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2019 Integration Symposium

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20

10:00 am–12:00 pm: Religiously Inflected Experiences of the Ordinary

Psychologists of religion tend to emphasize the distinctiveness of religious and spiritual experience from the rest of human experience. Though understandable in terms of what is uniquely our object of study, such an emphasis at face value does not account for the vast majority of human experience, even among those who are highly religious. Or does it? To what extent does faith actually matter in the everyday experiences of life? This question will be tackled by looking at how the extraordinary imbues the ordinary by applying recent research investigating both negative and positive emotions in the propensity to find meaning in life.

Objectives: By the end of this session, those in attendance will be able to:

  1. Articulate how extraordinary religious experiences both impact and fail to impact the ordinary everyday human experience, even among those who consider themselves highly religious.
  2. Identify key features of how we make meaning in our lives.
  3. Apply the different roles that negative and positive emotions play in meaning making.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21

10:00 am–12:00 pm: Grace as a Religiously Inflected Experience

In what way does an understanding of divine grace shape ordinary human experience? To answer this question we must first understand what grace is, especially divine grace as its perfected prototype. We must also understand how divine grace is experienced psychologically, which includes how people think about grace as well as its developmental origins. We must also investigate the barriers to grace; that is, why grace, to many, is such a hard concept to accept. Then, to circle back to the original question, we will consider the impact of an understanding of grace to everyday living. This is largely an unexplored research topic in the psychology of religion, so the discussion here will be primarily conceptual and perhaps somewhat speculative.

Objectives: By the end of this session, those in attendance will be able to:

  1. Define grace and differentiate it from related concepts such as forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and altruism.
  2. Identify key aspects (or “perfections”) of grace from a Christian perspective.
  3. Articulate why grace is such a difficult concept to accept.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22

10:00 am–12:00 pm: Humility and Gratitude as Religiously Inflected Virtues

To what extent and in what ways do the religiously inflected virtues of humility and gratitude shape the contours of everyday human experience? Both humility and gratitude may be considered extensions of divine grace in that they are evoked emotional responses to a perceived pattern of beneficence that is not deserved. At its fundamental core, humility, particularly as it relates to the intellectual realm, is notoriously difficult to define. But there are indicators of humility and these will be reviewed. However, the question remains whether the characteristic of humility is fundamentally different for those who are religious in contrast to those who are not. Similarly, does it matter to whom one is ultimately grateful? Can the non-theist be just as grateful as the one who perceives that she is the beneficiary of an unmerited gift from a personal and loving God? We will explore what the limited research says on questions such as these.

Objectives: By the end of this session, those in attendance will be able to:

  1. Identify key indicators of humility.
  2. Distinguish between how theists might interpret and express humility differently than non-theists.
  3. Explain the importance of the nature of the source to whom gratefulness is expressed on the actual experience of being grateful.

10:00 am–2:00 pm: Fuller Picture: School of Psychology (prospective student event—contact admissions@fuller.edu for more information)

12:15 pm–2:00 pm: Alumni Luncheon with Peter Hill - Register here