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From Emotion to Spirituality

Robert C. Fuller

Publication Year: 2006

The attempt to identify the emotional sources of religion goes back to antiquity. In an exploration that bridges science and spirituality, Robert C. Fuller makes the convincing case that a sense of wonder is a principal source of humanity's belief in the existence of an unseen order of life. Like no other emotion, Fuller argues, wonder prompts us to pause, admire, and open our hearts and minds.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

My interest in the link between wonder and spirituality has many sources. I have been studying the psychology of religion for more than thirty years and have spent a great deal of time trying to understand the inner causes of religious experience or belief...

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pp. ix-xii

I had never studied emotion in a systematic fashion prior to beginning this project. Imagine my sudden loss of confidence when I realized that the word ‘‘wonder’’ couldn’t be found in the index of any of the first thirty psychology texts I consulted! If I had been left...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 14-15

Almost everyone i talk to these days describes him or herself as spiritual. Yet few have a very clear idea of what ‘‘being spiritual’’ really means. Most of us find it easier to use the word as vaguely as possible. This way we can get credit for being spiritual...

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2. Emotion and Evolution

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pp. 16-41

The modern scientific study of the emotions can be traced to Charles Darwin. Thirteen years after publishing his epochal On the Origin of Species (1859), Darwin produced a volume titled...

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3. A Life Shaped by Wonder

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pp. 42-53

The previous chapter shed light on some of the biological underpinnings of the experience of wonder. We might pause here and become more attentive to the subtlety of emotions in a single life...

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4. Adaptation and Humanity's Appetite for Wonder

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pp. 54-68

John Muir’s life was shaped by recurring experiences of wonder. He responded to displays of natural beauty by becoming relatively quiescent and by organizing his perceptions in ways that led to a basically pantheistic view of the relatedness and sacredness of all being...

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5. A Life Shaped by Wonder

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pp. 69-79

We have already noted juan de pascuale’s observation that ‘‘if attended to, the experience of wonder gives birth to self-examination and to a mindful awareness of the world.’’1 No one better illustrates this transformative experience than one of America’s...

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6. Wonder and Psychological Development

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pp. 80-100

The natural sciences have made important contributions to our understanding of the experience of wonder. Biologically we know that humans are genetically designed to respond to unexpected features of the environment in ways that ensure survival and promote our general...

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7. A Life Shaped by Wonder

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pp. 101-109

The previous chapter reviewed what developmental psychology contributes to our understanding of the prototypical characteristics of wonder. A life shaped by wonder can be expected to reveal a number of clearly identifiable intellectual and moral qualities...

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8. Experience and Personal Transformation

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pp. 110-134

Rachel carson drew attention to the fact that wonder seems to arise quite frequently in children. So much in life strikes children as novel or as intensely powerful. Adults, however, have fewer direct or unmediated experiences. Adults filter, sort, and label experience...

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9. Wonder, Emotion, and the Religious Sensibility

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pp. 135-158

The religion editor of a midwestern newspaper recently pondered over what Christmas really meant to him. He felt restless as the holidays approached. He knew that he was looking for something, but he was not quite sure what...


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pp. 159-182

Suggestions for Further Reading

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pp. 183-184


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pp. 185-188

E-ISBN-13: 9781469605593
E-ISBN-10: 1469605597
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807829950
Print-ISBN-10: 0807829951

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2006