1.4 Assignment. Journal – Sin and Psychopathology Getting Started Many Christians do not understand that psychology has many helpful

1.4 Assignment. Journal – Sin and Psychopathology

Getting Started

Many Christians do not understand that psychology has many helpful things to say about life that can be applied to their faith journey. The individuals who outright reject the notion that psychology could have threads of God’s truth embedded in the concepts are usually responding from fear of the unknown, painful life experiences, or a combination of both.

Saint Augustine of Hippo was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He wrote a book called 
Confessions between AD 397 and 400. Here’s what he had to say in 
Confessions about self-reflection, long before psychology as a discipline was ever imagined:

Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.

This “mystery of themselves” Augustine refers to is an encouragement toward self-examination, reflection, and self-awareness. Today we might even call it mindfulness. Psychology is compatible with scripture on principles like self-reflection. The Psalms are full of encouragement to assess whether our behavior is in accordance with scripture or whether it falls into the realm of sin.

Some of what we call psychopathology could certainly be considered sinful behavior. For example, deliberately inflicting hurt on another person and showing no remorse or regret could be classified in clinical terms as antisocial personality disorder. It is also sinful behavior. But what about a person who was repeatedly traumatized as a child and uses drugs as a way to cope with emotional pain they don’t know how else to manage? We could certainly say it is unhealthy or a dysfunctional behavior, or even a moral failure, but is the coping method also sin? It depends on how you parse the situation. And psychology has a lot of helpful ways to parse these types of situations without making it all good or all bad.

This journal entry will give you the opportunity to do some of that parsing. It even encourages you to apply it to a situation in your own life.

Upon successful completion of the course material, you will be able to:

· Reflect on the relationship between sin and psychopathology as it relates to the Christian experience.


· Textbook: 
Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal

· Video: The Relationship Between Sin and Psychopathology

Background Information

Personal reflection journal entries are designed to help you reflect upon and apply principles that you are learning in this program. Most of us live a fast-paced life, which can act as a convenient distraction from the more deliberate act of periodically stopping to contemplate what we are doing and why. But occasional reflection allows us to apply our learning to further personal growth, plan for the future, and shape a vision for how we want to help others in the work we choose to do. Don’t just make your goal to complete this assignment, but think about how you might apply what you are learning to your life’s work and your relationships with family and friends and to enhance the personal quality of your own life!


1. Read Chapter 5, “Sin and Psychopathology,” in your textbook.

2. Review the video, 

The Relationship Between Sin and Psychopathology
 (5:10 minutes).

a. The video provides closed captioning.

3. Open your on-going Personal Reflection Journal that you have saved in a Microsoft Word document.

a. Title this new journal entry, “1.4 Sin and Psychopathology, 
<Month, Day, Year>,” substituting the correct date.

4. As you write in your journal during this session, reflect on the following questions:

a. As Christians with an inherited sinful nature, it could be said that we are all broken, abnormal people. What’s the difference (if any) between having a sinful nature and behaving in a way that is considered dysfunctional or qualifies as psychopathological behavior?

b. Is it possible to have a sinful nature and not have psychopathology as we have defined it? Explain.

c. Give an example from your own life (or someone you know well) of sinful behavior that would not meet the criteria for psychopathology and would be, instead, a reflection of moral failure. Explain your answer.

Please note: Your journal entries are personal and your instructor will read them in the strictest confidence!

5. Your entry should be a minimum of 400 words.




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