The Authenticity of Faith: The Varieties and Illusions of Religious Experience

Overview

Is faith simply a form of wishful thinking? Is belief in God merely a consoling illusion? So argued Sigmund Freud in The Future of an Illusion. And the force of Freud's argument continues to be felt as it features prominently among critics of religion such as the New Atheists.
But was Freud right? Until now, few have directly examined the plausibility of Freud's argument. But here, in a groundbreaking analysis inspired by the religious types described by William James in his ...
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The Authenticity of Faith: The Varieties and Illusions of Religious Experience

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Overview

Is faith simply a form of wishful thinking? Is belief in God merely a consoling illusion? So argued Sigmund Freud in The Future of an Illusion. And the force of Freud's argument continues to be felt as it features prominently among critics of religion such as the New Atheists.
But was Freud right? Until now, few have directly examined the plausibility of Freud's argument. But here, in a groundbreaking analysis inspired by the religious types described by William James in his seminal The Varieties of Religious Experience, Richard Beck explores the motivational dynamics among "summer Christians" and "winter Christians." Further, across a variety of laboratory studies, Beck examines how Christians variously engage with art (exploring what Beck has dubbed "The Thomas Kinkade Effect"), doctrine (from the Incarnation to beliefs regarding the activity of the devil), and religious difference in a pluralistic world. In each instance, Beck analyzes the underlying motivations of the religious types, sifting through the varieties and illusions of religious experience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780891123507
  • Publisher: Leafwood Publishers & ACU Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2012
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 987,793
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Beck is Professor of Psychology at Abilene Christian University and the author of "Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality." As an experimental psychologist, Dr. Beck has published extensively in the empirical literature examining the intersection of Christianity and psychology. He also writes regularly about the interface of theology and psychology at his popular and award-winning blog "Experimental Theology." He and his wife Jana have two sons, Brenden and Aidan. The Beck family attends the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, where Richard is a co-teacher of the Sojourners adult Bible class.
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