Thursday, November 21, 2019

Comments by Reverend

Showing 15 of 15 comments.

  • My sincere thanks to everyone who commented on my (somewhat) polemical post! I truly appreciate all of your thoughts, encouragements, references, suggestions as well as criticisms!

    Also, I hope my comments will engender some healthy discussion (even healthy debate), here and elsewhere, and thus expand on Dr. Brogan’s description of the scientific limitations regarding depression (or rather “the spirit of heaviness”) that would “encompass … a curiosity about what symptoms of mental illness may be telling us about our physiology and SPIRIT”. (Emphasis mine)

    Dr. Brogan’s question “So, where do we turn?” is not only indicative of the miserable ignorance of a positivistic devotion to Natural Science but has clearly open the door to a broader-theological discussion beyond the long hoped for, long awaited “medical materialism” of the 20th century. It reminds me of St. Peter’s rhetorical question to Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (St. John 6:68).

    And so in the “spirit” of St. Peter, my answer to Dr. Brogan’s legitimate question, regarding the mystery of so-called depression, was to simply ask another question: Is there NO place for Christian Theology at MIA?

    When MIA is dealing with the “essence” of human nature (including the essence of the human “mind”), together with the vast range of severe mental-emotional suffering of human beings, how is it even possible for MIA to exclude a Christian Theology (specifically a Biblical Psychology) from the main discussion? And even more importantly, from the main objectives-agenda of MIA when approximately 80% of the American “general public” (over 200 million Americans) are professing Christians?

    In other words, how can anyone truly perceive “religion” as a “derailment” or “hot-button”, which ought to be relegated to the “forum” (the sidelines) for discussion, when these critical issues are, in fact, the very heart and soul and substance of religion itself? I am puzzled! And it would seem that I am not alone:

    “Socrates was, and wished to be, hiatros tes psuches, a healer of the soul. These Greek syllables have been recast to form the word ‘psychiatrist’. But Socrates would hardly recognize the medical psychiatrist as a member of his fraternity. A scientific psychiatry indifferent to religion and philosophy is a new and strange phenomena. Whatever may be the future importance of this new science, it is abundantly evident that the role of the religious physician of souls is not played out.” (John T. McNeill, “A History of the Cure of Souls”, 1951, p.8)

    Reverend Haynes

  • Is there NO room for Christian Theology at MIA?

    I have come to observe that the overwhelming majority of topics or postings here at MIA almost invariably revolve around one thing and one thing only. That is, the verifiability (and/or abuses) of a naturalistic-mechanistic based empirical science of “mind as brain” (outputs) and/or its naturalistic-environmental stimuli (inputs).

    Accordingly, whatever medical-natural scientists do (or do not) empirically know about the brain, and/or its natural-physical environment, is thee fundamental basis for either treatment or non-treatment. At a core level it seems that there is absolutely no room whatsoever for the biblical-theological concepts of “soul” or “spirit” to inform anything substantial in our metaphysical understanding of human nature, madness, suffering and “healing of the soul” (i.e. as the true “psychiatry”) here at MIA. And any actual use of the word “spirit” or “soul” is simply relegated to a kind of metaphorical-linguistic (or a pseudo-spiritual or poetical-emotional) expression. Thus, there seems to be nothing else permitted into this sacred-closed MIA universe of materialistic cause and effect relations; as though it was simply axiomatic that there was no real “spirit” (or “ghost”) in the machine. And so, why bother!

    As a Christian theologian it totally amazes me how approximately 80% of Americans can be professing Christian theists and yet at the very same time the epistemological center of gravity here at MIA always seems to revolve around the creeds of philosophical naturalism and the hymnbook of “evidenced based medicine”. In other words, the empirical-demonstrable facts (or absence or abuses thereof) reign supreme in virtually every topic or posting . These MIA devotees of rational-empirical science are constantly bowing down, with utmost deference, before the altar of logical positivism as if it were the only verifiable path to the purest scientia (knowledge). This evangelistic devotion at MIA to the creeds of scientism is nothing short of religious in its zeal.

    However, or notwithstanding the perpetual offerings to the religion of materialistic naturalism at MIA, I would like to gentle (and loving) remind all professing Christians at MIA that the one and only and true epistemological foundation for the first principles of human nature (or the true foundations of psychology – as the study of the SOUL) are the Oracles of the Most High God. That is, the eternal Word of God “theópneustos” (“God-breathed”) into written form, through holy prophets and holy apostles, is the purest of “scientia” (knowledge): “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6)

    Hence, for Christians there are essentially two ways in which the “facts” of life and reality can be discovered: 1.The facts discovered “by” us (i.e. rationalism-empiricism) and 2. The facts discovered “to” us (i.e. divine revelation). However, the facts of life and reality (e.g. the facts of human nature, madness, suffering and healing of the soul) discovered-revealed “to” us are infinitely more foundational (not to mention infinitely more encompassing and insightful) than the facts discovered “by” us. And so, let us engage the “facts”.

    This is not to say that there is not a wonderful place for human reason and empirical methodology, when it comes to understanding human nature, madness, suffering and “healing of the soul” (i.e. as the true “psychiatry”), and which was, in part, demonstrated in this article by Dr. Brogan, but it must always play (i.e. for Christians) a supporting or subservient role as a “handmaiden” to Theology; as the “Queen of the Sciences”.

    And so, or once again, to all the Christians here at MIA, I ask a gentle (or rhetorical) and hopefully encouraging question; a question to which I hope will stimulate some of our future discussions toward some of the larger biblical-theological concepts of “soul”, “spirit”, “heart” and “mind” etc. in “spiritual illness” (and NOT the erroneous teaching of “mental illness”) and “spiritual health” (and NOT the erroneous teaching of “mental health”):

    With respect to human nature, madness, suffering and the “healing of the soul” (lit.”psuche/hiatria” or the true “psychiatry”), why would you ever start by walking or wandering in the dark (i.e. with hypothesis, theories, experimentation, etc.) when you can start by walking in the Light (i.e. with the “facts” of human nature, madness, suffering and healing of the soul discovered-revealed “to” us in the Sacred Christian Scriptures)?

    Reverend Haynes

  • Thank you SE. I very much appreciate the kind encouragement!

    Indeed the atheistic (and anti-Christian) based “medical materialism” of the late 19th century is no longer doable, viable and needed. It is not only being demonstrated in quantum physics, as you stated (e.g. http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/33/33-4/33-4-pp477-487_JETS.pdf), but also in recent, intelligent (or contingent) design discoveries in molecular biology as well. Gloria in excelsis Deo!

    Merry Christmas

  • Dr. Datta,

    As Christian pastor and theologian, I would adamantly disagree with you that “psychiatry is (or ever ought to be, for that matter) a branch of medicine”. Herein lies the heart of the problem!

    Psychiatry (like psychology) was, is, and always will be essentially a branch of Theology and NOT Medicine! That is, psychology was, is, and always will be “the study of the soul” (Gk. psuche-logos). And likewise, psychiatry was, is, and always will be “the healing of the soul” (Gk. psuche-hiatria)

    As such, or quite naturally, my question to you, as well as to other medical doctors who are attempting to study and heal the soul, is what is the Medical Art doing in my jurisdiction? That is, the jurisdiction of the soul? And how did the Medical Art (historically) get here?

    The answer, it would seem, is to be found, in part, with the following statements (or clues) that you made above:

    “psychiatrists apply the medical model to problems of emotion, thought, behavior, human relations, and living. This narrow gaze of the biomedical on problems that seem to transcend disease and disorder, brain and biology, has brought the field under severe criticism … ‘The medical establishment has become a threat to health.’ So begins Ivan Illich, social scientist and priest, in his book Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health. He noted that with the professionalization of medicine, doctors had come to transform problems that were previously seen as social, moral or spiritual in nature into medical ones. In the process, physicians had created a new disease killing many: iatrogenesis. As such, medicine was doing more harm than good with the ill-conceived notion of treating problems that physicians had no business treating … It is not because psychiatry is distinct from the rest of medicine that it has done so much damage. Rather it is precisely because it is a part of medicine and aspires to the medical model … If our approach to problems of emotion, thought, behavior, human relations, and living is to be radically altered, we must take a closer look at what is wrong with medicine as a whole.”

    It is in your last statement that the key, I believe, is to be found. That is, “If our approach to problems of emotion, thought, behavior, human relations, and living is to be radically altered, we must take a closer look at what is wrong with medicine as a whole.”

    To begin with, the “professionalization of medicine”, in the modern period, was NOT the real cause behind the transformation of “problems that were previously seen as social, moral or spiritual in nature into medical ones”. That is, professionalization was more of a historical “conduit” rather than a historical “cause”. The real historical cause was the major paradigm shift that took place within medicine (and Western thought and culture) as a whole in the late 19th century. That is, the paradigm shift that ultimately took place, within medicine, as a result of the enormous influence of Ludwig Feuerbach, and especially Ludwig Buchner, in the philosophy of science.

    As I have mentioned elsewhere, theologian, Hans Kung, in a series of lectures given at Yale University, in 1979, discussed Feuerbach’s and Buchner’s relationship to, as well as their sway over, the medical profession. Together with their overt hostility toward Christianity, the supernatural, God and the soul, these two philosophers of science have undoubtedly helped to establish the terms of endearment between Science and Faith ever since. Professor Kung, in this regard, is definitely worth quoting at some length:

    “Feuerbach prophesied another successful revolution, which would be speeded up by the natural sciences … the natural sciences had ‘long before dissolved the Christian world view into nitric acid’ … (Feuerbach) insisted that philosophy should be linked no longer with Christian theology but with the natural sciences … It was Moleschott, together with Carl Vogt and Ludwig Buchner among other young natural scientists, and supported by Feuerbach’s philosophical criticism of religion and immortality, who brought a specifically natural scientific materialism to fruition in the nineteenth century … it was clear that religious persuasions had no place in questions of natural science or medicine … religion had nothing to do with science and if it counted at all was a private affair … Ludwig Buchner, a doctor, produced his Kraft und Stoff (Force and Matter). More than twenty editions of the letter made it the militant bible of the new scientific-materialistic world view. According to Buchner, the world as a whole, and also the human mind, are explained by the combined activity of physical materials and their forces. God is superfluous. It was mainly the epoch-making progress of the two basic medical sciences of anatomy and physiology (including pathology) that favoured a kind of medical materialism … For Ludwig Feuerbach, at any rate, it was clear at this time that the medical man was by nature and training a strict materialist … In fact medicine in particular was of the greatest importance for materialistic atheism in the second half of the nineteenth century.” (Kung 3-6)

    Thus, Ludwig Feuerbach and Ludwig Buchner, together with a host of others, helped to utterly destroy Christianity, and especially the holy doctrine of the soul (i.e. the human “being” as a wholistic and interactive substance dualism of “spirit and matter” and not a strict physical monism of “force and matter”), as thee foundational worldview for doing medicine in the modern period; while, at the same time, establishing a naturalistic-atheistic foundation in its place.

    And so, or as we can clearly see, from just a very brief examination, it is natural human reason alone, informed by the observable, natural, physical laws of “force and matter” (and not “spirit and matter”), under the authority of a natural science philosophy, which determines virtually all medical pronouncements. At a core level there is no room, whatsoever, for the supernatural, God, theology, the soul, faith or divine revelation to inform medical decisions, its uses, and limits. At a fundamental level the Medical Art has not considered the knowledge of God, and particularly the knowledge of the soul (i.e. out of the Revelation of His Holy Word), worthwhile, let alone foundational, to how we “choose” to do medicine today. Historically in the West, this was not the case. And it was not the case for centuries.

    For example, in the “preface” of Rev. Dr. John T. McNeill’s 1951 textbook, “A History of the Cure of Souls” he describes the traditionally long-held Christian world view (in the West) as it pertains the “essence of human personality”:

    “The soul is the essence of human personality. It is related to the body, but it is not a mere expression or function of the bodily life. It is capable of vast ranges of experience and susceptible of disorder an anguish; but it is indestructible and endowed with possibilities of blessedness within and beyond the order of time. The cure of souls is, then, the sustaining and curative treatment of persons in those matters that reach beyond the requirements of the bodily life.” (McNeill, p.7)

    This “healing of the soul” (or the true “psychiatry”) “in those matters that reach beyond the requirements of the bodily life” can be, clearly, seen in just a sampling of historical-theological works:

    1. Rev. Dr. Johann T. Beck’s 1843 textbook, “Outlines of Biblical Psychology”:

    “The human soul is, in its essence and origin, neither a spiritual and supernatural being nor a sensible and merely natural one. It is a being created by the supernatural in-breathing of the Spirit of God; and, accordingly, it combines in its breathing powers a two-fold life. While its vital force is spiritual and supernatural, it is revealed in a sensible form and sensible modes of action (Gen.ii.7: ‘God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;’ cf. Eccles. Xii. 7, iii. 21; Isa. Lvii. 16; John xx.22; Job xxxiii.4). Man is not a spirit, for the spiritual element in him is interwoven with the sensible life. He is not an animal, for the sensible element in him is interwoven with the higher spirituality. Even in its dealings with the sensible world, and amidst all the joys and sorrows incident thereunto, the soul of man partakes in a supernatural divine influence. It can pass beyond the world of sense, and stand in communion with God. This is a communion which lays in the soul’s own proper substance the foundations of a life different from its existence in the world of sense, – a supernatural life, a life whose health or disease depends upon man’s moral conduct.” (Beck, pp. 7,8)

    2. Rev. Dr. Franz Delitzsch’s 1855 textbook “A System of Biblical Psychology” Section II (“The Ethico-Physical Disturbance”):

    “The spirit which was breathed into man was, indeed, the condition of life to his body. But life, light, and love, are throughout the whole of Scripture, ideas that are interwoven one in the other. Departed from the love of God, the spirit had thus become incapable of being the principle of life and of glorification for the body. Instead of the life that aspired to glorification, had appeared a life that was sinking back downwards to corruption. But the spirit itself cannot possibly die in the manner in which perishes the bodily form of dust. Such a death is contrary to its nature, and contrary to its origin. It cannot be dissolved into elements, for it is not composed of elements. Moreover, it cannot be annihilated, for it is of immediate divine origin.” (Delitzsch, pp. 151, 152)

    3. Prelate Magnus F. Roos’ 1769 textbook (and which I am, presently, translating from Latin to English), “Fundamentals of Psychology Collected from the Sacred Scripture”:

    “It is obligated of an individual intending to search out the nature of the human soul to first of all consider carefully when it lives a life on this earth, which part is itself in common with the brute beasts and which part is of the nobler nature, and abides eternally. Thereupon he may give consideration to, the vast number of realities a living human being is able to desire or to loathe, with some to be delighted in, with others to be overthrown. Ultimately he should weigh it carefully, not for the reason that all these realities may be attributed to an individual person, insofar as one may bear a fleshly body, but that a part of it may exist as a being having been separated from the body, however much this being may have been formed at union with the body, and with that union may constitute together a single person. This becomes then the first stage of psychology, how the expressions ‘nephesh’ and ‘psuche’ are disclosed to us.” (Roos, p.1)

    4. Rev. Dr. George Bush’s 1845 textbook “The Soul: An Inquiry into Scriptural Psychology”:

    “Anthropology is the appropriated term for ‘the science of man’. Its two grand divisions, founded upon the twofold distinction of man’s nature, are ‘physiology’ and ‘psychology’, the first relating to the body, the second to the soul.” (Bush, p.2).

    And so in light of the historically established boundaries between the physicians of the body (doctors) and the physicians of the soul (clergy), I ask, once again, what is the Medical Art doing in my jurisdiction of the soul? And why is a medical (i.e. physical disease-based) model being applied to the soul?

    Cordially,
    Reverend Haynes

  • Katie,

    The prophets of old who spoke against the vile injustices of their day were not only called seers but also poets. What other kind of proclamation speech can truly capture the depth and height, the breadth and width, of the human spirit’s encounter with “radical evil” – that kind of evil that turns good into evil and evil into good?

    And so your words have reached into the depths and heights of the “poet”, indeed! A homiletic in the making?

    After the seas are all cross’d,
    After the great captains and engineers have accomplish’d their work,
    After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist,
    Finally shall come the poet worthy of that name

    Walt Whitman – Leaves of Grass (“Finally Comes the Poet: Daring Speech for Proclamation” , Walter Brueggemann)

    Blessings,
    Reverend Haynes

  • Uprising,

    Thank you for your comments. I, sincerely, appreciate the feed back!

    I totally (and wholly) agree with your statement that: “Pedophilia in action is child rape. I think it goes without saying that ‘discrimination’ against child rapists is just fine. It is not oppressive to protect children from rape. Rape is oppressive. No one has a right to be a rapist.”

    Also, I am very much aware (and absolutely agree) that: “it can be upsetting to people when the subject of pedophilia comes up in the context of conversations about LGBTQ issues. This is because bigots often, either for rhetorical reasons or just out of ignorance, like to conflate non-heterosexual orientations with other orientations and behaviors that have absolutely nothing to do with them.”

    As such, I would concur with you that any and all sexual “orientations” (i.e. “orientations” in the broad and not narrow sense of the term – as any possible intrinsic or extrinsic inclination within the capacity or range of human sexuality) should be considered separately and not conflated.

    And so, my point was not to confuse (or equate) homosexuality, in any way, with pedophilia but, simply, to draw attention to the reality (i.e. as an example) that peoples, laws, and cultures, whether past or present, do in fact “discriminate” with respect to human sexuality in some form or another.

    My sincere apologies for any confusion I may have caused!

    Kind regards,
    Reverend Haynes

  • Vivek,

    Thank you for your response. I much appreciate it.

    Just to, kindly, let you know, it was not my intention to move the discussion in this direction of human sexuality. Nor, do I believe that it was your intention as well. As such, I think we are agreed that MIA is not the proper place for this kind of moral-ethical discussion; nor should it be.

    Moreover, I would like to emphasize that this was, in fact, the main thrust of my response. However, this particular trajectory would appear to be an unfortunate (and somewhat unforeseeable) consequence; given the sensitive nature of the socio-medical history of the topic under discussion.

    Notwithstanding this distraction, please allow me to clarify where I was coming from. And then, hopefully, we can move into a more productive discussion regarding the real issues in this article; which was my intention to begin with.

    As a Christian minister, and theologian, I hold to a worldview that would, quite naturally, adhere to Christian boundaries for expressing human sexuality. And so likewise, or together with yourself, I would whole-heartedly concur that “there is a difference between those individuals who have sexual phantasies through no choice of their own involving children and those who willfully act on these phantasies. I sympathize with the former, but certainly not with the latter who are quite rightly criminalized.”

    As such, my point regarding sexual “orientation” (Lit. to face the East) was, simply, that human sexuality has no intrinsic (or innate) socio-cultural established boundaries. In other words, human sexuality, in and of itself alone is, quite naturally, extremely fluid or plastic in its innate capacity for a vast range of internal and external (or intrinsic and extrinsic) experiences, movements, inclinations, directionality, attractions etc).

    And so, or in view of this, I thought it might be advisable for our MIA Moderator to, kindly, refrain from making any value judgments against ANY sexual discrimination; as though ALL sexual discrimination is denigrating and “oppressive”. This is, simply, not the case. For example, various cultures and laws, both present and past, have not only varied, as I am sure you know, with respect to age of consent (or perceived boundaries of childhood to adulthood) but are clearly discriminatory in nature.

    Accordingly, I felt drawn to, gently, remind everyone, reading this post, that respectful restraint, and mutual understanding, on all sides of this sensitive issue, is the best way forward here at MIA; considering the wide range of liberal and conservative positions on human sexuality and behaviour.

    As such, it was out of this goal toward mutual understanding and respect that I wished to, kindly, let our MIA moderator know that the use of the term “homophobic” or “homophobia” is, in fact, offensive to many people who hold to a moral construct that excludes homosexuality (though not homosexuals as persons, per say) from their religious worldview and life practice.

    Respectfully,
    Reverend Haynes

  • Emmeline,

    I very much appreciate your moderating of any and all moral-ethical sentiments against homosexuality with respect to this article and on this site. As you politely reminded us, this is certainly not the place for any kind of moral-ethical comments, or value judgments, regarding sexual practice or sexual orientation.

    However, or just as a (kind and gentle) note of caution, the word “homophobia” can, potentially, be perceived as just as denigrating (or “oppressive”) a “mental-illness” (or “disease”) diagnosis as “homosexuality” once was. This, I believe, is what Dr. Datta implies when he, graciously, corrected Cataract’s belief that the DSM “did one thing right when they left homophobia in there”. That is, it would tend to be just as equally detrimental to label those of an opposing sexual moral construct as having “homophobia”:

    (Quote): “Vivek Datta, M.D., M.P.H. (MIA Author) on December 2, 2014 at 3:10 am said: homophobia is actually one of the few things that is not in the DSM! don’t give them any ideas!”

    As such, and with all kindness, you may (possibly) want to amend your value judgment that “attempting to shame or denigrate people for their sexual orientation is oppressive”. The reason being, or given the open-ended trajectory (or logical conclusion) of that statement, is that there are, in fact, individuals (or groups) within society whose sexual orientation is, presently, against the law (e.g. pedophilia); but who feel that their orientation is, actually, being unjustly discriminated against, or “oppressed”, by an unenlightened society (e.g. NAMBLA http://www.nambla.org/).

