Page 24 - EMCAPP-Journal No. 10
P. 24

Eric L. Johnson (USA):                              Eric L. Johnson

             The Christian Conscience:                           Ph.D. is Lawrence

             The Transformation of a                             and     Charlotte
                                                                 Hoover  Professor
             Created Module through                              of  Pastoral  Care
                                                                 at  The  Southern
             Christ and the Spirit                               Baptist  Theologi-
                                                                 cal  Seminary.  He
                                                                 edited Psychology
             Ted  felt  so  vindicated.  While  he  and  his  wife   and  Christianity:
             Sally were getting ready for bed, she had bluntly   Five  Views  and
             suggested that he had not been spending much        wrote  Foundations  for  Soul  Care:  A  Chri-
             time with the children recently. But she didn’t     stian  Psychology  Proposal  and  God  and
             know that he had been making plans all week to      Soul Care: The Therapeutic Resources of the
             spend time with the entire family this weekend.     Christian  Faith.  He’s  married  to  Rebekah,
             So  her  comment  struck  him  as  really  unfair,   who keeps him grounded.
             and he lashed out at her, leaving both of them
             put out and not talking as they went to bed. The    Former articles by Eric you can see here:
             next morning, on the way to work, Ted reali-
             zed that he had been putting in a lot of overtime
             over the past few weeks, working on a project
             at work, and he felt  a strong wave of guilt come
             over him.
             Ted  is  a  fairly  typical  person.  Normal  adult
             humans  have  a  moral  awareness,  and  they
             feel guilt when they do something wrong. The
             “conscience” is the module or faculty that has    mily and cultural influence to shape the parti-
             been  identified  with  that  sense  of  morality.   cular beliefs and attitudes that could activate the
             With  a  few  exceptions,  modern  psychologists   negative emotions we now call shame and guilt
             made  little  reference  to  the  conscience.   One   (Gangestad,  2012;.Haidt,  2012).  So,  for  most
             reason for this neglect was that the worldview    of the past 100 years, the shaping of individual
             assumptions that underlie modern psychology       moral awareness has been understood to be a
             (materialism and positivism) are reductionistic,   function of general cognitive and emotion pro-
             in that they result in the reduction of all distinc-  cesses, socialization, and enculturation (Harter,
             tive human processes to mere biological pheno-    2012; Turiel, 1998). As a result, there is no need
             mena. The dominant explanation of moral awa-      to distinguish a distinct moral awareness mo-
             reness, for example, interprets it as a function   dule or faculty, especially since materialism and
             of  evolutionary  pressures  early  in  humanity’s   positivism entail that there is no objective mo-
             phylogenetic development that rewarded more       ral order to which that module might conform
             cooperative humans who experienced negative       and be directed.
             emotion when faced with ostracism for unco-       Humanist and existential psychologists, by con-
             operative  behavior  with  survival,  allowing  fa-  trast, have identified authenticity as a uniquely
                                                               human trait that should be honored and cele-
                                                               brated that resembles moral awareness in some
             1 William James (1890), for example, in his early classic   respects (Bugental, 1965; Rogers, 1961). Howe-
             made no reference to the conscience. Freud (1923/1960),   ver, the strong individualism of humanism and
             by contrast, identified the “super-ego” as a structure of   existentialism leads them to define it in highly
             the human personality, so psychoanalysis has recognized   individualistic terms, as a sense of personal in-
             such a module. However, it was assumed that the super-  tegrity and trust in oneself, making it difficult,
             ego was a function of socialization and not reflective of a
             transcendent reality.                             but not impossible, to understand how it con-
   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29