Chapter

Religion and Spirituality Across Cultures

Volume 9 of the series Cross-Cultural Advancements in Positive Psychology pp 271-285

Date:

Humility and Religion: Benefits, Difficulties, and a Model of Religious Tolerance

  • Elissa WoodruffAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of North Texas
  • , Daryl R. Van TongerenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Hope College
  • , Stacey McElroyAffiliated withDepartment of Counseling and Psychological Services, Georgia State University
  • , Don E. DavisAffiliated withDepartment of Counseling and Psychological Services, Georgia State University
  • , Joshua N. HookAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of North Texas Email author 

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Abstract

In this chapter, we explore the construct of humility, specifically focusing on its connections with religion, spirituality, and well-being. First, we review how the major world religions conceptualize and teach about the role of humility in living a virtuous life. Second, we review definitions of humility in psychological literature and summarize empirical research examining the associations between humility and well-being. Third, we explore the connections between religiousness and humility. Specifically, although religiousness may be one avenue to promote humility, we examine the paradox that, although most world religions teach and advocate for humility as a virtue, maintaining humility about one’s religious convictions is often challenging. Finally, we explore the role of intellectual humility for addressing the challenges involved in remaining humble to divergent belief systems and as a mechanism for reducing between-group conflict among individuals who hold dissonant beliefs.