    Moreover, society does not just attempt “to shame or denigrate” these particular groups of “people for their sexual orientation” but in fact does so; especially through legislation. In other words, both society and the law clearly “discriminates” against this kind of sexual orientation both adhered to and practice by either groups or individuals.

    Lastly, I could not agree (or resonate) more with Dr. Datta’s shock and sadness over those inappropriate comments that distracted us from such an excellent article that simply sought to explore “how all diagnosis making is a sociopolitical act and both the inclusion and expunging of homosexuality from the DSM are sociopolitical in nature.”

    Kind regards,
    Reverend Haynes

  • Richard,

    Thank you, kindly, for your question and comments. I sincerely appreciate the feedback. As the old saying goes “iron sharpens iron”. Also, my apologies for being a little late in responding.

    With respect to your (somewhat) rhetorical question about calling Biological Psychiatry a “Secular Priesthood”, I would, first of all, like to say that it was actually Dr. Richard Lawhern, himself, who employed the term “psychiatric priesthoods” (above) and that I was simply agreeing and adding to his comment.

    I think part of the confusion, and which is very common in our contemporary society, is over the term “secular” itself. That is, most people (especially Christians) tend to equate the word “secular” with “atheism”. However, both of these terms were originally used within (or with respect to) a Christian worldview. For example, the word “atheist” was, actually, a term used to describe early Christians within the Roman Empire. That is, in Koine Greek it simply means belief in one (“a”) God (“theos”) as opposed to belief in many (“polloi”) gods (theoi). Of course, and over time, or as we have all come to know, it is a term used to describe belief in no God or gods.

    The same goes for the term “secular”. That is, the English word “secular” is derived from the Latin “saeculum”; which simply means “of this world” or “this worldly”. In fact the Constitution of the United States of America, even though mainly drafted by Christian Theists and Deists was, for the first time in the history of Western civilization, I do believe, a completely “secular” (i.e. “this worldly”) Constitution without any mention to God (i.e. anything “other worldly”) whatsoever.

    Moreover, the term “secular” was actually, or at one time, a theological term, used by theologians, to distinguish between that which was “this worldly” (Immanence) and that which was “other worldly” (Transcendence).

    And so, I think the key difference between our two perspectives is one that involves ontology vs. function. That is, I would contend that Psychiatry (including Biological Psychiatry) is not only functioning as a secular (or completely “this worldly”) religious system but actually IS (i.e. ontologically) a false-pagan religion (i.e. wherein the “belief” in Philosophical Naturalism venerates Nature as Ultimate Reality) that seeks to destroy the true Christian religion (i.e. wherein the “belief” in Christian Theism venerates God as Ultimate Reality). I would tend to believe that this is where Dr. Thomas Szasz was heading when he stated:

    “It [Psychiatry] is not merely a religion that pretends to be science, it is actually a false religion that seeks to destroy true religion. … psychotherapy is a modern, scientific-sounding name for what used to be called the ‘cure of souls’ … with the decline of religion and the growth of science in the eighteenth century, the cure of (sinful) souls, which had been an integral part of the Christian religion, was recast as the cure of (sick) minds, and became an integral part of medicine.”

    Hence, I believe that the key word, in the above quote, by Dr. Thomas Szasz, and with respect to our discussion of Psychiatry being a “secular” (or “this worldly”) religion, is the word “recast”. And this “recasting” can be, somewhat, traced to the year 1812 when Dr. Benjamin Rush published a first of its kind, medical text book entitled, “Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind”. It was a book that not only significantly transformed the face and scope of medicine and medical practice, but also it became the standard text, at that time, for medical training in the treatment of, what was previously known as, the maladies of the “soul”.

    This ever so subtle linguistic shift and emphasis from a theological orientation (i.e. maladies of the “soul”) to a medical orientation (i.e. diseases of the “mind”), marked the beginnings of an unprecedented, cultural and jurisdictional transference in the care and treatment of personal problems. That is, or more specifically, a progressive (and some would add inevitable) movement from the clergy to the medical doctor.

    As a result of this jurisdictional transference of caring and curing authority to the medical profession, the medical model, with its medically prescribed treatments, or treatment modalities, has gradually (or swiftly, depending on your view of time) gained an overwhelming dominance in our lives today; especially in the West. Consequently, and sad to say, the clergy have been either forced (through persuasion, professional posturing or lack of resources) to abandon any attempts to deal with these newly medicalized categories of behaviour or else to willing submit, with utmost deference, to the new medical expertise due to a supposed lack of any specialized knowledge in the field.

    Regardless of how one looks at the cultural-historical reasons for this shift, “the personal problems jurisdiction”, one way or the other, has been largely usurped by the Medical Profession and abdicated by the Ordained Ministry; especially as it pertains to those more severe-mental-emotional maladies. This usurpation and abdication, is exactly what Professor of Sociology, Andrew Abbott, highlights in his award winning book, “The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour”:

    “The clergy were in fact the heaviest losers from the creation of the new psychiatric jurisdiction … by the 1920s, the clergy had lost any vestige of cultural jurisdiction over personal problems. No longer were such problems signs of God’s word, or occasions for thinking about ultimate reality. Rather, they were complete and entire problems unto themselves … The gradual recognition of personal problems as legitimate categories of professional work did not bring a serious clergy effort to conceptualize them. The clergy’s failure to provide any academic foundation for their practice with personal problems ultimately proved their undoing. If another profession should establish relevant diagnostic, therapeutic, and inferential systems and legitimate these in terms of general values, the clergy’s cultural jurisdiction would be easily usurped.” (Abbott 308,309).

    Historically speaking, the cultural effects upon this jurisdictional transition (i.e. from the clergy to the medical doctor) had its subtle beginnings long before 1812 with the appearance of “Medical Inquiries and Observations”, by Benjamin Rush. That is, it began to make its initial manifestation when Western thought and culture started to edge, ever so slowly, away from that delicate (and undivided) medieval balance between Transcendence and Immanence.

    Dr. Charles Taylor, in his magnum opus, “The Secular Age”, describes the commonly held beginnings of the historical process of secularization in the West, along with its “disenchantment” of life and reality, through a growing emphasis on “Nature”:

    “Part of our story seems to lie in the increasing interest in nature, as it were, for its own sake, not simply as a manifestation of God; an interest that can be seen in science, in art, and in ethics. This process starts far back and goes through several stages … Now the relationship of this to modern secularism can seem obvious … people begin to be interested in nature, in the life around them, ‘for their own sakes’, and not just in reference to God. Where before they had one goal in portraying or thinking about nature or human life, now they have two. They have taken the first step on a journey which leads to us. It suffices that they take more and more interest in nature for its own sake, and gradually this will grow, while the reference to the divine atrophies.” (Taylor 90).

    This atrophying of the divine, particularly within the medical profession, reached its apex of thought in the late nineteenth century with the writings of two key philosophers of science; Ludwig Feuerbach and Ludwig Buchner. It was principally through the influences of Feuerbach and Buchner that the atheistic foundations of modern medicine were clearly laid.

