Monday, August 11, 2008

Secular and Religious Psychology

I would say, there are two kinds of psychology. There are secular psychology and religious psychology. Both deal with human psychological realm, however, they have different goals.

There is Christian psychology, Muslim (especially, Sufi) psychology, Buddhist psychology, and so on. They have some similar principles in opposition to secular psychology. The main purpose of religion psychology is religious self-improvement and self-perfecting. It is also used to help other people who have psychological and spiritual needs with religious means. The stress in religious psychology is on self-analysis, self-judgment, self-improvement.

During the history, many people were interested about human psychological realm long before modern secular psychology. However, psychological knowledge was inside of religion. In the Bible, in Koran, and other religious writings there are many things that deal with human psychological realm. Many religious people practiced these principles and taught others.

Secular psychology deals with a psychological realm of people in very objective and analytical way. Secular psychologists try to be scientific and tend to deny religious knowledge.

I think the best way is the combination of religion and psychology. Secular psychology by itself is not sufficient to solve all the human psychological problems and needs.

It looks like that even some psychologists eventually realize that secular western psychology is not sufficient. For example, Lynn Wilcox, Ph.D. psychologist and professor of California State University and also a practicing Sufi, wrote a book Sufism & Psychology: A comparative study of Western Psychology and Sufi Psychology. Though she is Sufi (Sufism is a part of Islam) and not a Christian, she stresses that secular psychology is not sufficient. There is a need for religious psychology. Since she is a Sufi, she considers Sufism as an alternative to secular psychology. Christianity has its own religious psychology. So, of course, Sufism is not the only alternative to secular psychology. However, this is interesting that she reached a lot in psychology and then realized that it is not sufficient. Unfortunately, many psychologists put psychology almost on the place of God.

No comments: