Course: Psychology 459, Spring 2007, Generation 26
Instructor: Dr. Leon James
Introduction to Theistic Psychology  at  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch1.htm
My Home Page:  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/459s2007/lastname/lastname-home.htm
Class Home Page:  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy26/classhome-g26.htm
Instructions for this Report:  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy26/459-g26-weekly.htm

Reflection

By: Krista Pritchard

Report 2 for Section 1.5.1 to 1.7

I am answering Questions 11.1, 11.2, 11.5, 11.9, 13.3, 13.5, 13.8, 13.9

Study Questions: 1.5.1 to 1.7 (Report 5)

I am answering questions 11.1.

(a) Summarize Section 1.5.1 "Students Speak Out on Swedenborg."

Summary

The first part of this section gives an overview of how this person was searching for answers and found them when reading Swedenborg’s reports.  Then it goes into some detail about Swedenborg, his life, and his findings.  During this portion there is an overview of the most important concepts in Theistic psychology.  It talks about dualism, substantative dualism, the afterlife, awareness, and mental anatomy. 

Rational and Logic

The second portion of this section outlines this persons ability to connect and rationalize all of the information that they had read.  This section outlines and analyzes all the ways that the information in theistic psychology is rational and logical.  It also explains Swedenborg’s credibility based on his prior reputation and his methodology during the 27 years of his experiments and writings of sacred scripture.  There were three points that were made that really summed up this section of this section.  “Is an entire field that encompasses all of human behavior and the mind, Is a science because it is rational, consistent, cumulative, and productive, Is a science because it confirms its explanations with direct observation, cumulative data, and experimental methods.”  Near the end the writers explains his findings while teaching and asking students about theistic psychology.

(b) Contrast the ideas of students in the History of Psychology earlier classes vs. the ideas of students later in theistic psychology. What is the difference in attitude and content?

The biggest difference is that later students were more able to think in the positive bias.  In the early recordings most of the students either had two different types of conclusion.  They were much less logical, than the later reports.  In the early reports students who said that theistic psychology was not scientific used the rational that religion and science should be kept separate.  Very few students were able to articulate experimental methods, and logic in their argument, but most just used the argument that mystical religion is not science.  Later the students were for one more open to the positive bias, and two were able to articulate much more logically whey they were not able to agree with Swedenborg’s findings, and moreover why they did not accept it as a science. 

(c) Give your impressions and conclusions of how students are doing in studying and accepting theistic psychology.

Since there were so many students who were able to articulate specifics about the findings of Swedenborg, Sacred scripture, and all of theistic psychology, I think that students are doing well thinking in the positive bias.  The ability to look at logic, methodology, and analyze experiments really is the basis of the positive bias.  My conclusion is that even if people are not able to agree that Swedenborg’s findings are in fact empirical evidence, at least they are able to critically think about the different parts.  In the end if they continue to study with that type of analysis they will be able to find the truth. 

(d) Relate your conclusions to your own study of theistic psychology thus far. How do you fit or relate?

I believe the same thing about my understanding and acceptance of what I have learned and read.  If I am able to think “scientifically” about the information that I am studying than that in of itself is fitting theistic psychology into science.  If it is a science for me, and the people I present it to, than possibly soon more and more people will learn to think in the positive bias in science. 

I am answering questions 11.2.

(a) Section 1.5.1.2 "The Negative Bias in Science" presents an extensive quote by a negative bias mode psychologist (Bering). Analyze what he says.


(b) Make a conclusion in the light of what you already know from the positive bias perspective in theistic psychology.

(c) How would your other professors this semester relate to the idea presented in this class that nontheistic psychology assumes the negative bias in science? Would you predict that they agree that it is a bias or not?

I am answering questions 11.5.

(a) Summarize what is said in Section 1.6 "Spiritual Psychobiology."

(b) How does this relate to what you already know about the field of psychology?

I am answering questions 11.9.


(a) Discuss your perceptions of how other students in this class (G26) are adjusting intellectually to the positive bias perspective.

G26

For one I think that a lot of the students in my class are not really trying to get to the positive bias.  I think that some of them might be a little bit scared that much of this information is true and others just don’t even want to begin to understand it because they deny all of it.  Whatever the reasoning I feel like during discussions some of my class that does participate does so mockingly instead of seriously.

