This is from Donald Miller's "Searching for God Knows What" which I read this morning:
(pg. 160-161) "Because we have approached faith through the lens of science, the rich legacy of art that once flowed out of the Christian community has dried up. The poetry of Scripture, especially in the case of Moses, began to be interpreted literally and mathematically, and whole books such as the Song of Songs were completely and totally ignored. They weren't scientific. You couldn't break them down into bullet points. Morality became a code, rather than a manifestation of a love for Christ, the way a woman is faithful to her husband, the way a man is faithful to his wife. These relational ideas were replaced with wrong and right, good and bad, with only hinted suggestions as to where wrong and right and good and bad actually came from. Old Testament stories became formulas for personal growth rather than stories to help us understand the character and nature of the God with whom we interact.
In a culture that worships science, relational propositions will always be left out of arguments attempting to surface truth. We believe quite simply, that unless we can chart something, it doesn't exist. And you can't chart relationships."
Sorry that was a little lengthy. This is a great book, and part of the reason I think it's great is because I've had some of the same thoughts! I remember sitting in Psychology classes in college going round and round with the professor about why the DSM sucked so much. For those of you who aren't impressed with my inclusion of academic tidbits, which I guess is pretty much everyone who will read this, the DSM is a manual used by psychologists to diagnose mental disease. Now, i'm not saying it's all bad or that psychology doesn't help people. But you'll notice if you click on the link that it's the 4th edition. The DSM changes. Hey, thats cool, lots of things in the medical and even religious community change. It's cool until you were diagnosed under the first edition, and were recieving electro-shock treatment.
My problem with psychology is that people aren't just a collection of chemicals to be balanced for "normal bahavior". What Miller is articulating is that the bible isn't a collection of self-help bullet points so we can improve our lives. People's problem with religion, say Christianity, is that it's a list of things you can't do: Can't cuss. Can't watch R-movies. Can't drink any alcohol. Can't have sex until you're married. Can't think girls are pretty. Can't laugh at farts. Can't sleep in on Sunday. Can't be friends with people who do any of the things you can't do.
It's a lot messier to struggle with things and decide if they are right or wrong, and to wrestle with why we think this way. But also, as opposed to a list of things Christians can't do or formulas to get your relationship with God where it should be, what about focusing on the good we should do as opposed to the bad we should avoid at all costs? More on this soon, I gots to go eat with my intern buddies. Peace.