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Children and EEs/EHEs
Record Type: Review   ID: 753

Religion in Childhood and Adolescence: A Comprehensive Review of the Research

Hyde, Kenneth E.

 This volume is basic reading for anyone interested in the role of religion in childhood and youth. The text is a running summary, interestingly presented, of empirical research. Hyde writes in the Preface: "Here, we set out to chart the development of religiousness and account for it in psychological terms. The image of God held by a believer can be seen to have grown from parental images acquired early in life from both the father and the mother. Ideas of God will have been enriched by religious education and worship and better understood with growing mental powers. Life's actualities and happenings will be explained in terms of the beliefs that have been acquired and attributed ultimately to the activity of providence or of God. Patterns of religious practice will have become established, and the judgments and choices that have to be made on many issues will be informed by religious insight and feeling. But here psychology comes to an end. It can describe and account for belief, but it cannot say whether ultimately God is only a projection of our minds, however valuable the image may be to some, however inhibiting to others, or whether our images of God correspond to an eternal transcendental reality, external to our world yet immanent within it, as believers have always claimed" (p. 13). The contents listing itself is informative. There are 14 chapters under the following titles: Religious Thinking—Before and After Goldman; Religious Thinking—Criticisms and New Approaches; Children's Ideas of God; Parental Images and the Idea of God; Religious Beliefs and Their Development; Understanding Parables, Allegories, and Myths; Related Studies and Teaching Styles; Studies of Religious Attitudes; Religious Experience; Personality and Religion; The Development of Religiousness; Surveys of Religious Beliefs and Practices; Religion and Morality in Adolescence; and The Religious Influence of Schools. There are 9 useful appendices, entitled: The Definition of Religion in Psychology; Problems in the Measurement of Religion; Dimensions of Religion; Religious Orientations; Religious Knowledge and Religious Understanding; A New Analysis of Goldman's Findings; The Cognitive Basis of Religion; Metaphor Comprehension in Childhood; and Attitude to Religion—Theoretical Considerations. Each of the chapters is prefaced by a useful summary. Although the meat of the book is in the text, it is worth the price simply for the list of almost 2,000 references. The subject index is very detailed and well thought out. This volume is a model of its kind, and the care and industry with which it was prepared matches the importance of the subject matter.
Publisher Information:Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press, 1990. 529p. Bibl: 400-483; Glossary: 397-399; Author Index: 485-490; Subject Index: 491-529; 15 tables
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