Geoffrey W Sutton

Geoffrey W Sutton
Evangel University · Behavioral Science/ Psychology

Ph.D.
Writing about research and the psychology of religion and spirituality.

About

164
Publications
368,920
Reads
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305
Citations
Introduction
I am interested in Psychology of Religion and Positive Psychology. I write, collaborate on research projects, and present at conferences.
Additional affiliations
May 2014 - present
Evangel University
Position
  • Emeritus Professor of Psychology
Description
  • I write, make presentations, and conduct research. Primary interest: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
August 2001 - May 2014
Evangel University
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • I taught courses on Psychologist Research and Statistics, Psychological Testing, Counselor Assessment, Psychology of Religion. I published research related to Psychology and Religion.
August 1981 - May 1984
University of Missouri
Position
  • Clinical Assistant Professor Adjunct
Education
August 1977 - May 1981
University of Missouri
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (164)
Book
Full-text available
A House Divided helps answer the question, how do Christians form moral judgments about sex-linked issues? After analyzing key differences between conservative and progressive Christians on such divisive issues as abortion, sex education, and same-sex marriage, readers will learn how a combination of four factors can lead to principled Christian mo...
Article
Full-text available
A review of recent publications suggests that explicitly Christian counseling interventions may include four components: (a) basic Christian spirituality (prayer, use of scripture), (b) evidence-supported Christian accommodative treatments, (c) extra-session Christian accommodative assignments, and (d) assessment of Christian spirituality. Results...
Book
Full-text available
The primary purpose of this book is to help readers create better surveys. A secondary purpose is to help readers learn how to evaluate survey reports and contribute as knowledgeable team members on survey projects.
Book
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The purpose of this book is to help mental health professionals increase their cultural competence to better serve Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians who are congregants in the world’s fastest-growing religious movement. My focus is twofold. First, I aim to increase the reader’s awareness and knowledge about Christians who live their faith with...
Book
Full-text available
I wrote this book to help graduate students and counselors review statistical concepts related to counseling research and practice. I have included a wide selection of statistical concepts common to courses on statistics and research methods and courses on tests and measurement. In this book, you will find an explanation of core statistical concept...
Book
Full-text available
This edition of Mind the Gap… Between British & American Language & Culture contains chapters on British culture and an extensive A to Z reference list of hundreds of words and expressions used in the UK, spoken in British movies and television programs, or found in British literature. The book is written to help those fluent in American English br...
Book
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Learn how to create and administer surveys for educational, religious, behavioral science, and business projects. This second edition includes additional survey items, more charts, more guidance on reading complex results, and a new chapter on writing reports. Inside you will find:  Many items to build your own projects  Ideas for short-term proj...
Article
I review the comprehensive Handbook of Forgiveness, Second Edition edited by Everett L. Worthington, Jr. and Nathaniel G. Wade (2020). First, I summarize the contents of forgiveness studies since 2005 organized within eight parts and highlight salient take-away points for researchers and clinicians. Then I offer suggestions for additional considera...
Chapter
Full-text available
This is a short summary of an article that will appear in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism. The psychological study of Pentecostals is a subfield of the Psychology of Religion within social psychology. In the article, I review the limited psychological investigations of Pentecostal beliefs, practices, and experiences. I note the work o...
Article
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Kenyon’s inquiry begins with five context-setting chapters explaining the holiness roots and early revivals which led to the 1914 formation of the Pentecostal fellowship known as the Assemblies of God (AG). Although the roots of American Pentecostalism may be traced to the 1800s, most historians associate the beginning of the new religious movement...
Article
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Consistent with social identity theory, political identity was strongly linked to morality represented by the Moral Foundation Theory model (e.g., Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009). Participants identifying as Democrats scored significantly higher than did those identifying as Republicans on the individualizing foundations of care and fairness but sign...
Presentation
Following a review of the literature on RS factors and parenting, we seek to answer the following questions: What are the most common concerns among Christian parents? What are the parenting styles of Christian parents? What discipline strategies are perceived as effective by Christian parents? What parenting resources are commonly utilized by Chri...
Presentation
Full-text available
Effective consulting, like effective parenting, takes place within a supportive relationship. In this conference presentation, I address three evidenced-based factors important to consulting with parents. First, I review the importance of the relationship factor in parenting and consulting. I suggest a multimodal approach. Second, I examine six str...