    Theologian, Hans Kung, in a series of lectures given at Yale University, in 1979, discussed Feuerbach’s and Buchner’s relationship to, as well as their sway over, the Medical Profession. Together with their overt hostility toward Christianity, the Supernatural and God these two philosophers of science have, undoubtedly, helped to establish the terms of endearment between Science and Faith ever since. Professor Kung, in this regard, is definitely worth quoting at some length:

    “Feuerbach prophesied another successful revolution, which would be speeded up by the natural sciences … the natural sciences had ‘long before dissolved the Christian world view into nitric acid’ … (Feuerbach) insisted that philosophy should be linked no longer with Christian theology but with the natural sciences … It was Moleschott, together with Carl Vogt and Ludwig Buchner among other young natural scientists, and supported by Feuerbach’s philosophical criticism of religion and immortality, who brought a specifically natural scientific materialism to fruition in the nineteenth century … it was clear that religious persuasions had no place in questions of natural science or medicine … religion had nothing to do with science and if it counted at all was a private affair … Ludwig Buchner, a doctor, produced his Kraft und Stoff (Force and Matter). More than twenty editions of the letter made it the militant bible of the new scientific-materialistic world view. According to Buchner, the world as a whole, and also the human mind, are explained by the combined activity of physical materials and their forces. God is superfluous. It was mainly the epoch-making progress of the two basic medical sciences of anatomy and physiology (including pathology) that favoured a kind of medical materialism … For Ludwig Feuerbach, at any rate, it was clear at this time that the medical man was by nature and training a strict materialist … In fact medicine in particular was of the greatest importance for materialistic atheism in the second half of the nineteenth century.” (Kung 3-6)

    Thus, Ludwig Feuerbach and Ludwig Buchner, together with a host of others, helped to, utterly, destroy Christianity as the foundational worldview for doing medicine in the modern period; while, at the same time, establishing a naturalistic-atheistic foundation in its place.

    And so, or as we can clearly see, from just a very brief examination, it is natural human reason alone, informed by the observable, natural, physical laws of force and matter, under the authority of a natural science philosophy, which determines virtually all medical pronouncements. At a core level there is no room, whatsoever, for the Supernatural, God, Faith or Divine Revelation to inform medical decisions, its uses, and limits. At a fundamental level the Medical Art has not considered the knowledge of God and the Revelation of His Holy Word worthwhile, let alone foundational, to how we “choose” to do medicine today.

    As Christians, we confess that God Himself, as revealed in Christ Jesus, is the fundamental source of Life and Light unto all of the created reality. Furthermore, and in particular, it is in the Light of His Eternal Creative Word, and not the (idolatrous) light of modern Empiricism, that all creatures and “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:13).

    Therefore, or in terms of Medicine (i.e. Psychiatry) historically “recasting” Christianity into its own, pseudo scientific-religious image, I would boldly contend that Empiricism (or Scientific Method), as a willful creation of the human mind is, at present, rooted and grounded in the demonic – through its allegiance with materialistic-atheism (or Philosophical Naturalism) rather than its allegiance with Christian Theism. That is, though it may, at one particular level, be a useful (or utilitarian-based) tool of rational investigation it is also, at present, being used as an idolatrous, methodological model at the level of “means”. As such, it has not only excluded God from the equation but has also attempted to “re-create” (or “recast”) our very perception of reality itself. How so? That is, by engendering a falsely perceived, impassable divide (or split) between the transcendent sphere and the immanent sphere within the ONE, created reality. Dr. Bob Goudzwaard in his book, “Idols of Our Time”, underscores this fallen (or idolatrous) human tendency toward “re-creation”:

    “The redefinition of norms is what characterizes an ideology … It defines goodness, truth, justice and love as that which serves the end. In its original sense, therefore, ideology has every thing to do with religion. It is religion’s substitute. Ideology says: ‘As God I create my own norms and values. I say what will benefit humanity. And I allow no god above or power below to make any other law.’ Ideology is an attempt at the re-creation of life with the material of a new source of meaning. Its origin therefore lies in the demonic.” (Goudzwaard 18).

    The specific idolatrous nature of, or “meaning” contained within, the empirical method (mainly developed by Sir Francis Bacon) was also, in part, founded upon a radically implicit or self-determined “individualism”. Dr. Montague Brown, in his book, “Restoration of Reason”, elaborates on this development along with its consequences:

    “Although Bacon, Descartes, and Hobbes do not share Montaigne’s general skepticism, they do adopt features of his method – chief among them the implicit individualism. In contrast to the attitude of the ancient and medieval philosophers who saw themselves in a long philosophical tradition that had painstakingly worked its way toward the truth, each of our modern philosophers is self-consciously announcing a brand new way to truth discovered by himself alone. Whereas Aristotle and Aquinas hold that the method must suit the object, the modern philosophers make method primary. The new method is, in fact, necessary if one is to discover the object.” (Brown 56).

    Thus, the very real and direct implication is that without this empirically developed method or “means” of science one cannot essentially discover “truth”. Not to mention that empirically discovered truth, as being “self-contained” within a (so-called) self-sufficient, immanent frame of reference, now becomes the only recognizable or valid reality. As such, or at fundamental level, this method has idolatrously substituted for God Himself as the Transcendent Ground and Source of all “Truth”. Therefore, the essential (or rather hidden) “meaning” contained within Empiricism today, along with its trajectory, is one that seeks to voice a “re-creation” of ultimate reality itself.

    Hence, the idea that we can make some kind of separation between Philosophical Naturalism (which Professor Phillip Johnson in his book, “Reason in the Balance”, calls “the reigning religious philosophy of America”) and Empiricism is untenable, at this present time; for the simple reason that Empiricism has allied itself with Naturalism and Naturalism has allied itself with Empiricism. They are, at present, two sides of the same coin, as Phillip Johnson relates:

    “To my argument that blind watchmaker evolution owes its support more to naturalistic philosophy than to empirical science, (the very atheistic physicist) Steven Weinberg responded in effect that science and naturalism are basically the same thing, because ‘the only way that any sort of science can proceed is to assume that there is no divine intervention and to see how far one can get with that assumption'”. (Johnson 91, 92).

    This hidden assumption (or rather dark, occultic voice) within Empiricism, today, as a fatally truncated method of moving from “matter to meaning”, would appear to have run its course; hence, ultimately ending in the utter, intellectual bankruptcy of skepticism. Jesus said that “a good tree cannot produce evil fruit” and neither “can an evil tree produce good fruit”. Once again, Dr. Montague Brown, I believe, exposes the evil fruit of Empiricism (i.e. as an idolatry of “means”) as its true and essentially empty nature, over time, has been inevitably exposed:

    “The ultimate implications of empiricist principles seem to be well borne out in Hume: we return to a skepticism much like Montaigne’s. Not only is reason incapable of pronouncing on metaphysics, ethics, or aesthetics; it is incapable of even pronouncing on science. The ideal of explaining everything by reference to matter in motion (scientific method) proves unable to explain anything … Matter in motion is always changing and hence can provide no intelligibility over time and space, and if we act mechanically according to the dictates of matter in motion, then we are not free. If thought is unintelligible, then so are all the pronouncements of thought … This is skepticism, the inevitable end of making a subrational principle the principle of all explanation.” (Brown 111).

    Thus, the dominant (or governing) principle within Medical Science today (e.g. Biological Psychiatry) is nothing less than a deaf and dumb idol. That is, a subconscious, subrational principle whereby humanity has exchanged, once again, the glory (and Voice) of God for the worship (and Voice) of Nature. Hence, giving rise to a modern, though more sophisticated, form of Canaanitism.

