The New Religion of the Therapeutic

In my observations, a new “religion” of sorts has developed in our culture and society, one that centers the (perceived) therapeutic. In this new “religion,” mental health is the new salvation; psychologists are the new priesthood; therapy is the new sacramentalism; self-care the new spiritual discipline; and the idea that we should only do or say things that are affirming is its dogma.

Now, don’t get me wrong; there’s obviously good to be had in psychology, therapy, etc. Mental health is a good thing and something we should be concerned with as Christians. And there are many things we as Christians can learn from psychology, therapists, etc., especially in those areas where the church has largely previously failed.

But these ideas, when unmoored from Christian convictions (e.g., of what constitutes “health”) actually enter in as an alternative framework (worldview), which will prove dangerous (and already is), even as it easily hijacks Christian language in its propagation.

Psychology & Christianity: Five Views – Goodreads Review

Psychology & Christianity: Five ViewsPsychology & Christianity: Five Views by Eric L. Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great book.

At times it felt less like reading a multiple view book and more like reading a collection of complementary essays from very similarly positions. Philosophically, it seems like the latter 4 views are more complementary than contradictory, although the Biblical Counseling view seems like it would differ a bit in terms of practice. Even the authors of these views recognized the complementary reality of their positions. Their main differences seemed to be that of emphasis.

In contrast, I found the levels of explanation author rather frustrating. He seemed very naive concerning the philosophical and epistemological discussion being had by the other authors and often didn’t seem like he was really understanding what the other authors were saying. I had a hard time respecting him.

In sum, a very helpful and insightful book. Definitely a “thick” read.

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