Scuttling the Schizophrenic
Student Mind: On Teaching the
Unity of Faith and Learning in
Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen
ALTHOUGH IT NOW HAS a more technical meaning in the mental health lexicon, the original Greek meaning of the word schizophrenic was split mind. It is my contention that Christian college students come to the study of psychology with profoundly split minds, due to their exposure to modern and postmodern thought patterns and the Church's accommodation to both. From a Calvinist perspective, the psychology professor needs to identify, challenge, and overcome this cognitive dualism while introducing students to the intriguing range of topics that comprise psychology—the empirical, theoretical, and applied study of the mind and behavior.
My goal is for students to view the content and methods of psychology from a coherent Christian worldview. What is a worldview? It is a set of pre-philosophical, pre-empirical faith assumptions held by every human being in answer to questions such as, What is the nature of the universe? What is the nature of human beings? What is humankind's basic problem? What is the solution to this problem? And how, if at all, can humans obtain reliable knowledge? In more popular terms, the questions that a worldview answers for each person are, Where am I? Who am I? What's wrong with me? What's the remedy? and How can I know anything at all?1
1 For a more detailed discussion of worldviews, Christian and otherwise, see
for example Leslie Stevenson, Seven Theories of Human Nature (New York: Ox-