Religious feeling and authenticity: Dialogues between William James and Bernard Lonergan
Toan Dang Ngo – Nikolay A. Mashkin – Valeria L. Zakharova – Olga V. Popova – Larisa Lutskovskaia
The paper analyzes the tricky phenomenon of religious feelings related to the question of authenticity. The challenge to describe and make sense of this elusive relationship, providing one exists at all, becomes clearer against the background of two important figures dealing with the psychology of religion – William James (primarily a psychologist) and Bernard Lonergan (primarily a theologian). While James was a naturalist psychologist who put his study on a background of human nature and followed academic scientific discipline, Lonergan was a Christian theologian who set the goal for his whole system not on the level of cognition but on the transcending dimension of being-in-love with God. They both avoided the extremes of their positions and reached out to a more balanced way of understanding religion in its complexity and sometimes ambiguous significance in the lives of human moral subjects.
Key words: William James, Bernard Lonergan, religious feeling, authenticity, psychology of religion