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Psychology and Religion
07-05-2009, 06:26 PM (This post was last modified: 07-05-2009 06:27 PM by PatPar.)
Post: #1
Psychology and Religion
This is an attempt to explain various religious teachings and show how they are concurrent with modern psychology as well as provide a little 'guidebook' for the spiritually inclined. If you think about you can see how some of this relates to stories within the Bible. I hope it helps someone, but if you are easily disturbed you probably shouldn't read any further.

In our physical manifestation (flesh) we are creatures ruled primarily by drives and influences. This physical manifestation and its resulting desires and needs make it difficult for us to live in the Spirit and to participate in the union of ourselves and others with God which we call the Body of Christ. We may undertake efforts to regain this union but in order to do so first we must understand the nature of our physical manifestation.

Our primary drives (instinct) are the survival and reproductive drives. The survival drive encompasses the need for food, water, and comfort. This survival drive gives us our capacity to kill in order to ensure we have these three things. The reproductive drive encompasses the reproductive act and everything related. This reproductive drive also gives us the capacity to kill in order to reproduce or protect the survival of ourselves and related individuals. These two drives bound together give us a need for a group in order to ensure our survival and reproduction. The experiences of pain and pleasure (mental / emotional / physical) are directly related to these two drives in some manner unless unbalanced in some manner (addiction).

Influences enter our lives shortly after birth in the form of emotional attachment resulting from the need of satisfying our survival drive and the inability to do so without others. This emotional attachment begins with our primary providers (parents / family / etc) and as we age becomes emotional attachment to a way of life (society / manner of living / method of living). Emotional attachment is very powerful and gives us a predilection to commit all types of evil acts in order to keep from losing the things we are emotionally attached to. In addition to these emotional attachments in place we are affected by the influence of important persons and significant events throughout our lives on this earth. These influences and attachments have the possibility of affecting our spiritual development in ways that are both positive and negative. Often we obtain false perceptions about what is right or wrong due to these influences. Anything that separates us from God and brings out our inherent capacity for evil is negative and anything that leads us toward God and spiritual harmony is positive.

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One can compare this process of spiritual development to a journey undertaken. There are roads and paths which lead us to our destination as well as maps, guides, and others to journey with. The road we take is dependent upon the starting location, amount of baggage we carry, group of people we travel with, and the speed with which we wish to arrive. Of course there is still the problem of ensuring that we are on the correct road to reach our destination as well as the danger of attempting to take shortcuts. One existing path which can guide us along this journey is well known to all in the form of monasticism. This path is not for all however and as we all have our own unique experiences and influences which have contributed to our individual development as well as other complicating factors this may not be necessary for some persons or even helpful for some. As we decide which path to journey upon we must carefully evaluate our own situations and consider possible negative impacts upon the spiritual development of others. The unfortunate reality is that without the aesthetic lifestyle of monasticism it is often much more difficult to bring our lives into spiritual harmony once we have become unbalanced due to the negative influences throughout the course of our life. In addition, it can often be difficult to correctly see which influences are positive and which influences are negative during the early stages of our journey and development. There is also the problem of having the wrong guide or teacher which can lead us down the wrong road either intentionally or due to lack of experience or incomplete knowledge.

One of the first things we can do when starting our journey is to consult with others for advice and wisdom. We should carefully evaluate the advice considering whether or not the advice received seems to be correct and appropriate to our situation as well as if it leads us toward God or away from God. We also must remember that our own situations are unique and everything is often not as it seems to be. A common problem we encounter is the inability to remember in what direction we are heading as often the pleasures and annoyances of life become a distraction. A beneficial aid to help us remember is daily prayer and meditation. Fasting can benefit our development by helping us to become aware of our physical drives and gain some measure of self-control over the body. Another important thing we can do is begin to acquire self-knowledge by performing a personal inventory and attempting to ascertain what we do, why we do it, and whether it is of value in our lives and helps or hinders us along our journey. As we do this we can decide what we need to change and begin to make those changes. Often others are required for this process as it can be difficult to see the flaws within ourselves. A study of psychology can be beneficial during this process to provide us with some of the necessary knowledge about human behavior. Many concepts can not be understood as we begin our journey so some of this knowledge will have to come to fruition at a later date.

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/discipleschrist/
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07-05-2009, 10:12 PM
Post: #2
RE: Psychology and Religion
Interesting. A lot of your psychological analysis is spot on, from what I understand of the subject, and you certainly seem well-versed, but my question is what evidence do you have for bringing god into it? Why, for instance, is good anything that brings us closer to god, while evil is what brings us away from god? First, which god's moral compass are we using? And second, is it not possible that god is just one more of those "false perceptions about what is right or wrong"?

Your final paragraph, to me, is the most vital. Self-knowledge is very important, and at least a basic understanding of psychology can be very beneficial. However, I would urge you to take this one step further. Do not assume god's existence while going through your self-appraisal. Focus instead only on what you can deduce apart from god. If god is true, then the mere seeking of the truth will surely lead you back to god. If, on the other hand, god is not true, then you will be free of a hobbling myth, and able to seek the real truth.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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