The Religious Group

The smaller portion that actually studies the information and is actually trying to understand and analyze theistic psychology is adjusting very well to the new way of thinking.  From what I know people that except God and have a personal interest in anything have to do with God before the class are more interested in the information now.  These may also be the same students that were very skeptical early, but at least their personal interest sparked their desire to really dig into the information and understand it.


(b) Read some of their reports. Do the reports show the same thing as the class discussions?

The reports actually sound more convincing than the actual discussions in class.  A lot of the reports I read that I felt were possibly the people mocking the information in class, were actually very analytical and systematic and logical.  Possible many of the students are worried about what the rest of the class might think, and because of that maybe scared to actually say what they found out loud to the class.  At any rate the reports that I read reflected a much clearer understanding of the information, and a few were very clear and logical in their dissection and interpretation of the writings of Swedenborg and Theistic Psychology as a whole.


(c) How do you stand relative to others?

I think that I am one of the more skeptical ones.  I think that I am very high up there in my critical thinking and analysis of the material though.  I have come so far in my ability to think in the positive bias probably one of the more further along ones in that arena, but there are definitely some people that have mastered and understood the material better than I have.  I have stopped and tried to match and compare much of the reading to what I know and understand and read about through my own faith, and I have tried to use my new thinking to further develop my understanding of the bible and of Christianity.  I know that I may not be the most advanced in terms of dissecting the information, but I am definitely able to think in the positive bias, and think critically and scientifically about the Swedenborg and Theistic Psychology. 

I am answering questions 13.3.


(a) What is the organic basis of human thoughts, emotions, and feelings?


(b) Contrast this with the negative bias psychology which "reduces" thoughts and feelings to electricity and chemistry in the neurons of the brain.


(c) What is your view on this controversy?

I am answering questions 13.5.

(a) How do you react to the idea in Section 1.6.8 that "Sacred Scripture Is the Source of Scientific Revelations"?

I believe that all revelation is based on ultimate truth.  Our ability to think and have logic is a direct result of the spiritual substance onto our mental anatomy, and that rational and logic enables us to think, and be open to revelations in whatever field or area they may be.


(b) Explain the importance of the distinction between the literal sense of Sacred Scripture (religion) and its correspondential sense (theistic psychology).

Distinction

The literal sense of Ss verse the correspondential sense changes much of the meaning of the words.  First the one important thing to point out is that in its entirety the literal sense of scripture is still truth and God’s word.  It was not meant to confuse us or throw us off track.  It is still sacred scripture.  The distinction that needs to be made which is very important is that the correspondential sense is a reality and understanding of that same divine speech in the higher levels of our mental anatomy.  This is an important distinction because we find new meanings and deeper meanings at these higher levels of thinking, and more importantly the higher in the mental anatomy of the brain the more rational.  At the very highest level of the mental anatomy you are the most rational.  The lower levels or the natural levels you are less rational, hence only the ability to read and comprehend the literal sense of Ss.

Religion verse Theistic Psychology

If in fact, the Christian faith is being taken into account as “religion” in the question above than I do not think that it is completely true.  I understand that possible the widely accepted doctrine of Christianity is being analyzed here, but I must speak out as a Christian that we do not only use the literal sense.  At my church we pray everyday for discernment, understanding, and a new fervor for the word every time we read it.  I just do not think that it is a fair blanket statement to say that Christianity equals religion equals literal sense.

I am answering questions 13.8

(a) Study Section 1.7 on the resuscitation process.
(b) How do you react to this new information?

This information is hard for me to really relate to, only because I have grown up knowing and strongly believing John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son and whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Now I understand that the resuscitation can and does still fit within the truth and may explain the logic of that verse, but I do not need that to get into heaven.  I do not know if this information is necessary.  I have always believed that I am going to go to heaven because I live everyday and every moment choosing to do my best to do God’s will for my life, and obeying his word. 


(c) Share it with some friends. How do they react?

