Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952668 | Print ISBN: 9781412909488 | Online ISBN: 9781412952668 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
James M. Nelson
Religion has almost as many meanings as writers on the subject. Traditionally, in Western culture the term religion refers to all aspects of our life in relation to the divine. However, the 20th century saw religion redefined, especially in academic circles. According to new definitions, religion refers to individual and corporate beliefs and practices dealing with our relationship with some ultimate being or reality and is distinguished from spirituality , which typically refers to the more experiential component of that relationship, or more broadly to one's core values or search for meaning. Some empirical work has begun to support the utility of this distinction, although in the United States it is most common for individuals to place importance on both. Religion has been of interest to psychologists at least since the time of William James, whose classic work The Varieties of Religious Experience began a tradition of phenomenological work Recently, ...