PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION AND MENTAL HEALTH: SACRAMENT OF PENANCE IN PERSPECTIVE

3120 Words Mar 13th, 2014 13 Pages
PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION AND MENTAL HEALTH:
SACRAMENT OF PENANCE IN PERSPECTIVE
BY
OKOJIE EHINOMHEN PETER epo4escriva@yahoo.com January, 2014
INTRODUCTION
Between psychology and religion, any connection? For one who considers religion as having no manifest behaviour, the answer cannot be in the affirmative. As far as can be chronicled of man’s history, religion has always occupied and influenced human behaviour. Through history, we find scholars who at one point or the other made allusion to this fact. Some have argued from various perspectives or disciplines that man is a by nature a religious being. Karl
Marx is popular for his quote: “religion is the opium of the masses.” Psychology as a systematic study of human and animal
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“Given Freud’s prolific scholarly output and his ability to shed light on nearly everything psychological, it is altogether striking that he wrote nothing about forgiveness.”4
These two highlighted behaviour patterns, namely, guilt and forgiveness shall form the basis for which the Sacrament of Penance shall be exposed. Within the scope of this discourse in context, Freud is to be seen as having reconstructed the biblical history in accordance with his general theory and also that he speaks of religion as an illusion; a fantasy structure from which a man must be set free if he is to grow to maturity.
Consequently, it is apparent that though Freud is in no way campaigning for religion, the very fact that he acknowledges the reality of religion as being instrumental in human behavioural patterns particularly for those who are adherents of a said religion, gives the project of psychology of religion a tenable footing. Notwithstanding, some have isolated the psychological dimension of religious experiences (the feeling of absolute dependence; the experience of the Holy Spirit) and limited the nature and scope of religion accordingly.
Others make religion a mere projection of human wishes, a phenomenon that emerges at the point where human beings can no longer bear their poverty and misery.5 But it is evident that

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