Book
Full-text available
Living Well: 10 Big Ideas of Faith and a Meaningful Life encourages readers to draw on their faith to build a meaningful life based on 10 Big Ideas found in the scriptures. True stories illustrate the time-tested principles of humility, courage, generosity, gratitude, hope, forgiveness, rest, self-control, joy, and love. Short chapters, inspiration...
Article
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The 17 chapters of Christobiography are organized in five parts. Keener aims to document the reliability of the gospels. He explains the nature of biography in Jesus’ day and compares the gospels to other biographies. He devotes considerable attention to what readers might reasonably expect based on first century documents, oral cultures, and recen...
Book
Full-text available
I wrote this discussion guide to help group leaders and group members expand the discussion on the topics in the chapters of the book, Discipline with Respect: Christian Family Edition. KEY FEATURES OF DISCIPLINE WITH RESPECT • Effective discipline depends on loving relationships • Discipline has a purpose and plan • Communication skills make a d...
Presentation
Full-text available
The response patterns of Christians completing the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (N = 623) were similar to other studies indicating the significance of political affiliation. As expected, self-identified liberals scored significantly higher than did conservatives on the care and fairness foundations and conservatives scored higher than did libera...
Article
Christian psychotherapy is in high demand but in the few existing studies, outcomes from spiritually accommodated treatments typically do not outperform secular treatments on mental health outcomes. Likewise, it is unclear whether spiritual patient factors account for variance in satisfaction with treatment or patient well-being beyond what is expl...
Book
Full-text available
DISCIPLINE WITH RESPECT: Christian Family Edition integrates the principles of discipline with the Bible. Christian parents and educators will find evidenced-based principles promoting the development of responsible behavior by respectful communication, positive feedback, methods of encouragement, strategies for redirecting behavior, and developing...
Article
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Many Christians experience discord between the traditional teachings of Christianity, that sexual expression be reserved for marriage between one woman and one man, and the broader cultural views affirming nontraditional expressions of sexuality. Against this backdrop, we conducted two studies to examine the relative contributions of demographic fa...
Book
Full-text available
DISCIPLINE WITH RESPECT is a challenge to look beyond the day-to-day activities of raising children to consider what children must learn to become mature responsible adults. Parents and teachers will find evidenced-based principles promoting the development of responsible behavior by respectful communication, positive feedback, methods of encourage...
Book
Full-text available
This book is aimed at helping students and counselors read about statistics rather than learn how to calculate them. Readers will find a review of basic statistical concepts explained with examples from counseling practice and research. Key Features Discusses the role of statistics in counseling practice and research Covers basic statistical conc...
Article
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Most clinicians are familiar with the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which has been adapted for Christian clients (see e.g., Jennings, Davis, Hook, & Worthington, 2013). Michelle Pearce offers clinicians a primer integrating CBT with Christian spirituality (CCBT) applied by using seven specific interventions, which she calls t...
Article
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Forgiveness Therapy is a substantial revision of the authors’ groundbreaking work, Helping Clients Forgive (Enright & Fitzgibbons, 2000). Enright and Fitzgibbons have drawn on a plethora of research in the past decade and a half to broaden and deepen the conceptualization of forgiveness and the scope of problems to which forgiveness therapy may be...
Article
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The purpose of Lay Counseling is ambitious—providing “a comprehensive foundation for understanding biblical caregiving (p.15).” Initially, the authors present Gary Collins’ definition of Christian Counseling, which is “a caring relationship in which one person tries to help another deal more effectively with the stresses of life (p.15).” What we fi...
Article
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Psychotherapists often see trauma victims in their offices. And some see them in camps, hospitals, and schools. Researchers have learned much about the treatment of PTSD and other sequelae of trauma victims. But an assessment of the important role of spirituality has lagged behind other dimensions of recovery. This lack is what the 37 contributors...
Data
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Article
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Have you ever listened to someone disclose their deep spiritual doubts? In Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Faith Behind, Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola systematically disclose and analyze the deconversion experiences of 35 clergy and seminary interviewees who participated in their qualitative study. Encouraged by a pilot study in 2010, the authors...
