It might seem that secular science has proved that the only reality is physical, and the spiritual realm is not only unnecessary but also wholly unreal. What is biology but the evolution of matter to adapt to an ever-changing ecology? What is the cosmos but the accidental explosion of molecules? What is thought but the operation of a giant muscle, and emotion but the same?
This is what seems to be true to the majority in our culture. But here's the thing about modern secular science: its practitioners are bound by the presupposition that the spiritual realm doesn't exist, and this becomes the circular logic by which they believe science to have proven that the spiritual realm doesn't exist. Nothing is proven, but the results are accepted without doubt.
So what seems to be and what actually is may not be the same thing. In fact, from the Christian worldview perspective the "truth" of secular science and the reality of the Christian worldview are at odds. Not only is there a spiritual component to reality, it actually accounts for many of the physical phenomena we witness in the material world.
Dr. Tim Rice applies his understanding of the Christian worldview to the study of psychology in Homeschool Psych, in which he questions the materialist presuppositions of modern psychological theory and replaces them with the presupposition that God exists and has made people in his image.
How Does This Work?
The student textbook contains 15 chapters that can be completed at the student or teacher's own pace. Each one begins with a list of topics covered, followed by text with black and white illustrations (diagrams, photos, etc.) and inset boxes containing terms, definitions, ideas, and important facts.
At the end of every chapter is a fairly long chapter summary and questions for review to students to answer on paper. There's also a teacher's guide which contains chapter summaries and outlines, key concepts and people, activities, discussion questions, learning objectives, ideas for further study, review questions, chapter quizzes, and answer keys.
This course lends itself to both a student-directed and a teacher-led approach. If you don't have time to teach or interact much with your student, they can work through the material on their own and submit review question answers and quizzes to you for grading. However, much of the material is challenging, and discussion is encouraged.
Rice begins by defining psychology and analyzing its origins. Chapter 2 might seem like an abrupt about face for some, but it's vitally important: here Rice unpacks the idea of a Christian worldview, defines and describes epistemology (how we know what we know), and begins to look at how a Christian should approach the study and practice of psychology.
The following chapters investigate the history of psychology, the people who've shaped the discipline, the influence of Darwinism on psychology, and its major ideas and principles. Rice covers both the theoretical aspects and the physical and physiological aspects of studying the mind, reminding us that the Greek word "psyche" actually means soul.
Many questions appear throughout the text concerning what the relationship of a Christian ought to be to psychology. Should a Christian be a counselor? a therapist? a social worker? Are there any aspects of the discipline off limits to a believer, or is it all based on objective study and practice? Rice answers these questions by constant reference to a biblical worldview.
Treatment of psychology as a discipline is evenhanded. Much of the content is simply informative, so that students will have a good idea what they'll encounter in college or elsewhere. When Rice comments in his capacity as a Christian, he's clear that what he's doing is thinking about psychology and its claims from a Christian perspective.
Homeschool Psych 2nd Edition is a revised and expanded edition of Psychology: A Christian Perspective, and includes a very helpful and thorough index, as well as enormous bibliographies for each chapter that can be used as supplemental reading lists. Also available is a corresponding workbook. The approach and the general content remain unchanged, and while it's a smaller book than before (due to smaller font and margins), there is more to be had in the 2nd Edition than in its somewhat more amateurish predecessor.
Our Honest Opinion
Psychology is an important subject, and one that Christians can't afford to ignore. Unfortunately, it is often ignored by teachers and curriculum writers, so that students have no practice thinking about it biblically before they encounter the many ideas within psychology from a secular perspective that undermines everything they believe.
This book is an excellent corrective. Dr. Rice doesn't just scrape the surface, instead treating psychology with respect in the sense that he takes it seriously, but the deeper he goes the more thoroughly he invokes God's inspired Word as the only true guide for making sense of the many concepts taught by psychologists.
Homeschool Psych is pretty demanding. Students won't be able to just skim the rather dense text, and many of the ideas they encounter will be hard to wrestle with, but it's a rewarding study and one that will help them understand exactly what's at stake in the war between secularism and Christianity.
Rice avoids the extremes of those who accept secular psychology without reservation as well as those who demonize psychology altogether and reject all of its claims. He's very skeptical, but he also clearly knows what he's talking about, and we know of no other course on this topic (especially for high school students) half as thorough. Highly recommended.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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