What Do We Imagine God to Be?

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This book gives an overview of current research on God images and the religious imagination by considering the results of certain quantitative research; by analyzing the role of such images in spirituality, in therapy and pastoral ministry; and by considering the work of Andrew Greeley on this topic. Since the religious imagination covers a variety of fields, this book offers contributions from a variety of disciplines and brings together research from such varying perspectives. This book will likely appeal to psychologists and sociologists dealing with religious issues, to therapists helping clients deal with oppressive God images, as well as to religious ministers and philosophers of religion.


“I’m grateful to Dr. McCready, Dr. Carroll, Dr. Rausch, and especially Dr. Hegy for their generous reaction to my work on the religious imagination. I am not accustomed to this aspect of my work being taken seriously by sociologists or theologians, perhaps because my writing is too theological for sociologists and too sociological for the theologians.” –(from the Foreword) Professor Andrew Greeley, University of Arizona, Tuscon

“This book presents a multifaceted, original argument in favor of considering the importance of the religious imagination and religious images in the study of religion. It has been explicitly inspired by the work of Andrew Greeley, one of the most creative thinkers in American sociology of religion ... The combination of research perspectives and the descriptions of lived experiences make this fascinating book a welcome addition to the contemporary study of religious behavior.” – Professor Beit-Hallahmi, University of Haifa

Table of Contents

1. Andrew Greeley’s Religious Imagination – William C. McCready
2. “It’s the Stories”: Catholicism and the Analogical Imagination – Michael P. Carroll
3. Andrew Greeley and The Religious Imagination – Pierre Hegy
4. Andrew Greeley’s Religious Imagination: A Theological Perspective – Thomas Rausch, S.J.
5. Relationship with Parents, God Concept, Self-Esteem, and Relationship Intimacy – Winston Seegobin, Robert Reyes, Heather Hostler, Gerald Nissley, & Ann Hart
6. God Images and Empathy: A Study among Secondary School Pupils in England – Leslie J. Francis
7. God Images and Self-Esteem among Secondary School Pupils in South Africa – Mandy Robbins, Leslie J. Francis, & Shirley Kerr
8. God Images and Moral Values among Protestant and Catholic Adolescents in Northern Ireland – Leslie J. Francis & Mandy Robbins
9. Images of Genderless Ministry: Early Christianity Ahead of Itself – Anthony J. Blasi
10. God Images as Indwelling Spirit and Core Foundation of Self – Jared D. Kass
11. The Role of Marian Imagery in the Live of Ordinary Catholic Women – Michelle Spencer-Arsenault & Nancy Nason-Clark
12. Images of God in the Face of Natural Disasters: Ivan the Terrible and the Persistence of Yoruba Traditions in the Caribbean – Lesile R. James
13. The Imagination and Faith, Hope, and Love – Robert Wuthnow
14. Healing Memories: Models, Research, Future Directions – Fernando Garzon & Lori Burkett
15. Winicott and the Spiritual Self – Stephen Parker
16. Healing the Religious Imagination through Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy – Glen L. Moriarty
17. Cognitive Therapy, Depression and God Images – Glen L. Moriarty
18. Working with God Images in Therapy – Stephen Parker & Glen Moriarty
19. The Social Healing of Collective Memories and the Sins of the Church – Pierre Hegy
20. God Images in a Theoretical Perspective: For a New Beginning – Pierre Hegy

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