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(1,338 words)

Author(s): Murken, Sebastian | Ulbrich, Paul | Kreß, Hartmut | Zweigle, Birgit
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Medicine – III. Ethics – IV. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies Drugs have been used since prehistoric times both for healing purposes and as a means of transcending the normal state of consciousness. The extraordinary state of consciousness induced by drugs (Intoxication, trance, ecstasy) facilitates the contact with the transcendent world and its be…


(6,026 words)

Author(s): Heine, Susanne | Murken, Sebastian | Schweitzer, Friedrich | Fraas, Hans-Jürgen
[German Version] I. What Is Psychology? The psyche (Soul: IV) as the object of psychology is accessible only through a theory that attempts to obtain a cognitive grasp of the inner life and experience of human beings (thinking, imagining, wishing, feeling). As “citizens of two worlds” (I. Kant), human beings confront the psychophysical problem existentially and cognitively: how can they conceive of themselves – being both rational animals and cognitive subjects – as unitary persons? To be considered …

Self-help Groups

(152 words)

Author(s): Murken, Sebastian
[German Version] Self-help groups are voluntary, usually loosely organized groups of individuals whose activity is directed at common ways of dealing with illnesses, psychological problems, or social difficulties they face, either personally or as family members. They meet regularly as discussion groups, often weekly. Their goal is to alter the circumstances of their personal lives and (less often) the social and political environment. The “anonymous” groups modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)…


(371 words)

Author(s): Murken, Sebastian
[German Version] In religious studies, fanaticism (from Lat. fanum, “holy precinct”; fanaticus, “functionary of non-Roman cults”; fanari, “rage about”) originally referred to religious behavior that was viewed as deviant, exaggerated, and excessive. The term also served to refer to deviant religions during the post-Reformation period. Enthusiasts and emergent sects were referred to as fanatici, the emotional excessiveness of their religiosity being particularly rejected. Since the 19th century, the term has been increasingly psychologized and now …


(378 words)

Author(s): Murken, Sebastian
[German Version] Thanks to our capacity for self-reflection, we human beings can recognize our deficiencies on all levels of our being. We are finite, limited, mutable, contingent, and imperfect. In almost all philosophies and religions, this human self-perception contrasts with an ontological realm, free of these limitations, seen as being infinite, unlimited, immutable, absolute, and perfect. The concept of humans as “deficient beings,” introduced into philosophical anthropology by A. Gehlen, is based on comparison to animals. It denotes the disadv…