    Ultimately, Natural Science and its handmaiden of Empiricism, it would seem, have not only miserably failed, both ideologically and foundationally, but it is also miserably ignorant as a dominant or governing discipline itself. It is not capable of reaching the full, as well as transcendently grounded, scope of human reason (made in the image of God) as Truth, Goodness and Beauty. It is a discipline that not only exists, exclusively, within an immanent frame of reference but has also arisen out of the ground, by its own feeble strength, from below and not from above. For some strange and wonderful reason I can hear the voice of the true governing Queen (Theology) calling us back. The question is, will we heed her voice?

    When I stop and ponder how modern, Western civilization, including much of the Church, has had such an insatiable appetite for the brokenness of Natural Science, and its handmaiden of Empiricism, one cannot help but consider the familiar words of our Lord to His people Israel through the prophet Jeremiah:

    “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the Fountain of Living Waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2: 13).

    Kind Regards,
    Reverend Haynes

    P.S. I hope to respond to your (most interesting) comments on the relationship of Biological Psychiatry with “Genetic Theories of Original Sin” in another post.

  • Steve,

    I am, truly, glad that you appreciated the “historical information and perspective” on the original (or “early modern”) psychology as a “science (or physics) of the soul”. Unfortunately, this “early modern” psychology has, or by and large, been conspicuously, absent from most “modern” textbooks on psychology.

    As such, one of my main points, in this article, and which I addressed to Dr. Hickey, was, that is was not ONLY the discipline of Psychiatry that was (or is) guilty of re-writing its own history but also the discipline of Psychology as well.

    And so, I am hoping that Fernando Vidal’s book (“The Sciences of the Soul”) will bring a, much needed, corrective to this modern-contemporary bias, in Psychology, to exclude its “early modern” Christian origins, etymology and foundations. And most especially, in light of the fact that not “only were most psychologists convinced that an empirical science of the soul was compatible with Christian faith; their perception that psychology preserved the soul also helped to elevate its rank as an empirical science.”

    With respect to the original-Christian definition, and understanding, of “psychology”, as being the “study of the soul” (and NOT “the scientific study of mind and behavior”), the “mind” (i.e. the “mind” in Christian Theology) essentially belongs to that elemental (or metaphysical) “substance” (or “principle”) of “spirit” within us.

    That is, Christian Psychology perceives human nature as being composed of two opposite (or elemental) “substances” known as “spirit” and “matter” (and NOT “force” and “matter” – as in Atheistic-Naturalism); and which is mysteriously, and wonderfully, conjoined together to form a living “soul” (or living “being”) in the physical world.

    Hence, it is the “metaphysical” substance of “spirit” (and not the “physical” substance of “force”) that is THEE self-conscious “principle” (Lat.”principia”) of life with the human “being” (or human “soul”); and whereby it shares that life with lifeless “matter” so as to form a “single” human nature in an earthly mode of existence.

    The “brain”, on the other hand is, therefore, ONLY an “instrument” of “world-consciousness” for the human spirit’s earthly mode of existence. In other words, the “mind” is ONLY an emergent property of “brain” in the sense of being a mediated (or proximate) cause; but NOT as being an essential or ultimate cause. In other words, the human “being” (or the human “soul”) is essentially “spirit” and only incidentally “matter”
    .
    Moreover, or theologically speaking, the human “being” (or human “soul”) is not only essentially “spirit” but also a unique “kind” of spirit. That is, the “self-conscious” human “spirit” was created by God to be an “embodied” (or to use terms borrowed from Chemistry, a “compound”) “spirit”. Whereas angels were created by God to be “pure” (or elemental) “spirits”. And God, Himself, being pure and un-created “Spirit”.

    Therefore, the “essence” of human personality (or person-hood), within a Christian-Theistic worldview, essentially, exists within the realm of “spirit” and NOT within the realm “matter”. Thus, the human “soul” (or human “being”) has its existence both WITHIN the physical universe and OUTSIDE the physical universe at the same time.

    Therefore, the human “soul” (or human “being”) is both subject to the laws of physics and also (wonderfully) free from the laws of physics, also, at the same time. Accordingly, the possibility of true, libertarian agency (or free will) can now logically (or philosophically) exist within the powers and capacity of the human “soul” (or human “being”); where as in Naturalism that possibility can NOT exist within a closed (and NOT open) system (or universe) of “cause and effect” relations.

    As such, it is my hope (or goal) that once this Christian-Theistic understanding of the “soul” is (democratically) reclaimed back to the way we CHOOSE to do Science (i.e. by 80%, or by the “overwhelming” majority, of Americans who hold to a Christian-Theistic Worldview), Biological Psychiatry will, “metaphysically”, die a swift death! And rightfully so!

    Furthermore, or as a Christian Theologian, the best Biblical-Theological definition of the “soul”, that I have read, so far, is by (one-time) professor of Historical Theology, John T. McNeill, in his book “A History of The Cure of Souls”:

    “The soul is the essence of human personality. It is related to the body, but is not a mere expression or function of the bodily life. It is capable of vast ranges of experience and susceptible of disorder and anguish; but it is indestructible and endowed with the possibilities of blessedness within and beyond the order of time. The cure of souls is, then the sustaining and curative treatment of persons in those matters that reach beyond the requirements of the physical-bodily life.”

    Finally, or in my own Latin to English translation of an 18th century psychology textbook (“Fundamenta Psychologiae Ex Sacra Scriptura Sic Collecta” – “Fundamentals of Psychology Collected from the Sacred Scriptures”), written by Lutheran Prelate, and Theologian, Magnus F. Roos, in 1769, it, wonderfully, adds to John T. McNeil definition, and understanding (above), of the “Study of the Soul” (i.e. Psychology):

    “It is obligated of an individual intending to search out the nature of the human soul to first of all consider carefully when it lives a life on this earth, which part is itself in common with the brute beasts and which part is of the nobler nature, and abides eternally. Thereupon he may give consideration to, the vast number of realities a living human being is able to desire or to loathe, with some to be delighted in, with others to be overthrown. Ultimately he should weigh it carefully, not for the reason that all these realities may be attributed to an individual person, insofar as one may bear a fleshly body, but that a part of it may exist as a being having been separated from the body, however much this being may have been formed at union with the body, and with that union may constitute together a single person.” (Roos, p.1)

    Blessings,
    Reverend Haynes

  • Duane,

    Thank you, kindly, for your comments! Also, my apologies for being, somewhat, remiss in responding! I was away for a time.

    The notion (or idea) that a Christian-Theistic worldview is incompatible with Natural Science or Natural Philosophy is not only erroneous but historically inaccurate as well. An excellent work, attempting to correct this misconception, is: “The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy” by Nancy Pearcay and Charles Thaxton: http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Science-ChristianPhilosophy/dp/0891077669/ref=lh_ni_tie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    A sampling of their main thesis is as such:

    “The typical science textbook is narrowly designed to acquaint students with major scientific discoveries. It presents little of the scientists’ underlying philosophy or religious motivations. The sole exceptions to that rule seems to be instances when philosophical or religious beliefs were rejected – such as Copernicus’s rejection of Ptolemaic geocentric cosmology or Galileo’s rejection of Aristotelian physics. Typically the student also assumes, at least unconsciously, that the historical characters who led this emancipation must have shared the same derogatory view of religion and philosophy. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

    In terms of “Natural Law” being “the foundation of faith, law, freedom, responsibility” etc., the Church’s (historical-theological) position is: It is the Eternal Word of God (i.e. as the Eternal “Logos” – which upholds all of the created reality – including the Moral Universe in which we live and move and have our being) that is the Ultimate and Transcendent (as well as Immutable and Eternal) ground of faith, law, freedom, responsibility intelligibility, etc.

