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The Psychology of Religious Experience in its Personal and Institutional Dimension


Alice Riley

This book employs the basic concept of a religious problem as the necessary condition of religious experience. The connection between different kinds of religious problems and corresponding types of religious experience and behavior is traced.
Religious experience as it occurs institutionally is considered at length. Relationships between experiences and institutions are examined in depth, as they pertain to the origin, expansion and decay of religious institutions. Of particular interest is the examination of present day cults as a symptom of religious decadence, inculding the analysis of why they arise, what their defining characteristics are, and the mechanisms which provide their dynamic. Although the study is undertaken from a naturalistic point of view, it is in no way inimical to religious beliefs already held.
Contents: In this book the author defines religious problems and explains the mechanisms that are operative when religious experience occurs, the principal one being personification. He also considers all aspects of religious experience as it relates to institutions. Numinosity is defined, the theories of Freud and Jung are utilized so as to avoid the religious nihilism of Freud and the opaqueness of Jung.