Christians and Psychology

I found an excellent blog post at Counseling Notes by Bowden McElroy regarding Christians and psychology. I am excerpting part of the post below. I’ve been thinking about writing something along these lines, and here someone has already done it. 😉 As a devout Christian who is also pursuing a career in the field of psychology, the dichotomy between the two is an issue of which I am extremely aware. This post describes, in part, how I see psychology and why I find value in it as well.


Psychology is a mixture of science and philosophy. One function of psychology is theory construction. Psychology attempts to formulate theory to explain man’s behavior, his nature, and how he lives, changes, and develops disorder. This is an area of psychology that clearly overlaps the field of theology. It is in this area that psychology most displays its inadequacy. Traditional psychology is a science that is desperately looking for a world view, while actively rejecting the Christian world view. Psychology attempts to construct a secular religion defining the nature of man.

It is our view that only the bible holds the answers to the true essence of who man is, his needs, what is truth, what is moral, and what is right. It is the bible alone that holds the answers to man’s deepest needs. It is only in the bible that we find that the nature of man is sinful and that man has a God-shaped vacuum within. It is only in the bible that we learn of man’s need for God, and that abundant and eternal life can only be achieved through reconciliation with God. It is only in the bible that it is revealed that Jesus Christ is the answer to man’s sin problem, and that his sins can be forgiven only through the acceptance of Jesus Christ’s provision of salvation and eternal life. Following the acceptance of Jesus Christ, grace transforms the Christian into a new creature. Day by day throughout the rest of the believer’s life, God gradually transforms that person into the image of Jesus Christ. It is the scripture alone that offers answers to problems such as guilt, our need to be forgiven and our need to forgive others, and it is only the bible that gives us guidance about our priorities, and what is a healthy lifestyle.

Psychology at the end of the twentieth century has endorsed the philosophy of post-modernism. The post-modernist perspective suggests that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Everything is relative. What is true and right can only be determined in a particular context and circumstance. The field of psychology has also embraced pluralism, holding that society is a mixture of distinct ethnic religious and cultural groups, and that we are to live in harmony and give up notions that would separate us. Both pluralism and post-modernism hold that no single philosophical system or world view holds the answers to the complex questions and nature of our social and physical world. We believe that post-modernism is in direct conflict with a biblical Christian world view. Psychology alone does not hold the answers to men’s purpose and is not the answer to mans moral dilemmas. Post-modern psychology is a dangerous philosophy on a collision course with Biblical Christianity.

The science of psychology is the more useful part of psychology for Christians. The scientific study and systematic observation of human behavior has produced vast knowledge about man’s problems, what factors contribute to such problems, and strategies for helping individuals overcome them. It is this aspect of psychology that we embrace. In all cases, we filter psychological information through the grid of scriptural truth. What fits consistently with the scripture is useful, and anything that conflicts in any way is discarded. Psychology has given us great insight into such subjects as the nature, causes, and treatment of depression. Psychology and psychiatry have also assisted us greatly in distinguishing which disorders may have a more psychological root and which may have a more biological root cause.