We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Psychological Method vs. Christianity - Part 3

Today’s episode will conclude our look at the ideology behind the roots of the “psych” fields.
Albert Ellis:
Albert Ellis was an avowed atheist who considered Christianity a cause of mental illness.  The Bobgans state that, “Atheism is the controlling philosophy behind Ellis’s theory.”  Ellis described faith in God as an “irrational belief,” and his beliefs about religion are brought to bear in several citations from his works by the Bobgans:
*  “The very essence of most organized religions is the performance of masochistic, guilt-soothing rituals, by which the religious individual gives himself permission to enjoy life.”
*  “Religiosity, to a large degree, essentially is masochism; and both are forms of mental sickness.” 
*  “If one of the requisites for emotional  health is acceptance of uncertainty, then religion is obviously the unhealthiest state imaginable: since its prime reason for being is to enable the religionist to believe in a mystical certainty.”
*  “One of his highly human, and utterly fallible, traits is that he has the ability to fantasize about, and to strongly believe in, all kinds of nonhuman entities and powers such as devils, demons, and hells, on the one hand, and angels, gods, and heavens, on the other hand.”
*  “Relying on God, or supernatural spirits or forces, or on fanatical cults, may well become an obsessive-compulsive disturbance in its own right and lead to immense harm to other people and to oneself.”
*  “[REBT] employs a large variety of evocative-emotive and behavioral-motorial methods of helping troubled individuals change their basic irrational values and philosophies and acquire more sensible, joy-producing and pain-minimizing ideas. . . it is exceptionally hard-headed, persuasive, educational, and active-directive and because it straightforwardly attacks many of the sacred myths, superstitions, and religiosities that are so prevalent among human beings.”
Now that I have mentioned REBT, let’s see just what that is.  Ellis claimed that people’s “psychological problems arise from their misperceptions and mistaken cognitions about what they perceive” and from their emotional responses to them.  His particular therapy theory is called “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy” (REBT), which was formerly called “Rational-Emotive Therapy” (RET), and is supposed to emphasize a “deep philosophical change.”
The Bobgans sum up Ellis’ theory as follows: 
The ABC’s of REBT are appealing both in their simple explanation for complex behavior and in the truth they seem to reflect.  Ellis’s REBT explanation for human behavior is (1) that emotional problems come from the person making himself disturbed through irrational beliefs and (2) that the person can make himself undisturbed through the ABC’s of REBT, that is, through admitting his feelings and then exploring what irrational beliefs are causing them and then by changing his beliefs.  The following is a brief outline of Ellis’s ABC’s:
A.  “Activating Experience.”  Other expressions used by Ellis for this category are: “Activity,” “Action” or “Agent,” also referred to as “Adversities.”
B.  “The individual’s Belief System,” which includes “irrational Beliefs” and “rational Beliefs.”
C.  “Emotional Consequences,” either “rational Consequences” or “irrational Consequences.”
D.  “Dispute the irrational Beliefs.”  The therapist disputes the client’s “irrational Beliefs” and guides the client to dispute his own “irrational Beliefs” for himself.
E.  “Effects,” also called “functioning Effects,” which are the “cognitive Effect” and “behavioral Effect.”
Ellis contended that circumstances themselves (A) do not cause “dysfunctional Consequences” (C), but that the person himself causes his own painful emotions through his “irrational Beliefs” (B).  Thus he needs to have his thinking straightened out through “disputing” (D) his “irrational Beliefs” (B) and replacing them with “rational Beliefs” (B).  This process is to bring about both “cognitive Effects” and “behavioral Effects” (E).
Although this system has some similarities to Biblical teaching, it is in reality far from it and, like all the other systems, places self as the focus of life.  Ellis said,  “Unlike the orthodox psychoanalytic and the classical behaviorist psychologies, rational-emotive therapy squarely places man in the center of the universe and of his own emotional fate and gives him almost full responsibility for choosing to make or not make himself seriously disturbed. . . .  Moreover, when he unwittingly and foolishly makes himself disturbed by devoutly believing in irrational and in unvalidatable assumptions about himself and others, he can almost always make himself undisturbed again, and can do so often - if he utilizes rational-emotive procedures.”  He also stated, “REBT acknowledges that a belief in religion, God, mysticism, Pollyannaism, and irrationality may at times help people.  But it also points out that such beliefs often do much more harm than good and block a more fully functioning life.”
The whole point of REBT is the client’s acceptance of himself as he is, no matter what sort of person he is.  The client is to just feel good about himself, and the theory at the bottom line is no more than hedonism.  Right and wrong are personal concepts and what is right for you is what makes you acceptable, while what is wrong for you needs to be “disputed” away.  It is a very man-centered philosophy.   As the Bobgans point out, “What Ellis’ theory boils down to is this: The human is worthy because he exists.  God does not exist.  Therefore the human worth exceeds God’s worth.  This anti-god doctrine controls and colors every part of his theory.”
Arthur Janov:
Arthur Janov is the developer of the “Primal Scream” therapy method.  This therapy is heavily dependent on Freud’s teachings, as well as a world view dependent on evolution. 
“According to Janov, as the child grows he has a dilemma between being himself and conforming to his parents’ expectations.  During this developmental period, the child accumulates pain from the injuries of unmet needs, such as not being fed when hungry, not being changed when wet, or being ignored when needing attention.  Primal pain occurs as the result of the conflicts between self-need and parental expectation.  Through the process of growth as conflicts continue to occur, the accumulation of primal pain results in what Janov calls the ‘Primal Pool of Pain.’  When the pool gets deep enough, just one more incident supposedly pushes the child into neurosis.  This single significant incident is labeled the ‘major Primal Scene.’ . . . It is at this point that the child finally gives up the idea of being himself in order to gain his parents’ love.  In the process of gaining approval, the child supposedly seals off his real feelings and becomes an unreal self.  Janov calls this disassociation from one’s feelings ‘neurosis.’  Janov teaches that the primal scene occurs between the ages of five and seven and is buried in the unconscious. According to Janov, the individual builds a network of defenses against even the awareness that the pain is there and he develops a life style that hides the origin of pain and merely releases the tension caused by the pain, but he is not able to eliminate it.”
Janov, like Freud and others, places the problem in the past and the blame on parents.   He has only one cure for this malady, and that is his “Primal Therapy.”  Again citing the Bobgans, “Janov theorizes that to be cured, the neurotic must return to his major primal scene where he decided to give up his real self and his real feelings in exchange for the possibility of parental love.  He must experience the emotions, the events, and the expectations of others as well as the accompanying pain in order to be cured.”
This “therapy” is supposed to be a quick cure, beginning with three weeks of individual therapy followed by six months of group therapy.  The therapist uses many props from infant and child periods of life in order to stimulate the client.  According to the Bobgans, “In group sessions there is little interchange among those present.  The Primal is king and the individual experience is supreme.  As you can imagine, it would seem like utter chaos and outright bedlam to stumble upon such a group at this time. One might find some adults sucking baby bottles, others cuddling stuffed toys, still others in adult-sized cribs, one man standing with his genitals exposed, and a woman with her breasts uncovered.  Then there was the birth simulator for those who wanted to experience the Primals that go all the way back to the womb and the birth process.  Additionally, picture thirty or forty adults on the floor, gagging, thrashing, writhing, gurgling, choking, and wailing.  Listen to the sobbing and screeching, ‘Daddy be nice!’ ‘Mommy, help!’ ‘I hate you! I hate you!’ ‘Daddy, don’t hurt me anymore!’ ‘Mommy, I’m afraid!’  And all this is punctuated by deep rattling and high-piercing screams. Today the atmosphere is less chaotic - gone are many of the props originally used.  However, the theory is still the same.”
As with all other models, this is another one that focuses on the self.
Next time we will look at whether the psych field can be considered scientific.


