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A 21st Century Socio-Psychology of Religion

April 22, 2013

Today, a rare disclosure of my thought-process as it is unfolding.  Partly because I think I tend to be, on this blog, too “academic” and not enough an “everyday real person.” Even today I won’t leave the intellectual and conceptual aside entirely.   But I will share on a critical subject without first trying to have all my ducks in a row.  And with that, invite you to please share your interests, impressions, feelings or whatever.

Religious Diversity

Religious Diversity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The subject, as my title suggests:

What should go into an up-to-date “psychology” of religion that would include the social aspect of our selves, so a “socio-psychology of religion”?

First, do you like this term? Is it meaningful to you? I frankly don’t know if others are using it much… I have encountered it, though not often.

I have actually thought about such a personal and societal “socio-psychology” as it pertains to religion and spirituality quite a lot (and have lots of formal and informal education on it)… just not formalized a detailed outline.  Here are a few elements that I so far think are vital:

  1. Worldview perspectives – both personal (family and individual experiences, etc.) and cultural
  2. Personal “philosophy of life” (based on temperament, education, etc.) 
  3. Religious belief system followed
  4. Religious experiences (or “extra-normal” ones so labeled) or lack of them
  5. Social forces influencing one’s religion via needs for affiliation, loyalty (or rebellion/independence), friendship, etc.
  6. Stages of general maturation and specific “lines” of growth (cognitive, relational, moral/ethical, etc.)

I know I’m not including everything I’ve thought about in this list, but intentionally won’t try to.  I would really like to get input on what comes to your mind, or how you might be thinking of your own self-analysis regarding religion and spirituality.  For example, what have you found adequately addressed or not in books, blogs, etc., of the things you wonder about or enjoy exploring?  What area(s) among those above have been particularly significant for you?  

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