Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Psychology of Ultimate Concerns

Robert Emmons, in his book, "The Psychology of Ultimate Concerns" illuminates one's understanding of why there are references to the Day of Resurrection and the consequences of the actions and life style choices - as a collective - of those who have strayed from the Straight Path. Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to this fascinating psychological exploration:

"The central theme of this book can be summed up using a concept that was coined by the existential theologian Paul Tillich in the 1950s. In his classic analysis of the affective and cognitive basis of faith, Tillich (1957) contended that the essence of religion, in the broadest and most inclusive sense, is ultimate concern. Faith, according to Tillch, is the state of being ultimately concerned, that is, focused on the concerns that have a sense of urgency unparalleled in human motivation. Ultimate concern is a "passion for the infinite" (1957,p.8). Religion "is the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern, a concern which qualifies all other concerns as preliminary and which itself contains the answer to the question of the meaning of our life" (Tillich, 1963, p.4). Although Tillich used the term "ultimate concern," I will use the plural "ultimate concerns" to refer to the multiple personal goals that a person might possess in striving toward the sacred. As we will explore in this volume, the concept of ultimate concern enables a bridge to be built from issues of ultimacy in the abstract to everyday concerns and goals where issues of ultimacy "meet the road."

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