Drew said...

I am not particularly convinced by your series so far. Mostly the posts have consisted of ad hominem attacks against historical individuals, and not valid criticisms of any modern theories. And even some of the attacks on individuals are merely popularity-based, rather than morality-based. For example, you attack Freud for his fear of black people and his misogyny, and his theory of penis envy. I could see someone easily make the argument that fear is not itself immoral, that the Bible promotes some form of "misogyny," and that the Bible does not address penis envy whatsoever. The only reason for bringing up these ideas just seems to be to make Freud look like a joke.

Even though some of the things you mention (e.g., spiritism) are obviously unbiblical, I have not actually seen a single Bible verse cited to debunk anything. Even though you attack CEBT as unbiblical, you do not cite any verses. And you do not even give any real substantial arguments why it is unbiblical.

Obviously the primal scream theory sounds a bit absurd. And obviously anything that tells men and women to take their clothes off in a group is not good. But I don't particularly get the idea that the theory is really about nudity.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


My series so far is NOT “ad hominem attacks.” The point has been to demonstrate the ideological worldview behind the teachings of psychology. Demonstrating people’s belief systems is not an ad hominem attack. All modern theories of psychology are rooted in the teachings of these founders of the field.

I have no idea what you mean by “popularity-based” vs “morality-based.” All these founders were atheists and even antagonistic towards religion.

