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Psychology and religion working together as a team? That may not be as new of a concept as it sounds. Granted, it is more common for people who profess any sort of a religious faith to reject anything to do with science. Religion has to do with the beliefs and practices that go along with your worship of a supreme being while Psychology is more of a study of how the mind, body, and spirit works. There is no separation between mental and physical; that is merely a western culture thing that uses the practice of allopathic medicine which involves the use of conventional medicines to treat illnesses that could otherwise be better managed through simple lifestyle changes. Psychology is actually more of a “soul study”. The more you understand how your mind works, the more you understand why you do what you do. The more you understand the latter, the greater progress you experience in the area of self-development and personal growth.
Religious Trauma Syndrome
It is common for many people of faith to cast science aside and lean solely on their faith. There is also a disorder in the DSM called Religious Trauma Syndrome. This is where a religious person develops psychological disorders because they cease to be able to make sense of life. Their mental problems may render them unable to work or function and may place them in need of medication. Much of these cases relates to people who put more weight in science than faith.
There have also been those who found God, or any set of religious beliefs, and decided it did not really work for them. Then they started studying Psychology which led them away from religion as they found relief for their personal issues through a commitment to personal growth and lifelong study of Psychology. Science and Spirituality?
Can a person be religious and interested in Psychology at the same time?
The answer is yes. There were scientists who practiced religion a millennia ago who were scientists. Some of the ones who come to mind are Galileo, Copernicus, Pasteur, Kepler, and Newton. It was Galileo who proved to the Catholic Church that the solar system was heliocentric, or the sun was the center of the universe rather than the earth. The Eastern religions are more into holistic treatments, such as yoga and the chakra system, to provide healing for the body. This comes from a scientific understanding of how the body works.
In most cases, it is some factions of the Protestant side of Christianity have always had the most issues with science. It is their emphasis on “faith alone” that makes their adherents renounce science. It is mostly Protestants that were diagnosed with the Religious Trauma Syndrome. You can be spiritual and/or religious and be very into science. The problem is always when you take it to an extreme that you become unbalanced. You can put so much faith in science that you become atheistic or you can put so much faith in your religious beliefs that you end up renouncing science. The result of the latter is that life no longer makes sense.
The purpose of science is to understand how stuff works and how the world evolved. This does not have anything to do with faith or religion. While many atheists, agnostics, and deists give more credit to man and humankind in general for the evolution of the planet, there are religious types who study science who still give the credit to God or the gods.
The goal of personal growth and self-development is to become more balanced. Perhaps it is a sign of balance that you can be passionate about the study of Psychology and other sciences and use it to enhance your religious worship as well. While many have had issues reconciling religions with science, the two disciplines do not have to be mutually exclusive and can, in fact as many have proven, serve to enhance each other.