The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism

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Guilford Press, 2005 - Psychology - 247 pages
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This book presents a new psychological framework for understanding religious fundamentalism, one that distinguishes fundamentalist traditions from other faith-based groups and helps explain the thinking and behavior of believers. Steering clear of stereotypes, the highly regarded authors offer respectful, historically informed examinations of several major fundamentalist groups. Focusing primarily on Protestant sects, including the Church of God (a Pentecostal denomination), the serpent handling sects of Appalachia, and the Amish, the book also discusses Islamic fundamentalism. Addressed are such key themes as the role of the sacred text within fundamentalism; how beliefs and practices that many find difficult to comprehend actually fit into coherent meaning systems; and how these meaning systems help meet individuals' needs for purpose, value, and self-worth.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Fundamentalist Religion as an Intratextual Search for Meaning
11
Fundamentalism as a Meaning System
30
The History of Protestant Fundamentalism
47
Fundamentalism among Religious SerpentHandling Sects
115
Fundamentalism among the Amish
133
Fundamentalist Islam
155
Intratextuality Stereotyping and QuasiFundamentalisms
183
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About the author (2005)

Ralph W. Hood, Jr., is a social psychologist with a long-standing interest in the psychology of religion. He is currently a professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Although not a fundamentalist, Dr. Hood believes that fundamentalism has been poorly portrayed in the psychology of religion by researchers and scholars who are so distant from the assumptions and worldview of fundamentalists that they offer explanations for a phenomenon they have not adequately or fairly described.

Peter C. Hill was raised an evangelical in a family strongly committed to the church. He is currently a professor of psychology at Biola University's Rosemead School of Psychology. Biola University played a significant role in the early days of the Protestant fundamentalist movement and today identifies itself as an "interdenominational and yet theologically conservative" institution. The Rosemead School of Psychology seeks to advance a psychologically and Christian theologically integrated understanding of human nature.

W. Paul Williamson was born the son of a Church of God (of Prophecy) minister. He followed in his father's footsteps and became an ordained minister in the denomination, serving 17 years of full-time ministry. During his doctoral studies, he felt the need to resign from the clergy and from his affiliation with the church to pursue a career in academic psychology. He is currently an assistant professor of psychology at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Dr. Williamson draws upon a wealth of experience in a Pentecostal tradition, both as a former member and as clergy, allowing him unique insights into its fundamentalist worldview.

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