Freud was extremely sexually immoral, and thought all behavior was based upon some sexual dysfunction. He taught that a woman’s sexual desire was based on her nose and did destructive nasal surgeries to “cure” sexual problems. He claimed religious beliefs were illusions and problematic to a person’s “mental health.” He was heavily involved in the occult, hated women, and was a racist as well as a believer in eugenics. And you need Bible verses to demonstrate that this worldview is anti-God? And you don’t see where a teaching derived from this belief system should be suspect from the beginning?

Carl Jung had a very similar attitude towards religious beliefs as did Freud. His beliefs in necromancy were foundational to his psychological teachings, often directed by demons. And his belief in evolution also directed his belief system. And yet you need me to cite Bible passages which say this is wrong?

Adler thought his psychology was superior to religion. His teaching of “inferiority complex” is diametrically opposed to Scripture which says we all love ourselves. His teachings are all about placing one’s self above all - do you need Scripture to demonstrate the error of this?

Fromm set man up as his own god, and that man is not personally responsible for his actions - it’s always someone else’s fault. And you need Bible passages to say this is wrong?

Maslow was the ultimate self-esteem promoter - again man as his own god. His theories are also based on Freud and evolution. And you need Bible verses to say this is wrong?

Rogers’ theories were based on his occult practices, taught moral relativism, and again makes man his own god. And you need a Bible verse to say this is wrong?

Ellis says Christianity is a “mental illness” and that’s how he approaches his psychology. REBT denies sin as the root cause of man’s problems, that man just needs to be self-focused and and his own god, and yet you need a Bible verse to show this error?

Janov’s primal scream is based on evolution, which is unscientific and unbiblical. And again the self is not to blame - others are the cause of one’s problems. And yet you need a BIble verse to demonstrate the error of this belief?

And if you think the Bible teaches misogyny, then you’ve been reading the feminist playbook.

Drew said...

Again, the reason I need verses is not for the obvious stuff -- like proving that contacting demons is bad. But I do need verses to show that all humans love themselves, that no humans have inferiority complexes, that no problems are caused by our parents or others, that self-esteem is wrong, and other similar arguments that you've alluded to (but have not given much specific argument against).

And I don't particularly care whether women get their sexual desires from their nose. But if you were to convince me that this idea were unbiblical then I would need verses for that, too.

The attacks are ad hominem because they focus on these particular men, not on the theories themselves. Just picking out a dozen godless social scientists does not mean much. And many of the things you have mentioned, e.g. penis envy and psychoanalysis, are not even widely accepted anymore.

As far as Jung goes, I am personally a fan of the MBTI system. And I don't care if he got it directly from Satan himself, unless there is some scripture to debunk it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


“No one ever hated his own body...” Eph. 5:29.

How many passages do you need to to tell you to think of others an not yourself? Where in Scripture do you find even a hint that one is set themselves up as their own god? That is called idolatry!

It IS NOT ad hominem - do you even know the meaning of that logic fallacy? What I described about the beliefs of these individuals is exactly what all the psychological theories are based on. The beliefs formulated all the psychological theories of the time and are the basis for all current methodologies. The beliefs with formulated the theories are atheism, various occult beliefs, evolution, anti-women, sexual perversion, no recognition of sin or personal responsibility, etc. I noted all the beliefs; those are the beliefs that the theories and methodologies are founded on.

The entire Bible speaks against atheism and self-idolatry. The entire Bible speaks against the occult. The entire Bible speaks against evolution. The entire Bible speaks against hatred of women or people of different skin color. The entire Bible speaks agains sexual immorality. The entire Bible speaks of sin and personal responsibility. ALL these are promoted in the teachings of psychology. And yet you don’t see Biblical support to be against it?!?!

The MBTI is debunked by science and common sense.

You are obviously invested in the psych field and therefore turn off objective analysis.

It is NOT ad hominem to describe belief systems which are foundational to the psych field. It is a necessary description of what fuels it. It is also not just a few of its practitioners - those are representative of the teachings which are currently in practice, and current promoters of the field are just as involved in the same ideologies. It is an anti-Christian belief system.

Drew said...

What about people who commit suicide? Do they love their own bodies? The Bible actually says that if you engage in sexual immorality, that is sinning against your own body.

Do all psychologists seriously teach that we should "hate" women and black people? In my experience, the social scientists often tend to be the same leftists who adore women and minorities perhaps a bit TOO much.

And "self-idolatry" is such a vague term as to be meaningless. If I "think of" myself instead of thinking of others, that is sinful?

Aside from liking the MBTI system, I am not invested in psychology whatsoever. That's why I keep taking the time to read your posts and see if you come up with any interesting, piercing biblical arguments against it.

