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Inside the Spiritual Mind: Cognitive Implications of Spiritual versus Religious Engagement

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Chapter Summary

The author aims to recast the association between religious ideas and cognition by differentiating between religious and magical ideas; his premise is that it is magic, and not religion, which directly employs an intuitive, experiential system of information processing. This differentiation is supported by a number of recent studies which the author has conducted and which are crucial to understanding the psychological bases of contemporary types of popular and secular spirituality (also called alternative and subjective spirituality) and why they are distinct from confessional spirituality (such as traditional Christianity). The author's aim is to understand whether people travelling to the modern spiritual-Pagan sites of Stonehenge and Glastonbury had different types of motivations and cognitive styles from those travelling to the Christian sites of Lourdes and Fátima. Secondly, he shows that the findings were applicable to a wider 'spiritual but not religious' pilgrim population.

Keywords: Christian sites; magical ideas; pilgrim population; religious ideas; subjective spirituality; traditional Christianity



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