Let’s debate! Have a read of this excerpt — do you have any personal thoughts/notions about Helminiak’s views?

A psychological treatment of spirituality that rests on theological presuppositions is doomed from the start. It is basically theist religion in another guise. Or else, as would be disturbing to believers as well as to honest psychologists, it is psychology that has, in fact, excised God by treating God simply as an aspect of the human mind and not as a distinct entity that might correctly be said to exist.

This latter point is clear in Hall and Edward’s (2002) treatment of relationship with God. In the tradition of Rizzuto (1979), they construe this relationship in terms of the early emotional experiences that contribute to the construction of a person’s image or concept of God. Granted that construction, the relationship in question is with one’s own God image, and, perforce, with oneself, not with God at all.

This approach reduces God to an inner psychic symbol. This same criticism inevitably applies any time anyone speaks of a person’s “relationship with God”:We relate to our constructs of God, not necessarily to God Him-/Her-/Itself. The negative or apophatic tradition in theology and spirituality insists that we can only say what God is not, never what God is (McGinn, 1995).

Taken from Helminiak, D. A. (2005). “A Down-to-Earth Approach to the Psychology of Spirituality”. THE HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGIST33(2), 69–86.

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