Tag Archive: Left Brain


Psychology literally means the study of the soul or mind, not the brain. Are not the soul and mind both areas which only the Holy Spirit alone can renew and transform?  How is it that we have abdicated the necessity of God’s Word and working through the power of His Holy Spirit for vain philosophies devised by men?  For an overview of popular psychology, two excellent and free e-books are strongly recommended: “Christ-Centered Ministry Verses Problem-Centered Counseling” and “Person to Person Ministry- Soul Care in the Body of Christ”.  Both are written by Martin and Deidre Bobgan. 

For the remainder of this blog, I plan to do three simple things.  First, I will provide several quotes revealing what many research scientists are saying about the so-called science of right brain/left brain teaching.  Second I will provide the Scriptural support, if any, for these teachings.  And finally I will provide two excellent links for further reading. 

Although there are areas within science today that should more aptly be labeled science falsely so-called, i.e. evolutionism and popular (counseling) psychology, there are many fields of science which can be observed and are repeatable.  There are fields of research psychology which unlike the over 400 theories of counseling psychology are credible and act much like watchdogs for the many ‘theories’ that have made their way into both the secular and Christian mainstream.  There are also those doing serious study in the fields of neurosciences that have become somewhat frustrated at the simplification of certain right brain/left brain research in order to make it more palatable and understandable to the general public.  Carefully consider the following quotes:

·         Nobelist Dr. Roger Sperry says, “The left-right dichotomy . . . is an idea with which it is easy to run wild.” 1 Sperry also says:

The more we learn, the more we recognize the unique complexity of any one individual intellect and the stronger the conclusion becomes that the individuality inherent in our brain networks makes that of fingerprints or facial features gross and simple by comparison.2

·         Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, in a book titled The Social Brain, has a chapter titled “Left-Brain, Right-Brain Mania: A Debunking.” He says:

Where does all of this conjecture come from? How did some laboratory findings of limited generality get so outrageously misinterpreted? Why were they picked up so hungrily by the press and then embraced by every sort of scientific dilettante? There are several reasons. The left-brain/right-brain dichotomy was simple and understandable and provided a way to talk about modern brain research and how it applied to everyday experience. Certainly no one was going to argue that people have artistic-intuitive skills and logical-linguistic skills. Prima facie there are manifestly different activities of mind. So science is used to prove that one set of skills is in the left brain and another in the right, which in turn proves that mental skills are different, and therefore able to be differentially trained. The image of one part of the brain doing one thing and the other part something entirely different was there, and that it was a confused concept seemed to make no difference. . . . The runaway fervor for such ideas relates, in part, to the difficulty in communicating scientific ideas to the general public. To really understand concepts arising out of experimental data is a serious business, and most people do not have the time or interest to assess information at that level. There is an extensive and usually foreign vocabulary to learn. The necessary qualifying remarks and constraints on the ideas prove to be too much of a burden for the potential audience. So scientific journalism purveys its stories on simple to-understand claims that most people can relate to, preferably at a personal level. This wouldn’t matter for the present story except for the fact that the distortions get in the way of why split-brain patients are truly interesting. And the oversimplifications and outright erroneous information have also tended to trivialize the complexity of the integrated processes of our minds.3 (Emphasis added.)

 

·         After interviewing several researchers in the field, Kevin McKean says:

The problem arises when the right-brain movement implies that its conclusions are based on hard fact, rather than an essentially metaphorical interpretation of scientific discoveries. The differences between the hemispheres are still not well understood, and Gazzaniga, like Springer, says that the newest research tends to emphasize the way the two cooperate with one another during the normal functioning, rather than how they differ. 4(Emphasis added.)

 

·         McKean also says:

Scientists are understandably annoyed when they see careful but often inconclusive work popularized and exploited so glibly. As Deutsch puts it: “I get bothered by people saying, ‘This is all based on neurological theory, therefore it’s true.’ It’s not legitimized by neurological theory. There is no evidence that people favor one portion of the brain or the other—-that’s pure speculation.5(Emphasis added.)

 

·         Neurologist Dr. John Mazziotta at the UCLA School of Medicine says:

Even on the most trivial tasks our studies showed that everything in the brain was in flux—-both sides, the front and back, the top and bottom. It was tremendously complicated. To think that you could reduce this to a simple left-right dichotomy would be misleading and oversimplified.6 (Emphasis added.)

 

Next, I planned to provide Scriptural backing for right brain/left brain teaching, however I could find none.  But consider this quote- “What must be said for those who reinterpret the Bible and counsel Christians based upon this humanistic myth? 2 Timothy 4:3-4 warns, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”  The fulfillment of that prophecy seems to have come upon today’s church with a vengence.” Dave Hunt, TBC Newsletter, “Science Falsely So-Called, Feb. 1, 1989.

