My attention has been drawn to a recent commentary on my circle of place spirituality (CoPS) model written by Joel Brulin and Pehr Granqvist from Stockholm University, Sweden. While I have not personally met with Pehr, I have had the pleasure of sharing a plenary session with Joel during the 2017 IAPR conference in Hamar, Norway. Granqvist is a well-respected scholar in the attachment-religion field and I always follow his arguments. However, I personally think that much of Pehr’s attachment-religion arguments are limited due to his background and focus in psychology alone. The discussion on religion requires much philosophical depth, and understanding, to grasp the full measure of religious experience. While psychological theories help illuminate the complex nature of religion from the individual angle, it, unfortunately, does not engage the broader spectrum of such experience and influences. I personally feel that the critique from Pehr and Joel were ultimately rudimentary, lacking substantive engagement with the environment-behavior literature, an important field that also illuminates the nature of place as a significant object of attachment in the lives of people.
Nonetheless, I want to personally thank Joel and Petr for their commentary on CoPS. Some of the concerns raised by Pehr and Joel in their paper will be addressed in my new book with Fraser Watts on “Religion and Place: Psychological Perspectives” (Palgrave). I also look forward to writing a rejoinder to another set of commentaries from Archive for the Psychology of Religion on my other CoPS paper, “Place Spirituality: An attachment perspective”, to be published next year.