Monday, March 16, 2015

"Christian" Psychology's Presuppositions

So, as you've read my various complaints against "Christian" psychology, you may wonder how Scripture could adequately address all the psychological problems that 21st Century evangelicals face. Such an inquiry seems reasonable, I must admit. But think carefully about its underlying presuppositions.

To begin with, the question presupposes that 21st Century struggles differ in complexity from the struggles faced by ancient people. And certainly, present-day technology has intensified life in many ways, while at the same time reducing the depths of relationships. We get away with narcissism much more easily, and we have greater access to sexual stimulation with less perceptible consequences. Fewer children grow up in homes with married, heterosexual parents, and society increasingly redefines both gender roles and acceptable sexual conduct. As a result of all these factors (and perhaps others), of course we feel as if we suffer in ways unique to our day and age.

If we think carefully, however, we realize that the outward trappings of 21st  Century life merely expose the same tired human sins that have typified mankind since Adam first let Eve taste that forbidden fruit. The particulars may look different, and the temptations may lie more closely in reach, but the human heart and mind really haven't changed from Paul's description in Romans 1:18-32.

We also presuppose that our modern "understanding" of human nature gives us an intellectual advantage over the men who wrote the Bible. We  believe Freud, Jung and other pioneers of psychoanalysis gave us tools and insight that the world sadly lacked prior to their "discoveries." Yet, as I've pointed out in previous posts, Freud and Jung based their "science" on either atheism (Freud) or a spirituality that merges "Christianity" with mysticism and Eastern religion (Jung). Thus, we betray our conviction that psychology, although an invention of men who openly rejected Christianity, can offer us a greater depth of insight than the Word of God can.

Paul's words in Colossians directly refute that line of reasoning.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. ~~Colossians 2:8-10 (ESV)
Dear friends, the Lord Who created our minds knows us infinitely better than theorists in psychology ever could! In His generosity, He has revealed His Word through His prophets and apostles. 2 Peter 1:2-3 maintains that the knowledge of Christ (which comes through God's Word) provides us with everything we need for godly lives.

We Christians are filled with the King of all creation! As we incorporate His Word into our  daily lives by reading, studying and acting on it, we honor Him. We may or may not "feel better about ourselves," but we will bear fruit for His kingdom. Our energy will go into loving, serving and adoring Him, causing us to put our lives in proper perspective. We will then presuppose that Christ really is all we need!

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