Conference Paper
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In this presentation, I hope to accomplish four tasks: (1) Summarize the three principles and six foundations of Haidt’s moral theory; (2) Provide a review of representative empirical studies relevant to Haidt’s moral theory; (3) Illustrate an application of Haidt’s moral theory for clarifying the confusing mix of reasons Christian leaders offer fo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
My focus has been on examining the holistic nature of human sins of the variety that may be considered debts requiring Christians to seek forgiveness from God and others. By a holistic perspective I mean that the act of sin is inextricably linked within us to our spiritual core, thoughts, feelings and our biology and these internal modules are infl...
Chapter
This chapter is about the moral response of Christians toward people who identify as a sexual minority. Like the lesbian woman in the opening quote, many sexual minorities experience rejection from their churches. How is sexual identity different for sexual minorities? How do Christians interpret biblical texts to support their moral stance toward...
Chapter
Genuine morality requires at least two things: understanding morality and being moral. If someone understands that an action is wrong but does not act accordingly, that person is immoral. At the same time, if someone does what is right but does not know that it is right, the person is not immoral but also not moral. Such a person is accidentally do...
Book
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Should society care about Christian morality? Are Christians out of touch with contemporary moral decision making. CHRISTIAN MORALITY provides readers with a framework for identifying and applying Christian moral principles to divisive issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and racism. Who would think that healing somebody would be a bad thing?...
Chapter
My purpose in this chapter is to explain two major ways that psychological science can help us think about morality. First, I will introduce you to a multidimensional model of human behavior that will help us keep in mind that there are internal and external forces that have the potential to influence our behavior. Perhaps you have expressed some w...
Chapter
Who would think that healing somebody would be a bad thing? On the surface, Luke’s report indicates Jesus broke a rule about honoring the Sabbath—one of the Ten Commandments. But Jesus used moral reasoning to show how his action was similar to an exception granted by his accusers. In this book, we will attempt to show how Christians can identify or...
Book
Full-text available
The Study Guide is a 51-page manual to accompany the book, "A House Divided." It offers teachers, group leaders, and readers additional information for each chapter in the book. Included are additional study activities, links to online resources, and an extended subject index.
Data
My purpose in writing this book is to offer students, psychotherapists, clergy, consultants, business leaders, and educated readers, research and analyses about the intriguing interconnections among beliefs about human sexuality, morality, and Christianity. I hope to expand the public conversation as well as offer practical suggestions for thinking...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
PROBLEM: The corporate body of the church is impaired when members are hurt over divisions such as same-sex marriage. In addition to the pain experienced by sexual minorities, families, friends, and concerned members also experience distress in multiple aspects of personal and social functioning. QUESTION: Why is the Christian house so divided abou...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
My purpose in this overview is twofold. Following an introduction to our project, I will explain why we think an interdisciplinary approach to Christian ethics is valuable. And second, I will provide a brief overview of what to expect in these presentations and where you can obtain additional information.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
My purpose in this presentation is to explain two major ways that psychological science can help us think about morality. First, I will introduce a multidimensional model of human behavior that will help us keep in mind that there are internal and external forces that have the potential to influence our behavior. I think some clues to understanding...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Christians have different views on the role of men and women in society and in the church. Most Christian traditions restrict the role of women in ministry, but this has changed in recent decades. When it comes to marriage, only a few Christian groups have changed their stance to marry same-sex couples. Christian leaders have explained why some for...
Conference Paper
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We aim to identify client factors that make a significant contribution to Christian counseling outcomes. Specifically, do aspects of client spirituality significantly contribute to general and spiritual outcomes beyond the contributions of general client factors?
Article
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The Sin of Certainty is the kind of book pastors and lay leaders will want to pull off their shelves and share with someone whose faith has taken a hit. Christians, regardless of educational level, have those difficult moments that provoke faith-critical questions. Enns’ book aims to help Christians embrace difficult times by learning to trust God...
Article
“Have you ever taken a quiz to learn if you're an introvert or discover how your personality is compatible with a romantic interest? It's likely. Recently, TIME reported the phenomenal growth of personality testing; up to 35 percent of human resource professionals use them.”
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Research
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A summary of recent research on Christian Counseling followed by findings from a survey of therapists focused on the religious-spiritual techniques they use.
