Episode #56: Reading the News With Wisdom, Part 2

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In the second episode of this two part series, pastors Derek and Cliff discuss a few recent articles on the topics of quiet quitting, science as religion, and a psychologist turned biblical counselor.  


Derek: Welcome to With All Wisdom, where we are applying biblical truth to everyday life. My name is Derek Brown, and I’m here today with Cliff McManis. We are both pastors and elders at Creekside Bible Church in Cupertino, California, and professors of theology at the Cornerstone Bible College and Seminary in Vallejo, California. And today we are in part two of a series on reading the news with wisdom. So we encourage you to go back and listen to episode number 55, where we lay down some basic principles on how to read the news, how to understand assumptions behind headlines, even talking about how much you should read the news. And then today we are actually going to get into looking at some articles, reading some headlines, and diving deeper into them and trying to assess them from a Christian worldview. And so before we get to that, though, I want to encourage you, if you haven’t already, check out withallwisdom.org. That’s where we host all of our podcasts, and where we have articles. And all of those resources are rooted in God’s Word and are aimed at helping you grow in your relationship with the Lord. So we want you to check out the resources we have there. We recently installed a new search bar so you can search all of our resources with keywords, phrases, and things that you’re looking for, and hopefully you’ll find what you’re looking for there. So check out withallwisdom.org.

Well, we are going to talk about some specific headlines and articles today. What we’re doing is we’re reading the news with wisdom. In our last episode, Cliff had a lot of important and helpful things to say about whether or not Christians should read the news, first of all, and how they should read the news and how much news we should read. And we also talked about how news outlets are all working from a bias or an agenda of some sort. And we’re not suggesting that you can’t come to the truth on what is actually happening in the news, but you must be aware of where you’re receiving your news from and what outlet is dispensing it to you, and to be aware of those things. So now we want to address a few specific articles. And one of the things that Cliff mentioned in the last episode was that God has given us a stewardship, and we can’t possibly be interested in or engage in every piece of news that’s out there. There’s news from all over the globe, all over the country, and we can’t possibly engage in all of it—nor should we—because God has given us a specific stewardship. He’s given us our work, he’s given us our family, he’s given us our church, he’s given us our community.

And all of those things take up most of our time and should take up most of our time and our energy and our focus. And so as I’ve walked through even some of these articles, I recognize that these issues that I was drawn to and these headlines here and these articles that I pulled out, I was drawn them because they have to do with shepherding people here at CBC. So we’re going to look at some articles on work. We’re going to look at an article on science as religion. And then we’ll finally look at an article that is from a lady who switched careers from psychologist to biblical counselor. So each of these categories have to do specifically with how I’m thinking about shepherding the folks at CBC. And so I’m not interested in every last bit of news that you could find in a major news outlet.

In fact, what we noticed last time was there are some news outlets that provide you with so-called news that’s not newsworthy at all. And some of it is just flat out immoral and not helpful for our sanctification. So we do need to be selective, and that will be determined often by the stewardship that God has given you and entrusted you with. So I want to first talk about a theology of work. All of these articles I’m about to reference—that’s where they would all fit under as a theology of work. And we’ve talked about this before—we talk about it a fair amount. We’ve done an episode on retirement and then we’ve kind of sprinkled in talking about work in various other episodes, because it is just a big part of life and it’s actually a big part of the Bible, believe it or not.

And so these are things that I’m interested in, and I’m shepherding folks who are young professionals and they are in the prime of their working life. And so these are important issues. And so one of the things that I noted here, as I was walking through these articles, was something called the Great Resignation. Have you heard about the Great Resignation?

Cliff: No.

