The religious consciousness - PDF by James Bissett Pratt

The religious consciousness; a psychological study

The religious consciousness
The religious consciousness 

The chief function of a preface is, I suppose, to provide information for the hurried reviewer who has no time to read further. In a sense, the preface might be called the author's own book review, or it is the book's Apologia pro vita sua. 
No apology, to be sure, needs to be made for a new book on the psychology of religion. The science, if such we may call it, is still young, and good books upon it are scarce. Perhaps, however, it is incumbent upon one who lays before the public so formidable-looking a volume as the present one, even within so new a field, to state at least his purpose and his point of view in writing it.

My purpose is easily stated. It is, namely, to describe the religious consciousness, and to do so without having any point of view. Without, that is, having any point of view save that of the unprejudiced observer who has no thesis to prove. My aim, in short, has been purely descriptive, and my method purely empirical. Like other men, I have my own theories about the philosophy of religion, but I have made unremitting efforts (and I trust with some success) to describe the religious consciousness without undue influence from my philosophical theories, but merely by going to experience and writing down what I find.

I have also sought to cover the field with a fair degree of adequacy; to do justice by both religion and science; to hold the scales even between the individual and society (no easy matter these days), and to make my book of value and (if possible) of interest to both the general reader and the technical student. I
 am, of course, painfully aware of the fact that in many ways I have fallen short of my aims. It is now over twelve years ago that I began writing the book; and in that length of time, so many changes come over one's evaluations and one's style that is looking through the completed volume I can plainly see (though I hope the reader will not) several distinct strata of thought and language superimposed upon each other,  as through successive geologic ages. These diverse elements I think are not really inconsistent with each other, though in this I may be mistaken.

 In whatever else I have failed I hope at least that I have avoided provincialism, both of the geographical and of the intellectual variety. In order not to be confined to the American Protestant point of view I have seen what I could of Roman Catholicism in Europe, and of Hinduism and Buddhism in India, Burma, and Ceylon. As to the more dangerous provincialism of the spirit, none of us knows how far he succeeds in escaping it. 


Religion 1
II The Psychology of Religion 22
III Religion and the Subconscious 45
IV Society and the Individual 68
V The Religion of Childhood 91
VI . Adolescence 108
VII Two Types of Conversion 122
VIII The Factors at Work in Conversion 148
IX Crowd Psychology and Revivals 165
X The Belief in a God 195
XI The Belief in Immortality 224
XII The Cult and Its Causes 255
XIII How the Cult Performs Its Functions 271
XV Objective and Subjective Worship 290
XV Prayer and Private Worship 310
XVI The Milder Form of Mystic Experience .... 337
XVII The " Mystics " and Their Methods 363
XVILI The Ecstasy 394
XIX The Mystic Life 430
XX The Place and Value of Mysticism 442

the book details :
  • Author: James Bissett Pratt
  • Publication date: 1920
  • Company: New York: The Macmillan company

  • Download The religious consciousness; a psychological study - 13.8 MB

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