Article
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Joshua Greene invites us to consider the problem of morality by pitting the rights of one group against those of another group who must share common resources in order to survive. In a highly readable style, Greene leads us through classic runaway trolley dilemmas, philosophical conundrums, and neuropsychological investigations to an understanding...
Article
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I come from a noisy church tradition-- a place where young Christians like their music loud and pulsating. The notion of silence in Christianity struck me as odd when I saw it on the new books’ shelf of my local library. But as I flipped through the Table of Contents and checked a few pages, many thoughts came to mind. Perhaps like historians, psyc...
Article
“Many of us have had the confusing experience of thinking we had moved on from a past hurt, only to be reminded of the painful experience all over again. It's enough of a spiritual struggle to follow Jesus' command to forgive others as God has forgiven us (Matt. 6:14-15). When, with God's grace, we have forgiven the offense, why is it that we keep...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As research continues to accumulate in support of some psychotherapeutic interventions and not others, it is incumbent on clinicians to understand and utilize effective practices. In 2013, Worthington, Johnson, Hook, and Aten edited a 16 chapter volume containing guidance concerning a variety of interventions linked to Christian counseling and psyc...
Article
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Psychologist Roy Baumeister and New York Times science writer, John Tierney, reveal the ancient virtue of self-control, a buried treasure of theology and philosophy, in this lively and intriguing review of research by Baumeister and his colleagues. Employing a fitness metaphor apropos to an Olympic year, the authors liken willpower to a muscle that...
Article
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In his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, psychological scientist Jonathan Haidt brings to light a possible source of this division: morality. Moral psychology has long been dominated by Lawrence Kohlberg and Elliot Turiel and their rationalist, developmental approach. Several years ago, Haidt and his col...
Technical Report
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A list of research references I have collected. The list includes a sizable contribution from Ev Worthington's lab. My students helped me add to the list through 2012. Key topics are spirituality, forgiveness, hope, love and attachment, compassion, reconciliation, and restoration.
Conference Paper
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We reported on significant predictors of forgiveness and compassion based on the godly love model.
Article
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This article will review the concept of forgiveness, studies about forgiveness and health, and studies related to psychological interventions. In addition, it will also review studies that have a direct or indirect link to Christian spirituality.
Article
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Love of God and one’s neighbor is a virtue that is at the center of Christianity (Luke 10:27). Recent theorists have explored the potential link between love of God and benevolence toward people in a model identified as godly love (e.g., Exline, 2012; Poloma, 2012). Using available measures of spirituality and one constructed measure of spiritual e...
Article
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The editors have assembled clinicians and psychological scientists to offer a state of the practice review of the links between Christian counseling or psychotherapy and scientific evidence. The two-fold goal aims to inform clinicians about Christian practice and the nature of the supporting evidence. After establishing the notion of what constitut...
Article
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Tanya M. Luhrmann, anthropologist at Stanford University, has been on a multiyear quest “to understand how God becomes real for modern people” (p. xix). She noticed a multi-decade trend in American spirituality. For American Christians, God has become kinder and more personal. He is more loving and forgiving than in the past. He cares about the det...
Article
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Restoring clergy to leadership following a transgression is a pastoral psychology topic of international concern. Few empirical studies have examined factors weighed by offended congregants challenged with considerations of forgiveness and restoration. The purpose of this study was to assess the validity and reliability of two attitudinal measures...
Article
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Recently, conflict has escalated between some Christians and groups such as the LGBTQ community. Two variables have been identified consistently as promoting forgiveness in people experiencing hurt or offense: receiving an apology and taking the perspective of the offender. In Study 1, we put this to a stringent test by examining effects of those v...
Article
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Although philosophers and theologians endlessly debate what it means to be moral, psychologists have began to explore the psychological bases for moral behavior underlying these debates. Instead of asking: What is morally correct, and how are morals justified? Psychologists ask how people determine what is moral, and how cognitions and emotions inf...
Article
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Every time we learn of a mass killing in an otherwise peaceful community, news sources descend on the hapless to represent our collective puzzlement, “Why?” How could anyone do such a thing? Leaders cringe when the perpetrators are linked to their religious or ethnic group as if an association implied causation. Dutton’s thesis takes us beyond the...
Article
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Have you experienced God’s healing power? Do you believe in God’s power to heal? Candy Gunther Brown illustrates the importance of healing by citing evidence that most Americans view God as a healer and believe praying to God can result in a cure. Support for the role of prayer in healing also comes from most American health maintenance organizatio...