Derek: Well, the Great Resignation is apparently something that was occurring during Covid. I remember this coming up. And people were resigning from work. You had a few different reasons. Either people were being taken off onsite duties and now they only needed to work remotely. And so some weren’t liking that. So they were leaving work. Some who were older had believed they had enough money to retire, so they’re going to retire early now that the pandemic has hit us. And we’re talking a lot earlier. They thought they had enough money to last them, especially now, or especially when we had this stimulus money coming in and people just totally misjudged their economic situation and they quit working. And that kind of coincided, it seemed, with people just by and large having a dissatisfaction with work. They thought they had enough money. Here comes the pandemic and the lockdown, and people started quitting work—just flat out quitting. It’s called the Great Resignation. And I’m just going to read this quote from an article in Esquire Magazine which said, “The media hype around the so-called Great Resignation has been a constant drumbeat, with almost gleeful reports on Americans breaking free of employers, liberated from the drudgery of in-office meetings, commuting and the stress of work. Stories abound about mid-career professionals and those in their twenties quitting jobs to freelance, launch startups or not work at all. Even among those who stayed in their jobs, many headed to warmer climates to set up virtual workplaces.” And then he goes on to talk about, for those 65 and older, COVID led to the largest decrease in decades for that group participating in the labor force.

But then he goes on in the article to note that actually what happened was, people started to realize they didn’t like not working as much as they thought they would like not working. And people started to come back to work a lot quicker than people thought they would. And he says, maybe the great resignation isn’t so great after all. And he goes on to talk about the reasons that people gave for why they wanted to come back. Some people are rejoining the labor force out of economic necessity. In other words, people are going back to work because they need money. Then he says, some have decided a virtual existence is not for them. And I think that a lot of us saw that coming—that existing in a remote environment where it is just you and your computer 10 hours a day, 60 hours a week, or 50 hours a week—whatever it might be—that’s not going to work for the long-term.

We need social interaction. In fact, work is most satisfying when we’re working with others. And then there are certain jobs where may not be working with others as much, but for the most part, those who found themselves in these remote capacities were finding, “I’d like to get back to working with others.” Others learned that they needed “the meaning that working a regular job gives them,” so they needed to go back. They realized without the routine, without the work of completing projects and accomplishing something for an employer or a company or for others, they just lacked meaning in their life. And I wanted to just see what you thought. I’m going to read this one more, and then ask you what you thought about some of these examples and reasons why people are going back. And then this person said, “After almost two years, I’m ready for re-entry. I miss the comradery, stimulation and feeling of accomplishment that work provides.” So, Cliff, what would you say, just hearing that and judging these statements from a Christian worldview?

Cliff: Yeah, I immediately thought, well, the Bible addresses this clearly and it addresses the foundational issues. And for you and I, as you’re reading the solutions of why people want to go back to work, it’s a no-brainer for us that it’s the way God made us. We were made in God’s image. God is a social being. God made us a social beings. We need people. We cannot live in isolation. That goes against our very nature of the way God made us. So that’s fundamental. One of the most brutal ways you can punish somebody and force them into insanity is to put them in solitary confinement, where they’re not around another human being, because that goes against their very nature. So we need people.

Derek: Regarding that prison scenario, I’ve seen news stories about men in isolation who will try to attack and get in fights with guards just so they can have some social interaction, because that’s what we were made for. And what’s interesting about this is, from a Christian perspective, I remember you and I talking about this early on in the Covid lockdowns—we knew that something wasn’t right here. You can’t lock people out from work and from that social interaction. And it’s not because we were smarter than anybody else, it’s because we knew what God taught in his Word about work and about us being made in his image and being social beings.

Cliff: That’s rooted in the Great Commandment when God created Adam and Eve, which was be fruitful and multiply, but also rule over the earth, which is inherent. Working is inherent and innate to being human and a mandate from God Almighty. That’s part of our very purpose—is to be productive, to work as God’s mediators here on the earth. That’s reaffirmed in the Mosaic Covenant, where human beings and men are commanded to work. It’s commanded in the New Testament. You’ve written about it. And to command somebody not to work or to keep them from working is actually evil.

Derek: Yeah, absolutely. It is evil. And I remember thinking maybe people are concerned with speaking out about this because they don’t want to be viewed as those who are up in arms about the economy. They don’t want to be viewed as people who are only concerned about money. And so I actually took the approach of, okay, you don’t want to talk about the money aspect. Well, let’s talk about the work aspect. God has made us to work and with that being a fundamental part of creation, when we’re being kept from doing that, it is what you just said—it’s evil. We are made to work.

