French secular philosopher Luc Ferry, in his book A Brief History of Thought, proposed that every human, religious or not, seeks salvation: “If religions can be defined as ‘doctrines of salvation’, the great philosophies can also be defined as doctrines of salvation (but without the help of a God).” Ferry points out that every philosophical worldview promises salvation not through a Savior but rather through the pursuit of greater understanding and reason.
The Enneagram is appealing for the very same reason. It promises spiritual freedom through self-knowledge. Claudio Naranjo claimed that all human beings long for liberation; to find freedom from “the flesh” (Naranjo MD, Claudio. Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View). But once again, psychology’s path of salvation comes only through greater understanding and the end of the road is a “better you.” But that destination falls short of the Christian gospel.
Whereas the Enneagram can diagnose our core fears and needs, only the gospel can provide the treatment. Only in the gospel is there hope that we will be united with God and our loved ones in the life to come. Only in the gospel will we find our true meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. Only in the gospel do we receive the supernatural power to change. Only in the gospel do we find someone who will never fail or forsake us. After all, our ultimate hope is not grounded in psychology but an actual person—Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul exhorts us to see that any philosophy which involves a path of salvation apart from the gospel cannot deliver on its promises. Those beliefs may promise freedom and enlightenment, but will leave us captive and deceived (Colossians 2:8). That’s why Garrett J. DeWeese, in his book Doing Philosophy as a Christian, says that “true wisdom is Christocentric in its origin and application.” In other words, Christ must be at the center. As we study philosophy or engage tools like the Enneagram we should do it “in a way that aims intentionally at the ultimate goal of personal transformation into the image of Christ.” After all, Jesus Christ is our “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Therefore, as we use the Enneagram, let’s make sure the road that we are on leads to Jesus.