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The psychology of religion entails the use of psychological techniques and informative structures to religious backgrounds, as well as to both nonreligious and religious individuals. The science has made numerous attempts to describe the content, foundation and the application of religious beliefs and behaviors. It is clear that many areas of religion remain unexplored by psychologists. Even though, spirituality and religion plays a vital role in the lives of people, it is still uncertain how religious beliefs lead to aftermaths that can be either negative or positive. Coping can be defined as a means or a way of finding significance during times of stress. For many people, the psychology of coping and religion is a dangerous thing. Although, it may be enticing to view religion as merely a way of coping with stress, this would not be a religion instigated by justice. Therefore, for these people conservation of significance and transformation of significance is not just reserved for crisis times. That is why coping can be said to be multidimensional (Pargament 33).
Psychologists have found that when people are stressed out or when they face numerous social and psychological difficulties, they normally tend to turn to religion in order to cope with stressing issues. This interconnection of religion and individual behavior also remained unexplored. The dialogue between theology and psychology may essentially foster an immerse understanding that will benefit both fields. Therefore, the alleyways and outcomes that bring about these relationships still need an additional research (Long, Theodore &Jeffrey 65).
For a long time, there has been debate and argument about the decline of religiousness, especially in the developed countries. Even though, activities of televangelist, cults or religious upheavals in different parts of the world make headlines, they are normally dismissed as being an abnormality in the world that is turning away from supernatural reality. Nevertheless, there are other indicators that are less theatrical and more refined that suggest that religion remains the most powerful force in the people's lives across the world (Long, Theodore &Jeffrey 65).
All people in the world encounter critical moments in their lives. These moments may take the form of personal conflicts, family quarrels, employment problems, illnesses, financial troubles and even death. Moreover, people may encounter even larger social problems such as racism and poverty. Whether these conditions are expected or unexpected, long-lasting or short-lived, collective or individual, these critical moments normally force people beyond their capability. During these moments of crisis many people turn to religion in order to seek consolation (Stark, Rodney &William 122).
The most dramatic sign of religion normally comes during times of stress. Psychologists believe that religion is usually closely tied to pivotal periods in the life of a human being. Sufferings, hardships and conflicts have been found to be the center of concern for prime religions in the world. All religions acknowledge the fact that religion can sometimes be terrifying. For instance, suffering is believed to be the first experience of existence in Buddhism. Suffering normally includes physical pain, negative changes, mental anguish and lack of freedom. In Judaism, suffering is usually acknowledged through celebration of oppression and slavery and commemoration of freedom, whilst in Christianity, suffering is presented through crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Stark, Rodney &William 122).
Although religion has been considered as a source of the higher ethical desire for a long time, there is no need to look at the religion when striving to understand the origin of the moral value. This is explained by the fact that psychologists have recognized common moral sentimentalities such as compassion, love of generosity, righteous exasperation, shame and guilt. In-depth scrutiny on the idea of morality has explicitly shown that is understandably entrenched in the interchangeability of individual concern and others (Stark, Rodney &William 122).
Psychologists have pointed out the benefits of the religion, especially to those influencing other people to have a religious belief. Ancestor worship is one omnipresent component of religion. It normally sounds good when ageing person engages in the ancestor worship. Since growing old is a clear indication that one would never be around forever, an individual may convince other individual that he/she will continue to predict the affairs even when dead, this gives people an incentive to treat the ageing person well until the last day.
Taboos on food are other common religious believes that have been explained by psychologists. Psychologists believe that when food especially that of animal origin is withdrawn from children during their childhood life, they develop a food preference and dis-preference based on the experience. For instance, most people do not consume food products derived from monkey, dog or even maggot, whereas this food are palatable in other societies in a different part of the world (Pargament 55).