Cliff: Sorry, let me comment on one of the reasons you gave, which was people felt productive or they needed a purpose. And Chuck Colson wrote a couple of good books, and one of them that he wrote, he was the one that had the ministry to prisons. He was in the Nixon administration and he was evil. And then he got saved and had this wonderful ministry to prisoners for decades and wrote a couple of really good books. But one of them is about work and the Christian ethic to work. And he gives a story there from, I think it was the Nazi concentration camps, where however long they were in there for—two to three years—there were a couple of specific ones, where some of the prisoners were given opportunities to do work—menial work—like carrying bricks from one end of the yard to the other end of the yard all day long. And they were healthier and lived longer with a sense of hope, as opposed to other prisoners, even in the same concentration camps, who had no physical responsibilities whatsoever and they weren’t asked to work at all and they died off quickly and, naturally, were depressed. And I think it was a great point that being productive in working is absolutely in our very nature as human beings in the way God designed us.

Derek: Well, that leads into this next article then. This article is from the Harvard Business Review, and it is entitled “When Quiet Quitting is Worse Than the Real Thing.” So there’s the term or the trend of this great resignation. Now there’s something else growing out of that, or alongside of it and parallel with it called quiet quitting. Have you heard of quiet quitting?

Cliff: No, I haven’t. I am getting an education today.

Derek: So, I’ll start. I’ll quote the beginning of this article, which says, “While much has been written about the great resignation, a new term has emerged to describe an increasingly common alternative to resigning: quiet quitting. Driven by many of the same underlying factors as actual resignations, quiet quitting refers to opting out of tasks beyond one’s assigned duties or becoming less psychologically invested in work. Quiet quitters continue to fulfill their responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in activities known as citizenship behaviors. No more staying late, showing up early or attending non-mandatory meetings.” And so what people are doing with this quiet quitting is people are deliberately doing the least amount of work possible. Sure, they’re going to fulfill their core responsibilities, but that’s it. No going the extra mile, no staying late, no going beyond the call of duty. I am only going to do the absolute minimum.

And this is obviously, as you could imagine, this has become a problem in the current workforce and for companies because you can’t sustain a healthy company with people doing just the absolute bare minimum. And so one thing this did bring up is, and this is what the article brings up, this idea that of course this isn’t good from the employee side, but employers also need to readjust and recognize, okay, is there something here where we can make the working conditions better and can we invest in our employees better? Things like that. So he goes on to give actual ideas for employers. But the reason I wanted to bring up the quiet quitting issue, and this goes back to shepherding our people, is that Christians should never be known as quiet quitters. This is not something that’s acceptable for the Christian work ethic.

We are to—Colossians 3:23—do all our work heartily as unto the Lord. And there are times when we will need to go the extra mile in order to serve our employer, in order to do work excellently, that will bless others. We shouldn’t be seen as those who do the absolute very least. And of course, there is a balance. We also don’t devote ourselves in an ungodly amount of hours and time and energy to our work. Some people do that and that’s not right either. But there also can’t be this idea of quiet quitting, and doing the absolute minimum and failing to work hard. And so that’s why I brought up this issue of quite quitting, which runs kind of parallel with the great resignation. And any thoughts about this concept of quiet quitting?

Cliff: Yeah, you said there needs to be a balance, and that’s key, the balance. Because you and I, Derek, where we live here in the Silicon Valley, we’ve got Google headquarters, we’ve got Apple headquarters, we’ve got YouTube here, we’ve got Facebook, and all these big tech companies. You’ve got Tesla, Elon Musk, and his work ethic that he demands from his employees, which is hardcore labor. Are you hardcore? Are you willing to give 70, 80 hours a week to your employer? Well, that’s kind of the standard here. We’ve had members in our church where they’re family men, they’re married, they have a wife, they have children, and they say they’re working at Google or Apple where they expect you to be there 70 to 80 hours a week. It’s your life. That’s your social organization as well. They don’t recognize the need for church or family. That’s why they provide everything on site. Hey, you don’t need to go home. We’ve got a rec room here. We’ve got a kitchen here, we’ve got baby care here, we’ve got entertainment here, we’ve got televisions here.