The friend that I shared this information with is again the friend that has heard much of this information before.  The new details about the resuscitation process did not make her believe in God or heaven any more or any less, and that was her biggest reaction.  She said that it was interesting and she believed that if that is how God wanted it to happen than it could be true.  She said that she already believes that God is omnipotent and almighty so logically however he wanted that to occur would make sense to her.

(d) What is your conclusion?

The only problem I had with her answer would be the idea that I had never thought of before this class and that is that God is logical.  Before this class I would have these arguments with many people, that I just believed that God could do anything how ever he wanted to do it.  After taking this class and realizing a new aspect of God’s character, which is logic, I began to rethink some of that argument.  Not in the way of thinking that now God was somehow incapable of doing something, but more in the sense that God is a logical God that created methodology, and science and the laws of science, and thus would produce his works in such regulations. 

I am answering questions 13.9.

(a) Why is it important for God to talk to or communicate with human beings?

God made us to have relationships with us.  Our ability to communicate with God, is our ability to live.  God speech is equivalent to light and heat from the spiritual sun.  This substance is received by the mental organs and those organs are our well spring of life.  Our ability to communicate with God gives us life.  This connection also gives us the ability to live in our heavenly traits, and thus proceed to the conscious levels of our mind so that we may one day be in the conscious presence of God, in heaven.


(b) What does God intend to talk to us about? Why?

God talks to us about his plan for our lives.  During the section about perfection and God’s ability to create the world perfectly in order to prepare us for eternity in the mental world, relates directly with this dialogue with God.  He wants to talk to us about our temptations, about sin, about heavenly and hellish traits, about loving our neighbor, about thoughts and all the other areas of our life that affect our ability to be in the conscious presence of him.  He created us to be with us, and he loves us.  He wants to talk to us so that he can help us grow into the people that he intended us to be.


(c) How does God talk to us or communicate with us?

God is our mental world.  If we were able to be conscious in the mental world today we could talk with God.  Thus some people talk about the conscious.  This is one of God’s ways of communicating with us.  He speaks to us through our conscience.  God also uses sacred scripture.  Divine Speech is speech from the divine human.  Sacred Scripture is God’s words in their simplest form.  The literal sense is one of the ways that God speaks to us.  The correspondential sense is the other way that God speaks to us.  The correspondences can be understood or extracted in two different ways.  One of those ways is through the conscious.  The other way is through the written correspondences, written by Swedenborg himself. 


(d) Is there anything relevant you'd like to say about your relationship to your conscience and to Sacred Scripture?

I believe that because I did not grow up knowing specific details on the correspondences and the writings of Swedenborg God has had to use only my conscience and its interpretation of the literal sense of sacred scripture.  I believe all of my ability to discern and read scripture was a direct conversation with God.  I started a relationship with God when I was eight years old.  From that day on I have known that the voice I hear inside of me that guides my every movement, thought, and action is the voice of God.

Advice to Future Generations.

Explain to them what it was like for you to take this course. They will be looking at your descriptions and reports, and starting where you did at the beginning of the semester. Help them adjust and cope with the course's unusual instructional and intellectual atmosphere.

Beginning to End

Early in this course I did not understand how conditioned I was to think the way I thought.  I was especially surprised because I had always been taught to be aware of this type of conditioning.  Although I knew that the educational system had some biases I never knew the extent nor could I articulate or define exactly what those biases were.  The semester I was able to examine those in much depth.  With the ability to think more logically, with the ability to think critically and out of the box while remaining rational was a big and important step to my studying theistic psychology.  For some reason abstract thinking and logic were never in the same category, but this class taught me how to think in the positive bias, which enabled me to do what logic must which is examine all of the options, not only those that the educational system favors and accents.

Give it a Chance

The easiest thing for you to do would be to write what you know you have to write to get by, but I challenge you to at least get out of it the ability to change you thinking.  I think sometimes because we are in college hearing from well known professors who have gone to years and years of school, done extensive research and even in some cases written books, we loose the ability to think and really break apart information for ourselves.  This class does not just ask you to regurgitate information it asks you to analyze it.  If you do not want to get into your belief system, at least learn to really think about it for yourself weighing the information with your own logic, not with prior information that you are able to quote after cramming for a final last semester.  Study this information with personal conviction, and self discernment, at least try it!