Worldview and Mind: Religious Thought and Psychological Development (Hardcover)
When worldviews clash, the world reverberates. Now a distinguished scholar who has written widely on thinkers ranging from Samuel Beckett to Eric Voegelin inquires into the sources of religious conflict--and into ways of being religious that might diminish that conflict.Worldview and Mind covers a wide range of thinkers and movements to explore the relation between religion and modernity in all its complexity. Eugene Webb invokes a number of topical issues, including religious terrorism, as he unfolds the phenomenon of religion in all its complications, from the difference between faith and belief to the diversities among--and within--religions. Building on Karl Jaspers's psychology of worldviews and Jean Piaget's developmental psychology, Webb looks at a broad spectrum of religions--especially the history of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in their various forms--to explore the subjective factors that sometimes render religions conflictual and aggressive and to consider conditions that might foster more helpful and reconciling forms of religiousness. He explores what psychological analysis reveals about the relationship between stages of psychological development and ways of being religious--ways that range from closed-minded literalism to open-minded tolerance. He also identifies unconscious and developmental obstacles to religious maturity and depicts the mature person as one who participates in the mystery of self-transcending love. Webb argues that authentic religion need not succumb to dogmatism, or support fanaticism, or be consigned to the stages of immature culture. Responding to critics of religion, from Sigmund Freud to Daniel Dennett, he demonstrates that religious traditions have more spiritual depth than these critics have granted and a greater potential for development than they believe, along lines they might even favor. His insightful book proposes that, if religious people can step back from their traditions and consider them as partial ways of relating to transcendent ultimacy, the world's religions might manage to develop a way of living together with mutual appreciation and respect.
About the Author
Eugene Webb is Professor Emeritus of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington and is the author of six books, including The Self Between: From Freud to the New Social Psychology of France.
A tour de force. A breakthrough effort regarding a topic of rare importance in our current cultural situation.”—Glenn Hughes, author of Transcendence and History
“Comprehensive in scope and precise and insightful in depth.”—Thomas J. McPartland, author of Lonergan and the Philosophy of Historical Existence