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  • Discussion Psychology and the Bible

    After writing my article entitled 'His Utmost For My Highest - Developing The Dead Self' (found here), some people criticized me for being too black-and-white. My position concerning so-called 'self-help psychology' was particularly offensive to some. My claim that self-help psychology only places the emphasis more on the self rather than point to Christ was found by some to be rigorous and not very realistic.

    Hence this thread: what is the relation between the Bible and Psychology? What place does Psychology have in the life of a Christian who lives their life according to the Bible? How do you support your view from Scripture?

    I'm curious as to what you all have to say.
    Who have I in heaven but You oh God? Besides You, I desire nothing here on earth. My heart and my flesh may fail me, but God will be the strength of my heart and my portion forever...as for me, the nearness of God is my good - Psalm 73:25-26, 28a

    Check out my new blog at pilgrimtozion.blogspot.com

  • #2
    Originally posted by Pilgrimtozion View Post
    After writing my article entitled 'His Utmost For My Highest - Developing The Dead Self' (found here), some people criticized me for being too black-and-white. My position concerning so-called 'self-help psychology' was particularly offensive to some. My claim that self-help psychology only places the emphasis more on the self rather than point to Christ was found by some to be rigorous and not very realistic.

    Hence this thread: what is the relation between the Bible and Psychology? What place does Psychology have in the life of a Christian who lives their life according to the Bible? How do you support your view from Scripture?

    I'm curious as to what you all have to say.
    Hi

    I'm afraid I didn't see your initial thread but I will read it now. I believe that Scripture is entirely sufficient for all the needs of our soul - spiritual, emotional, intellectual, psychological - I believe 2 Tim 3:17 and other verses teach this. I would therefore be "nouthetic" in my approach to counselling. However, there does seem to be some merit in the conept of biblical counselling as taught eg by Jay Adams and John MacArthur - it seems to point to Scriptural teaching as the ultimate answer to our psychological problems - but is it perhaps starting from the wrong source? Taking the problems identified by the world and having Scripture answer them, rather than have Scripture both IDENTIFY AND answer these problems?

    But I agree - "Christianised" self-help courses - and in particular psychotherapeutic techniques with a "Christian" veneer are not only wrong but potentially very dangerous - the focus is all on self, not Christ. Idolatry (self-worship) is a very real possibility with these - that's what marks so many of the health/wealth/prosperity churches that teach that God just wants you to feel good about yourself and really have a great, self-fulfiliing life!

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree, psychology -- as it is defined and used in our society -- is against the Christian view. Psychology is a man-focused ideology that leaves God out, that says that the Bible is old fashioned and trite, that some people have such severe problems that they need something extra; the Bible and God is not enough, so they add self-esteem and self-centered behaviorism and other techniques.

      I'm currently reading John MacArthur's great book, "Our Sufficiency in Christ," in which he specifically confronts the error of psychology and its destructive influence even within the church. He does support biblical counseling, but that is something based on scripture, not on humanist-based psychology.

      Comment


      • #4
        Are we talking about psychiatry / psychology in general, or just the "pop psychology" of self help books?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pilgrimtozion View Post

          Hence this thread: what is the relation between the Bible and Psychology? What place does Psychology have in the life of a Christian who lives their life according to the Bible? How do you support your view from Scripture?

          I'm curious as to what you all have to say.
          You may already know this, but the word psychology comes from the greek word 'psuche', which means soul. So psychology is the study of the human soul!

          I apologize I didn't read your article, but just reading your post led me to believe that I agree with you 100%. Too much emphasis is put on 'self-worth' and 'self-esteem', concepts which are non-existent in the scriptures. No where in all the bible are we commanded to love ourselves! Our focus should always be on those around us, not ourselves. The self-help folks have hijacked the unsuspecting brains of those who feel lost and lonely, and infect them with the poison of focusing on themselves.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pilgrimtozion View Post
            After writing my article entitled 'His Utmost For My Highest - Developing The Dead Self' (found here), some people criticized me for being too black-and-white. My position concerning so-called 'self-help psychology' was particularly offensive to some. My claim that self-help psychology only places the emphasis more on the self rather than point to Christ was found by some to be rigorous and not very realistic.

            Hence this thread: what is the relation between the Bible and Psychology? What place does Psychology have in the life of a Christian who lives their life according to the Bible? How do you support your view from Scripture?

            I'm curious as to what you all have to say.
            Many principles of scripture can be found in psychology. That doesn't mean psychology is correct though. For they try to help folks outside of Christ. But if one was to study and investigate happy and good marriages, do you think they would discover Godly principles at work within those marriages? I do.

            My issue with Psychology is one of application rather than knowledge. For they try to teach application of these principles without Jesus and that leads to death even if God still honors his principles.

            One final thing... man's soul is very powerful. I still need to read Watchman Nee's book on "The Latent Power of the Soul".
            Matt 9:13
            13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
            NASU

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sold Out View Post
              You may already know this, but the word psychology comes from the greek word 'psuche', which means soul. So psychology is the study of the human soul!

