Psychology: Science or Religion?
How Psychology's Truth Claims Belie Its Religious Underpinnings
by J.R. (Jen) Foster
We've all heard the expression, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." But what about when it does? 21st-century America is a psychology culture. We believe every action has an explanation and every person is conditioned by the environment they grew up in, the things which have affected them, the people they've known and their current situation. Through this framework, to some extent, all people are victims reacting to the unpredictability and confusion of life. Modern psychology promises answers and solutions. Using psychology, we can begin to make sense of everything and make better choices to live a happier life. Are these assertions true; can psychology really interpret all of life and lead us to a better one? This is the language of salvation; religious language. Any system that offers comprehensive answers to mankind's deepest questions (such as "who am I?" and "why am I here?") is religious. How does psychology measure up? One test we can apply is evaluating how successful psychology is when it comes to reformation. Our criminal population is statistically analyzed from every possible angle and the corrections system determines contract programs' validity based on their success. Study after study has found that rehabilitative goals and counseling, the purview of psychological treatment, have not meaningfully reduced recidivism. The methods, belief system, goals, and behavior modification has not worked with a literal captive audience. Furthermore, attempts to prevent crime through documenting the kind of environment, life stressors, or personalities that lead to criminal activity have also been unsuccessful. Why? Psychology's core belief in the goodness of mankind and it's humanistic roots encourage bettering oneself and finding hope and strength within. When taken outside the theoretical realm, facing unique individuals, psychologists fail. Humanity defies explanation. Law-abiding citizens produce criminal children and criminals raise children who grow up to become police chiefs. Modern society needs a deeper, more insightful savior than psychology. We need a system that can explain the dark, unfathomable depths of the human heart as well as its inexplicably complex pursuit of self-destruction. We need realistic explanations and life-changing solutions. Unfortunately, no system in mankind's search has provided this, nor does it seem likely after thousands of years. Humanity through our own resources has not, does not, and will not create a better world but rather oppression, greed, violence, and hatred. Rather than a clinical system humanity needs relationship. Forging a living, vital relationship with the Creator God who made us, knows us, and can lovingly direct us is the only possible Savior for humanity.