Religion & Psychology
Reading Questions- Fuller text
Chapter 1 – William James
1. Describe James’ “Criterion for Judging Religion,” including the results the criterion are based upon, and the three standards for judging religious viewpoints.
James’ Criterion for judging religion is summarized as “by their fruits ye shall know them, not by their roots.” James specifically focuses not on the origins or early stages of religion, but exclusively on its results. His study further narrows these results to those seen in the lives of deeply religious individuals – the “most accomplished in the religious life” rather than “your ordinary religious believer.” James’ three standards for judging relivious viewpoints inclue
1) Immediate luminousness
2) Philosophical reasonableness
3) Moral helpfulness
2. Briefly describe the four (4) characteristics and values of saintliness.
1) The sense of living in a world that is wider than the usual one, the immediate experience of a “higher power” – A saint must recognize that there is more than just the earthly world exists and that there is a greater force that is unseen.
2) Voluntary and passionate abandonment of self to this “higher power,” known to be in “friendly continuity” with one’s individual life – A saint must give up their own selfish desires to, instead, embrace the will of this greater force.
3) A diminution of self, accompanied by great elation and freedom – This process of selflessness will actually lead to a greater happiness and liberation, compared to the lives of ordinary people controlled by their own desires.
4) A shifting of balance toward “loving and harmonious feelings,” toward the “yes” and away from the “no” – A saint must ultimately embrace love and unity amongst all peoples, which will result in a shift away from negative sentiment, in favor of a positive disposition....
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