Molly Johnson is a recent graduate of TCC who would like to work with children, in particular through the Department of Children and Family Services or an adoption service.
I believe that the best way to look at Christianity and psychology is through an integrated lens. My overall synopsis would be that Christianity and psychology should be integrated and work together in order to heal patients as well as guide them in the right direction to living a happy and healthy life through the glory of God. I feel as though Christianity and psychology cannot be separated into their own separate realms because they need to incorporate the insight of the other in order to function as a key component in understanding how life works. This type of integration can bring us one step closer to an even better understanding of God’s kingdom through the knowledge He has given us about it through His word and through the scientific knowledge we have been blessed with.
For a specific definition of psychology, I would say that psychology is the knowledge and understanding of our cognitive processes. It is these processes that we study and our attempt to explain them leads to even more linked discoveries. It is the study of human nature as well as the study of human cognitive processing. Psychology is aimed at not only our cognitive processes but our behavior as well. It requires careful observation and thought and is interconnected to other aspects and areas of scientific knowledge such as biology, physiology, chemistry, etc. Our description of the psychology that is unique to us as humans helps us differentiate between other living things.
Psychology serves the purpose of being able to understand why we do the things that we do and how certain things affect how we live and experience our lives. It is also the means through which we help people work through their disorders, conditions and problems. We study psychology in general to be able to improve our well-being and to gain a better understanding of our capabilities as human beings. We should study the discipline of psychology in order to engage with the world in our surroundings and other people while doing it in a way that glorifies God. We strive to help others better understand themselves and show them the ways that explain how and why they are the children of God.
The relationship between Christianity and psychology should be that they have the potential to be separate but when they are brought together they bring us one step closer to knowing even more about ourselves and the world we live in. Psychology helps us to understand the individual while using Christianity as a means to answer the questions we cannot scientifically prove. In the same breath, a Christian psychologist should play a role that seeks to provide scientifically sound therapy or counseling while also addressing those ‘unknown’ bits of knowledge through a Christian perspective. They should be able to provide a place of welcoming peace and remind the patient that they are one of God’s people and that He always has their best interests in mind.
We would be able to recognize work in psychology as “Christian” by acknowledging that it is faith-based with the goal of providing evidence that shows that we are doing this work ultimately through and for God. All work in psychology should strive towards the common goal to better God’s kingdom and help His people be the best that they can be. Some, but not all evidence should be scripturally-based since the Bible is not a textbook and we should not use it as such. We can recognize work in psychology as being Christian by seeing that it is centered in God and that the person who is involved in that particular work has a strong faith background.
Anything in life can be looked at through a Christian perspective and it is important for us to not have all of life’s answers because that is where faith comes in. It brings mystery and enchantment into our lives and it will always provide us with God’s love no matter what we encounter. We must leave it up to faith in order to answer the questions that cannot be proven by science. The questions we have simply cannot all be answered but at least we may have some peace of mind that everything in life happens for a reason. Psychology brings us closer to knowing more about the world, ourselves and God, but only just so much that we don’t obtain all of the world’s answers. Those answers we cannot have are God’s and God’s alone. We must put our faith and trust in Him because in the end, all that matters is that we are blanketed in His unconditional love.