I’ve been having what is to me a fascinating conversation with someone who sees things a bit differently than I do.  We are both counselors in the broad meaning of the term, though our jobs look vastly different on a daily basis.  We see eye-to-eye on many, many things theologically, and though we haven’t discussed all of the foundations of Christianity, I can say with almost 100% confidence that we agree on the major doctrines and a vast number of the minor doctrines.  In fact, I’ve learned a lot from him concerning the Christian life as we’ve been in the same small group for about 6 months now.   We both have a heart to love and care for people who are hurting and spend lots of time and effort at becoming increasingly skilled at doing so.  I will quickly say that I have a lot of learning and growing to do as a counselor, and am grateful for his many years of counseling experience that I can benefit from.

That all said, I am going to post a series of email correspondences that we have shared.  I’ll post only one side of the email first, let you read and think through the issue, respond if you’d like, then later post the reply.  Here’s the first one.  This is actually a response from him to my blog post, Psychology and Man’s Need:

I appreciate your interest and while I don’t have the references, I
believe that the link you make with higher education and faith in God is
true. I think there is a negative correlation between years of education
and belief. I also agree with your rationale. I think that the more that
we believe we can explain our human experience, the less we see a need
for God, however, I think that this path leads to despair.  I was
recently reading a book called the “Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn
Evil.” It is obviously written from a Humanistic perspective with the
main assumption that people are basically good or at worst neutral and
it is the situations we are placed in that cause us to act in evil ways.
I was struck by the author’s worldview in terms of his degradation of
people who aspire to live by moral principles and absolutes yet he is
then amazed that some people who have strong moral values can withstand
situational pressures and do the right thing. On a side note, one of his
principles that he espouses for withstanding situational pressure is to
never sacrifice personal freedom for security. This is a common
libertarian type view that is often put forth by NRA types who want to
keep their guns so it is odd to be coming from this West Coast liberal,
but the interesting thing to me was that while he was addressing things
like allowing wire taps and such for national security his example was
that of traditional marriage and that we sacrifice personal freedom for
security and that is a bad thing according to him! I say all of this to
say that when we take God and his laws for us out of the equation, life
becomes a relativistic swamp with faith in human nature as our only
hope. Given the horrible things that people do to eachother when
unchecked, I think that is a scary place to be.

The one addition that I would make to your blog if you write a follow up
is that just like traditional medicine, Psychology still has something
to offer. I think it is a mistake to ignore God’s revelation to us
through science and say only that we need to build our relationship with
Him. While the latter is always true, mental health issues are not all
crises of Faith and I think this needs to be made clear. In the same way
one would not recommend that if you have chest pain and weakness in your
left arm you should just pray about it and not seek medical attention,
one should also not give the message that if you struggle emotionally
that you should only seek spiritual guidance and not seek the knowledge
of our mind that science can provide. That is why the flip side of those
statistics is important. Nearly 70% of psychologist believe in God and
over 20% feel that God is very important. We can seek out those
psychologists to integrate Faith and science for a wholistic solution.

Can you comment to this?