Christian Life and the Unconscious, by Ernest White. Harper, New York, 1955. $3.00.
Writings in the field of psychiatry, especially as that field relates to man’s religious life, must meet two main requirements for the Christian. Such writings must reveal true understanding of scriptural doctrine and must indicate competence and insight into scientific psychology and psychiatry. This book of 190 pages meets both of those requirements to a high degree. Furthermore, these two highly commendable features of the book come together in many satisfying observations on the deeper spiritual issues of life and in much counsel that is biblically oriented and psychologically sound.
The author, a practicing physician with a deep interest in psychiatry developed since 1936, has worked in association with Leslie Weatherhead at the City Temple Clinic in London. He describes and uses accurately concepts like the unconscious, ego, id, super-ego, the collective unconscious, archetypes, etc. He can speak of Freud and Freudian teachings without becoming involved in the frothy pansexualism that the popular mind understands as the teaching of the man from Vienna. He understands the dynamic motivation of behavior, and realizes that such motivation to action belongs “ … rather to instinct and emotion than to intellect” (pp. 19 f.).
White’s main concern is with the Unconscious mind, that large hidden area of the personality that affects all of human life so profoundly. The author identifies the biblical term “heart” with modern psychology’s “mind” in both its conscious and unconscious aspect. He stresses the “unity of the mind” and rejects any notion of the personality ...1
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