Taking a Step Back—Maslow’s Theory of Motivation: A Christian Critical Perspective

  • Jim A. McCleskey
  • Larry Ruddell


This article presents a review of the extant literature concerning Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory of motivation as the key component of Maslow’s broader view of motivation. It also includes a synopsis of prior criticisms of the theory. Further, this manuscript presents a Christian critique of Maslow’s motivation theory (specifically his methodology, view of human nature, and hierarchy of needs) so that the reader will gain new insights about motivation from a Christian worldview in contrast to Maslow’s secular model. After analyzing Maslow’s concepts, including self-actualization, peak experience, and the hierarchy of needs using a biblical perspective, we find that Maslow’s theory of human motivation is not supported by Scripture and Maslow is attempting to create a new worldview designed to supplant the traditional Christian worldview.

Dialogue I