Event Title

Divine Love and Attachment: A Preliminary Theological-Psychological Model for Discipleship

Location

Room N335

Start Date

7-2-2020 9:30 AM

End Date

7-2-2020 10:00 AM

Description

In North America, Christianity is losing ground as a share of the population and in absolute numbers in contrast to those who claim no religious affiliation. Christian discipleship literature tends to focus on how to master the discipleship process and lifestyle, and how to increase attendance and membership, both without lasting results. Similarly, literature in the field of psychology of religious experience has identified a discrepancy between cognitive and experiential knowledge about God, cognitive being stronger than experiential. This paper (1) explores how negative God concepts and images might be the cause of that discrepancy and how the developmental theory of attachment might correct it; (2) evaluates three models of divine love for the purposes of identifying one that presents God as a worthy attachment figure; (3) investigates religion as an attachment process; and (4) examines the literature to understand whether secure attachment to God improves religious experience. Results of this study indicate that (1) secure attachment to God is hindered by negative God concepts and images; (2) a canonical model of God’s love presents a picture of God as a worthy attachment figure; (3) religion is indeed an attachment process through which an individual seeks God and reverses the separation caused by sin; and (4) secure attachment to God improves religious experience. Implications for discipleship practice are summarized.

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Feb 7th, 9:30 AM Feb 7th, 10:00 AM

Divine Love and Attachment: A Preliminary Theological-Psychological Model for Discipleship

Room N335

In North America, Christianity is losing ground as a share of the population and in absolute numbers in contrast to those who claim no religious affiliation. Christian discipleship literature tends to focus on how to master the discipleship process and lifestyle, and how to increase attendance and membership, both without lasting results. Similarly, literature in the field of psychology of religious experience has identified a discrepancy between cognitive and experiential knowledge about God, cognitive being stronger than experiential. This paper (1) explores how negative God concepts and images might be the cause of that discrepancy and how the developmental theory of attachment might correct it; (2) evaluates three models of divine love for the purposes of identifying one that presents God as a worthy attachment figure; (3) investigates religion as an attachment process; and (4) examines the literature to understand whether secure attachment to God improves religious experience. Results of this study indicate that (1) secure attachment to God is hindered by negative God concepts and images; (2) a canonical model of God’s love presents a picture of God as a worthy attachment figure; (3) religion is indeed an attachment process through which an individual seeks God and reverses the separation caused by sin; and (4) secure attachment to God improves religious experience. Implications for discipleship practice are summarized.