This work describes the psychological processes involved in arriving at religious knowledge. It is argued that the ways in which people come to know other things, particularly how people arrive at personal insights, is close at many points to how they arrive at religious insights. The psychological processes involved in religious knowing are described in the terminology of contemporary cognitive psychology. The authors steer a path between extremes views, rejecting both the idea that definitive religious knowledge is possible and the view that no knowledge is possible at all. Religious knowledge is difficult and uncertain, but that is true of other kinds of knowledge too, including knowledge of ourselves and of other people.
Fraser Watts says: “I wrote this book, first published in 1988, over quite a long period of time; it was my first book on the interface of psychology and religion. Some of the material began in a journal, Theoria to Theory, edited by Dorothy Emmet and the Epiphany Philosophers. I am grateful to them for encouraging me to begin writing this kind of material ,and for their challenging, critical reaction, which helped me to do it better than I otherwise would have. There was a stage when the book faltered, about half written. I am grateful to my close friend Mark Williams, who saw value in what I had done, and helped me to get it finished. It was a pioneering attempt to look at cognitive aspects of the psychology of religion. It still seems to be one of my more useful and creative books.
Psychological research on religion
Psychoanalytical approaches to religious experience