Tokareva S.B., Patrin V.G. Theistic Psychology as a Methodological Principle of the Study of Religious Experience

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2019.2.1

Svetlana B. Tokareva
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Head of the Philosophy Department, Volgograd State University
Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4274-6444

Vyacheslav G. Patrin
Candidate of Theology, PhD (Études grecques, Sorbonne), Dean of the Theological Faculty, Tsaritsyn Orthodox Christian University
Chapaeva St., 26, 400012 Volgograd, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6376-5076


Abstract. The article investigates the genesis of psychologism as a methodological basis for the study of religious experience. The authors show that the first experience of consistent applying psychologism for the purpose of radical criticism of religion was carried out by D. Hume, who reduced the religious experience to the emotional and mental nature of man. As a result, in the philosophy of Hume, the sphere of religious experiences was completely desacralized and the concepts making up the core of spiritual and religious-ethical life of man, such as "personality", "spiritual substance", "mystical experience" were declared meaningless. In the research of F. Schleiermacher the principle of psychology was used to identify the grounds of religiosity. According to Schleiermacher, the sacred is rooted in the very nature of man in the form of original, undifferentiated "religious feeling." The type of psychologism developed by Schleiermacher is theistic because it comes from the recognition of the ontological nature of the divine spark, which is initially presented in religious experience and is not brought into it by faith, a specific creed or metaphysics. According to Schleiermacher, it is not the higher mental functions and rational consciousness that are responsible for the feeling of belonging to God, but the prethought experience together with the psychosomatic structures that provide it. Thus, theistic psychology finds the primary elements of religiosity, components creating precognitive content experienced by the human sense of the sacred beyond the usual manifestations of religion, namely faith, thinking and behavior. Later, psychologism was criticized by representatives of phenomenology, who argued that mental phenomena can be recorded as a direct evidence beyond self-consciousness. This led to the formation within the phenomenology of religion of a new kind of psychologism – transcendental psychologism, representatives of which consider religious feeling as a unity of transcendental (categorical scheme of "the sacred") and psychological (religious experience as a mental phenomenon). The significance of theistic psychologism as a methodology for the analysis of religious experience lies in the fact that it, firstly, served as the basis for the formation of the phenomenology of religion as the leading direction of the study of religious experience and, secondly, opened the possibility of studying the universal psychosomatic basis of religious feeling. This basis can be distinguished by comparison and comparative analysis of descriptions obtained as a result of conscious self-observation of personal spiritual experience of representatives of different religions and spiritual practices.

Key words: religion, religious background, religious experience, principle of psychologism, theistic psychologism, psychology of religion, phenomenology of religion.

 

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Theistic Psychology as a Methodological Principle of the Study of Religious Experience by Tokareva S.B., Patrin V.G. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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