Religion and spirituality refer to a search for the sacred dimension of life. The sacred refers to a transcendent realm of experience, one often seen as including a God or a Higher Power, that addresses existential questions about life's meaning and purpose. Religion refers to socially organized forms of the sacred search. Spirituality refers to a personal side of the sacred search, one that may or may not involve organized religion.

History and Background

Historically, spiritual topics have been neglected within psychology. As a group, psychologists are less religious than is the general population, and many social scientists see religious topics as inappropriate for empirical study. Indeed, with the exception of Gordon Allport's research on religion and prejudice and Daniel Batson's work on religion and helping, most ...

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