The psychological theories about human nature and the counseling based on these theories have vastly contributed to the ever-expanding fulfillment of 2 Tim. 3:1-5. These psychological theories and therapies have fueled inordinate self-love and thereby served as the seed-bed of the twentieth-century sexual revolution that has ripped apart families, abolished sexual morality, and led to a redefinition of marriage.
Psychologists worked assiduously for a seemingly more enlightened, emancipated selfhood than ever before existed in the United States. In her book Road to Malpsychia, Joyce Milton notes:
By the 1960s the stage was set for a radically simplified view of human nature, influenced by existentialism but with a unique American spin. To maximize one’s potential, one had to throw off the distorting influences of society and discover and nurture one’s innate good self.1
Humanistic psychology paved the way for a new concept of the self that needed to be freed from the restraints of “repressive social institutions and moral codes” so that people would be “free to develop their inborn goodness” and “build a society without hypocrisy, prejudice or exploitation.”2 Of course, the church was viewed as a “repressive social institution” with “moral codes” rather than as Christ’s body of believers who are truly free in Him—free from the condemnation of the law and free from the domination of sin. Erroneous external views of Christianity have so overtaken our society that the church is seen as the enemy to personal fulfilment and freedom, when, in fact, this country has become more and more enslaved to sin with its many forms of so-called addiction.
But even before the development of humanistic psychology, the tares had already been sown. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), considered the father of the psychotherapy movement, believed that morality, and particularly sexual morality, was much to be blamed for psychological disorders. He felt that free fornication would be great preventive medicine and psychologically beneficial. In fact, he believed in a strong, direct relationship between a person’s sex life and mental-emotional disorders. He said that “factors arising in sexual life represent the nearest and practically the most momentous causes of every single case of nervous illness.”3
Freud’s only objections to free fornication were the possibilities of venereal disease and pregnancy.4 Little did he anticipate our present permissive society, which has achieved his great therapeutic ideal of free fornication. Little did he realize that the sexual revolution that followed his conjectures would not only cause more mental-emotional-behavioral disorders, but rip right into the fabric of society.
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) followed many of Freud’s ideas regarding sexual freedom and belief in a powerful unconscious that motivates behavior. Maslow, considered by many to be one of the founders of humanistic psychology, contended that people are innately good and possess “innate instincts” within them to enable them to find values within the self rather than needing a source outside of self.5 Maslow thus fostered cultural relativism, which was originally conceived by Franz Boas (1858-1942), a highly influential anthropologist at Columbia University, where anthropology was studied from a Darwinian perspective.
Milton explains, “Central to the evolutionist way of thinking was the belief that civilization was progressing toward ever more humane forms of social organization.” However, she adds, “Like so much social science theory, it was a thick stew concocted out of meager scraps of fact and large helpings of dubious supposition.”6
Ruth Benedict (1887-1948) studied under Boas and popularized many of his teachings on cultural relativism. Benedict called for “redefining normality in a single generation,” and while that seemed a remote possibility, “her friend and sometime student Abraham Maslow would lay the groundwork for a new theory of personality that would do just that.”7
Milton reports that Maslow adopted Benedict as “his model of the ‘good human being,’” 8 even though she saw herself as a deviant, having suffered much mental torment with depression, uncontrolled rages and “suicidal impulses” throughout much of her life. Benedict’s answer to life was redefining normality in order to have her own way in whatever she pursued, which included sexual relationships with both men and women.9 In fact, she justified homosexual practice along with sadism in her paper titled “Anthropology and the Abnormal,” in which she blamed much abnormal behavior on the restraints of society on homosexuals and others who do not conform to the traditional norms.10
In spite of, or because of all this, Maslow deemed her “one of those rare human beings who had managed to become more ‘fully human’ than the rest of us.”11Thus he created his humanistic personality theory with its hierarchy of needs and envisioned a new utopia, which he called “Eupsychia”: “an ideal community of one thousand psychologically healthy people,” which would be “anarchistic” since no one would “need to impose their opinions, religious beliefs or personal tastes on others.”12
Maslow’s dream for a Utopia inhabited with self-actualized persons of high self-esteem was realized in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, as the flower children of the sixties took his theories to heart and indulged in free love and self-gratification.13 Maslow did not teach self-indulgence, but that can be the result of any system which emphasizes the self, presupposes the goodness of the human, and claims that people will develop their highest potential if so-called needs are met.
Each generation since the beginning of the sexual revolution has moved further away from chastity and marital fidelity and towards free fornication. What used to be considered unnatural is now looked upon as natural. For many, traditional sexual values and restraints are a thing of the past, and, for those who still believe in them, there is a stretching of the meaning of chastity and fidelity and a widening of sexual activities. Nevertheless, in the midst of ever-increasing sexual freedom and affluence, many are dissatisfied. They never find what they are really looking for.
Lust is never satisfied and, unless there is a turnaround, the sexual revolution will continue on with an ever expansion of Paul’s prophecy in his second letter to Timothy:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Tim. 3:1-4).
1 Joyce Milton. The Road to Malpsychia: Humanistic Psychology and Our Discontents. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002, p. 8.
2 Ibid., p. 9.
3 Sigmund Freud. “Sexuality in the Aetiology of the Neuroses” (1898) in Collected Papers, Volume One. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1959, p. 220.
4 Sigmund Freud. The Origins of Psychoanalysis: Letters, Drafts and Notes to Wilhelm Fliess (1887-1902). Garden City: Anchor Books, 1957, p. 67.
5 Ibid., p. 10.
6 Ibid., p. 12.
7 Ibid., p. 39.
9 Ibid. pp. 17-21.
10 Ruth Benedict, “Anthropology and the Abnormal,” Journal of General Psychology, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 59-82.
11 Milton, op. cit., p. 39.
12 Ibid., p. 55.
13 Adrianne Aron, “Maslow’s Other Child” in Politics and Innocence, Rollo May, Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow et al., eds. Dallas: Saybrook Publishers, 1986, p. 96.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, May-June 2017, Vol. 25, No.3)