Christian theology presents an overly simplistic portrayal of the mind and nature of man, his needs, his longings, his beliefs and his aspirations for God. A psychoanalytic protest theology aims at bringing psychoanalytic complexity regarding the mind to theology. Organized Christianity has failed to account for how the unconscious influences interpretations of Scripture and also how application of Scripture to lived life can be damaging if complex unconscious factors are not considered in theology.
This book attempts to employ psychoanalytic insights in the exploration of critically important themes addressed by theology. Among them: morality and conscience, autonomy and destiny, and relationship and sexuality, including the sexuality of God, suffering, and law, along with its correlation with death. This is intended to serve an integrative constructive purpose.
Both classical psychoanalysis and Christian Scriptures conceptualize sexuality in its large sense as residing at the core of the mind of mankind. Christianity has tended to cope with sexuality by adopting a notion of attainable sexual purity, a myth that this work seeks to expose and dismantle, with a view to enabling the church to more effectively and compassionately engage with real people whose sexuality is characteristically complicated and troublesome.
Endorsements & Reviews:
"In wide-ranging strokes from the Garden of Eden to the missives of Zizek, Dr. Fowler has artfully crafted a book that will make you think. Challenging cliche and simplistic interpretations, he explores the oscillating figure and ground of psychoanalysis and Christian faith in ways that are fresh and generative. And with the powerful interpolation of clinical vignettes, Dr. Fowler succeeds in blending a compassionate heart with an astute mind to create a significant integrative study."
—Marie T. Hoffman, Brookhaven Institute for Psychoanalysis and Christian Theology
"In Probing the Mind to Free the Soul, Steven Fowler presents a 'psychoanalytic protest theology,' a theology that takes seriously the power of the unconscious mind. From a primarily Freudian stance, Fowler creatively engages ideas of import for Christians such as conscience, fundamentalistic need for certainty, and views on sexual purity. Anyone interested in theology and Freudian psychoanalysis will find this book a treasure trove of provocative ideas."
—Brad D. Strawn, Fuller Theological Seminary
"A most welcome, pioneering, integrated synthesis of Christianity and psychoanalysis."
—James H. Olthuis, Insitute for Christian Studies, Toronto
About the Author:
Stephen G. Fowler, MD, FIPA is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He has a strong inquisitiveness for the interfaces between psychoanalysis (clinical, theoretical, and philosophical as it applies to it) and Christianity. He is on the faculty of Brookhaven Institute for Psychoanalysis and Christian Theology. Among his interests are cycling, kayaking, painting, skiing, and the active relationships he and his wife maintain with their four children and seven grandchildren.