religion, christianity, articles
Firm Foundation Logo

Psycho - Quackery: A Trojan Horse - Part II

By Lindell Mitchell

religion, articles, christianity

I arrived at Freed-Hardeman University in the Fall of 1976 with unbounded enthusiasm. The introductory psychology courses at Holmes Junior College had intrigued me. The thought of treating sick minds with the precision of surgical interventions was exciting. (I did not know the mythic nature of such grandiose claims at the time.) I entered my studies with the exuberance of youth.

My uncle, W.E. Wilson, a noted educator and counselor, dismissed the contradictory theories of personality development as irrelevant. He regarded the therapeutic techniques as manipulative and dangerous. He said of what I was studying, "I have tried to forget as much of it as possible." He was saying, "Slow down and critically review what you are accepting as true."

Experience and reflection have shown the wisdom of my uncle's words. An honest evaluation of the philosophical foundation of modem psycho-therapeutic arbitration is alarming to those who revere God's word. The most influential theoreticians of psychotherapy are hostile to Christianity.

Sadly, what is called "Christian psychology" is often derived from the same contradictory theories and techniques as the anti-Christian secular psychologies. Naive Christians who uncritically embrace modem psychology are playing with fire. The attempt to dispense what is called a beneficial blend of psychology and Christianity is incredibly dangerous.

Many seem unaware that the theories and techniques devised by Freud, Jung, Rogers, Janov, Ellis, Adler, Beme, Fromm, Maslow, Skinner, and others do not flow from people who believe in Jesus. Nor did they develop a psychological system built upon God's word (Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Psycho-Heresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity, p. 5). In fact, many of them are openly hostile to religion. Freud considered religious people crazy.

The innovators of psychological theories tried to understand man apart from the Bible and created unbiblical systems to explain the nature of man and equally unbiblical ways to change him. People like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung undermined confidence in Christianity and established therapeutic systems directly opposed to God's word. Atheism, occultism, and acute antagonism towards Christianity were masked with high-toned scientific sounding psychological jargon.

Freud attempted to reduce religious beliefs to illusions and called religion "the obsessional neurosis of humanity" (Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion, p. 43). Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry, contends, "One of Freud's most powerful motives in life was to inflict vengeance on Christianity for its traditional anti-Semitism" (Thomas Szasz, The Myth of psychotherapy, p. 146). Freud observed neither humanity nor religion objectively. All humanly devised philosophies reveal more about the philosopher than the mysteries of life. Therapeutic interventions seek to force compliance with the philosopher's perceptions of reality. Under no circumstances is Freudian psychology useful to a Christian. How could an aberrant system be employed without undermining faith?

While Freud was a disgruntled Jew, Carl Jung was the disgruntled son of a Protestant minister (Bobgan, p. 12). He found the Christian Communion to be dull and lifeless, so he renounced Christianity. Jung did not follow his mentor, Dr. Freud, in denying all religions. Instead he concluded they were myths but contained some truth about the human psyche. Since he viewed all religions as containing some truth, Jung denied the authority of the Bible and Jesus' claim to be the only way of salvation.

In repudiating Christianity, Jung became involved in idolatry. He replaced and renamed all things Christian with his own mythology of archetypes (humble fellow). As his thinking progressed, the archetypes took form and served him as familiar spirits (Bobgan, p. 14). Jung even claimed to have a personal spirit guide named Philemon. Jung thought he could talk to the dead, and the dead could talk back (Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 18, 70-199).

Instead of objective observation and scientific discovery, both Freud and Jung turned their personal experience into a new belief system called psychoanalysis. Freud tried to destroy man's spirituality by reducing religion to what he called illusion and neurosis. Jung sought to defame man's spirituality by declaring all religion to be fable and fantasy.

Carl Rogers is another influential pioneer of psychotherapy. While a student at Union Theological Seminary, be and some classmates allegedly "thought themselves right out of religious work" (Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person, p. 8). Rogers renounced Christianity to become one of the most respected leaders of humanistic psychology. Psychology attracted him because of his interest in "questions as to the meaning of life," but he refused to accept the restrictions imposed by Christian doctrine (Rogers, p. 8). Rogers not only embraced the religion of secular humanism; he later embraced the occult by engaging in necromancy (William Kirk Kilpatrick, The Emperor's New Clothes, p. 177).

How can men who have repudiated Christianity have anything helpful to say to God's people about how to live?

Christianity and psychotherapy rest on different foundations, move in contrasting directions, and operate through opposing belief systems; they have never been, and can never be natural companions in helping people cope (Bobgan, p. 15). The once-delivered faith has been displaced by a pale substitute faith. This new faith is disguised as medicine or science but is based on nothing more than the hot air of proud men afflicted with delusions of grandeur. Psycho-therapy, as commonly practiced, is a surrogate religion. Szasz argues:

Contrition, confession, prayer, faith, inner resolution, and countless other elements are expropriated and renamed as psychotherapy; whereas certain observances, rituals, taboos, and other elements of religion are demeaned and destroyed as symptoms of neurotic or psychotic 'illness' (Szasz, p. 188).

Ideas have consequences. One's philosophical base makes a difference. Trying to impose psychotherapeutic theory and technique in God's church is like trying to energize a horse with gasoline! A powerful reaction is assured, but it may not be the one intended It is similar to Mr. Yeltisn's hapless attempts to develop a free-market economy using the theories and institutions of Marxism. The two systems are incompatible. Marxists' institutions were designed to force compliance with Marxists' views of economic reality. A free-market economy will not result from such institutions. The research cited in the next installment will show that psychological explanations about life and psychological solutions to life's problems are questionable at best and destructive at worst. It will also show them to constitute a spiritual farce.

The contradictions, failures, and false promises of psychology are becoming increasingly evident to the public. However, many continue to think in psychological terms and seek psychological solutions to help cope with life. I hope to help cut the psychological cord so that God's people might once again seek him and follow his way. My fervent prayer is that we may persuade our brothers involved in the helping professions to abandon the broken cisterns of human ideology. Surely we can devise helping mechanisms consistent with God's word. This is superior to modifying the Bible to fit the bankrupt systems of men. Their theories and techniques are ungodly, unscientific systems advocated by the avowed enemies of the cross. Let us come out from among them and be separate.

Carpe Diem

Published October 1992