Thursday, March 20, 2014

Psychopathology from a Christian Worldview

Since my time now is consumed with completing assignments for school, I decided to share some of my work. Feel free to critique!

Psychopathology, through a Christian or Biblical worldview requires complex understanding based on a simple principle. Jesus is our savior and the answer to all that is wrong. Per the Bible, God provides all of our needs and is available to us unconditionally in any circumstance at any time. In the book of Joshua, the Lord tells us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIV) Through this explanation, we are assured that God is present and that we can rely on Him. As His children who are saved by His grace, we should be able to reconcile all problems through our trust and faith in God. However, it seems that we often face difficulties in which we need help from another human or even from medications. To add to the complication, non-believers often equate religion with abnormality. A prominent figure in the field of Psychology, Jung defines the spiritual as “that which opposes instinct.” (Nicole, 1946, p. 154). How then as Christian counselors, are we to approach the field of Psychopathology from a Biblical worldview? First and foremost, it is important to take a clear stance on our beliefs. Our views should be outlined that we as Christian counselors do represent Jesus and all of His teachings. However, we also recognize that God provides in many ways. God-breathed scripture references mental illness in several places throughout the Bible such as Fetus accusing Paul of being insane in Acts, chapter 26. We also read about King Nebuchadnezzer’s request to have David interpret his dreams. We cannot compare the interpretation to today’s definition because David was receiving his revelations from God.  A Christian definition of Psychopathology would be the weakness of the mind that produces abnormalities as related to the relationship between God, man and the world that prevents a person from carrying out tasks necessary to live and for maintaining a self-determined level of contentment and peace. This definition is similar to that of a secular world but takes into account a standard for normal. The standard here is the relationship with God and the achievement of living in peace. That is not to imply that a Christian who is normal will not experience trials and suffering. However, there is a general peace in day to day living. The secular definition may go as far as to say that those who believe in God should be considered psychopathic. The variance is the intangible. Although the secular view of psychopathology expects that normal is in correlation with peace, it does not allow for anything more than what can be measured empirically.
Our relationship with God cannot be measured by the world’s standards. Just as Festus believed that Paul was insane for speaking truth about the Messiah, secular minds speak out against believers today. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul says, “But he [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (NIV).
Reference

Nicole, J. Ernest. (1946). Psychopathology: a survey of modern approaches. 4th ed. Baltimore,

            MD: Williams & Wilkins.