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U.S. psychologist and philosopher William James (1842-1910) is regarded by most psychologists of religion as the founder of the field. He served as president of the American Psychological Association, and wrote one of the first psychology textbooks. In the psychology of religion, James' influence endures. His Varieties of Religious Experience is considered to be the classic work in the field, and references to James' ideas are common at professional conferences.
James distinguished between institutional religion and personal religion. Institutional religion refers to the religious group or organization, and plays an important part in a society's culture. Personal religion, in which the individual has mystical experience, can be experienced regardless of the culture. James was most interested in understanding personal religious experience. The importance of James to the psychology of religion - and to psychology more generally - is difficult to overstate. He discussed many essential issues that remain of vital concern today.
In studying personal religious experiences, James made a distinction between healthy-minded and sick-souled religiousness. Individuals predisposed to healthy-mindedness tend to ignore the evil in the world and focus on the positive and the good. James used examples of Walt Whitman and the "mind-cure" religious movement to illustrate healthy-mindedness in The Varieties of Religious Experience. In contrast, individuals predisposed to having a sick-souled religion are unable to ignore evil and suffering, and need a unifying experience, religious or otherwise, to reconcile good and evil. James included quotations from Leo Tolstoy and John Bunyan to illustrate the sick soul.
William James' hypothesis of pragmatism stems from the efficacy of religion. If an individual believes in and performs religious activities, and those actions happen to work, then that practice appears the proper choice for the individual. However, if the processes of religion have little efficacy, then there is no rationality for continuing the practice.
Other early theorists
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) gave explanations of the genesis of religion in his various writings. In Totem and Taboo, he applied the idea of the Oedipus complex (involving unresolved sexual feelings of, for example, a son toward his mother and hostility toward his father) and postulated its emergence in the primordial stage of human development.
In Moses and Monotheism, Freud reconstructed biblical history in accordance with his general theory. His ideas were also developed in The Future of an Illusion. When Freud spoke of religion as an illusion, he maintained that it is a fantasy structure from which a man must be set free if he is to grow to maturity.
The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875-1961) adopted a very different posture, one that was more sympathetic to religion and more concerned with a positive appreciation of religious symbolism. Jung considered the question of the existence of God to be unanswerable by the psychologist and adopted a kind of agnosticism.
Jung postulated, in addition to the personal unconscious (roughly as in Freud), the collective unconscious, which is the repository of human experience and which contains “archetypes” (i.e. basic images that are universal in that they recur regardless of culture). The irruption of these images from the unconscious into the realm of consciousness he viewed as the basis of religious experience and often of artistic creativity. Some of Jung's writings have been devoted to elucidating some of the archetypal symbols, and include his work in comparative mythology.
Jung had a very broad view of what it means to be empirical. Suppose, for example, that I hear a voice from deity but you do not, even though we are sitting next to each other. If only one person experiences something, for Jung it is an empirical observation. For most contemporary scientists, however, it would not be considered an empirical observation. Because of this, there has been little research in the psychology of religion from a Jungian perspective.
Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler (1870-1937), who parted ways with Freud, emphasised the role of goals and motivation in his Individual Psychology. One of Adler's most famous ideas is that we try to compensate for inferiorities that we perceive in ourselves. A lack of power often lies at the root of feelings of inferiority. One way that religion enters into this picture is through our beliefs in God, which are characteristic of our tendency to strive for perfection and superiority. For example, in many religions God is considered to be perfect and omnipotent, and commands people likewise to be perfect. If we, too, achieve perfection, we become one with God. By identifying with God in this way, we compensate for our imperfections and feelings of inferiority.
Our ideas about God are important indicators of how we view the world. According to Adler, these ideas have changed over time, as our vision of the world - and our place in it - has changed. Consider this example that Adler offers: the traditional belief that people were placed deliberately on earth as God's ultimate creation is being replaced with the idea that people have evolved by natural selection. This coincides with a view of God not as a real being, but as an abstract representation of nature's forces. In this way our view of God has changed from one that was concrete and specific to one that is more general. From Adler's vantage point, this is a relatively ineffective perception of God because it is so general that it fails to convey a strong sense of direction and purpose.