As we daily seek the Lord, may we always be willing to set aside the lies of this world so that both hands are free to cling tightly to the truth and sufficiency of God’s Word!

Finally, here are two excellent resources on this topic-  

·         E-Book- Chapter Fourteen of Prophets of PsychoHeresy II, written by Martin and Deidre Bobgan

·         Science Falsely So-Called”, The Berean Call Newsletter, Feb. 1, 1989, written by Dave Hunt.

 

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End Notes

1.       Roger Sperry, “Some Effects of Disconnecting the Cerebral Hemispheres.” Science, Vol. 217, 24 September 1982, p. 1225.

2.       Ibid.

3.       Michael S. Gazzaniga. The Social Brain: Discovering the Networks of the Mind. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1985, pp. 48-49.

4.       Kevin McKean, “Of Two Minds: Selling the Right Brain,” Discover, 1985, p. 40.

5.       Ibid.

6.       John Mazziotta quoted by Kevin McKean, p.38.

     For the next several posts, I plan to share some of the largest and most colorful plastic jewels that I had picked up while in the world.  After becoming a born-again believer it took time for me to begin understanding that there were many things I had picked up and was still picking up from the world.  These jewels were easy to find, and get ahold of simply because they were and are so popular and pervasive.  The first in this series of blogs is the popular notion of right brain/left brain psychology which is still main stream in numerous educational resources and couples self-help articles and books. 

Right brain/left brain psychology entered the main stream somewhere in the early to mid 1980’s and can truly be labeled science falsely so-called. Many in the neuroscience fields know this concept has little data and much assumption surrounding it, yet many Christians have unfortunately clung to it as a precious jewel.  Every time the saints accept worldly philosophies in lieu of God’s Word, both our walk and our witness are affected.  One man put it like this, “The cause of Christ is not discredited by failure to keep up with modern science (which has nothing to do with spiritual reality), but by the substitution of “science falsely so-called” for God’s unchanging truth. This is a modern abomination.” Dave Hunt, TBC Newsletter- “Science Falsely So-Called”, Feb. 1, 1989.

There are few topics that are held with such passion as that of popular psychology.  It would be one thing to say that the world won’t let go of it, but unfortunately most of today’s Christianity is spell-bound by its teachings, raising many popular Christian psychologists up to a priest-like status that is almost untouchable even by the Word of God.   After all, you need a degree to become a psychologist so how could someone who only knows God’s Word ever be able to correct a psychologist?  Yet many go to psychologists for the very reason they should be going to our Lord and Savior- for counsel.  This article will not be an attempt to critique popular psychology and the love many Christians have for it, but since right brain/left brain thinking has its home in this general area let me say just a couple more things pertaining to psychology in light of God’s Word.

Did you know that psychology is the number two field of study both in Christian and secular universities alike?  It is interesting that no matter what bookstore you go to you will more than likely find more books on counseling and psychology than you will on biblical Christianity.  To say the least, psychology is very popular among both Christians and non-Christians alike.  Did you also know that the Lord never ascribes counseling as a spiritual gift in the Bible?  He does give some to be teachers, pastors, and some to be apostles and evangelists.  Some have the gift of helps, and others have the gift of tongues and prophecy.  And others have the gift of healing, yet nowhere does God reveal to us that He gives anyone a specific gift called “counseling”.  (Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11) With such a big draw and such an apparent need, why are the Scriptures silent on a gift of counseling?  It seems the Lord has perhaps overlooked the needs of us living in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Perhaps this is why Godless men like Abraham Maslow and Carl Yung were raised up.  Perhaps they were raised up to assist us poor, needy Christians who didn’t know how to properly give or receive counsel for almost 2,000 years prior to their arrival.  Or perhaps there is another answer. 

Is not God Himself called the Counselor, and does not the Holy Spirit indwell all believers?  (Isaiah 9:6, John 14:16-17) Is not the entire body of Christ commanded to draw along side one another to bear each other’s burdens, helping the weaker for the strengthening of the whole body, which is fit together and supplied by the love of Christ?  (Romans 15:1-2, Galatians 6:2-3, Ephesians 4:11-16, 1 Corinthians 12:18-27)  Does not the Word of God claim to be sufficient in all things pertaining to life and godliness?  (2 Peter 1:1-3) Then why should we go to the muddied streams of human psychology that was invented by Godless men, to try to glean a few nuggets of truth that will minister to hearts and minds? 

“But you have not so learned Christ; If so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”  Ephesians 4:20-24

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