Three of the five positions that evangelicals have taken regarding the relationship between psychology and the Christian faith include Levels-of-Explanation, Christian psychology, and Biblical counseling view.
The levels-of-explanation view is a “multi-layered way of looking at phenomenon” (Myers, 2010, p.52). It provides a different perspective from simple to complex elements. Myers (2010) defines today’s psychology as the science of mental behavior and mental process (p.49), however, states that “An active faith correlates with social and personal health and well-being” (p.65). During times of sickness and need, psychology encourages individuals to read scripture and grow, it allows for understanding that God is present during times of suffering. The different science views are complimentary when approaching the person, they are understood through various levels and psychology is seen as a science, however Christian faith, and psychology are distinct, and religion should not affect this. Psychology supports family values; values and biases guide our interpretations and perceptions so we must be aware of this to deter overconfidence. Having a bias means that an individual thinks that they are better than another individual, one holds themselves in high regard, is seen as self-serving, self-centered prideful, and oblivious to their mistakes. Attitudes influence behavior and impact decisions, this also applies to actions and behaviors in one’s faith and spiritual life. People and situations can also be the cause of influence. An individual may react differently due to pressure or to conform to social norms; conforming can be for either good or evil.
The Christian psychology view uses the Bible as a foundation of Christian and psychological ideas as well as Ancient Christianity to describe the psychological nature of humans. The Christian psychology view believes that people “are created in the image of God, and thus have intrinsic value or dignity, or respect-worthiness” (Watson, 2010, p. 151). Followers of this view believe the Bible provides knowledge on how to live ethically, happily, and that it provides strategies for improvement and wellbeing in many areas of one’s life such as thought, character, emotions, and actions. Followers of this view return to the bible for understanding and carefully read scripture relative to current circumstances. Christian psychology teaches that traits and sufferings are blessings because they form a connection to God and his grace veils sin. Christian psychology differs because of its faithfulness.
The primary belief of followers of the biblical counseling view is that God is the maker of all; they believe that Jesus and scripture offer insight into thoughts, nature, and nurture. They read the bible to gain knowledge to resemble Jesus, understand themselves, others; have sympathy and a relationship with God. “Christian faith understands psychology and psychotherapy are implications and outworking’s of this God-centered point of view” (Powlison, 2010, p.247). Followers of the biblical counseling view also believe that Jesus Christ came down for us and our salvation, that the Lord is the judge of the living and dead, that we are acknowledged, that God understands our pain, and finally that he restores us.
Of the three views presented this week, I feel more closely aligned with the Christian psychology view, which uses the Bible as a foundation of Christian and psychological ideas.
I believe that biblical truth is the foundation on how to live. I am convinced that Christian psychologists can a have an enormous positive impact on the world because of our religious worldview. The Bible provides a framework for psychology because what we have learned about healthy living through scripture. Jesus’ teachings along with Christian tradition give us insight that can benefit the psychology field. To make this view fit more closely to what I suppose integration should look like I would provide more examples of how Christianity has contributed to psychology.
Myers, D.G., Jones, S. L., Roberts, R.C., Watson, P. J., Coe, J.H., Hall, T.W., & Powlison D. (2010). Christianity & psychology: Five views (2nd ed.). E. L. Johnson (Ed.).
Powlison D., Myers, D.G., Jones, S. L., Roberts, R.C., Watson, P. J., Coe, J.H., Hall, T.W., & (2010). Christianity & psychology: Five views (2nd ed.). E. L. Johnson (Ed.).
Watson, P. J., Myers, D.G., Jones, S. L., Roberts, R.C., Coe, J.H., Hall, T.W., & Powlison D. (2010). Christianity & psychology: Five views (2nd ed.). E. L. Johnson (Ed.).