An important thing for Adler is that God (or the idea of God) motivates people to act, and that those actions do have real consequences for ourselves and for others. Our view of God is important because it embodies our goals and directs our social interactions.
Compared to science, another social movement, religion is more efficient because it motivates people more effectively. According to Adler, only when science begins to capture the same religious fervour, and promotes the welfare of all segments of society, will the two be more equal in peoples' eyes.
In his classic book The Individual and His Religion (1950), Gordon Allport (1897-1967) illustrates how people may use religion in different ways. He makes a distinction between Mature religion and Immature religion. Mature religious sentiment is how Allport characterized the person whose approach to religion is dynamic, open-minded, and able to maintain links between inconsistencies. In contrast, immature religion is self-serving and generally represents the negative stereotypes that people have about religion. More recently, this distinction has been encapsulated in the terms "intrinsic religion", referring to a genuine, heartfelt devout faith, and "extrinsic religion", referring to a more utilitarian use of religion as a means to an end, such as church attendance to gain social status. These dimensions of religion were measured on the Religious Orientation Scale of Allport and Ross (1967). A third form of religious orientation has been described by Daniel Batson. This refers to treatment of religion as an open-ended search (Batson, Schoenrade & Ventis, 1993). More specifically, it has been seen by Batson as comprising a willingness to view religious doubts in a positive manner, acceptance that religious orientation can change and existential complexity, the belief that one's religious beliefs should be shaped from personal crises that one has experienced in one's life. Batson refers to extrinsic, intrinsic and quest respectively as Religion-as-means, religion-as-end and religion-as-quest, and measures these constructs on the Religious Life Inventory (Batson, Schoenrade & Ventis, 1993).
Erik H. Erikson
Erik Erikson (1902-94) is best known for his theory of psychological development, which has its roots in the psychoanalytic importance of identity in personality. His biographies of Gandhi and Martin Luther reveal Erikson's positive view of religion. He considered religions to be important influences in successful personality development because they are the primary way that cultures promote the virtues associated with each stage of life. Religious rituals facilitate this development. Erikson's theory has not benefited from systematic empirical study, but it remains an influential and well-regarded theory in the psychological study of religion.
The American scholar Erich Fromm (1900-1980) modified Freudian theory and produced a more complex account of the functions of religion. Part of the modification is viewing the Oedipus complex as based not so much on sexuality as on a “much more profound desire”, namely, the childish desire to remain attached to protecting figures. The right religion, in Fromm's estimation, can, in principle, foster an individual's highest potentialities, but religion in practice tends to relapse into being neurotic.
According to Erich Fromm, humans have a need for a stable frame of reference. Religion apparently fills this need. In effect, humans crave answers to questions that no other source of knowledge has an answer to, which only religion may seem to answer. However, a sense of free will must be given in order for religion to appear healthy. An authoritarian notion of religion appears detrimental.
Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) was a German Protestant theologian and scholar of comparative religion. Otto's most famous work, The Idea of the Holy (published first in 1917 as Das Heilige), defines the concept of the holy as that which is numinous. Otto explained the numinous as a "non-rational, non-sensory experience or feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self." It is a mystery (Latin: mysterium tremendum) that is both fascinating (fascinans) and terrifying at the same time; A mystery that causes trembling and fascination, attempting to explain that inexpressible and perhaps supernatural emotional reaction of wonder drawing us to seemingly ordinary and/or religious experiences of grace. This sense of emotional wonder appears evident at the root of all religious experiences. Through this emotional wonder, we suspend our rational mind for non-rational possibilities.
It also sets a paradigm for the study of religion that focuses on the need to realise the religious as a non-reducible, original category in its own right. This paradigm was under much attack between approximately 1950 and 1990 but has made a strong comeback since then.
