Is psychology at war with religion? While psychology has traditionally seen religion as a foe, recently some pioneering Christian psychologists and psychiatrists have questioned the premise by working to show the therapeutic value of religion. CT has covered this minority movement by featuring cover stories on how the recovery movement has borrowed heavily from evangelical piety (July 22, 1992, p. 14) and how many hospitals have set up Christian psychiatric units (May 18, 1992, p. 22).
For this issue we continue the coverage by revealing what psychology’s own tools—empirical research—say about those with religious faith. In “Holy Health,” Christopher Hall, a young writer and scholar (whose name you will see often in future issues), interviews David Larson, a researcher for the federal goverment, who has documented the mental and physical advantages religiously committed people seem to have over their counterparts. In the same vein, Hope College’s David Myers offers the surprising results of social psychology’s research in “Who’s Happy? Who’s Not?” Without giving away the punch line, let’s just say the happiest people are not the young, agnostic hedonists that modern stereotypes would have us expect.
So much for the empirical basis for psychology’s bias against religion. But there is another side to the battlefront—that is, how the church sees psychology. Is it a competing religion that threatens the church or a God-given tool Christians can use to promote healing? Late this spring we will investigate the growing discomfort some feel with the inroads psychology has made into the church.
MICHAEL G. MAUDLIN, Associate Editor1
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