Biblical Counseling, Freud, Integration, Presuppositional apologetics, Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Theology of Biblical Counseling
The Impoverishment of Western Culture
There is an implicit claim here that symbols function as a mechanism by which a culture gains ascent over the various individuals in the culture: the means by which the superego functions. A curious question which is left unanswered is “Why symbols?”
We could argue that symbols point to the transcendent, but a proposition of Freud must be that there is no real transcendent. Why then any sort of desire or inclination in that direction? That is left unanswered. We simply learn that Freud provides us a mechanism to strip out the symbols.
We then learn that essentially Western Culture developed by means of suppressing sexual desire. (40) The control over sexual desire was the high water mark of character.
Since there is no objective morality, only pragmatics, there is no particular need for such suppression except in and so far as it is functional for the culture.
On an aside, I have noticed that the treatment for “sexual addiction” is distinction amoral in this regard. The problem is not whatever inclination, but rather whether there are negative consequences for following such an inclination.
There is an unstated morality which is present in this: Desires are inherently good. That is a moral equation in the guise of amorality. But if it were truly amoral there would be nothing better about indulging or refraining. Moreover, personal happiness could not be relevant, because anyone else’s concern for your well-being is also irrelevant. In short, the moral question is really not as absent as some pretend. It is always there; the difference is where does not draw a line?
But back to Freud: The “analytic attitude”, the aim of “therapy” is always at the distinct individual. There is no reason to “cure” any sort of desire; because what makes Mr. X happy is necessarily good. “Well-being is a delicate personal achievement”. (41)
This is taken as an ethical demand upon “therapy”. We start with the idiosyncratic evaluation of the patient and seek to assist in achieving that end.
That is fundamentally antithetical to the Christian demand. In Matthew 28, Christ places a solitary command upon the Church: “make disciples”. The process of disciple making is “teach the to observe all that I have commanded.”
Now one can reject the proposition that Christ spoke or that Christ spoke these words. That is an honest position, and the position of Freud, for instance. But for one to claim to be a “Christian” and also take a position that Freud has a contribution on this issue is perplexing.
The position of the Scripture is not terribly confusing. Yes, there can be knotty issues, but those are not the main. The center of the road is abundantly clear.
What is confusing is when someone proposes that there is any sort of integration possible at this key point. No one is contesting the ability of anyone to make observations about the relative frequency of X behavior. But when it comes to this question of the fundamental presuppositions, What is a human being, What is the purpose of a human being, What is necessary for human beings to change: those issues are beyond compromise or “integration”. When we get to presuppositions, those are questions of grammar.
In the English and German language, the sound “gift” has a fundamentally different meaning. In English you get one at Christmas. In German, it is “poison”.
Discipleship and therapy are similar in that both involve words and directions and people who know something is wrong. “Gift” sounds the same in English and German. But O the difference!
As a final note, if you are at all curious about the matter of the importance of “presupposition”, I must direct you to my brothers at:
Domain for Truth: https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com
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