The Bible is God’s written Word–without error and able to transform people. Psychology proposes man-made theories to handle life’s problems. In this provocative article, Julie Ganschow spells out some of the differences and concludes that many people diagnosed with a mental disorder are soul sick, not brain sick. Julie is the director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center. Her article appeared first here and is used with permission.
In the realm of counseling, there are many standards used to evaluate and determine the health and well-being of a person. Some of the standards are medical ones and can be supported and proven by solid scientific testing.
The case for this is made, for example, when a person is suffering from depression. All medical potentialities must be eliminated from the equation before the psychological diagnosis of “depression” can be applied.
Most of the standards applied to counseling are not built on solid scientific methodology but in reality are pseudo-scientific studies of behavior and mental processes, and the behavior of organisms. The truth about psychology is there is actually little that is scientific about how behaviors and mental processes are conducted, and little that is scientific about the psychological approach to studying organisms.
Serious questions must be raised about the reliability of these standards, for many of them use data reanalysis, (which is often faulty to begin with), field trials, combining data from separate studies, and the use of unpublished data sets. These are all methods used in the pseudo-scientific approach
Psychology relies upon various theories of personality to help people with the problems of life. Psychologists propose biological theories that suggest genetics are responsible for personality, and promote behavioral theories that suggest personality is a result of interaction between the individual and their environment.
These theories emphasize the influence of the subconscious mind and childhood experiences on personality and they promote humanistic theories that emphasize the importance of free will and individual experience in the development of personality.
The authors of each of these types and sub-types of personality theories have decided what their standard for normal and abnormal are based on their criteria.
What Is Normal?
In our present day, much of what is considered “normal” is based on current social norms. For example, there was a time not too long ago when homosexuality was considered abnormal and those who behaved in this manner were considered mentally ill and deviant. This is no longer the case because the standards for acceptable behavior have changed. Because all their data is subjective–without any hard scientific data–these theories can be changed at any time.
The use of subjective data such as logging of human emotions, feelings, and behavior is not good science. These things are all open to interpretation and the observation will be slanted or colored by the person doing the observing. We apply human logic to what we see and then speculate as to why they are doing what we see them doing.
Furthermore, psychologists believe emotional and behavior problems have either an organic (physical) or an emotional (mental) basis and, as such, are not related to the spirit or spiritual causes.
God’s Absolute Standard
This is why God has imposed His Word as the absolute standard for right and wrong, normal and abnormal. It is the perfect, irrefutable, and unchangeable standard by which mankind can live.
When Jesus was presented with people who were convulsive, violent, and self-destructive, He did not diagnose them as manic depressive or schizophrenic. These people were determined to be in deep spiritual trouble! Jesus did not consult a theory of personality; He knew that the issues of man were spiritual ones and He counseled them accordingly.
The Bible does not present a theory of personality, but it is clear on God’s viewpoint on man. Contrary to humanistic thinking God has an entirely different opinion of us. His Word reveals to us why it is pure foolishness to look at man for the problems we face.
‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
The Bible is its own authority, and it always supports itself as being the truth. The Bible gives us numerous insights regarding how intimately God is involved in the emotional and mental life of His people.
Nothing escapes God’s notice—no thought, belief, desire, want, or perceived need—and He is the one who restores us to health and wholeness when we are ill in any way. Most often, people who are diagnosed with some sort of mental disorder are soul sick, not brain sick.
How do we know right from wrong? The Word of God is our guide, and it lays out clear standards for righteous behavior versus the secular therapist who uses cultural determination as his standard.