Psychometric approaches to religion
Since the 1960s psychologists of religion have used the methodology of psychometrics to assess different ways in which a person may be religious. An example is the Religious Orientation Scale of Allport and Ross, which measures how respondents stand on intrinsic and extrinsic religion as described by Allport. More recent questionnaires include the Religious Life Inventory of Batson, Schoenrade and Ventis, and the Age-Universal I-E Scale of Gorsuch and Venable. The former assesses where people stand on three distinct forms of religious orientation - religion as means, religion as end, and religion as quest. The latter assesses Spiritual Support and Spiritual Openness.
Religious orientations and religious dimensions
Some questionnaires, such as the Religious Orientation Scale, relate to different religious orientations, such as intrinsic and extrinsic religiousness, referring to different motivations for religious allegiance. A rather different approach, taken, for example, by Glock and Stark (1965), has been to list different dimensions of religion rather than different religious orientations, which relates to how an individual may manifest different forms of being religious. (More on Stark's work can be found in the article on Sociology of Religion.) Glock and Stark's famous typology described five dimensions of religion - the doctrinal, the intellectual, the ethical-consequential, the ritual, and the experiential. In later work these authors subdivided the ritual dimension into devotional and public ritual, and also clarified that their distinction of religion along multiple dimensions was not identical to distinguishing religious orientations. Although some psychologists of religion have found it helpful to take a multidimensional approach to religion for the purpose of psychometric scale design, there has been, as Wulff (1997) explains, considerable controversy about whether religion should really be seen as multidimensional.
Questionnaires to assess religious experience
Since 1970 various questionnaires have been developed to assess religious experiences, including Hood's (1975) M-Scale and the Francis-Louden Mystical Orientation Scale (Francis & Louden, 2000). Hood's M-Scale is relevant to mysticism. A more recent psychometric approach than that proposed by Allport and Ross (1967) has come from Vicky Genia (Genia, 1997). Genia has developed the Spiritual Experience Index (S.E.I.), on which people are assessed on two orthogonal dimensions - spiritual support, referring to gaining solace from religion; and spiritual openness, referring to openness to different spiritual traditions. She has argued that the most mature forms of spirituality are those high in both spiritual support and spiritual openness. She proposes that people go through stages to reach this peak of spiritual maturity, making her work relevant to developmental approaches to religion. A comprehensive list of questionnaires used in psychometric approaches to the study of religion is given in Hill and Hood (1999). Hill and Pargament (2003) have answered many of the criticisms that may be levelled against psychometric approaches to the study of religion, in an article which considers the problems inherent in attempts to distinguish religion and spirituality.
Developmental approaches to religion
- Main article: James W. Fowler
By far the most well-known stage model of spiritual or religious development is that of James W. Fowler, a developmental psychologist at the Candler School of Theology, in his Stages of Faith. He follows Piaget and Kohlberg and has proposed a staged development of faith (or spiritual development) across the lifespan in terms of a holistic orientation, and is concerned with the individual's relatedness to the universal.
The book-length study contains a framework and ideas considered by many to be insightful and which have generated a good deal of response from those interested in religion, so it appears to have at least a reasonable degree of face validity. James Fowler proposes six stages of faith development as follows: 1. Intuitive-projective 2. Symbolic Literal 3. Synthetic Conventional 4. Individuating 5. Paradoxical (conjunctive) 6. Universalising. Although there is evidence that children up to the age of twelve years do tend to be in the first two of these stages, there is evidence that adults over the age of sixty-one do show considerable variation in displays of qualities of Stages 3 and beyond. Fowler's model has generated some empirical studies, and fuller descriptions of this research (and of these six stages) can be found in Wulff (1991). However, this model has been attacked from a standpoint of scientific research due to methodological weaknesses. Of Fowler's six stages, only the first two found empirical support, and these were heavily based upon Piaget's stages of cognitive development. The tables and graphs in the book were presented in such a way that the last four stages appeared to be validated, but the requirements of statistical verification of the stages did not come close to having been met. The study was not published in a journal, so was not peer-reviewed, and never drew much attention from psychologists. Other critics of Fowler have questioned whether his ordering of the stages really reflects his own commitment to a rather liberal Christian Protestant outlook, as if to say that people who adopt a similar viewpoint to Fowler are at higher stages of faith development. Nevertheless, the concepts Fowler introduced seemed to hit home with those in the circles of academic religion, and have been an important starting point for various theories and subsequent studies.
A recent contributor here has put forward a stage model, Vicky Genia (see information in Psychometric Approaches to Religion).
Religion and coping with stress
Psychologists of religion have looked at how individuals may use religion as a resource in coping with stress. A major contributor here is Kenneth Pargament, whose work shows the influence of attribution theory. Pargament has distinguished styles of coping into the deferring, in which people leave God to see to their problems; the non-religious, in which they do not appeal to God; and the collaborative, in which people believe that a co-operation of God and their own efforts are necessary to help them to cope with stress. Some of Pargament's papers have been published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Religion and health
There is considerable literature on the relationship between religion and health. Psychologists consider that there are various ways in which religion may benefit both physical and mental health, including encouraging healthy lifestyles such as abstinence from tobacco, providing social support networks and encouraging an optimistic outlook on life; prayer and meditation may also help to benefit physiological functioning.  The journal "American Psychologist" published important papers on this topic in 2003.  Haber, Jacob and Spangler have considered how different dimensions of religiosity may relate to health benefits in different ways. 
Evolutionary psychology of religion
- Main article: Evolutionary psychology of religion
Evolutionary psychology is based on the hypothesis that, just like hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, and immune systems, cognition has functional structure that has a genetic basis, and therefore evolved by natural selection. Like other organs and tissues, this functional structure should be universally shared amongst humans and should solve important problems of survival and reproduction. Evolutionary psychologists seek to understand cognitive processes by understanding the survival and reproductive functions they might serve.
Pascal Boyer is one of the leading figures in the cognitive psychology of religion, a new field of inquiry that is less than fifteen years old, which accounts for the psychological processes that underlie religious thought and practice. In his book Religion Explained, Boyer shows that there is no simple explanation for religious consciousness. Boyer is mainly concerned with explaining the various psychological processes involved in the acquisition and transmission of ideas concerning the gods. Boyer builds on the ideas of cognitive anthropologists Dan Sperber and Scott Atran, who first argued that religious cognition represents a by-product of various evolutionary adaptations, including folk psychology, and purposeful violations of innate expectations about how the world is constructed (for example, bodiless beings with thoughts and emotions) that make religious cognitions striking and memorable.
Religious persons acquire religious ideas and practices through social exposure. The child of a Zen Buddhist will not become an evangelical Christian or a Zulu warrior without the relevant cultural experience. While mere exposure does not cause a particular religious outlook (a person may have been raised a Roman Catholic but leave the church), nevertheless some exposure seems required - this person will never invent Roman Catholicism out of thin air. Boyer says cognitive science can help us to understand the psychological mechanisms that account for these manifest correlations and in so doing enable us to better understand the nature of religious belief and practice. To the extent that the mechanisms controlling the acquisitions and transmission of religious concepts rely on human brains, the mechanisms are open to computational analysis. All thought is computationally structured, including religious thought. So presumably, computational approaches can shed light on the nature and scope of religious cognition.
Boyer moves outside the leading currents in mainstream cognitive psychology and suggests that we can use evolutionary biology to unravel the relevant mental architecture. Our brains are, after all, biological objects, and the best naturalistic account of design in nature is Darwin's theory of evolution. To the extent that mental architecture exhibits intricate design, it is plausible to think that the design is the result of evolutionary processes working over vast periods of time. Like all biological systems, the mind is optimised to promote survival and reproduction in the evolutionary environment. On this view all specialised cognitive functions broadly serve those reproductive ends.
