Introduction to Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality

  • James M. Nelson

The nature of the human person has been a subject of fascination since ancient times. We desire to understand ourselves and our place in the world, and at times we also look at broader human questions: Why am I here? What is the meaning or purpose of my life? Why do people suffer? This book is about two of the most important ways that people have attempted to answer these kinds of questions—religion and psychology. Especially over the past century, there has been a fascinating interchange of views between psychologists and religious practitioners about questions of daily life and broader meaning. In this book, we will seek to understand this complex and constantly changing dialogue and its implication for our understanding of the human person (cf. Henking, 2000). We will begin our quest in this chapter with a look at the basic concepts of religion, spirituality, and psychology, as well as some history of the dialogue between them.


Religious Group Religious Tradition Human Person Religious Experience Religious Commitment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyValparaiso UniversityValparaisoUSA

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