And so it’s all consuming on the one hand. So that’s one thing we’ve been exposed to in some of our members who are trying to balance [this question of], how do I be a faithful, respected worker at Google or whatever it is, and at the same time have the balance of giving proper stewardship to my marriage and to my children and the ministry at church? That’s a real problem. Then it sounds like the pendulum is swinging, which it always does. Right? To this sissy, quiet quitting, I guess. The bare minimum, which again, is just undermining the basic biblical ethic of that great verse you just quoted out of Scripture, that Christians should be the best employers at any given job in any industry. They’re the hardest workers, they have the most integrity, they respect their boss, and they shouldn’t be looking for being minimalists.

Derek: So what you’re saying is that a Christian worldview, a biblical worldview, addresses both sides of the issue. The one issue is the poor work ethic of quiet quitting, and the other side is giving an inordinate amount of time and energy to one’s work, which is sometimes demanded. You mentioned Elon Musk. He tweeted the other day that this is his life. He wakes up, he goes to work, he comes home, he goes to bed, he wakes up the next morning and goes to work, and he does that seven days a week, and that’s what he expects of his employees. And we have something to say about that, don’t we? That work is important, and it is essential to our personhood, but there’s more to life than work. There is relationship, there’s ministry, there is marriage, there is children, there is serving others.

Cliff: Yeah, he’s neglecting the most important thing in the world—the relationship with the God of the Bible, obviously, and the church. But he’s gaining the whole world.

Derek: Yeah, he is gaining the whole world. Didn’t Jesus say something about that?

Cliff: Jesus talked about that. You could gain the whole world and lose your soul.

Derek: Well, so leading into that, then, is this article which was originally in Fortune Magazine. I mentioned earlier in that last episode that I don’t go on Yahoo News, and that is true, but I did get this article off Yahoo News. But it was originally in Fortune Magazine but it was hidden behind a paywall. So guess who had it? Yahoo News. So this is the title of this article: “The Great Remorse Takes Over the Great Resignation as Most Workers who Quit Their Jobs are Having a Hard Time Finding a New One.” And so this idea of the great resignation, this leaving work in mass, it didn’t work out as well as people thought it would. And the end of the article says, “A March 22 Harris poll found that over a third of respondents regretted quitting and said in their new role, their work-life balance had declined, that their new job was different than what they were led to expect, and that they actually missed the culture of their old job.” So just a reminder to not get caught up in the grass is always greener kind of thinking, to work hard where you’re at, and to be thankful for your job. I think that’s an important thing to learn. It is to just be thankful and content.

Cliff: Yeah, absolutely.

Derek: I’m not saying you can’t go find a new job, but boy, you have to be wise in how you go about that. Last thing on this issue of work. Last article on this issue of work. One now from NPR says, “America, we have a problem. People aren’t feeling engaged with their work.” This is along the same lines of what we’ve already talked about, and actually this is an interview with somebody and it’s a transcript of the interview. And just to pull out a few important points here, this person says that “the younger generation, the millennial generation specifically, is focusing on mental wellness as a key to increasing worker engagement and retention.” So the companies are recognizing that mental wellness is important to this younger generation, because this is what these companies are hearing from their workers. I still want to engage in the workplace, but I want to do it in a way that is convenient and palatable to my lifestyle. So noticing that here, coming out of the pandemic, all these things kind of coalescing here. You have this younger generation entering the workforce, working for a few years, and now realizing that they don’t like the work as much as they thought they would, and they want now to find work that is more convenient and more palatable to their lifestyle. And so now companies are having to work through these issues and hiring and so on and attracting workers. But I just found that to be an interesting way of phrasing it—that that’s kind of a self-centered way of thinking about work. And I think we would say, biblically, when you think about work, you want to first think about yourself as a servant to others, to your employer, to fellow employees, to the company, to others. Because you’re creating a product or good or a service, whatever it is, to be of benefit to others. And to now be putting these conditions on employment, saying it needs to be convenient and palatable to your lifestyle. Of course, we talked earlier about work-life balance, but there’s also a way of approaching work that is inherently selfish as well. And we want to encourage our listeners and remind them that we’re to first think of ourselves as servants to others.

