Maricopa Community Colleges  PSY225   20036-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 3-25-2003

PSY225  2003 Fall – 2004 Summer II

LEC  3.0 Credit(s)  3.0 Period(s)  3.0 Load  Acad

Psychology of Religion

Provides an introduction to the history, varieties and theories of the psychology of religion from an empirical, research-based perspective. Specific areas of study include the role of gender, age, socioeconomic status, and personality on religious experience, the effects of religion and prayer on mental and physical health, the development of religious thought and behavior over the lifespan, and the social psychology of new religious movements. In addition, the role of cultural differences on religious attitudes both within the USA and around the world is also addressed.

Prerequisites: PSY101 or Permission of Instructor.

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


PSY225  2003 Fall – 2004 Summer II

Psychology of Religion



Describe the diversity of the religious experience and outline the role William James played in it's psychological description (I).


Compare the strengths and weaknesses of studying religion from a psychological perspective (I).


Identify the key difficulties in forming a psychological description of religious experience. (I).


Explain the importance of understanding the diversity of religious experience within the USA and across the world. (I, II)


Discuss the how culture affects religious outlooks and how religion informs an individual's worldview. (II).


Outline the variety of ordinary and extraordinary religious experience, and describe the factors- personality, culture, gender, and socioeconomic factors- that affect the interpretation of these experiences (II, V).


Describe the conversion experience and list the factors that underlie this experience (III).


Discuss the role of mystical experiences in religion, and compare and contrast how these experiences are understood in Eastern and Western traditions (III).


Outline the hypothesized religious and moral development of individuals (IV).


Describe how religious behavior and attitudes change during early and late adulthood (IV).


Explain how gender differences influence the religious experience (IV) .


Compare how various religious traditions address death (IV).


Assess the role that German psychological tradition played in understanding the psychology of religion (V).


Assess how the American humanistic tradition influenced contemporary research into the psychology of religion (V).


Describe the use of prayer in the religious experience and contrast the gender, cultural, and socioeconomic factors that influence prayer (VI).


Evaluate the effects of religion on mental health and discuss how various religious traditions view mental health (VI).


Discuss how social influences affect the individual's religious experience (VII).


Describe the rise of new religious movements (NRMs) across the globe and assess the factors that contribute to their rise (VII).


Compare and contrast the research that examines how religion influences cross-cultural relationships (VII).

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


PSY225  2003 Fall – 2004 Summer II

Psychology of Religion


I. Introduction to the Psychology of Religion

A. The Beginnings of the Psychology of Religion: James

B. The relationship of the science of psychology to religion

C. Defining psychology of religion

D. Empirical methodologies used in the investigation of religion

E. Current topics in the Psychology of Religion around the world

II. The varieties of Religion

A. Religious diversity in the modern world

B. The role of culture in the formation of religion

C. The role of religion in forming world outlooks

III. Religious Experience

A. Ordinary and extraordinary religious experiences

1. Factors related to interpretation of religious experiences

a. Socioeconomic

b. Gender

c. Cultural

B. Conversion

C. Mysticism

1. Western traditions

2. Eastern traditions

IV. Religious Development

A. Development of religious thinking

B. Moral development

C. Gender differences in religious development

D. Religious Development in adulthood

1. Gender differences in adult religiosity

E. Religious development in late adulthood

F. Religion and death across cultures

V. Religion and personality

A. The German Tradition

1. Freud

2. Jung

B. The American Humanistic Tradition

1. Allport

2. Maslow

3. Frankl

C. Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic religiosity

1. Gender differences

2. Cultural differences

3. Socioeconomic factors

VI. Religion and mental and physical health

A. Use of prayer for healing

1. Gender factors

2. Across cultures

3. Across socioeconomic groups

B. Physiological processes in the religious experience

C. Religion and adjustment

D. Religion and mental disorders across cultures

VII. The social psychology of religion

A. Social psychology of religious organizations

B. The growth of new religious movements

C. Religious differences across cultural boundaries


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