This thought is poignantly illustrated by Christian psychologist William Kirk Kilpatrick. He says, “In fact, when people hear that I’m involved with both psychology and Christianity, they generally assume I’m working on a synthesis to bring the two closer together, to patch up whatever remaining differences there might be. ‘Aren’t psychology and religion just two different ways of getting at the same thing?’ It’s a question I often hear.“
Dr. Kilpatrick goes on to make the point even more clearly when he observes, “It is true that popular psychology shares much in common with Eastern religion; in fact, a merger is well under way. But if you’re talking about Christianity, it is much truer to say that psychology and religion are competing faiths. If you seriously hold to one set of values, you logically have to reject the other.“
Kilpatrick’s idea of “competing faiths” is well illustrated in THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MENTAL HEALTH, written many years ago by Louis P. Thorpe. Though somewhat dated in terms of publication, Thorpe, nevertheless, expresses quite well what is still the prevailing attitude within the secular psychological establishment. In chapter seventeen, which he devotes to the subject of “Religion, Ethics, and Mental Health,” Thorpe comments rather tersely on the matter of biblical norms.
“Religious groups which…over-emphasize the threat of ‘sin’ and the rewards of the supposed ‘life hereafter’ as a substitute for enjoyment of life in the present are likely to foster mental ill health.
Another aspect of the last named problem is that of utilizing religion as a means escape from reality or as a dependency mechanism which encourages the individual to ‘cast his burdens on the Lord’ and cease to do anything about them himself.“
Even a superficial examination of the above statement reveals a most serious incongruence between Biblical Christianity and secular psychology. Thus, the Christian who counsels is faced with a serious dilemma.
Dennis D. Frey, Directionism: A Biblical Approach to Counseling Methodology (Newburgh, IN: GMA; Inspirat