The Psychology of Salvation, Pt. 9 — The Quaker Meeting as Therapeutic Milieu

By developing and expressing a contemporary, tradition-rooted understanding of the inner, experiential meanings of Quaker images such as “Inner Light” and “that of God,” and by returning to understanding themselves as communities of salvation here and now, our Quaker organizations, especially local meetings, can play an important role in the process of change.

The Psychology of Salvation, Pt. 8 — Responding to the Call

Salvation requires that we learn to discern and attend to something deeper than conscience, something that can properly orient and illumine the conscience; namely, the hidden light of love within us, which, as we have seen, Friends identified with the life and power of God. Only that can give us “a new heart” by leading us out of our self-centered schematic bias.

The Psychology of Salvation, Pt. 6 — Inheriting “the World’s” Perspective

In a Quaker reading of the Fall myth, Adam and Woman have fallen into the spiritual death of the “way of self-wisdom and knowledge,” attempting to usurp God’s role as the Light which shows us what is good and what is evil. Each person will now define good and evil in terms of his or her self-interest, often unaware of doing so.

The Psychology of Salvation, Pt. 4 — Cognitive Dissonance and Metanoia

Life presents us at times with experiences that get through the filters and challenge the validity of our basic worldview. Such experiences create in us a dissonance, a tension between our beliefs and new information. Cognitive dissonance is particularly strong when the conflict involves our self-concept. There are two principal methods of reducing such dissonance.

The Psychology of Salvation, Pt. 2 — Texts, Tools, and Thesis

Our thesis is that, in psychological terms, the biblically-shaped experience of the first Friends implies, first, that the characteristic of commonsense, “normal” self-centeredness constitutes a pervasive schematic bias in the psyches of most human beings, and, second, that Quaker conversion/salvation is a process of detaching from that self-centered bias and adopting a new, love-centered orientation.

The Psychology of Salvation, Pt. 1 — Returning to Our Roots

To frame our religious experience in psychological terms is not to deny a place to those who believe in God, but to return to the very early Quaker insight that, as contemporary thinker John D. Caputo put it, “[T]he event that stirs within the name of God can take place under other names, which complicates the distinction between theism and atheism.”