    The Natural realm, or the Creation, i.e. as a creative ACT of the Eternal Logos (Eternal Word), is a “contingent” (and NOT a non-contingent or self-sustaining) reality that points “beyond” itself to that Eternal Ground.

    And so, the Creation (i.e. in terms of Natural Law) functions in a “Declarative” (or “Didactic”) capacity. That is, as a “General” (and not “Special”) Revelational knowledge of God’s person, power, glory, and law (i.e. as the Law of God written, or creatively inscribed, upon the human soul’s created power and capacity for “conscience”).

    However, with the historical movement toward Enlightenment thinking (i.e. where the light of human reason replaced the Light of Divine Revelation) Western society, as we know, moved from a Theistic to a Deistic to a Naturalistic view of life and reality.

    Of course, the Constitution of the United States (being heavily influenced by Enlightenment Deism) became the first secular (i.e. a totally “this worldly”) Constitution, in the history of Western thought and culture, with absolutely NO reference to God, whatsoever.

    Accordingly, we can, clearly, see this progressive-historical development in that huge political-cultural shift from Monarchy to Democracy. That is, from 1. Divine Right (of Kings) to 2. Natural Right (of Kings and Subjects, under Natural Law) to 3. Natural (or Inalienable) Rights of ALL citizens within a Republic – regardless of birth or blood to 4. Equal Human Rights for ALL within a modern Liberal-Democratic society.

    Three excellent works, I would highly recommend, on this historical (i.e. Natural Law) progression in Western-American culture are: 1. “The Theory of The Divine Right of Kings” by John Neville Figgis 2. “The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America” by Frank Lambert and 3. “Religion and American Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present” by Mark Noll and Luke Harlow.

    Kind regards,
    Reverend Haynes

  • Boans

    The answer to your question is, simply, NO!

    That is, it is NOT possible, within the context of a Democratic-Republican society, to “force” a people (or nation) “to a Christian World View”.

    On the other hand, it would be a very, REAL possibility to “force” a people or nation (but NOT individuals, per say) within a Christian-Monarchical society – for example, as was done under king Alfred the Great – whom Sir Winston Churchill considered to be the greatest English king in English speaking (or Anglo-Saxon) history.

    [Note: Just as a point of interest, under the rule of king Alfred it was impossible, in Alfred’s mind, for Humanity to establish a Constitution (Lat. Constitutio). That is, it would be rebellion against God for a Christian king to establish THEE “Fundamental Law” for Humanity – since ONLY God, alone, could do so, and did so, on Mount Sinai; when He wrote, in human history, the Ten Commandments, by His own hand, in tablets of stone.]

    Thus, the REAL issue (or dilemma), here, as I perceive it, is that the dominant World View (or “reigning religious philosophy”), in Western-American Science, Law and Education, is NOT Christian Theism but rather Philosophical Naturalism. And, to which some scholars, myself included, have termed, as being nothing more than, ancient “Canaanitism” (i.e. the Worship of Nature) but only in a more modern or more sophisticated form. And so it would appear, or in the words of Solomon, “there is nothing new under the sun”.

    However, approximately 80% of Americans are professing Christian Theists while approximately 10% are professing Atheists. Hence, one would, quite naturally, think (i.e. by virtue of living in a Democratic society) that a Christian Theistic World View would (democratically) come to dominate our understanding of Science, Law and Education in the Academy. Yet that is NOT the case!

    And so, or somewhat ironically, the question (or rather YOUR question regarding “coercion”) begs to be asked: How did an Atheistic-Philosophical Naturalism come to (undemocratically) “force” its way into the Western-American Academy? I find THAT to be a, rather, strange anomaly in a society that so values democracy!

    In other words, in Western-American society, at large, Democracy is upheld, and defended, even to the death. However, in the Western-American Academy it is the Atheistic-Naturalistic “Philosopher kings” who have decreed themselves that THEY, and THEY ALONE, have NATURAL right to rule the Academy. I don’t know about you, but “I’d have a problem with that”!

    Notwithstanding this democratic perplexity, or inconsistency, my main thought, in response to this enlightening article, was that the ONLY way that Biological Psychiatry (including a Naturalistic Psychology, as its rival sibling) can be brought down from its heights of cultural dominance and authority is to, first of all, EXPOSE the dominant “religious philosophy” (i.e. Philosophical Naturalism) that is POWERFULLY driving it! And then, in turn, rightfully establish (i.e. within the Academy) a Christian Theism as THEE overwhelming majority, and democratically accepted, Western-American World View in its place.

    And once this Christian Theistic World View was (rightfully and democratically) established, in the Western-American Academy, then the original psychology (i.e. as the study of the SOUL) would, quite naturally, become the cornerstone of our psychology and psychiatry, once again.

    Hence, the “essence” (or “constitutive element”) of human personality would NO LONGER be reduced down to a mechanistic level of being (nothing more) than an emergent property of electro-chemical brain activity. On the contrary, by reclaiming the traditional Christian concept of the SOUL the “essence” of human personality (including the “essence” of the human “mind”) would be, infinitely, raised above the natural-physical realm of “matter” and into the realm of “spirit”. And what would the consequence of such a psychological paradigm shift be? The DEATH of Biological Psychiatry!

    And so, or as the old preacher once said: Either say OUCH or say AMEN!

    Blessings,
    Reverend Haynes

  • Hi Rossa,

    My name is Reverend Haynes. I am an Ordained Christian Minister, and Theologian, who specializes in “Biblical Psychology”. That is, the Holy Bible’s perspective on the: a) origin b) nature c) pathology d) health-healing and e) destiny of the human “SOUL” in both its individual and corporate manifestations.

    I sincerely, and earnestly, believe, especially as a Pastor-Teacher (or Shepherd-Theologian), in the Church, that it is EXTREMELY important for us, as Christians, that the “true foundation”, as well as the “true-original definition”, of “Psychology” (lit. “the study of the SOUL” and NOT “the scientific study of mind and behavior”) be restored back to the Word of God and to the life of the Church, once again!

    It is not that there is not a, wonderful, place for the “Voice of Nature” (i.e. a Natural Scientific-Empirical study of the “SOUL”) but that the “Voice of God” (i.e. the Most Holy Word of God or the Holy Bible or the Sacred Christian Scriptures) is “infinitely” more foundational for a “true knowledge” of the “SOUL” than the “Voice of Nature”.

    Unfortunately, the Church, through a number of her teachers, abandoned a “Sacred” or “Biblical Psychology”, out the “Sacred Christian Scriptures”, over a hundred years ago. However, it is doable, viable and very much needed in the life of the Church today.

