Religion the opium of the masses, and the spirit of a soulless world, said Karl Marx!
Psychologists in the field of religiosity have had differing and even conflicting views.
Some have considered religion to be the fabric of the Ruling power. Ruling that have tried to capture the masses by defining and promoting a religious lifestyle. An example of such a story was ancient Greek society. In this society, the religion of the aristocracy was different from the religion of the masses! The aristocrats believed in the gods of Olympus that although they are the creators of the world, they have no role in governing the world, and the world rotates by purely material rules and causality, and there is no life after death.
In the same society, the poor masses (second-class citizens) had a Dionysian-Orpheus religion, according to which human beings are treated after death and placed in the cycle of reincarnation (successive lives) based on their actions. In the religion of the first-class citizens, power and pleasure were considered as virtues. While in the religion of the second-class citizens, austerity, patience and contentment were considered a virtue!
It is interesting that the same pattern is followed in our society now. Religious people who rely on the position of power and wealth, in practice, have a religion that bears no resemblance to what they advise and preach to inferior religious people!
This pattern seems to have been present in our history as well, so much so that it has made Hafez (Iranian poet) glorious:
Preachers appear in some way on the altar and pulpit
But when they go into solitude, they do other things (not the same way)
I have a question with learned person of the community:
Why do the repentant ones repent less ?!
It seems they do not believe in Judgment Day (life After death)!
Because They commit fraud and deception in the affairs of the Judge (God)
Naturally, this style of religiosity based on economic class can be considered as the result of cooperation between the psychological need of the lower class to fantasize and escape from the bitter reality with the interests of the Ruling power (the ruling class). But theorists such as William James, Carl Gustav Jung, and Viktor E Frankl believed that the religious need (according to Viktor E Frankl, religious instinct) was deeper and more original than to consider it the handiwork of the Ruling power. The abuse of this instinct by the Ruling power should not cause us to deny this instinct and not accept its principle.
I think before we comment on religion and religiosity, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that we do not have one kind of religion and one kind of religiosity, but religion and religiosity have different types and types both in terms of root (cause) and They are different in function (purpose).
In my opinion, among Iranian theologians, “Dr. Abdolkarim Soroush” has interesting classifications regarding religiosity. Like expediency religiosity – epistemological religiosity – empirical religiosity as well as majority religion and minority religion. Expediency religion is the provider of economic or psychological benefits to human beings. Epistemological religiosity criticizes religion and has a researcher and questioner look at the field of religion. Naturally, expedient religious people are the enemy of the souls of knowledgeable religious people, because the critique of religion weakens the business of religious people and snoozes at the opium addicts.
But empiricist religiosity is something separate from these two areas. This theology is for those who has Gnostic religious experience or revelatory experience and, in the words of Dr. Soroush, prophetic experience. Carl Gustav Jung devoted most of his research to the psychological study of these religious experiences, a summary of which can be found in the book Psychology of Religion, translated by Fouad Rouhani. I have also written a book on this subject entitled “Man, Philosophy, Mysticism” which has been published by Bahar Sabz Publications.
Also, in the book “Healthy Personality” (Gatre Publishing), I have dedicated a chapter on healthy and unhealthy religiosity, which can be suggested, at least in brief.
Dr. Mohammad Reza Sargolzaei – Psychiatrist
Translated By: Negar Kolkar
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