Psychologizing about conversion: A comparison of three contemporaries
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In this project I compare and contrast the methods of three pre-eminent psychologists who completed work on the psychology of religion, with particular emphasis on their views of religious conversion: Sigmund Freud, William James, and Carl Jung. Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, took a reductionistic, cynical approach to investigating religious phenomena. James utilized a descriptive method, in which he simply described and categorized the varieties of religious experiences without making value judgments of them. Jung, a student of Freud, represents an orientation that is somewhere between a reductionistic, psychoanalytic approach and the more descriptive method used by James. In contrasting the writings of these three men, I consider their respective legacies and the enduring impact they have on the perception of religion in modern culture.