Argumentative Coping facts About the Conservation of Significance and Transformation of Significance
During times of crisis, most of the people turn to religion so as to help them to cope with their problems. Moreover, some also turn away from religion if they are facing numerous problems and go through hard times. It can we be said that religion simply offers a defense or brings denial for individuals. In most cases, coping with problems takes place during an encounter between a situation and a person. This encounter or meeting brings a transactional process amid at the situation and the individual. The most crucial part of this encounter is how the individual deals with the new challenge (Pargament 66).
Conservation of significance is a tendency by an individual to maintain and preserve virtues or objects of value such as religion, career, feelings, immorality and possessions. Transformation of significance occurs when conservation of significance is no longer an option or viable. Therefore, it becomes apparent that transformation of significance must take place. The theory of means and ends thus comes into being. Most people believe that religion is fundamentally involved in the search for significance. Religion recommends which things are worth struggling. It also goes ahead and suggests the path to follow so as to attain this significance. Hence, it can be said that religion is both concerned with the means and the ends of significance. Some religious feelings will serve as means towards significant ends (Long, Theodore, & Jeffrey 64).
Conservational coping in most cases will involve attempts to protect significance when there is a crisis or challenge. There are times when an individual cannot protect what they care much about. It can be a bereaved parent who lost a child despite her efforts of giving the child the best medical care. When such a case arises, the task of coping moves from conservation to transformation, after a transformation of significance has ensued, the focus of coping returns again to conservation. Transformation and conservation are, thus, two complementary things. These two processes help sustain and guide an individual in her or his entire life (Long, Theodore, & Jeffrey 98).
The power of social influence is also something of concern in studying psychology of religion. Social influence is mostly based on faith. In the context of psychology of religion, faith is quite difficult to define comprehensively. This is because faith is not based on a science or evidence. All religions are a system of life and most of these religions exist because of social influences. It can be argued that religion or God exists because people created it for no one have ever seen God. Therefore, religion is said to be people's own creation. The society, which one is born and brought up in, will to a greater extent dictate the religion of this individual. The power of social influence should not be underestimated in matters pertaining to religion (Stark, Rodney & William 59).
Social influence has the largest effect on a person. If a parent says to a child that there is a God, the child will have to believe in that also simply because the dad or mum have said there is a supreme being known as God. Peer pressure is also another source of influence in religion. The person that an individual associates with has the ability to influence her or his beliefs concerning religion (Long, Theodore, & Jeffrey 76).
Subculture in religion can be said to be a group of people with distinctive beliefs and behavior within religion as a whole. Subculture has also an influence on conservation of significance and transformation of significance. People will change their religion beliefs when they feel that their current religion is not offering much spiritual or moral support (Stark, Rodney & William 99).
Religious conversion in religion psychology can generally mean to turn or turnabout. It is the awakening of religious understanding or knowledge in a person who had never been concerned with religious matters. It can also mean the adoption of part or a whole set of beliefs from another religion or denomination that is, changing from one set of main commitments to a new one. This conversion involves changing or awakening the spiritual and moral realities. This brings about transformation of significance in the individual. The newly converted individual will adapt new patterns of thought and live a transformed life. People will accept this transformation for various reasons. There are people who transform their own will, and there are other people who transform because of external pressure (Long, Theodore, & Jeffrey 132).
In conservation of significance and transformation of significance, control is something that most try to achieve. People will try their best to control what they value most. Transformation of significance is a process that most people will try to avoid for it is always a trying time. People will strain not to lose their treasures (Pargament 112).
The psychological study of religion is extremely essential area of humanity. It is necessary to understand different ways through which people address significant facets of their life. Psychology of religion also offers a rich source of information for studying and analyzing attitudes, altruism, coping and other significant occurrences that are crucial to psychologists. It also challenges psychologist’s inventiveness in conducting more research on the hypothesis that cannot be researched empirically. The interconnection between psychology and religion also helps us to preserve its chronological relationship with philosophy. Therefore, when a psychologist uses natural science techniques, the psychology of religion constantly reminds us that philosophy is our core roots, and all suppositions made with regard to the subject matter normally have significant implications to knowledge (Pargament 126).