Greetings from a from J Dub and current Psychology of Religion scientist

by Aaron James Eldridge 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • jp1692

    Also, you might enjoy In Gods We Trust by Scott Atran. Atran is a French-American cultural anthropologist who is a Director of Research in Anthropology at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.

    His book is an ambitious undertaking and a fairly challenging read, but it’s the most thorough scholarly and interdisciplinary examination of the question of which I am aware.

  • cofty

    Hi Aaron welcome back to the forum. I look forward to hearing more about your research project.

    I am already investigating some concerning ritual observance

    Jonathan Haidt makes some interesting observations about this in "The Righteous Mind".

  • ironsnake656

    Hi Aaron, hope we can share the same academic experience. I'm also a psychologist and earned a Master degree in Applied Educational Research. One of the topics of interest is the influence of religion in the field of academic education, specially in K-12 in my country. I will look forward to your contributions and research.

  • jp1692

    IronSnake: One of the topics of interest is the influence of religion in the field of academic education, specially in K-12 in my country.

    I also work in education here in the US.

    Where are you?


  • ironsnake656

    I'm from Mexico, in the northern city of Juarez, border of El Paso, TX.

  • Aaron James Eldridge
    Aaron James Eldridge


    I should have been more specific. I was referring to academics involved in the scientific study of religion and there are quite a few fields and thousands of individual researchers. Some examples are the sociology of religion, historical anthropology of religion, ethnographic anthropology of religion, Religious Studies(which is its own field that combines bits and pieces from all fields), and the little folks...the psychology of religion.

    The reason I say that "most of their work is unconsidered or discounted as extremist in academia" is due to several lines of evidence.

    1. Michael told me this himself when we were on a project that was spearheaded by MeadowHaven. I had never met him before and we only had a few conversations together, in which I asked him about acidemias acceptance of his work. He basically relayed the above sentiment.

    2. The work of these people highlight how fundamentally damaging these groups can be for individual members that leave/are expelled from the group. If their work was accepted there would most likely be some form of accepted and accredited counseling devoted to caring for former members. There are groups out there, like MeadowHaven, but these are people that have taken it on their own to train themselves how to care for former members. As it stands there are no programs of specialized training dealing with cults in any level of mental health care from psychiatry to psychology to counseling.This stands in stark contrast to the highly specialized nature of these fields.

    If a person desires there are programs of training for nearly any area of interest. The lack of training signals from the powers that be that they don't believe there is a need for such training, i.e. the problem of cults is really a fictitious one.

    3. Sociology. There are two major camps within sociology, the New Religious Movement folks and the Anticulters. Really to call it two major camps is a misnomer, it's more like New York City in contrast to Slapout, Alabama (like slapout in the middle of no where, yes it is a real place, haa). The last conference I went to, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, had several talks around new religious movements and none around cults. There was one talk on deconverts from JW's, extremist fundamentalism, and Latter-Day Saints. That talk was couched in the overarching framework of fundamentalism. There is no way the speaker could have ever gotten away with calling them cults, even if that is what she believes.

    4.I could keep going and talk about who get published in what journals/ publishing houses and why that matters, but it would belabor the point.

    The plain and simple of it is they just ain't respected and that's a shame!

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower


    The plain and simple of it is they just ain't respected and that's a shame!

    Maybe there isn't a lot of money to be made in these areas fields?

  • Aaron James Eldridge
    Aaron James Eldridge

    I actually think that there is money to be made. Counselors that are self-proclaimed "exit-specialist" can be in very high demand because there are so few of them.

    From a scientific inquiry standpoint, all long as a researcher can get funded it does not matter if the research results in money being made. It is more a matter of what are acceptable questions to ask.

    For instance, I would never get a grant if my stated goal is "finding out how cults psychologically damage people". First, I would have to prove that 'cults' exist and then I would have to show evidence of harm. All of that evidence would have to come from within the accepted scientific literature. And there is not much substance to be found.

Share this