If you are ultimately determined to attack specific individuals, I think your argument would carry more weight if you picked a Christian psychologist (like Dobson maybe) and gave specific verses that contradicted specific teachings of his.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Suicide is a very complicated issue and the reasons for it are vast, but usually it is just because people don’t want any longer to deal with the world in which they are living. The reasons for it are always sinful, which is why when someone is contemplating suicide they need BIBLICAL counsel and not psychobabble.

Most of what we do in the way of sinning is against our body - over-eating, over-drinking, drugs, sex, etc. This doesn’t mean we hate our bodies - it just means we sin against them because we enjoy the sin.

Your question about all psychos teaching misogyny or racism is a strawman. I never even intimated that. I pointed these as problems with the worldviews of those who developed the field. But if you study it enough you will indeed often fine a degree of misogyny.

“Self-idolatry” is not at all vague. The whole self-esteem philosophy is self-idolatry. Scripture says we are to love others AS we love ourselves, which assumes we love ourselves to begin with.

It isn’t an issue of thinking about self that’s the problem, it is making yourself the end-all and be-all of your life. Selfishness, self-centeredness. Egoism. Scripture condemns this and even forecasts these times when “men will be lovers of self” (2 Tim 3). Take a look at Philippians 2:3-4 for proper self-esteem. All sin and unbelief is based on esteeming oneself over God. Self-esteem is all about putting your own needs first, but what does Jesus say? Mat. 6:32. Yet ALL of the psych field promotes self. Might I suggest you secure a copy of Jay Adams’ book, “The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-Image”?

Why you would like the MBTI system, directly based on Jung’s false teaching, is beyond me. It is 100% pure psychobabble and I had to do the stupid thing several times in my career. It is worthless and has no scientific basis behind it.

You again accuse me of attacking individuals rather than their worldview and teaching. So when I attack teachings of the Mormon church, am I attacking Mormons as individuals? There is a huge difference. My argument carries plenty of weight because the teachings I attacked are in all of the psych teachings today, including by Mr. Self-Esteem James Dobson. Anyone who teachings that self-esteem is the end-all and be-all is directly opposing Scripture. One of the major problems with our nation is that our kids are taught self-esteem from the earliest grades and we have the most conceited students in the world while at the same time lagging woefully behind the world in our educational standards. But boy, do they feel good about failing!

If you want a good examination of Dobson’s teachings, go to:


Drew said...

I don't think the golden rule implies that everyone already has good self-esteem. Instead, it seems like the golden rule impliedly commands us to have good self-esteem. If we don't have good self-esteem, then we can't follow the rule in any sensible way. The rule would not make much sense to a suicidal person. And the Bible does go out of its way on multiple occasions to help us understand our worth (e.g., Matthew 10:31 and Ephesians 2:6).

I will grant that an overemphasis on self-esteem, or the giving of FALSE good esteem, serves no good purpose. But I think there is more to psychology than that.

And if you want to tear Dobson apart, I think you just need to do it yourself. That link you cited is too long. I am about thirty-five pages into it and so far the attacks seem rather petty and/or unsupported by scripture.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


The “golden rule” says that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. That does indeed imply that we love ourselves. The point is that promoting self-esteem is erroneous teachings - no one lacks self-esteem, and that I can guarantee. It has nothing to do with suicidal tendencies - as I said, suicide is a complex subject and not something a pyschobabbler can deal with properly.

Our “worth” as you note from the passages has nothing to do with self-esteem teachings.

I do not want to “tear” Dr. Dobson apart anymore than I want to “tear apart” Joseph Smith or any other false teacher. You sound very much like all those followers of false teachers when their favorite goatherd is exposed - “you’re so negative” “quit tearing down people,” etc. Suppose you tell that to Jesus and the apostles as they exposed false teachers and their teachings for what they were.

Dobson teaches self-esteem psychobabble above every thing else. Dobson teaches 100% secular psychology dressed up in Christianeze. All of the secular theories place man as his own god, sin does not exist, no one is responsible for their behavior, etc. All of this is unbiblical throughout the whole of Scripture, and yet you keep demanding single verses; and I thought you were a Christian! How many passages do you want me to cite to prove that sin exists, that promotion of self is wrong, that we are responsible for our own choices and behaviors, etc?

Do you know Dobson has taught that we must forgive God if we are angry about things? Find that in the Bible, please.

I am not interested in doing an article about James Dobson’s false teachings. If you are too lazy to refer to what I pointed you to, that’s your problem. You obviously like him. He has good teachings when it comes to family relationships until he brings in psychology and then he teaches falsely. That book I pointed you to gives many, many citations from Dobson’s teachings to demonstrate their false nature. To claim that you found only “petty” complaints and nothing unbiblical tells me you lack discernment in the area of the psych field.

My articles are about the false, unbiblical nature of secular psychology - not about individuals who practice it. Any Christian who practices unbiblical systems and teaches the same is a false teacher.