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For those interested in taking a course in psychology and religion, but who don't have access to one the traditional way, I'm pleased to pass along this information. This is not an endorsement, but you may find that the course suits your needs:

The New School for Social Research
66 West 12th Street, New York NY, 10011 212.229.5600

The Psychology of Religion: New Insights from Social Science and Neuroscience

0443 ON LINE 9 weeks. Mar. 10 thru May 11, 1997 $330 (nfc)
Instructor: Sharon Packer, M.D., Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology

Religious beliefs, rituals and organizations reflect, perpetuate and transform individual and social behavior. Recognizing these interactions, social scientists--as well as neuroscientists--had much to say about religion.

This course considers classic studies on the subject by psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, and ethnophamacologists, and includes readings from Freud, Jng, James, Leary, Harner, and Campbell, Galanter, and many more.

We examine these writings within the context of the writer's life and times. In so doing, we will encounter a vast variety of opinions about topics like asceticism, Asian religious systems, altered states of consciousness, cults, conversion, shamanism, mysticism, myth and meditation and more.

Studying these widely differing points of view will not necessarily lead us to the "truth" about the psychology of religion. But it will show us just how varied the approaches to this subject are, and how thinking abou tthis topic has evolved since William James published his landmark book about the Varieties of Religious Experience back in 1902. By the end of this course, each of us will be in a better position to formulate our own personal positions on these endlessly controversial questions covered in class.

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