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C. Eric Jones & Eric L. Johnson                       Eric    Johnson

             A Christian’s Guide to                                (USA),  Ph.D.,  is
                                                                   Professor  of  Pa-
             Psychology        1                                   storal  Care  at
                                                                   Southern Baptist
                                                                   Theological  Se-
             Objective evidence and certitude are doubtless        minary  and  the
             very fine ideals to play with, but where on this      director  of  the
             moonlit and dream-visited planet are they             Society for Chri-
             found?                                                stian  Psycholo-
                                               William James       gy.
             What is Psychology?
             Human beings are the pinnacle of God‘s crea-                                    Articles by Eric:
             tion  and  the  psychological  study  of  people  is     
             arguably the most complex and fascinating dis-            
             cipline there is. However, different religious and        
             philosophical assumptions seriously affect how
             we view human beings. Therefore, understan-
             ding the field of psychology is no simple task.       C.  Eric  Jones,
             Perhaps we should begin by defining the field:        PhD.,  Associate
             psychology is the science of the immaterial (in-      Professor,   Re-
             visible)  aspect  of  individual  human  beings.  It   gent  University.
             is the study of what Christians call the “soul”       Eric‘s   research
             (the Greek word psyche means soul). The aim           interests  are  Po-
             of this chapter is to provide an overview of con-     sitive  Psycholo-
             temporary psychology, in light of its underlying      gy,  Self  and  So-
             assumptions, and a roadmap for understanding          cial  Cognition.
             the field Christianly.                                He  enjoys  rea-
                                                                   ding and writing
             Psychology Before Modern Psychology                   about the psychological and theological im-
             Herman Ebbinghaus, a pioneer in memory re-            plications of spiritual and personal develop-
             search, once quipped,  “Psychology  has  a  long      ment.
             past, but only a short history.” Though the cur-                    
             rent  approach  to  the  field  goes  back  just  150
             years, systematic reflection and writing on the                                  Article by Eric:
             nature of human beings have been going on for            
             more  than  two  millennia.  The  ancient  Greek
             philosopher,  Aristotle,  for  example,  carefully
             described many aspects of the soul, including     Greek and Roman philosophers, their psycho-
             its sensing, thinking, feeling, and remembering.   logical  reflections  were  based  on  a  Christian
             Even the Bible makes reference to psychological   worldview and influenced most by the Bible.
             topics, though less systematically. A few centu-
             ries later, great Christian thinkers began devo-  Modern Psychology
             ting their attention to a variety of psychological   Impressed by the accomplishments of the natu-
             issues - Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Julian of     ral sciences (astronomy, physics, and chemistry)
             Norwich, and Calvin - some more philosophi-       and discouraged by the religious conflicts of the
             cally, some more theologically, and some more     1600’s,  Western  intellectuals  in  the  17th  and
             practically,  but  while  influenced  by  ancient   18th centuries became increasingly convinced

             1  The  following  article  was  adapted  from  Jones,  E.,  &
             Johnson, E. L. (2012). “Christian psychology,” in Omni-  7
             bus IV: The Modern World. Lancaster, PA: Veritas Press.
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