When God Truly Matters: A Theistic Approach to Psychology

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Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion





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Our study of the philosophy of social science has led us to realize that many psychologists, including ourselves, have participated in a kind of popular myth, sometimes known as the myth of neutrality. The primary feature of this myth is the supposition that the research fijindings and conceptual practices of secular psychology are essentially neutral to or compatible with various worldviews, including theism. Instead of being bias-free or biasminimized, the research and practice of psychologists presupposes certain assumptions or biases about the world. We explicate some of the more important assumptions of conventional methodology and practice and compare these assumptions to the theistic assumption of a currently and practically relevant God. We fijind that theistic conceptualizations are considerably diffferent from secular conceptualizations, not only in their hypotheses about psychological events but also in their practical applications to psychological problems. These diffferences, we believe, suggest the need for a theistic approach to psychology as a complement to our currently secular approach to psychology. We describe how this is possible by pointing to several applied branches of this theistic approach, including other articles of this special Journal issue, which relate to programs of research and approaches to practice.