Cliff: Absolutely. Servants. That’s how we should view work. Like you said, first of all, we’re providing a service to someone else by virtue of what we do. Then Paul says in Ephesians, one of the reasons we work is to make money, but not to spend it on ourselves necessarily. Not to think about retirement. But to make money that we might share it with others who are in need. So even the end result of work, the byproduct, the income—we’re being other-oriented with it in our worldview. And so again, the Bible just speaks directly to that issue, that whole worldview of that article and the other biblical principles. We aren’t supposed to be finding our identity in our job or our work as Christians. It fades. It’s superficial, it’s shallow. It satisfies only for a time. I actually know professional athletes who, after they stopped playing their sport, lost all their identity. They didn’t know what to do after retiring. It’s like, oh, I was a professional NFL player and won a Super Bowl, and now what are you doing that you can’t play football anymore? If you’re not rooted in Christ, you’ve lost your identity.

Derek: Yep. All right. Next article. This one’s entitled “Why Carl Sagan believed that Science is a Source of Spirituality.” Carl Sagan, obviously a famous scientist and cosmologist. And this article’s actually an excerpt from a book called The Romance Reality by a man named Bobby Azarian. And he’s going to go on to talk about how science actually provides a kind of spirituality, and he’s going to argue for a universal religion flowing out of science. You heard that correctly? And so I want to actually back up a little bit and talk about a biblical passage. Romans 1 talks about this very thing. Romans 1:18-32 is a description of humanity at large and how humanity at large has rejected God, rejected the Creator, and has rejected him and exchanged the glory of the Creator for the so-called glory of the creature. And so now we worship the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.

Romans 1:24 says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened, claiming to be wise. They became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore, God gave them up to the lusts of their hearts, to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” So we should expect this kind of article. This was a stunning article, but in some ways, it was not surprising at all. And I’m going to read a few quotes.

Cliff: This is NPR?

Derek: No. Now this one is from a website called BigThink.com.

Cliff: Okay.

Derek: Yeah, it’s not one I would recommend in terms of edifying material. You’re going to find pieces like this on there, but I just wanted to point this one out because of how blatantly religious it is and we were made to worship. If you’re not worshipping the one true God, you’re going to worship something in the created order that is axiomatic. There’s no two ways around it. He says this, “Many assume that when you get down to the nuts and bolts of nature, a spiritual worldview is simply incompatible with a scientific one. While that is a common assumption, it couldn’t be more wrong. Spirituality simply refers to a sense of connection to something larger than oneself, and it has nothing to do with the supernatural. To quote Carl Sagan, ‘Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality.’”

And so he’s going to go on to talk about how science and how we all need to have a self-awareness of everything going on and of ourselves and of all other people, because we are all part of one big system. The universe is all part of one big system. And he quotes this gentleman who says, if the universe is not meaningless, what is its meaning? And I just found that to be an interesting statement because if you are working from a naturalistic worldview, I don’t know how you ground meaning. This gentleman tries to. He says, “For me, this meaning is to be found in the structure of the universe, which happens to produce thought by way of the life and mind which, in turn, is a faculty whereby the universe can reflect upon itself, discover its own structure, and apprehend such imminent entities as truth, beauty, and goodness and love. Such is the meaning of the universe, as I see it.”

Now, I’m not actually entirely sure what that means, but what he’s trying to do is root meaningfulness of our existence and of the universe somewhere in the universe itself. And he says in the structure of the universe, and he believes that there’s this kind of universal thought, you might say, so that the universe can reflect upon itself. And again, I just see that as kind of a nonsensical statement from a Christian worldview. I’m not sure you can have any of these things—truth, beauty, and goodness. In fact, I’m sure you can’t, without a transcendent God who defines these things.

But he goes on to say—let’s see here. I’m going to take it right here to this amazing statement. He says, “Therefore, while nations must retain their individual identities, remember that, in their strength in diversity, they must also align common interests, which produces synergy through minimalizing conflict and promoting cooperation.” So he is talking about just a kind of one world order coming together. “Optimal complexity and computational capacity comes from a balance of adversity or differentiation in integration or connection to align interests. We must have a common worldview. Sagan said, ‘A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.’” And he goes on to say, “Since we are all part of an interdependent whole, this one big system, our goal should be to try to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. While the dream of a cosmic religion might sound hopelessly idealistic to some, I do believe it is a supremely reasonable and attainable worldview—one that any enlightened society will eventually move in the direction of.” And I’m going to stop right there to just get your thoughts about what I’ve mentioned so far in this article.

