What are your thoughts on Psychology and the Christian worldview?

I know many people look towards the examples of popular psychology saying things contrary to the Bible and then coming to the conclusion that these things can’t go together. But I don’t think that’s a correct conclusion to arrive at and it’s been oversimplified. After all, the medical community has their notion of the metaphysical realm, and that doesn’t stop Christians from going to the doctor.
What are your thoughts on the matter?

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Hi, @TempusFugit! As someone who’s currently studying counselling/psychology (alongside Christian theology), I am interested in your question. :slight_smile: In order to open up the conversation a bit, I’m curious if you know of any serious examples of psychology and Christianity being in tension? I believe that, as Christians, we can disagree with some conclusions without throwing out the ‘science’ altogether. (After all, scientists often disagree about conclusions.)

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Thanks for replying @KMac! I know that many people see psychology as an alternative to the Bible, one such area would be dealing with depression. Many see depression as a result of sin, because everyone has this idea of sorts that Jesus would never let people go through such a pain and it would only arise because of our misdeeds.
So when people that psychology leads us to comfort these people, it is seen as going against the Bible.

If it matters, I’ve come to understand that most people think depression is sort of “I’m angry at the world and everyone and I’ll never get my way” instead of this hopeless despair that drains you of all your strength.
So at the very least, I’ve found it helpful in understanding others and their issues.

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I’m very interested in this thread. In my younger years I grew up and was taught to believe that depression and mental illness in general was something treatable by religion and anything other than that was going against your faith. I have been fortunate to not have any chronic mental illnesses myself but my wife does. I had to learn what these things were so that I could support her and understand the bad days better. I no longer think its something that has to be “cured” by faith. When my mother passed in 2014 I seen my first dose of depression and anxiety for myself first hand. During this time and the 4 years after her death I fell completely away from my faith and accepted for myself that I was agnostic. I’ve recently opened back up the books where it was that I left and I’m starting to see signs that I’ve been depressed for a big portion of these last several years. So is it something that is a result of my complete loss of faith or is it something that has permenantly damaged me that should be helped and treated along side my journey back to faith?

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Hi, guys! Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to this thread! My thoughts are rather scattered, but I wanted to bounce off a bit of what you all brought up.

First, @TempusFugit, you mentioned the moralising of mental illness (always a favourite in certain Christian circles!)…that is, depression being brought on by individual moral failure…or misdeeds. I mean, I don’t doubt that wilful rebellion against God can lead one into some dark, frigid places, but to say that this is the only cause for depression (etc.) I believe, is a huge oversimplification. It could be an aspect of an individual’s struggle, but it’s rarely the full picture. In my studies (and in my own experience), the one thing I’ve learned about the human experience is that…it’s complicated. We are each shaped by different factors, and though we share a lot of common things, each person’s experience of the world and the self is different.

Matt (@MSHARP), I wanted to thank you for sharing a bit of your story with us. I’m so so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. :pensive: And it sounds like you’ve experienced a good bit of inner turmoil since then. You mentioned anxiety and depression, and I imagine there are loads of different emotions all bundled in mix. In trying to discern how your wandering away from God has affected your emotional state, I think it’s helpful to remember that the emotions we feel and the decisions we make do affect one another. It would not be far-fetched to imagine that you walked away because of something(s) you felt. Consequently, walking away made you feel other things. I also imagine that you turned back because of how you felt, and that turning back further effected how you felt. :slight_smile:

As an aside, I don’t think it’s particularly healthy for our emotions to always control our decisions, but I think it’s equally not great to think that our decisions can control our emotions. Both our emotions and our decisions have their reasons behind them, and I would highly encourage you to begin to explore these areas with a trusted friend/friends or counsellor/pastor. I would hope the self-knowledge would be extremely helpful as you ‘journey back to faith’. :slight_smile:

As for ‘permanent damage’…I do wonder if there is such a thing in the Christian life? That doesn’t mean we won’t have scars or walk with a limp, but I do believe God is about bringing life and light and freedom and healing. I pray for strength and courage for you as you journey on, brother. :pray:

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Thank you so much! I needed that :blush:

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