Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship


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A trenchant analysis of modern physchology—an enterprise that Paul Vitz maintains has become a religion, a secular cult of self, now part of the problem of modern life rather than part of its resolution. Virtually rewritten, this second edition of the original 1977 text takes into account much of what has happened in the field of psychology during the past seventeen years. Two completely new chapters are also included—one on education and "values clarification" and the other on New Age religion. By Dr. Paul C. Vitz.

Paul C. Vitz, Ph.D. (Stanford University, 1962), is Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, New York University and Adjunct Professor, John Paul 11 Institute for Marriage and Family, Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and is in active contact with many Evangelical Protestants, e.g., Inter Varsity, and several seriously committed Jews. Besides, his interest in how things religious relate to psychology, he is also involved in the general topic of psychology and art.

The Table of Contents

  1. The Major Theorists

    Carl Jung
    Erich Fromm
    Carl Rogers
    Abraham Maslow
    Rollo May and Existential Philosophy

  2. Self-Theory for Everybody

    The Self-Serving Bias
    Encounter Groups
    Recovery Groups
    est and Forum
    Self-Help Sex

  3. Selfism as Bad Science

    Psychiatry, Biology, and Experimental Psychology
    Are We Intrinsically All That Good?

  4. From a Philosophical Point of View

    A Question of Definitions
    The Empty Self
    A Basic Contradiction
    Browning's Critique
    Ethical and Scientific Misrepresentations

  5. Selfism and the Family

    The Isolated Individual
    Self-Theory and Divorce
    Parents as the Source of Our Troubles
    Christianity and the Family

  6. Self-Theory and the Schools

    Values Clarification
    Self Theory Again
    A Philosophical Critique
    A Critique of Procedures and Strategies
    Research Evaluating Values Clarification
    A Violation of Privacy Critique
    Why Has Values Clarification Been So Popular?
    Conclusion: Why Values Clarification Must Be Rejected

  7. Selfism and Today's Society

    A Creed for the Youth and Yuppie Culture
    A Nation of Victims
    Selfism and Language
    Psychology for a Consumer Society

  8. Selfism and Christianity: Historical Antecedents

    American Sources
    Fosdick and Peale
    The Special Case of Carl Rogers

  9. Psychology and the New Age Movement

    Social and Economic Support for New Age
    Psychological Origins of New Age
    New Age as a New Gnosticism
    New Age Spirituality: From Psychological to Spiritual

  10. A Christian Critique

    Selfism as Idolatry
    The Problem of Depression
    The Problem of the Human Doormat
    Christian Love and Selfist Love
    Creativity and the Creator
    The Nature of Suffering

  11. A Political Response

    The Problem for Psychology
    The Problem for Christianity

  12. Beyond the Secular Self

    The Bias in Being "Objective"
    The Object's Revenge
    The Dilemma of Existential Narcissism
    Escape from the Self

  13. A New Christian Future?

    The End of Modern Heroism
    The Failure of Careerism
    The Tribalist Temptation
    The Emerging Opportunity


Dimensions 6 × 9 in
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