Cliff: Is that Carl Sagan or him quoting Carl Sagan?

Derek: He quoted Carl Sagan when he said a religion old or new. And then he says, sooner or later, such a religion will he emerge. And then, I’m sorry, I should have closed the quotes there. And then he went on to say, since we were all part of an interdependent whole, he believes that this cosmic religion is entirely possible.

Cliff: Yeah. Well, he’s mixing several things together just in that one paragraph. I heard totalitarianism—what is best for the greatest number of people. That’s nothing new at all. We’re all interconnected. That’s pantheism, finding some kind of a deity within the creation itself or naturalism. So all of this has been posited and believed and practiced before, all the way back to the Greek pagans and all throughout history. So he’s not spewing anything new whatsoever, just putting nuanced, fancy, scientific vernacular words to it to make it sound new and fresh. But it all goes back to the root of exactly what you said in Romans 1. Paul made it clear there’s either worship of the true God and we were born created to worship. And if you’re not worshipping the true God, inevitably you will be worshiping the creation, whatever that manifestation might be.

I got a quote since you brought up Carl Sagan. In memory of Carl Sagan. Many of you listeners probably are too young to even know who Carl Sagan is. He was the Richard Dawkins of his day back in the seventies. Very popular. Had his own TV show, “Cosmos.” Anyway, it was kind of like “Star Trek” where Captain Kirk starts out at the beginning of every episode with its five year mission, but that was fiction. But on “Cosmos” with Carl Sagan, it wasn’t fiction. It was him talking about his science, which was a religion. And he always made this comment: the cosmos—meaning the physical universe and creation, sun and stars—is all that is or ever will be. He said that every episode.

Derek: Literally ascribing divine attributes to the creation.

Cliff: Yes. And he’s kind of plagiarizing from the Bible, like in Revelation 1 when it refers to God in those terms.

Derek: Yep.

Cliff: Who is, and whoever will be… that was Carl Sagan. Pagan to the core. Well, I appreciate Carl Sagan being honest, saying that science is not incompatible with spirituality. As a matter of fact, science is a source of spirituality. One of the greatest sources of spirituality. Thank you for your honesty, Carl Sagan.

Derek: Okay. Science is religion. All right. Last one for me. This one comes from the Gospel Coalition. Gospel Coalition has some good stuff on there. Some of the stuff we wouldn’t endorse completely, but a number of the things are helpful on there. I’ve written a number of articles for the Gospel Coalition. This one’s entitled “Why I Switched Careers from Psychologist to Biblical Counselor.” It’s by Beth Claes. I think I’m saying her name right. I hope I am. But she talks about her work. She worked in the field of psychology for a decade. She worked in a private practice, and taught in a graduate psychology program. She loved her work, her clients, her students, her colleagues. She was respected in her community as a professor and psychologist. But here’s the kicker. “But I left my job in psychology to start and lead a biblical counseling ministry at a church across the country.”

Why? And she goes on to talk about, prior to this shift, she had a kind of caricature of biblical counseling. We’ve talked about that before. People will often have a caricature. They think it’s not compassionate or they think it’s simplistic or it’s doesn’t really work. And that was where she was at. And then something happened. She said this: “When my pastor talked about the value of biblical counseling, I’d condescend. It’s cute that you think you can understand mental health struggles with the Bible. I didn’t judge harshly. I just thought biblical counseling was ignorant. But 10 years later, I think I was the ignorant one.” And the reason the breakthrough came through [was because she] started to see the foundation upon which psychology was built. She goes on the article: “Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Namely, that psychology, modern psychology, and psychiatry is built upon naturalistic foundations.

