In reviewing the history of Christianity and science as it played into the interaction of Christianity and psychology, Entwistle (2004) notes, "Owing to examples like Galileo, the church… is often portrayed as anti-scientific, stuck in its narrow-minded ecclesiastical view of reality in which any evidence that appears to be at odds with the prevailing view of scripture is simply dismissed" (p.25). The truly unfortunate thing is that Christians in general have brought this sentiment upon themselves by failing to use the intellect God gave us in correlation with our faith. Rather, faith has often been seen to trump reason without any consideration of how the two might actually work together.
This unreasonable hostility toward religion was brought home to me on a personal level during a class on Shakespeare at a local community college. The professor was overtly atheist and I was overtly (but not outspokenly) Christian, especially in my homework. Our interactions were congenial and respectful, but one day he responded to another student with the words "All Christians are morons!" I don't think he even realized the dichotomy of his words with the excellent interactions and grades he afforded me; it was simply ingrained in him to be anti-religious. Though I was not offended, I was certainly made vividly aware that we can expect nothing less than deeply ingrained hatred from a world that does not know God. As John 16:19 (NKJV) states, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, the world hates you."
Entwistle also claims that, "God has given us two books, the book of His world and the book of His works" (2004, p. 275) and subtly implies that only when the two books are viewed as equal in authority will there be sufficient protection from error in our discoveries and conclusions. Where in Scripture does God allow for or endorse any source of truth apart from the Word of God? While I understand and agree with Entwistle's concerns that interpretation of scripture is often confused with the word of scripture (2004, p. 27), placing any source of knowledge above God's word is both unbiblical and unwise. The world around us is tainted by sin, the Word of God is not. It alone has been preserved by the Spirit as the source of knowledge that reliably reveals the truth of God to us (reference John 10:35b "the Scripture cannot be broken"; 2 Timothy 3:15-16; and Psalm 19:7-11).
Despite my disagreement with Entwistle's "faithful reading" approach, the warnings for the "prima scriptura" approach are worth noting (2004, p. 274-275). Although I will always place God's written word in its rightful place of authority, I will work diligently to ensure I am not confusing the validity of interpretation with the authority of the written word. Proverbs 11:14 notes, "in the multitude of counselors there is safety." In addition to seeking out wise counsel, I will endeavor to diligently employ proper scientific methods in the discovery and verification of theories and will humbly submit findings for peer review. I will choose to present a humble, charitable and teachable spirit when confronted with disagreement and I will diligently work to consistently improve my relationship with Christ and seek the wisdom of the Spirit of Truth in all matters both personal and professional.
In a footnote, Entwistle (2004) states, "the chief difficulty [with integration]… is that few of us are adequately trained in both theology and psychology" (p. 5). My degree in Biblical Studies has provided foundational theological training and my current pursuit of formal education in Professional Counseling will lay the foundation for understanding psychology. I will seek to build on these foundations and continue learning in both areas through formal education, reading of theological and psychological publications, searching the scriptures and observing the world around me.