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LIST 505: How Psychology Empirically Studies Religion & Spirituality

Area: Ideas and Issues in Social Sciences
Instructor: Fr. Michael Weber

Course Description
This course will introduce you to the relationship of psychology to religion and spirituality. We will cover a number of topics throughout the semester:  How religion and spirituality are defined and examined from a psychological perspective; various psychological explanations of religion; how religion and spirituality develop and change over the lifespan; conversion and the religious experience; how we go about evaluating the value and impact of religion and spirituality; and areas for exchange and integration between psychology and religion.

This course is designed to help seminar members become more aware of the Judeo-Christian heritage, especially as developed in the Catholic Christian tradition, recognize the diversity and similarities between their own and other Christian and non-Christian religions, and identify their own moral and religious convictions.

These studies help seminar members understand how their own moral and religious convictions are formed as we explore the various psychological conditions which create a religious and/or spiritual environment. Also his course will help members understand how they arrive at their convictions in search for meaning as a result of their particular religious, spiritual, or self-reflective experiences.

Required Book List
  • Ralph W. Hood, Jr., Peter C. Hill, Bernard Spilka (2009). The Psychology of Religion, Fourth Edition: An Empirical Approach. New York: Guilford Press.