For Steven Pinker the universal propensity toward religious belief is a genuine scientific puzzle. He thinks that adaptationist explanations for religion do not meet the criteria for adaptations. An alternative explanation is that religious psychology is a by-product of many parts of the mind that evolved for other purposes.
Religion and drugs
James H. Leuba
The American psychologist James H. Leuba (1868-1946), in A Psychological Study of Religion, accounts for mystical experience psychologically and physiologically, pointing to analogies with certain drug-induced experiences. Leuba argued forcibly for a naturalistic treatment of religion, which he considered to be necessary if religious psychology were to be looked at scientifically. Shamans all over the world and in different cultures have traditionally used drugs, especially psychedelics, for their religious experiences. In these communities the absorption of drugs leads to dreams (visions) through sensory distortion.
William James was also interested in mystical experiences from a drug-induced perspective, leading him to make some experiments with nitrous oxide and even peyote. He concludes that while the revelations of the mystic hold true, they hold true only for the mystic; for others they are certainly ideas to be considered, but hold no claim to truth without personal experience of such.
Drug-induced religious experiences
- See main article entheogen on the use of psychoactive substances in a religious or shamanic context.
The drugs used by religious communities for their hallucinogenic effects were adopted for explicit and implicit religious functions and purposes. The drugs were and are reported to enhance religious experience through visions and a distortion of the sensory perception (like in dreams in a state of sleep).
- Cannabis, which grows all over the world except in very cold climates, is used in religious practices in Indian and African communities
- Certain psychedelic mushrooms are used by Indians in Latin America, especially in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico[How to reference and link to summary or text]. The chief species is Psilocybe mexicana, of which the active principles are psilocin and its derivative psilocybin, in their chemical composition and activity not unlike LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide); the latter is synthesized from the alkaloids (principally ergotamine and ergonovine) that are constituents of ergot, a growth present in grasses affected by the disease also called ergot. Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) is another mushroom having hallucinogenic properties that has not been thoroughly studied. It may be extremely important, since it may have been the natural source of the ritual soma drink of the ancient Hindus and the comparable haoma used by the Zoroastrians. Fly agaric is mildly toxic at high dosages and is said to have, in addition to its hallucinogenic properties, the ability to increase strength and endurance.[How to reference and link to summary or text] It is said also to be a soporific.
- Peyote used by some Indian communities of Mexico. The chief active principle of peyote is an alkaloid called mescaline. Like psilocin and psilocybin, mescaline is reputed to produce visions and other evidences of a mystical nature. Despite claims of missionaries and some government agents that peyote - from the Nahuatl word peyotl ("divine messenger") - is a degenerative and dangerous drug, there appears to be no evidence of this among the members of the Native American Church, a North American Indian cult that uses peyote in its chief religious ceremony. Peyote, like most other hallucinogenic drugs, is not considered to be addictive and, far from being a destructive influence, is reputed by cultists and some observers to promote morality and ethical behaviour among the Indians who use it ritually.
- Ayahuasca, caapi, or yajé, is produced from the stem bark of the vines Banisteriopsis caapi and B. inebrians. Indians who use it claim that its virtues include healing powers and the power to induce clairvoyance, among others. This drink has been certified by investigators to produce remarkable effects, often involving the sensation of flying. The effects are thought to be attributable to the action of harmine, a very stable indole that is the active principle in the plant. While the Indians themselves attribute the properties of the drink Ayahuasca to B. caapi, this is not the common scientific view; the MAOIs present in the B. caapi instead allow the extremely psychedelic ingredients in other plants added to the brew, noticeably plants containing DMT, to be activated and produce an intense experience.
- Kava drink, prepared from the roots of Piper methysticum, a species of pepper, and seemingly more of a hypnotic-narcotic than a hallucinogen, is used both socially and ritually in the South Pacific, especially in Polynesia.
