From Theology And Philosophy To Psychology In The West

Understanding The Schism Between The Sacred And The Secular

  • Rachel Riddell University of Birmingham
Keywords: Aquinas, Bacon, Kant, Philosophy, Psychology, Locke, Empiricism, Humanism, Relativism


This study aims to explore the Western epistemological shift over the last five hundred years: a move from Christianity to secularism. To do this, we will address key philosophical, theological and psychological developments and their respective proponents in history. We will also note the consequences of these ideas on broader human society. We will approach this topic from a Biblical epistemological foundation, allowing our faith in God to guide our interpretation of these developments. This article is divided into five key sections, each addressing the concerns of different ages in history. We discover that relativism is what binds all of these ages and developments together.


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[1] Smith, James K. A. How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014, 29.
[2] Marenbon, J. The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2015.
[3] Frame, John M. “Greeks Bearing Gifts.” In Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought, by W. Andrew Hoffecker, Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub., 2007, 33.
[4] Leithart, Peter J. “Medieval Theology and the Roots of Modernity.” In Revolutions in Worldview, 145.
[5] Colish, M. L. The Mirror of Language: A Study of the Medieval Theory of Knowledge. Lincoln & London: University of Nebraska Press, Revised Edition 1983, vii.
[6] Marenbon, J. The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2015.
[7] Milem, Bruce. “Hildegard of Bingen.” Gracia, Jorge J. E., and Timothy B. Noone. A companion to philosophy in the middle ages. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 2003. 318.
[8] Leithart, “Medieval Theology”, 147ff.
[9] Southern, R. W., et al. Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe Volume III Disunity Decline and Renewal, Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.
[10] Schaeffer, F. A. and J. P. Moreland. Escape from Reason. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014, 13.
[11] Viladesau, Richard and Mark Stephen Massa, Foundations of theological study: a sourcebook. New York: Paulist Press, 1991, 69-70.
[12] Schaeffer, F. A. and J. P. Moreland. Escape from Reason. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014, p. 16.
[13] Aquinas, Thomas. “Whether understanding is a gift of the Holy Ghost?” n.d. Summa Theologica. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. 17 December 2021.
[14] Leithart, “Medieval Theology”, 157.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "hylomorphism". Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 Mar. 2016, Accessed 4 October 2021.
[17] Leithart, “Medieval Theology”, 162.
[18] Aquinas, T., Summa Contra Gentiles: Book One, cited in Lang, David P. “The Thomistic Doctrine of Prime Matter.” Laval Théologique et Philosophique 54.2 (1998): 373-374.
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[20] Trueman, Carl. “The Renaissance.” In Revolutions in Worldview, 202.
[21] “Altera a sensu et particularibus advolat ad axiomata maxime generalia”. Bacon, Francis. Bacon's Novum organum. Ed. Thomas Fowler. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1878, 196.
[22] Hoffecker, W. Andrew. “Enlightenment and Awakenings: The Beginning of Modern Culture Wars.” In Revolutions in Worldview, 242.
[23] Ibid, 242-243.
[24] Ibid, 243.
[25] Israel, J. I. (2002). Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750, OUP Oxford.
[26] Hoffecker, “Enlightenment and Awakenings, 244.
[27] Cherbury, E. H. B. H. and M. H. Carré (1937). De Veritate, University of Bristol.
[28] Hoffecker, “Enlightenment and Awakenings, 244.
[29] Ephesians 4:18 “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts”.
[30] Hoffecker, “Enlightenment and Awakenings, 245.
[31] Ibid.
[32] Lints, Richard. “The Age of Intellectual Iconoclasm: the Nineteenth Century Revolt against Theism.” In Revolutions in Worldview, 285.
[33] David, Jacques-Louis. The Coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte. 26 September 2019. Ashley Doran. October 2021. .
[34] Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Ed. J. M. D. Meiklejohn. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855.
[35] Lints, “The Age of Intellectual Iconoclasm, 284.
[36] Ibid, 284.
[37] Locke, John. “Second Treatise of Government.” January 2005, 4. Project Gutenberg. 22 October 2021. .
[38] Lints, “The Age of Intellectual Iconoclasm”, 285.
[39] Ibid.
[40] Ibid, 294-295.
[41] Smith, How (Not) to Be Secular, 4.
[42] Wertheimer, M. (2012). A Brief History of Psychology, Taylor & Francis, 183.
[43] Good Therapy. “Carl Rogers (1902-1987).” 6 July 2015. Good Therapy. 8 October 2017. .
[44] Smith, Brian A. Walker Percy and the Politics of the Wayfarer, Lanham, MA: Lexington Books, 2017.
[45] Smith, How (Not) to Be Secular, 12.
[46] Ibid.
[47] Ibid, 3.
[48] Barraclough, Geoffrey. Who Am I? What Am I? Why Am I Here?: a Discussion About the Perception of Reality. Partridge Singapore, 2015.
[49] Smith, How (Not) to Be Secular, 14.
How to Cite
Riddell, R. (2022) “From Theology And Philosophy To Psychology In The West”, Theological Journal Kerugma, 5(1), pp. 1-14. doi: 10.33856/kerugma.v5i1.224.

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