Introduction to Psychology
November 3, 2010
Psychology in Christian Perspective: An Overview
Psychological studies are mainly based on the direct observation of human behavior, rather than reasoning or speculation. Psychology is like any other subject- the majority of people have a very shallow and basic understanding of what the study involves, and yet they lack a crucial knowledge of the major struggles and disagreements among those who study it. It does not surprise me that psychology is one of the more popular majors available. By nature, it sparks human curiosity, especially as to what contributes to the system of our thoughts and the pattern in our behaviors. For the first eighteen years of one’s life, the primary struggle to understand oneself and psychology is the first opportunity that arises to help us answer our questions (excluding Christianity). And often even faithful believers see reason in having their curiosities dissected and explained by science rather than religion. A logical, but fairly unexplored topic for me, is the insight that we are able to gain into God’s nature through the study of human thought and behavior; it would make perfect sense, since we have been created in God’s image. I appreciated the reminder that we should be filled with humility and awe when we discover another aspect of God’s abilities and superiority. The analogy used to describe the different approaches to studying psychology spoke very clearly to me: if three blind men study separate parts of an elephant, all of their descriptions of the elephant would prove to be true, however none of them possess the ability to capture the full existence of the animal. There is not one study that captures the full truth of psychology, but all approaches possess some aspect of truth. In this chapter, the importance of studying psychology along with the word of God is stressed. Although we do possess the ability to discover truth outside of the Bible’s teachings, anything that does not run parallel to the teachings of the Bible, is false. It is explained that “legitimate insight can arise from [non-Christian] human sources”, and at the same time “even believers have only a partial grasp of truth”. However the one question that this chapter raised for me personally, was is it difficult to continue studying a subject, when you are fully aware that you will never possess the abilities to ever completely get it right? Chapter 2
The brain is the most beautiful and complex aspect of our anatomy, however the majority of the technical and biological information about the brain goes over my head; so I suppose all of the information about neurons, impulses and what not fall under the category of what I have “learned” from the chapter. I found the position of monism most interesting, or possibly most difficult to understand because they attempt to account for all the complexity of our functions and exclude the existence of our soul or spirit. I cannot imagine denying the obvious fact that there is a soul and or spirit that lives inside each one of us, not to mention trying to explain our desires and tendencies based off of that denial.
What fascinates me that a behavior can be chemically treated, when the exact cause of that behavior is unknown. A question asked in the text is: “Is it appropriate to seek physical solutions to problems that appear to be primarily personal or social in their origin?” In my opinion there are very few problems that are exclusively physical, and therefore I do not feel that the necessary treatment will be exclusively physical. The chapter forces us to realize our selfish human nature when it calls out our tendency to judge the value of a person based on how functional they are. This is another example of how much we can appreciate God’s love for us and our unique design. A direct reflection of God’s image in us as humans is the fact that “the...