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The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism

The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism
by Jr., Ralph W. Hood, Peter C. Hill, W. Paul Williamson

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The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism by Jr., Ralph W. Hood, Peter C. Hill, W. Paul Williamson

"This book represents a major advance in our understanding of fundamentalism, a subject ever more urgent in our post-9/11 world. The authors examine fundamentalism through solid psychological theory, and illustrate this theoretical perspective by examining a variety of specific religious fundamentalisms. Essential reading for students of religion, psychology, and sociology."--Crystal L. Park, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut

"This is a very important contribution to the psychology of religion literature, and more broadly, to religious scholarship. There have been very few treatments of Protestant fundamentalism that are more than merely a perpetuation of stereotypes. The authors provide a unique and vital perspective on the forms and functions of fundamentalism and its relevance in the world today. Any course on religion from a social science perspective should consider this text."--Robert A. Emmons, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis

"This is superior-quality scholarship that beautifully accomplishes two difficult goals under the same cover. First, the volume presents psychological concepts that are ideal for understanding the personal, social-psychological, and behavioral aspects of religious fundamentalism. Second, it provides rich, instructive, and very interesting information about a range of fundamentalist Christian and Muslim groups. This material is revealing and will be new to most readers. The skillful application of the psychological concepts to the cases both increases one's sense of their depth and reach, and enriches one's understanding of the cases themselves. Highly recommended for courses in the psychology of religion or applied social psychology."--Raymond F. Paloutzian, PhD, Department of Psychology, Westmont College

Book Description

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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