Should Psychologists Be Atheists?
How do psychologists who believe in God and follow a religious tradition reconcile their beliefs with adherence to the science of psychology? In Adieu to God: Why Psychology Leads to Atheism, Mick Power argues that science has all the answers. In their review of this book, Peter Hill and Richard Mullis say that Power's "certainty of conviction" makes him a "modern scientific fundamentalist." The reviewers say that our religious beliefs are complex and cannot be explained away using scientific methods and analysis. They wonder if a "welcoming model of the relationship between psychology and religion is called for … [that] would lead to a productive critical collaboration and conversation about God and religious belief."
For 32 years I was on the faculty of a Jesuit university. My colleagues in psychology were committed Catholics (including priests), Christians of other faiths, Jews, and atheists. In our courses we all proclaimed psychology as science. However, I cannot recall debates in which religion versus science was the issue, or discussions in which an individual struggled to resolve this conflict. Perhaps we did not see any conflict or chose to ignore it. I would like to know if other psychologists have tried to work this out.
By Peter C. Hill and Richard J. Mullis
PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(27)