Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Religion and Prison

  • Dan MicklethwaiteEmail author
  • Belinda WinderEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_200163-1

Why Are People Religious?

The earliest indicators of religion have been detected alongside the earliest signs of human life. The human race has embraced religion in its many forms, which prompts the question of “why?” Why are humans religious? Psychologists and anthropologists have offered several explanations for our adoption of religion. Barrett (2001) asserted that religion is “a social construct encompassing beliefs and practices which enable people, individually or collectively, to make some sense of the Great Questions of life and death” (p. 25). Religion is a means of managing fear, uncertainty, and a lack of control over events in our lives. There is also a sense in which religion may be seen to protect us – if we worship, or pay reverence, to particular deities, they may keep us safe.

An alternative psychological explanation for the emergence of religion fits under the growth/realization tradition in positive psychology. This can be related to the experience of “flow”...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit, Department of PsychologyNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK