Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Christian Counselors Operating from Non-Christian Worldviews

I have a high respect for Christian counselors, especially when they are offering truly Godly advice to those in their care. What concerns me is when they start giving advice that is based upon non-Christian worldviews, and unfortunately it happens much too often. Recently I received an email from New Man Magazine. In the email newsletter it had a link to an article on dealing with lustful thoughts. Here is what I read on how to deal with inappropriate sexual thoughts...

"Unfortunately, many men have conditioned themselves in adolescence with airbrushed, fantasy babes who only look like real people. If you are lusting and objectifying women throughout the day, then you are more likely to also struggle in this area in the bedroom. You need to recondition your brain.

You can actually redirect your brain's chemical pathways by placing a rubber band on your wrist and snapping it every time you objectify a woman. This way, you'll stop "rewarding" your brain for lusting, and it will begin to connect the lustful thoughts with the "ouch" pain rather than pleasure. In my many years of counseling men in this area, I've seen this exercise successfully shut down more than 80 percent of lustful thoughts or fantasies within one month! "
What is disturbing about this answer is that it seems to be largely based on behaviorism, which is a theory that is built off of a naturalistic worldview, and at its core is Anti-Christian. We are more than responses to stimuli, and the sinful nature will never be subdued by mere physiological conditioning. And even if it could, how do we know that the sexual thoughts mixed with pain would not begin to be linked, thus making the person slightly masochistic. Sin is much deeper than "brain chemical pathways," and to treat it as such is a denial of Biblical truth, even if that denial is an unconscious one. If you are struggling with inappropriate sexual thoughts and this is the bulk of the response you receive, prepare to be disappointed.

Now I am not making a blanket judgment upon everything this counselor has written, especially since this is the only thing I've read from him. Nor do I think that this author would take it as far as I have. And I'm not even saying that behavior can't be changed by linking it to something unpleasant. I am simply stating that speaking of it in entirely behovioristic terms is to operate from a non-Christian worldview. Our thoughts and desires are not merely physiological but spiritual.

We must be sure, in whichever discipline we are working, to think like Christians and be a bit more careful with the answers we give. Because trying to promote Godly truth by leaning on worldviews, even mildly, that were built upon the suppression of His truth is like trying to lose weight by over-eating.

You can read the entire article here


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At Saturday, January 19, 2008 5:04:00 PM, Anonymous Bobby Grow said...


Good post, I agree wholeheartedly with you. If all we needed was to be repaired; Christ would not have put us to death with him at the cross.

Unfortunately, I think most evangelical Bible colleges and seminaries teach their students psychology using non-Christian behaviorist models as their paradigms. My own alma mater, Multnomah, calls it "plundering the spoils," i.e. taking what is good from the secular models. But if God alone knows the heart, then why not build our psychological models from Scripture and its principles. The world can only engage in "natural theology" -- which in the end is condemnatory, since we are only talking to ourselves, instead of listening to the Lord (Romans 1).

Anyway, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir.

At Wednesday, January 23, 2008 5:25:00 PM, Anonymous Angela said...

Doug, as my husband has mentioned, I also totally agree on this one! I can't stand this kind of "Christianity" that blends Christian principals with pyscho-babble and behaviorism. Many times they are preying on man's/women's desire to get a quick fix to sinful patterns...sorry snapping a rubberband just ain't gonna cut it! Only good old fashioned repentance and leaning on the Lord!

Great post!



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