              I apologize I didn't read your article, but just reading your post led me to believe that I agree with you 100%. Too much emphasis is put on 'self-worth' and 'self-esteem', concepts which are non-existent in the scriptures. No where in all the bible are we commanded to love ourselves! Our focus should always be on those around us, not ourselves. The self-help folks have hijacked the unsuspecting brains of those who feel lost and lonely, and infect them with the poison of focusing on themselves.
              Well, that depends on what you mean by self worth. How much is an item worth? I would argue it is worth what one is willing to pay for it. How much are you and I worth? As much as Jesus himself.
              Matt 9:13
              13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
              NASU

              Comment


              • #8
                How about???

                Originally posted by Sold Out View Post
                Too much emphasis is put on 'self-worth' and 'self-esteem', concepts which are non-existent in the scriptures. No where in all the bible are we commanded to love ourselves!
                How about love your neighbor as you love yourself??? The great commandment makes it impossible to love others without first loving ourselves.
                sigpicLife! Just Live It!
                http://www.lifeblog.co.nr/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by HisLeast View Post
                  Are we talking about psychiatry / psychology in general, or just the "pop psychology" of self help books?
                  Are we talking about psychiatry / psychology in general, or just the "pop psychology" of self help books?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Psychology is merely philosophy of the brain and not an actual hard science (though psychologists will swear up and down they're a hard science, any hard scientific evidence they gather is influenced by their philosophical presupposition). With that in mind, it means that psychology in the general sense of the word has a high relationship with the Bible.

                    Christian psychology teaches that without Christ man is in despair, whether he realizes it or not. Within Christianity we do need psychologists who understand when there is a medical problem with the person (i.e. chemical imbalance) or when there is a spiritual problem with the person.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So how do you all back your views concerning this issue up from the Bible? Take for instance the popular issue of digging into your past to solve present problems with regards to behavior, self-esteem, fear of failure, etc. or using psychology to bring somebody out of depression back into 'working order'. What do you think the Bible says about these things?
                      Who have I in heaven but You oh God? Besides You, I desire nothing here on earth. My heart and my flesh may fail me, but God will be the strength of my heart and my portion forever...as for me, the nearness of God is my good - Psalm 73:25-26, 28a

                      Check out my new blog at pilgrimtozion.blogspot.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pilgrimtozion View Post
                        So how do you all back your views concerning this issue up from the Bible? Take for instance the popular issue of digging into your past to solve present problems with regards to behavior, self-esteem, fear of failure, etc. or using psychology to bring somebody out of depression back into 'working order'. What do you think the Bible says about these things?
                        It's largely silent on these issues because such type of psychology hadn't been studied at that time. At the same time, such practices don't negate the Bible either, so I wouldn't worry too much if we can't find Biblical support - there isn't Biblical rejection of them either (although much of modern psychology would be rejected with its emphasis on the self).

                        Looking into the past is actually a wise practice as it can bring to light faults of our own that might have caused our problems, or harms caused to us by others that we should forgive them for. It actually seems to sync up with the Bible that if we are to truly forgive people and our psychological problem stems from past harms caused by others, then we truly have not forgiven them - therefore, it would do us well to look into the past, see what happened, and forgive that person for that action.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pilgrimtozion View Post
                          So how do you all back your views concerning this issue up from the Bible? Take for instance the popular issue of digging into your past to solve present problems with regards to behavior, self-esteem, fear of failure, etc. or using psychology to bring somebody out of depression back into 'working order'. What do you think the Bible says about these things?
                          It's called repentance. If you sinned in your past, you need to address it. There's other things as well. I believe in ancestral curses. In other words, the sins of the fathers being visited upon the children. Not that the children are judged for the sins of the fathers but rather they pick them up. We see it with alcoholism and other issues. If a person comes from a divorced family, then they are more likely to get a divorce. Getting back to alcohol, one can have a propensity to be a drunk, but one must still open the door. So in dealing with drunkeness, one repents of opening the door and also repents for the sins of his family. When Daniel repented, he repented not only for his own sins but for the sins of the nation.

                          There are other examples. But I think this is a good one.
                          Matt 9:13
                          13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
                          NASU

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pilgrimtozion View Post
                            So how do you all back your views concerning this issue up from the Bible? Take for instance the popular issue of digging into your past to solve present problems with regards to behavior, self-esteem, fear of failure, etc. or using psychology to bring somebody out of depression back into 'working order'. What do you think the Bible says about these things?
                            Do you think the past has no impact on one's behavior, self esteem, fear of failure, and present mental health?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brother Mark View Post
                              Well, that depends on what you mean by self worth. How much is an item worth? I would argue it is worth what one is willing to pay for it. How much are you and I worth? As much as Jesus himself.
                              Our worth should be determined on how Jesus values us, not how we value ourselves.

                              I think the other side of the coin here is that a Christian can be depressed...and for no apparent medical reason. I say that because I do know Christians that have depression and mental issues due to medical reasons. The ones I'm talking about are those who are constantly 'down in the dumps' because they don't feel good about themselves.

                              Holy cow! These people are saved and going to heaven and all they do is sit around moping? Do they realize who they are in Christ? Get out and help somebody - serve in your local church or a para-church ministry.

                              We gain self-worth by understanding our position in Christ and serving others, which is what Jesus meant when he said to love our neighbors AS ourselves...he didn't tell us to love ourselves. We are to love our neighbors the way we would want to be loved by them.

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