Article
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The second volume. The Science and Theology of Godly Love includes an Introduction by Lee, Poloma, and Post followed by ten chapters. The first five chapters were written by theologians. Each presents challenges to dimensions of godly love. Part two contains five chapters by behavioral scientists.
Article
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In this article, we explored an empirical basis for several dimensions of interpersonal love. From a psychological perspective, we considered multidimensional components of love using a holistic rubric that includes spiritual, cognitive, behavioral, affective, biological, and social space dimensions. From a theological perspective, we considered th...
Article
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Kinnaman and Lyons interpret years of research that compares the views of those outside Christianity to those of people who are on the inside. They conclude that contemporary Christianity is unchristian. David Kinnaman is president of The Barna Group, which conducts research into faith and culture. Gabe Lyons is the founder of the Fermi Project, wh...
Article
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There's been a shooting in a Sikh Temple this morning. A lone gunman entered a Colorado theater and opened fire. Syrians are now engaged in civil war Faced with daily news stories of death and destruction, it is easy to believe that things are getting worse. Not so, explains Harvard psychologist, Steven Pinker in his new work. The Better Angels of...
Article
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How do young Americans perceive Christians? Lyons reports the results of a study he commissioned to "understand the perceptions that sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds have about Christians (p. 3)" In the eleven chapters, Lyons explores these findings in the context of anecdotes and other research to suggest changes that appear to occur among Americ...
Article
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Kahneman's analysis of thinking is close to a metatheory of human nature. In highly readable prose he explains how numerous psychological experiments document the interplay of two ways human brains process and act upon the myriad of stimuli encountered in daily life. Many reviews have extolled the brilliance of the book and its Nobel-prize winning...
Article
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More than 1,200 Kenyans lost their lives to machete-wielding neighbors. Others were beaten. Many were raped. I review our visit to a refugee camp.
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Feminist theologians often criticize theologies that claim Christ's crucifixion makes our suffering redemptive because they claim that such a theology causes women to endure unjust violence and suffering while ignoring the Gospel's depictions of Christ's liberating and healing work. Against theologians who argue that the cross is beyond redemption,...
Article
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The increasing assessment of strengths in education and industry coincides with the recent growth in positive psychology. In this article, we examine the possible contributions of the StrengthsFinder1 (SF) to existing predictors of college outcomes. We conducted two studies, approximately one year apart, and found that the strengths identified by t...
Article
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Living Well and Dying Faithfully contains 12 chapters by 12 different authors organized into three sections: Practices of Living to Die Well, Practices of Faithful Suffering, and Practices of Healing and Hope. The editors’ purpose may be found in their introduction: “By encouraging a reflective dialogue between the practices of medicine an...
Article
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The authors aim “to present a comprehensive evaluation of the psychology of religion from an empirical perspective (xii).” They recognize the cultural trends that have influenced recent research. First, the emergence of numerous studies on spirituality adds a nuanced dimension to the traditional study of the psychology of religion. Second, the auth...
Article
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In eight chapters, Beal reviews highlights of recent research and scholarship, which are pertinent to the origins of the biblical manuscripts and how they came to be a part of the canon that dominates bestselling versions in the United States. Beal’s analysis explains some misunderstandings about the formation of the various compilations of scriptu...
Article
The Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) provides standardized scores for adults ages 20 to 89 years. However, there are situations in which the use of the RBANS for adults ages 18 to 20 years may be appropriate and have practical advantages. Thus, at present, an examiner who uses the RBANS for adult patients m...
Article
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In the aftermath of 9/11 and during the onslaught of religion-damning missives from the ‘‘evangelical atheists’’ Dawkins (2006), Hitchens (2007), and Harris (2004), Kimball provides a ‘‘gentle introduction to the critical study of comparative religion’’ (p. vi). In seven chapters, he outlines five critical ways that religion can lead to tragic, eve...

Questions

Questions (2)
Question
I am looking for text editing software that is reasonably accurate, better than the spelling and grammar features of Microsoft Word, and reasonably priced. If you have tried some packages and do not recommend them, that is interesting as well.
Question
I have the Attachment to God Inventory (AGI), 28-items. Do you know of other published measures that are shorter or a brief version of this measure.

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