The author of this report has been asked to review an article on a ministry-related website and offer a retort or support for the message extended and explained on that page. While the page seems to be fully educated and informed in many ways, the page exudes anti-psychology animosity that very much mirrors and patterns itself after the anti-Christian rhetoric that is spewed by many scientific minds and/or psychology experts. While the AWMI article makes some good points but it’s an overcorrection from the anti-God sentiments on the other side of the argument.
As noted in the introduction, the AWMI article is not entirely bad. However, it delves a little too much into being simplistic and anti-psychology. Further, there is more than enough room for both psychology and spirituality (of any sort) to exist side by side. Both sides have some valid points and both sides have some benefit. For example, the AWMI article has four points about halfway down that are (mostly) on point but are themselves the same thing they claim they are not. For example, people do indeed blame their environment entirely too much for what they do and what they leave undone. This is often use as a crutch to explain or justify bad behavior and it happens entirely too much. For example, someone growing up in the inner city might be expected to be more prone to sell drugs to get by but it is very hard to explain and justify someone that robs a store, shoots people or joins a gang as that behavior is less about surviving and more about simply being a predator with no regard to the feelings and safety of others.
However, someone that is raised around depravity and abuse is going to have a very different perspective and way of thinking than someone who is raised in a supportive and peaceful environment. It is like suggesting that sneaking up (even accidentally) on a person suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder should not be so reflexive when they are startled. To suggest that someone would not or should not be changed by bombs dropping all around them or being shot at as compared to someone who experiences none of that is beyond silly as compared to reality (Krause, 2009). Similarly, many football players, professional wrestlers and others have been proven to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). These people have engaged in horrific acts of savagery that cannot be explained by anything logical or spiritual unless one wants to go the “demons” route. For example, the former football player Junior Seau tried suicide multiple times and was ultimately successful and desired to have his body donated to science. Chris Benoit, former wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment, smothered his wife and kid and then hung himself with a weightlifting strap with weights secured to the end. Rational people of sound mind do not act like that and using religious vernacular to classify it really does not pass the “smell test” (Keating, 2012).
The absolutists, both in religion and in psychology, need to understand that religion and psychology need not be at odds. The author of this report has seen more than one study and article that supports spirituality within medicine in general (including psychology) but to suggest that modern medicine is of no import or impact to people that are acting and behaving oddly or violently with no explanation is not acceptable or true either. As with most things, a middle ground should be found.
Keating, P. (2012, March 17). After the aftermath. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7930585/nfl-junior-seau-suicide-raises-more-questions-nfl-handling-concussions-espn-magazine
Krause, R. (2009). War and living with PTSD: Vietnam 1969-1970 and the Cambodia
incursion in 1970: A grunt in the infantry: Personal reflections of the 60’s and how war affects today and the future. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
Wommack, A. (2015, January 7). Psychology vs. Christianity – Article – Andrew
Wommack Ministries. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/psychology_christianity
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