First of Two Parts
Voltaire said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” This is no easy challenge in regard to either Christianity or psychiatry, with the one divided into as many variations in viewpoint as the other.
“Christianity” I define as that faith based on Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ and as God, as set forth in that remarkably short book the New Testament and, in even briefer fashion, in the ancient universal creeds. This orientation to Christianity I accept with all its supernatural implications centering in and deriving from the life, death, and bodily resurrection of Jesus. In short, it is the belief that God has broken into space and time, into history, and that he cares for us.
As a Christian I find in the Jesus of history the peace of knowing a still point in this rapidly turning world. I am also in agreement with Walter Barton when he says:
As a psychiatrist I don’t believe that scientific technology has replaced God’s truth. Nor do I believe that psychiatric jargon satisfies man’s search for meaning in his life. By the same reasoning I reject psychotherapy as a substitute for the confessional forgiveness and reconciliation. My belief doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of psychotherapy as a tool to heal the sick in mind [in Healer of the Mind, ed. by Paul Johnson, Abingdon, 1972, p. 12].
Leo Bartemeier also said something that I would like to have said first:
I am a child of God, a product of my ancestors, my family, my parish and a physician among other physicians. My concept of being a child of God is completely apart and unrelated to the psychological concept of immaturity. My spiritual relation with God supersedes all my human relations and is as eternal as my immortal soul. My soul is not ...1