Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology Catalog: 1974-1975


The question is sometimes asked, "Why mix psychology and Christianity?" As a matter of fact, some feel that mutual cooperation of these disciplines is fruitless since one or the other is seen to be either irrelevant, unfruitful or basically antagonistic. The evangelical theologian is sometimes threatened by the psychologist's stress on objective validation and his seeming disdain of the supernatural and scientifically immeasurable. This scientific objectivism is viewed as a direct attack on the concept of "faith," the very heart of the Chris­ tian religion. Added to this is the theologian's alarm over therapeutic methods which encourage acting out of impulses such as sex and hostility as means of freeing clients from neurotic inhibitions. On the other hand, the psychologist views the metaphysical aspect of Christianity to be either at odds with his scientific approach or at least outside of his domain. He is frequently frustrated by what he views as an overemphasis on the hereafter at the expense of facing the issues of the present. The very concept of faith is thought to exclude an intellectually honest approach to problem solving. Without going into depth on this complex issue, part of the seeming conflict is based upon insufficient understanding, lack of communication and the ever-present problem of personal defensive­ ness and ego involvement. Granted, there are realistic issues and conflicting thought. But these conflicts lie largely between theory and theory or between explanations of fact rather than between fact and fact. Psychology and biblical Christianity actually have potentially ex­ tensive mutual contributions to make. Historically the minister has fulfilled a key role in counseling. Before the advent of modern psycho­ logical and psychiatric therapy, the great bulk of personal counseling was conducted by the local religious leader. With the crystallization of the new discipline of psychology, there is a shift occurring which sees many people turning to professionals within this field for coun­ sel. With this phenomenon has come a dichotomy between "spiritual" and "psychological" counseling. This has the advantage of encourag­ ing both the minister and the psychologist to function within their area of specialization. Unfortunately, however, men are not divided into clear-cut spiritual and psychological entities. This bifurcation works against a holistic approach which deals with the total physical, spiritual and emotional needs of man. Psychology and Christianity possess a mutual goal of human health and happiness. The apostle Paul, for example, in writing to the church


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