Page 11 - EMCAPP-Journal No. 8
P. 11

action accordingly, for example, Jacob’s action   and  their  psychological  capacities  are  accor-
             was an attempt to hold power over Jesse for a     dingly  compromised.  However,  through  faith
             future favor, whereas Jesse‘s response was mere-  in Christ, humans become reconciled to their
             ly a kind of ingratiation, performed in the hope   Creator, a triune God who has begun a parti-
             of gaining more resources from Jacob in the fu-   al restoration of their psychological capacities
             ture. Because of the Christian doctrine of sin, a   that is realized in Christian community and will
             Christian might agree that motives of crass self-  be perfected in the age to come. The Christian
             interest  could  be  at  work.  However,  believing   Scriptures give us some divinely inspired psy-
             also  that  humans  are  created  in  God’s  image,   chological knowledge (but not all the psycho-
             there is also the possibility that this interaction   logical knowledge God has), so the Bible has a
             manifested human virtue, where Jacob‘s action     primary role to play in a Christian psychology,
             was a sincere attempt to give sacrificially to ano-  along with the work of Christian thinkers and
             ther and Jesse’s response was a grateful reaction   ministers over the centuries.
             to Jacob‘s altruism. Such interpretive differences
             will decidedly affect the kind of empirical inve-  The  goal  for  the  Christian  psychologist  is  to
             stigation  the  respective  psychologists  conduct   think  about  humans  like  God  does.  Becau-
             and what they look for.                           se God has not revealed everything he knows
                                                               about humans in the Bible, Christian psycho-
             Modern psychology has yielded great gains in      logists will need to do their own research and
             our understanding of many aspects of human        they  will  also  want  to  learn  all  that  they  can
             nature, but we know now that the quest for a      from  modern  psychology.  For  example,  they
             sure  foundation  for  universal  human  know-    will  use  all  valid  methods  to  study  human
             ledge  that  led  to  the  development  of  modern   beings, and natural science methods have pro-
             psychology  was  misguided.  „Foundationalism     ven their worth. However, their knowledge of,
             has failed, but [this] does not lead to the oppo-  consent to, and love-relationship with God will
             site errors of relativism or skepticism. We must   provide the ultimate context for their use of all
             begin with faith.“ (MacIntyre, 1990, p. 42)       psychological  methods  and  practices  (Coe  &
                                                               Hall, 2010). „Recognizing God is required for
             A Christian Response                              the most comprehensive psychology“ (Johnson,
             All human knowledge is founded on basic be-       1997, p. 16). In addition, believing that all hu-
             liefs that cannot be proven to the satisfaction of   mans are made in God’s image and confident
             skeptics (Plantinga, 1983). Likewise, all psycho-  that  God’s  creation  grace  is  the  source  of  all
             logical  knowledge  entails  unproven  assumpti-  good in culture and science, Christians should
             ons and begins with faith. The Dutch theologi-    expect that modern psychologists will discover
             an and prime minister Abraham Kuyper (1898)       plenty of psychological knowledge and contri-
             argued that the enlightening effects of regenera-  bute  to  many  worthwhile  activities  (e.g.,  the
             tion on Christians ought to lead to two kinds of   mental health system). But their faith also leads
             human science: one based on naturalism, that      them  to  expect  that  there  will  be  distortions
             considers the way humans are now to be nor-       in their psychology, the closer the psychologi-
             mal, and the other based on Christianity, that    cal topic is to the central issues of human life
             considers the way humans are now to be tragi-     (Brunner, 1946). To site just one example, belief
             cally compromised by human sin and alienation     in God (or least the divine) is ubiquitous among
             from God, and therefore needing regeneration.     humans, yet psychology of religion is margina-
                                                               lized in modern psychology, showing up in no
             How  would  a  distinctly  Christian  psycholo-   introduction to psychology textbooks.
             gy  differ  from  modern  psychology?  It  would
             flow  from  a  Christian  anthropology  (model    Christians in psychology therefore must work
             of humanity): all human beings are created in     towards a psychology that is thoroughly Chri-
             the image of God but they currently exist in a    stian.
             fallen condition, alienated from their Creator,   This means, first, creatively engaging in psycho-

   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16