Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1411 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

¶ … integrative approach to psychology and Christianity

Entwistle, David N. An Integrative Approach to Psychology and Christianity. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2004.

Faith and science, in contemporary culture, have been constructed as polarized hermeneutical frameworks. Psychology, an analytic discipline that sprang from science, is similarly seen as incompatible with faith and Christianity. This puts pastoral counselors in something of a bind, according to David Entwistle in his text an Integrative Approach to Psychology and Christianity. How to reconcile "Athens and Jerusalem" or faith and the practice of psychological analysis and interpretation? (Entwistle 2004: 9) This sense that an individual must 'choose' between faith and reason can be traced back to Galileo, who was condemned by the Catholic Church for questioning its view of the universe (Entwistle 2004: 23). In Galileo's case, dogma held sway over empirical observation (Entwistle 2004: 23). Today, it is assumed that a scientist sees an individual suffering from schizophrenia as a psychopathological condition, and Christian sees someone possessed with a demon (Entwistle 2004: 85).

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Because psychology emerged from science, Entwistle devotes the first chapters of his text to demonstrating the fact that the relationship between faith and science is far more complex than is usually portrayed in popular culture, psychology journals, or Christian media. In fact, it is just as easy to say that the concept of scientific observation arose from the rational discourse deployed by Early Christian theologians, such as Anselm and Aquinas (Entwistle 2004: 26). Entwistle writes: "Much of Christendom saw science as a noble and godly calling" (Entwistle 2004: 47). Today, sometimes faith and science may be in conflict but they are not necessarily incommensurate.

Term Paper on Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity Assignment

The original domain of pre-scientific psychology was theological in nature, the interior life of the individual was the provenance of religion for "the church was the prime vehicle for the care of the soul" (Entwistle 2004: 44). As the new science of psychology moved in its focus to psychopathology, however, it seemingly encroached on theology's domain of the soul (49). Initial resistance to Freud within the theological community, Entwistle writes, was not due to Freud's true teaching, but a misunderstanding that Freud's focus on sexual repression meant that Freud was calling for an end to all social inhibitions, and for all human beings to unleash their "darkest" impulses (Entwistle 2004: 49).

Contemporary fundamentalist critics, in contrast to liberal Protestant denominations tend to take an "anti-intellectual, anti-social action, and anti-ecumenical stance," that fails to address the actual content of psychological research and theories (Entwistle 2004: 55). Entwistle is highly critical of theologians who refuse to see the benefits of scientific insight in helping others, as well as psychologists who see religion as anathema to psychological health. Yet true to the title of his text, Entwistle is equally critical of individuals who do not outright condemn the opposite camp of believers or therapists, although "fail to discern any fundamental unifying structure that is common to both disciplines" of psychology and Christianity (Entwistle 2004: 207). Rather, Entwistle calls for an acknowledgement of the integrative worldview of psychology and Christianity, which both see the essence of human beings as imperfect, yet good.

He calls foundational integration that allows for the interrelationship between faith and science. He seeks a systematic approach to the soul and human life, a scholarly and applied integration within the academy and a public end to the hostilities between psychology and religion (Entwistle 2004: 243-245). Both lines of reasoning seek to create a sense of psychic wholeness, and address social issues. Psychologists cannot ignore the quest for meaning felt by the human species, "conversely if a pastoral counselor admits that human beings are biological beings, yet persists in using only religious interventions in a case where there is in need for biological intervention," such as if a schizophrenic requires medical intervention, "there has been a failure of interdisciplinary integration," and this will result in a failed treatment plan (Entwistle 2004: 244).

Personal Reflection

Religion has caused the death of thousands of people," said the girl in my high school history class. When I pointed out that the same objection could be raised in regards to Darwinism, given the inequities that Social Darwinism was used to excuse, she simply brushed me off. I tried… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity.  (2007, November 3).  Retrieved February 23, 2020, from

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"Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity."  3 November 2007.  Web.  23 February 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity."  November 3, 2007.  Accessed February 23, 2020.