What the movie made me realize that I already knew, is that Christianity is more than just morality. It is more than a way of interpreting the world around us. It is more than a social group where we can find people who think like us and act like us.
It is psychological counseling. Raw, human behavior and controlling our reactions to the stimulus that produce the behavior. According to medicalnewstoday.com, “The word “psychology” comes from the Greek word psyche meaning “breath, spirit, soul”, and the Greek word logia meaning the study of something.”
But the modern day definition of psychology has removed any reference to the “breath, spirit, soul” that forms the word. And this is extremely disheartening to some, but for most is trivial.
The teachings of Christianity (and most religions for that matter) deal directly with the very issues that modern psychology seeks to address, but that only comes up through counseling and not the actual study of human behavior and mental functioning.
The reality is this: beliefs change behavior. But I do not mean beliefs in the Western sense of “oh, I believe in God and stuff.” I mean from the standpoint of a belief that gives a person their worldview, perspective, and overall ability to process interactions with persons and things in the world around them.
You cannot separate psychological counseling and religion. They go hand-in-hand. I would even argue that our current system of psychological study in the academic world is failing to properly study their subjects by ignoring the impacts of religious beliefs on people. That is a sweeping statement and does not intend to suggest that ALL psychologist separate faith and psychology in their study and treatment of persons. I cannot presume to have that kind of knowledge.
Here is what I do know. I went to a “Christian” psychologist for some anger issues years ago. It was not “spiritual” as I thought it would be, and perhaps should be. I imagine it went much the same as most secular psychologist would have approached the situation. “Why are you here and what do you want the outcome of these visits to be?” That was the first question. The next series of questions revolved around my cognitive familial history. In other words, who was around me growing up that had influence over how I reacted to situations by either modeling the behavior for me or by re-enforcing the behaviors that I was acting out at the time? Then we (my wife was with me for all the visits) came back for two more visits where we learned some techniques to help me out.
When it came time to address how to handle these situations I was the one who brought up scripture. Otherwise I do not believe the “Christian” psychologist would have said anything at all. Did his tips help? Without a doubt. So why even bother with a more soul, spirit, or faith based prescription?
Here is the other key to this whole thing. If we are talking from a purely psychological standpoint of understanding the mind and how it works then I really do not believe that much “good” can come from that.
If, however, we are talking about counseling people in the understanding and application of scripture; in finding hope and encouragement from the promises of God; in teaching persons how to fight through various trials and temptations; in providing life-long healing from mental anguish as a result of trauma in someone’s life…then I am by all means in favor of such practice. I do not believe that a person has to have a degree in counseling to provide such service either, but they do need a firm grasp of scripture and its application to our lives.
Will it work for everyone?
NO!!! You have to get counsel from those who have the same beliefs as you do. Otherwise you will more than likely fail at following through with their advice.
Anyways, this did not turn out how it was supposed to. Watch the movie and you will see the kind of inspiration that I am talking about for effecting change in behaviors. Or don’t. I don’t care.