You have a totally different anthropology than you do in Christianity. You have purely materialistic anthropology. You don’t have a dualism with an immaterial mind and a physical body, a physical brain.” And so she said, because of that, these constructs and models for helping people were built on a world where God doesn’t exist. People, self, and others are our best hope and personal happiness is the highest good. And she just started to really question all the kind of basic premises and principles and aims of psychology. And she said this: “Disentangling humanistic and naturalistic philosophies from the practice of psychology was much more difficult than I imagined. Secular psychology presents itself as neutral. It doesn’t assume that there should be any conflict with religion or Christianity, but the study of the soul isn’t philosophically neutral—more than any field.” This is a huge statement.

We’ve said this before—more than any field, psychology is answering the same questions as religion. Who are we? What’s wrong with us? What will help us? How do we get there? “Once I saw that, I couldn’t unsee it, and my faith ultimately changed the way I wanted to practice.” And I bring that up because we’ve talked about biblical counseling on this podcast. We’ve talked about psychology, and here’s a lady who made that shift because she saw the incompatibility between psychology and Christian beliefs. So it’s an encouraging read. It was encouraging to hear how she had made that change. And now she’s practicing. I forgot to read the last part of it here. Actually, she says this: “That’s why I have the best job in the world as a biblical counselor.”

Cliff: Nice.

Derek: She loves what she’s doing now. And so she’s serving people, and helping people biblically. And just her recognizing and articulating that psychology is itself a religion. It’s answering the same questions as religion, and yet it’s coming from a totally different foundation than Christianity. And Christians need to be aware of that.

Cliff: They do. You mentioned it is naturalistic. Have you got a brief definition, in case people don’t know what they’re hearing?

Derek: Oh, sure. Naturalistic. Just a naturalistic philosophy or naturalistic approach to any kind of discipline, like psychology, just means that you disregard the possibility of the supernatural. That you don’t include God in your framework, God or his Word, or anything like that. And usually that then means that when it comes to anthropology, that the human is only physical and that the mind is a product of the brain. You don’t have a category for the immaterial mind or the immaterial soul. It’s all physical.

Cliff: Which doesn’t make any sense, right? If everything’s material and physical, how do you even define mind? In a material way. It would have to be identical with the brain, the actual organ. So if you have mental disease, actually you have a brain disease.

Derek: Right.

Cliff: Because they don’t have a category to deal with the immaterial.

Derek: And which is precisely why you have the category now of mental illness and why some have tried so hard to attach mental illness to brain diseases, which they haven’t been able to do.

Cliff: Or hormonal imbalances, because they’re trying to make it physical.

Derek: Exactly. So just a helpful reminder that ideas have consequences. And when we’re talking about things like the news, and we’re talking about psychology or science, we’re not talking about disciplines that are purely objective, just dispensing objective facts. We’re talking about disciplines, news sources, that are coming with a bias, with a worldview and an agenda. And Christians have to be discerning as they are reading the news.

Cliff: Examine everything carefully. Hold fast to that which is good.

Derek: Well, Cliff, do you have any last words to say to our listeners by way of encouragement or exhortation about reading the news with wisdom?

Cliff: Yes. I have much more appreciation of that old Sunday school song that you sing to your kids, “Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.” There’s a lot of truth to that because that refers to the intake of information. And when God made human beings in his image, a big part of that was that we are intellectual, thinking beings. And one of the keys to sanctification is guarding our thinking, disciplining our thinking, protecting our thinking. And we have control over that, and we have to be deliberate about it. We can’t be passive Christians when it comes to what we allow to enter into our thought life and what we think about, what we meditate upon, what TV shows we watch, movies we watch, news we read, conversations we have. This is at the heart of Christian sanctification. What allows us to grow more and more like Christ to please him?

Derek: That’s right. Well, thanks, Cliff. This is a very encouraging and edifying discussion, and we encourage you to listen to episode 60 if you haven’t already. This is a two-part series, and we covered a lot of the principles, foundational principles, in the [last one]. We talked about specifics here. So we encourage you to listen to both, and we thank you for listening. Please check out withallwisdom.org, where you can find our podcast and other articles on this subject. In fact, on the subject we just got done talking about, we have more articles and resources on every topic we covered today. And until next time, keep seeking the Lord in his Word.

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