God and Psychology: How the Early Religious Development of Famous Psychologists Influenced their Work examines the impact their religious background had on the lives and work of several famous psychologists. These are fascinating stories often overlooked in the biography of these thinkers. Drawing from autobiographical and biographical materials, this book demonstrates how the impact of these early exposures to religion linger in the writings and actions of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Erik Erikson, B.F. Skinner, and Carl Rogers in both explicit and indirect ways. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in the intersection of psychology and religion.
Stephen E. Parker is professor emeritus in the school of psychology and counseling at Regent University.
Chapter 1 Sigmund Freud
Chapter 2 Carl Jung
Chapter 3 Erik Erikson
Chapter 4 B.F. Skinner
Chapter 5 Carl Rogers
The relationship between psychology and religious belief is a fraught one. Many religious thinkers find the doctrines attributed to Freud or the classical behaviorists antithetical to their theological views, and the therapeutic relationship is sometimes thought to be a pale copy and rival to the pastoral relationship espoused by the church. In many respects, therefore, religious thinkers have seen psychology as a rival religion. In God and Psychology, Parker approaches the relationship between religious belief (focusing mainly but not exclusively on Christianity) and psychology through biography. As the subtitle indicates, Parker is particularly interested in how the early religious beliefs and rearing of major figures in psychology (Freud, Jung, Erikson, Skinner, and Rogers) influenced their later works. The text is organized into separate chapters devoted respectively to each figure. Overall, the book pokes at a major question: does studying psychology put one on a trajectory toward atheism? Parker notes that three of the five people he discusses ended their lives as atheists, but he shies away from drawing conclusions, noting that other factors could have contributed to such a development. While this is surely true, it is still worthwhile to ask if something in the theoretical (as opposed to biographical) stance of psychological inquiry predisposes one toward atheism. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. General readers.
Drawing from biographers and original works, Parker offers a rare and revealing analysis of how religion—through culture and personal experience—came to influence five of the world's most renowned psychologists and their momentous contributions to the field. An intriguing read for all interested in psychology and religion.
Parker, with a sharp eye for detail, paints a captivating picture of the religious impact on the lives of psychology's seminal founders. These little-known stories that shaped an emerging discipline are insightful and riveting to read.
In God and Psychology, Parker has gone far beyond previous, cursory reviews of the influence religion has wielded in the lives of theoretical giants in psychology—Freud, Jung, Skinner, Erikson, and Rogers. His focus on these five great contributors to the field allows him to dig deep into their development, the philosophical and theological streams that colored their ideas, as well as seminal incidents in each of their lives that Joseph Lichtenberg (2008) described as ‘model scenes’ that set a template throughout the theorists' lives. For those who seek a deeper understanding of the interweaving of religious experience and life trajectory, Parker's book is a must read. Thoroughly researched and thoroughly accessible. Kudos!
As psychology evolves in the twenty-first century, religion as a relevant and important human difference is receiving more emphasis in theory and practice. In this intriguing and illuminating book, Parker documents how the religious life of five prominent psychologists influenced the development of their thought and, through them, shaped Western culture in general and the field of psychology in particular.
As Western culture and modern psychology trend away from viewing spiritual and religious values as assets to a refined world view, Parker’s God and psychology is a reminder that our spiritual and religious upbringing and experiences have a profound impact on our understanding of human nature and the world we live in. This book is a deep dive in to the personal histories and religious journeys of five significant psychological theorists, including Freud, Jung, Erikson, Skinner, and Rogers. Parker unpacks the major components of each protagonist’s spiritual journey, describing the religious values present within their family of origin, the influential religious people in their lives, and the spiritual moments and circumstances that shaped the development of their psychological theories. [The] fact that each chapter in this book could be read independent of the others as well as part of a cogent and complete work, make this book both versatile and useful as a primary or supplementary text in academic courses across the helping professions.