In a report published in the magazine Monitor on Psychology: A Publication of the American Psychological Association (February 2008, Vol. 39, No. 2), “the majority of clinicians regard their spirituality as important, and religion, in general, as beneficial to mental health…however, clinical psychologists are much less religious than the general population.” (page 10) They cite that over 90% of the general public believes in God, while less than 70% of psychologists claim belief in God. Over 50% of the general population ranked religion as “very important”, while only slightly more than 20% of psychologists.

Why? Though there may be many reasons, it seems that, as man increases in knowledge, he perceives himself to have less of a need for God. If he can explain, scientifically, how the human body works, and prescribe medications that “fix” it, then what need does he have for a transcendent God? To these people, God is a crutch for the weak, who can’t make it through life and need something/someone to fall back on. Since they don’t have the emotional and intellectual tools necessary to cope and succeed in life, they need to craft a god that will help them make sense of life. I would imagine that the discrepancy between the general public and psychologists’ belief in God would not be limited to psychology, but would be seen throughout academia.

But man’s need for God is not based on the ability, or the lack thereof, to explain the human body and postulate theories on the origins of the universe. Our need is also not based on some people’s inability to develop healthy relationships and make sense of life. Our need for God is, in one sense, a result of our sin. Our sin has separated us from God, and broken our relationship with Him. Our sin nature keeps us from perfect fellowship with God, and the sins that easily entangle us break the beautiful communion that even those who are saved experience. In the way that my communion/fellowship with my wife wanes when I sin against her, so sin separates us from God. But our need for God is not solely derivative of our sin nature. Our need for God is rooted in the creation account. Man needed God even before the Fall (Genesis 3), evidenced in the fact that God spoke directly to man, telling him what he needed to do (Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful and multiply…”). Man could not figure out life on his own, so God spoke to us. This is part of what it means to be human, that we need truth spoken to us from outside of ourselves.

We were created with a need for God, and that needs exponentially increases because of our sin. So what does this have to do with psychological health? Whatever difficulty you’re going through in life, let that point you back to your relationship with God. If your relationship with God is broken, you it is reasonable to expect that other areas of your life may be broken as well. Start by working on your walk with Christ. You need Christ, and not just because you are weak and broken because of your sin (though this need is great). You were created to need Him. Run back to Christ, and trust that, though life will still be difficult, you are a child of the king, in whom all things are held together. (Colossians 1:17)