What does a Christian worldview have to do with studying psychology?

June 23, 2017

In one respect, the Christian worldview has little to do with to studying psychology. In another respect, it is crucial.

In 1879, three years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychology laboratory. Wundt and the “fathers” of modern scientific psychology applied scientific methods understand psychological phenomenon. Scientific psychology today, like in 1879, applies scientific methods to describe psychological characteristics and to understand “how it works.” Scientific psychology deals with proximate causes. Proximate means the cause that is closest to the event – how something happens. “How do we see?” “What happens when neurons fires?” “How do people behave in social situations?” The goal of scientific psychology is to discover how every mental power and capacity works.

But scientific methods cannot answer ultimate questions. Science cannot answer, “Why do we see?” “How does the activity of neurons give rise to the subjective experience of consciousness?” “Why do humans behave badly in social situations?” “Was human psychology created by God or is it the result of evolution by natural selection?” “Why is there mental pain and suffering?” We can examine every topic in psychology in terms of proximate and ultimate causes. The Christian worldview gives meaning and purpose and answers to life’s ultimate questions.

Categories: Psychology