- Iboga, a stimulant and hallucinogen derived from the root bark of the African shrub Tabernanthe iboga is used within the Bwiti religion in Central Africa. The active ingredient in T. iboga is ibogaine, a drug that has been studied for its use in treating addiction.
- Coca, source of cocaine, has had both ritual and social use chiefly in Peru.
- Datura, one species of which is the jimsonweed, is used by native peoples in North and South America; the active principle, however, is highly toxic and dangerous. A drink prepared from the shrub Mimosa hostilis, which is said to produce glorious visions in warriors before battle, is used ritually in the ajuca ceremony of the Jurema cult in eastern Brazil.
- Salvia divinorum, a member of the sage family of plants, is a hallucinogen used by Mazatec shamans for "spiritual journeys" during healing.
The effects of meditation
The large variety of meditation techniques shares the common goal of shifting attention away from habitual or customary modes of thinking and perception, in order to permit experiencing in a different way. Many religious and spiritual traditions that employ meditation assert that the world most of us know is an illusion. This illusion is said to be created by our habitual mode of separating, classifying and labelling our perceptual experiences. Meditation is empirical in that it involves direct experience. Though it is also subjective in that the meditative state can be directly known only by the experiencer, and may be difficult or impossible to fully describe in words.
Concentrative meditation can induce an altered state of consciousness characterised by a loss of awareness of extraneous stimuli, one-pointed attention to the meditation object to the exclusion of all other thoughts, and feelings of bliss.
- Robert Aziz, C.G. Jung’s Psychology of Religion and Synchronicity (1990), currently in its 10th printing, is a refereed publication of The State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-0166-9.
- Robert Aziz, Synchronicity and the Transformation of the Ethical in Jungian Psychology in Carl B. Becker, ed. Asian and Jungian Views of Ethics. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999. ISBN 0-313-30452-1.
- Robert Aziz, The Syndetic Paradigm:The Untrodden Path Beyond Freud and Jung (2007), a refereed publication of The State University of New York Press ISBN 13:978-0-7914-6982-8.
- ↑ Allport, G.W. & J. Michael Ross (1967). Personal Religious Orientation and Prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 5: 432.
- ↑ Batson, C.D., Schoenrade, P. & Ventis, L. (1993). Religion and the Individual, New York: Oxford University Press.
- ↑ Gorsuch, R. & Venable (1983). Development of an Age-Universal I-E Scale. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
- ↑ ISBN 0-06-062866-9
- ↑ Levin, 2001
- ↑ see those by Miller and Thoresen (2003) and Powell, Shahabi and Thorsen (2003); see also the article by Oman and Thoresen, in Paloutzian and Park (1996)
- ↑ Haber, Jacob & Spangler, 2007)
- Adler, A., & Jahn, E., Religion and Psychology, Frankfurt, 1933.
- Allport, G.W. & Ross, J.M., Personal Religious Orientation and Prejudice, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1967.
- Allport, G. W., The individual and his religion, New York, Macmillan, 1950.
- Atran, S., In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion, New York, Oxford University Press, 2002.
- Batson, C.D., Schoenrade, P. & Ventis, L., Religion and the Individual, New York, Oxford University Press, 1993.
- Erikson, E., Young man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History, New York, W. W. Norton, 1958.
- Fowler, J. Stages of Faith, Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1971.
- Francis, L.J. & Louden, S.H., The Francis-Louden Mystical Orientation Scale: A Study Among Male Anglican Priests, Research in the Scientific Study of Religion, 2000.
- Freud, S., The future of an illusion, translated by W.D. Robson-Scott, New York, Liveright, 1928.
- Freud, S., Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics, New-york, Dodd, 1928.
- Freud, S., Moses and Monotheism, London, The Hogarth Press and The Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1939.
- Fromm, E., Psychoanalysis and Religion, New Haven, Yale University, 1950.
- Genia, V., The Spiritual Experience Index: Revision and Reformulation, Review of Religious Research, 38, 344-361, 1997.
