News, 29 July 2011)

"I cannot recommend this book too highly." Charles T. Tart,Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto

"Fontana’s sympathetic understanding of religion, hisrefined knowledge of Eastern traditions, together with a broadgrasp of classic and recent psychological research, all combine toproduce a work which rightly challenges the narrow assumptions ofmany psychologists of religion." Brian L. Lancaster,Consciousness & Transpersonal Psychology Research Unit,Liverpool John Moores University

"It would be difficult for anyone other than a rabidfundamentalist (of whatever persuasion) to fail to be fascinated,enlightened and enriched by David Fontana's lucid and masterfulexposition of the interplay between 'Psychology, Religion andSpirituality' as set out in his book of that title ... The scope ofthis book is astounding, and its detailed and even-handeddissemination of factual information does its author much credit... A truly vast canvas, in dealing with which editorial necessitylimits me to some four hundred words; ten times as many would, Ifear, have been insufficient to do full justice to the mostrewarding task set me." The Christian Parapsychologist

"This book is both refreshingly original and packed withinformation. It offers a very clear review of empirical studies inreligious research, and has the additional merit of being,unusually for textbooks on the psychology of religion, written byan author who actually demonstrates a very wide knowledge of theworld religions, their history and teachings ... Both workers inReligious Studies who like a humanities-based approach to thepsychology of religion, and lecturers in Psychology who may beseeking considered reviews of quantitative research studies, willfind a book that well meets their needs here. I highly recommendthis book - what Alan Baddeley did for memory psychology and RogerBrown did for social psychology, Fontana has done for thepsychology of religion in writing a book that deserves to becomeknown as a classic text." Social Psychological Review

"an impressive survey on the psychology of religion ...Fontana's background in transpersonal psychology and his unassumingstyle allow for an open-minded yet critical stance ... An excellentintroduction to the psychology of religion" Choice

"From beginning to end, the author tries to bridge over the gapbetween Western and Eastern approaches to religiosity andspirituality and avoid all dominance of Christianity in researchand theory in the area of psychology of religion ... The author isknown also for his popular books, which may explain that thisscientific book of his is written clearly and readably. As to theresults, the book can be recommended not only to the clergy,professional psychologists, students and teachers of psychology ofreligion, but also to general public." StudiaPsychologica

"a book which one hopes will be read by undergraduate psychologystudents as an antidote to the narrowness of many other academicpsychology textbooks ... the coverage is exemplary, covering everyconceivable angle, classification and type of explanation ... Thisis a very good overview of the whole field of psychology ofreligion, and one can only hope that it will be widely read."Scientific and Medical Network Review

"I have read several books on the psychology of religion overthe years, but few have been as engaging as David Fontana'sexcellent study ... Throughout the book there are encyclopaedicreferences to psychological writers and there is a very fullbibliography, so that the reader will have no shortage of follow-upmaterial should she wish to pursue any theme or issue further.Moreover, this material is up to date, and reflects a range ofpsychological approaches. It's very impressive ... underlying muchof the book there is that awkward question about the common ground- if any - between the major religious traditions. In our days thatquestion has a new urgency, and this book will provide some fresh,if sometimes discomforting, impetus to it. Highly recommended."Regent's Reviews

“A great starting point for any empirical investigator… also useful for every scholar and student of psychology ofreligion. I can also recommend it to those who want to studyspirituality from a psychological and experimental point of view.[It] provides both theoretical knowledge and empirical researchfindings on religious and spiritual development and behavior. Itcan be used as a textbook for psychology, education and theology atboth undergraduate and graduate levels. It is necessary reading forevery researcher in the fields of psychology, religion orspirituality.” Journal of Empirical Theology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405108058
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/9/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.61 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

David Fontana is a Chartered Psychologist and a Chartered Counselling Psychologist. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and was Founding Chairman of the Society’s Transpersonal Psychology Section. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, together with a number of other degrees and professional qualifications, and is currently Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Cardiff University and Visiting Professor of Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University. He has written widely on the psychology of spirituality and on the traditions and practices of the major Eastern and Western psycho-spiritual traditions. His 23 books are translated into 26 languages.

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Table of Contents


1. Why the Psychology of Religion?.

2. Definitions and Meanings.

3. Introspection and Inner Experience.

4. Approaches to the Psychology of Religion andSpirituality.

5. Religious Beliefs and Practices.

6. Approaches to Spiritual Development.

7. Spirituality and the Brain.

8. The Origins of Religious Belief.

9. Religious Expression in Myth and the Creative Arts.

10. Varieties of Religious and Spiritual Experience.

11. Concepts of Self Soul and Brain.

12. Religion Health and Well-Being.




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