How and Why I Became Interested in the Psychology of Religion
I was born too early in the twentieth century to be able to acquire a university degree in psychology, for this kind of faculty did not yet exist when I was a university student, either in Louvain or in other European cities. Lack of a formal qualification had not, however, hindered Freud, Piaget, and a number of other eminent psychologists, and it did not prevent me from accepting a nomination in psychology. I was, in fact, not completely unprepared, for at Louvain University, where I carried out my doctoral studies, there was considerable interest in the nascent psychological sciences, particularly in the Faculty of Philosophy. As early as 1920, they were giving full attention to the epistemological questions of perception and of free will, in discussion with positivism and post-Kantian epistemology. Gradually, and especially in the second half of the twentieth century, an increasing number of lectures were devoted to the “depth psychology” of Freud, Jung, Adler, and the newly developed American psychology of “human becoming”. As is well known, psychology of religion is important in all these psychologies, in spite of a declaration by a Russian psychologist at the international congress in Mexico in 1963 that dead religion no longer constituted an object of interest to psychologists.