- Glock, C.Y. & Stark, R., Religion and Society in Tension, Chicago, Rand McNally, 1965.
- Gorsuch, R. & Venable, Development of an Age-Universal I-E Scale, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1983.
- Haber, J., Jacob, R. & Spangler, J.D.C. (2007) Dimensions of religion and their relationship to health. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 17 (4) 265-288
- Hill, P. C. & Hood, R., Measures of Religiosity, Birmingham, Alabama, Religious Education Press,1999.
- Hill, P. C. & Pargament, K., Advances in the Conceptualisation and Measurement of Spirituality. American Psychologist, 58, p64-74, 2003.
- Hood, R. W., The Construction and Preliminary Validation of a Measure of Reported Mystical Experience, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1975.
- James, W., The Varieties of Religious Experience, Cambridge, Ma., Harvard University, 1985.
- Jung, C. G., Modern Man in Search of a Soul, New York, Harcourt Brace, 1933.
- Jung, C. G., Psychology and Religion, Yale University Press, 1962.
- Jung, C. G., Psychology and Religion, Yale Univ. Press, 1992.
- Jung, C. G., Psychology and Western Religion, Princeton Univ. Press, 1984.
- Hood, R. W., The Construction and Preliminary Validation of a Measure of Reported Mystical Experience, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1975.
- Leuba, J. H., The Psychology of Religious Mysticism, New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1925.
- Leuba, J. H., The Psychological Origin and the Nature of Religion. Wikisource text
- Levin, J. (2001). God, Faith and Spirituality: Exploring the Spirituality-Health Connection. New York: Wiley
- Paloutzian, C. & Park, R. (1996).Handbook of Religion and Spirituality.
- Miller & Thoresen (2003) American Psychologist
- Powell, L.H., Shahabi, L. & Thoresen, C. (2003). Religion and spirituality.
- Links to physical health. American Psychologist. 58 pp36-52
- Wulff, D. M., Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary (2nd ed), New York, Wiley, 1997.
- Fontana, D., Psychology, Religion and Spirituality, Oxford, Blackwell, 2003.
- Fuller, A. R. (1994). Psychology & religion: Eight points of view (3rd ed.). Lanham, MD: Littlefield Adams. ISBN 0822630362.
- Hood, R. W. Jr., Spilka, B., Hunsberger, B., & Gorsuch, R. (1996). The psychology of religion: An empirical approach. New York: Guilford. ISBN 1572301163
- Levin, J., God, Faith and Health: Exploring the Spirituality-Health Connection, New York, Wiley, 2001.
- Loewenthal, K. M., Psychology of Religion: A Short Introduction, Oxford, Oneworld, 2000.
- Meissner, W., Psychoanalysis and Religious Experience, London and New Haven, Yale University Press, 1984.
- Paloutzian, R. (1996). Invitation to the Psychology of Religion, 2nd Ed. New York: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0205148409.
Roberts, T. B. (editor) (2001). Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion. San Francosco: Council on Spiritual Practices.
Roberts, T. B., and Hruby, P. J. (1995-2002). Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments An Entheogen Chrestomathy. Online archive. 
Roberts, T. B. "Chemical Input—Religious Output: Entheogens." Chapter 10 in Where God and Science Meet: Vol. 3: The Psychology of Religious Experience Robert McNamara (editor)(2006). Westport, CT: Praeger/Greenwood.
- Wulff, D. M. (1997). Psychology of religion: Classic and contemporary (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley. ISBN 0471037060.
- Cognitive science of religion
- Altered state of consciousness
- Philosophy of religion
- Sociology of religion
- Magical thinking
- Philip Brownell
- Benjamin Kidd
- Social Evolution
- Psychology of religion.org
- Psychology of religion pages
- Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature by William James
- Psychology of Religious Doubt
- Psychology of religion in Germany
- Website of leading Jungian scholar/ author, Dr. Robert Aziz
- International Association for the Scientific Study of Religion
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