In a previous post, I discussed thinkers who hacked the American Christian mind by developing a secular worldview counter to the Biblical one. In this post I want to dive into what I think is a huge issue for the Church: Psychoanalysis being used over Reasoning from Scripture.
Link to the intial article: https://revivalinjesusway.wordpress.com/2020/11/22/thinking-on-the-roots-of-modern-culture-timeline/
Fact Value Divide
The first step for this influence was the fact-value divide. It started innocently enough, older thinkers like Descartes and Kant began to reason that the things of faith had a separate category that reason could not fully interact with. Then thinkers like Nietzsche and Heidegger reasoned that the things that are important for considering are those things in front of us those things we can touch and see and can utilize. It was reasoned the old value type things that were wrestled with again and again were too troublesome and never had satisfactory results and end up simply wasting our time. We need to focus on what we can accomplish what we can overcome and then we will find identity in that.
For the Christian the view of the split in the first place is flawed. While it is somewhat true we are not allways in-line with God’s thinking and that there are some things we are not privy to for example Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour of the last days but God alone. However, according to Paul we actually have the whole mind of God available to us. Consider what Paul says in 1 Corinthians:
Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.1 Corinthians 2: 6-12
In other words the very thing the disciple of Jesus is supposed to know and proclaim is the whole mind of God! Scripturally, while God keeps some things to Himself for His specific purpose the whole mind of God is in fact available to the believer and not a mystery. In fact, we are given God’s breathed out word through scripture (2 Tim 3:16) and this scripture can be thought through and reasoned about to real specific conclusions in many areas because we in fact have the very mind of the One who wrote them and God has not been delibertly unclear in giving us His word. Dueteronomy 30: 10-14 is a great example of this. In response to the expected charge that God’s commandments would either be too difficult to understand or to hard to do God says “the word is very near to you” “so that you can do it”.
Freud and Psychoanalysis
At the same time Freud offered a “science” which fell into the area of what we can see and touch that could delve into our human personality and hopefully give us answers about meaning. This is why although much of Freud’s analysis itself has found its way into the cultural dustbin he still continues to influence the world today. Freud gave us a model that involved digging into the cause of some way in which we behave. We can then take that cause and try to prevent it if it causes bad effects or promote it if it causes good effects. For instance with sex. Since sex itself is seen to have good effects on the mind and repression to have negative effects on the mind, we should avoid the negative repression and instead engage in the positive effects of sex. Now the disturbing thing about psychoanalysis is that we use it in such a simplified way. If a thing is seen as having too many negative effects, then it is almost exclusively agreed it must be taken out of life. Ironically reason might show that there is more too a particular effect than that but it can be dismissed because reason itself is dismissed because it is a value-judgement and not hands on enough.
The Effect on Christians
So growing up with this framework I think effects us in a major way. We tend to say that what psychoanalysis reveals and its unthought through solutions are chief values to only be superseded by very general versions of the “central gospel”. The central gospel being that only by having faith in Christ we are saved (faith here being defined by the beholder). We do this because we are brought up in a culture that values this kind of psychoanalysis, we do this because we don’t want to cause divisions or a fuss by what is not (in our definition) central to the gospel… However, we do this often giving up clear scriptural exhorations and reason.
To talk about the solution for this I want to bring up a specific touchy subject. Shame. In today’s psycoanalysis culture shame is seen as a dirty word that needs to be elimnated consider this Scientific American aricle where the author essencially progresses from the many negitive effects of shame to the conclusion that:
parents, teachers, judges and others who want to encourage constructive behavior in their charges would do well to avoid shaming rule-breakers, choosing instead to help them to understand the effects of their actions on others and to take steps to make up for their transgressions.The Scientific Underpinnings and Impacts of Shame – Scientific American
and if you look at the linked aritcles at the bottom you will find many more with a similar conclusion on the subject. We all know this idea and have become well aquanted with it. Shame = bad, it should be avoided at all costs.
Scripture however, encourages shame as a means from time to time to lead a person away from things that are in fact terribly destructive. Considiser 2 Cor 4:2, where shame of former ways has led Paul to renounce them. Or Rev 3:18 where the shamefulness of not being clothed by the things of God for this church that is not walking with God will be replaced by God with true clothes, once they repent. Shame has a function being an emotion that comes from our very good creation. It points out great disparities between us and God, or our way of life and what we are called to. It does have terrible effects and can sometimes be unfounded. However, if we treat it as if it were cut and dry something to be gotten rid of and considered as false then we will have an approach that runs contrary to scripture and Christ again and again.
In summary, as I said in the intial post we really need to 1. Be in scripture (so we can know God’s mind) and 2. To challenge our cultural understanding at every point. I cannot stress enough that there is no other solution to follow Christ that to do as Paul says and destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.