    The reason why the Church, through a number of her teachers, abandoned a “Biblical Psychology”, over a hundred years ago, was: 1.The Church, together with the World, had an “insatiable” appetite for a Natural Scientific-Empirical understanding of human nature, and 2. The Biblical understanding of the “SOUL” came under attack, within the Church, as being a false Greek-Philosophical concept. However, this was NOT true at all!

    I, sincerely, believe that this was NO accident of history. That is, I sincerely believe that, during the 20th Century, in particular, that the “holy doctrine of the SOUL”, like NEVER before in Church history, came under the most insidious attack both inside and outside of the Church. And yet, St. Augustine ONLY wanted to know two things in life: 1. God and 2. The Soul.

    The VAST majority of Christians, I’m afraid, have NO idea, whatsoever, how critically important this “holy doctrine of the SOUL” is! And, especially, how important it is to the “cura animarum” (the care or cure of “SOULS”).

    Lastly, there has been a, recent, movement, within biblical-theological scholarship to reclaim a “Biblical” (or “Sacred) Psychology” back to the Word of God and to the life of the Church, once again.

    The Three-Fold Future Agenda of Biblical Psychology:

    A. Descriptive Agenda

    The descriptive agenda of Biblical Psychology involves an identification, description, and analysis of the Holy Bible’s perspective on:

    1. The constituent elements of human nature (e.g. soul, spirit, heart, mind, body, flesh, etc.) 2. The psychic functions of the human soul (e.g. intelligence, reason, free will, desire, conscience, imagination, dreaming, the inner and outer life, etc.)

    3. The drives and emotions in the life of the human soul (e.g. affect, appetite, libido, love, hate, anger, ecstasy, fear, terror, grief, sorrow, etc.) and

    4. The psychology of behaviour (work, play, sexuality, socialization, war, crime, and punishment, etc.)

    B. Prescriptive Agenda

    The prescriptive agenda of Biblical Psychology focuses on the Holy Bible’s perspective on what a human soul “is” and also on what a human soul can “be” (or “become”) in terms of:

    1. The care, nourishment, proper development and goal (or telos) of the human soul.

    2. The biblical view of health and sickness – physical, moral, and spiritual (e.g. sin, suffering, death, demonization, fallenness, salvation, grace, rebirth, transformation, healing, reconciliation, etc.)

    3. Biblical perceptions and models of human development (e.g. concepts of maturity and immaturity, the psychikos (soulish) vs. the pneumatikos (spiritual), the laws governing behaviour, etc). and

    4. The role of spirituality in the life of the human soul (e.g. prayer, fasting, piety, God-consciousness, obedience to the law, faith, hope, love, vice and virtue, etc).

    C. Comparative Agenda

    The comparative agenda of Biblical Psychology turns attention toward encouraging a critical-constructive comparison and dialogue between a Biblical Psychology and a Rational-Empirical Psychology of Natural Science.

    Finally, if you (or someone you may know) would be interested in learning more about “Biblical Psychology”, for the cura animarum (care or cure of SOULS) I would be most happy to hear from you.

    Blessings,
    Reverend Haynes

  • For me, the ANSWER, especially as a theologian, is, quite simply, by RECLAIMING the original definition, concept, and understanding of “PSYCHOLOGY” as being “the study of the SOUL”. And likewise, by reclaiming “PSYCHIATRY” as being “the healing of the SOUL”.

    And it is by “renewing” this old-original “standard” of psychology-psychiatry (rather than generating a “new standard”) that I, earnestly, believe to be THEE “missing piece in the puzzles of human distress and disturbance”.

    At present, Biological Psychiatry is, indeed, a “psychiatric priesthood”, as you have said. Though it is a SECULAR psychiatric priesthood WITHOUT a SOUL!

    And until we reclaim this original paradigm of the SOUL (i.e. reclaim it back in the way we CHOOSE to do psychology and psychiatry) I believe we will NEVER “move this issue meaningfully off dead center and toward better results for people who are in distress”.

    And it is this, particular, CALL for a, much needed, paradigm shift that is, wonderfully, proclaimed by Psychiatrist Jeffrey H. Boyd (Chair of Psychiatry at Waterbury Hospital) in his book “Reclaiming the Soul”:

    “I propose a paradigm shift with respect to our understanding of human nature. The old scientific paradigm rejects the soul because it is ‘unscientific’. We need a new paradigm that endorses the soul as the cornerstone of our anthropology.” (Boyd p.109)

    Reverend Haynes

  • Truly a wonderfully insightful (and, pleasantly, humorous) article exposing biological psychiatry’s “insatiable” appetite (not to mention “intellectual gymnastics”) to re-write its own history!

    As an ordained Christian minister, and theologian, what is MOST disconcerting to me (i.e. with respect to contemporary psychiatry and psychology) is that the VAST majority of people have absolutely NO, “historical”, knowledge, whatsoever, that the very word “psychology” itself was coined in the mid-sixteenth century. And whereby, it was, “intentionally”, brought into academic use, or academic parlance, by two biblical-Christian scholars, Marco Marulic and Philip Melanchthon, as the study of the “SOUL”.

    It was only, somewhat, later on, during the seventeenth century, that the “science of the soul” (i.e. as the “form” of all living-physical bodies or organisms) was recast, in part, into the “science of the mind”. And even then, it was not until, significantly, more time had elapsed that the “mind” of the SOUL, together with its maladies, had been, unfortunately, reduced (or rather collapsed) down to the elemental-materialistic notion (or “one theme”) of “brain pathology in psychiatric illness” in the twentieth century.

    In other words, a strictly natural-scientific psychiatry (or rather, its staunch medical proponents) had, historically speaking (principally through Ludwig Feuerbach and Ludwig Buchner during the late nineteenth century) simply, CHOSE, as an act of their will, to banish, or dissolve into nitric acid, the Christian World view on which the “science of the soul”, and “science of the mind”, had been given birth to in the first place.

    Consequently, psychiatry (as well as psychology, I am afraid) happily aligned itself with a naturalistic-atheistic world view instead. And somehow, or subsequently, it was, mysteriously (or should I say “ridiculously”) claimed that the Christian world view was no longer compatible with Natural Science or a Natural Philosophy. And so, Western civilization, as I have come to see it, is simply “reaping” what biological psychiatry’s, and naturalistic psychology’s, presuppositional (or evolutionist-atheistic) faith commitment has “sown”.

    Of course, this presuppositional faith commitment (or historical antecedent, whereby psychiatry and psychology, historically, “chose” to align itself with an evolutionist-atheistic world view) is completed dressed up in (or rather hidden behind) the garments of a, so-called, strictly natural scientific, and supposedly value neutral, empirical methodology.

    The truth is, as I am sure most academics would know, is that there is a fundamental (or foundational) world view philosophy POWERFULLY driving biological psychiatry. And that world view philosophy is, of course, philosophical Naturalism. And philosophical Naturalism has become, in my view (or as professor Philip Johnson has called, in his book “Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education,) “the reigning religious philosophy in America”.

    Therefore, or likewise from my point of view, the ONLY way we can, truly, destroy (or possibly reform) present day biological psychiatry is to RECLAIM the original “Christian theistic” world view as THEE foundational world view for how we “CHOOSE” to do science. And by doing so, we will, in turn, quite naturally, reclaim the traditional, Christian concept of the SOUL (i.e. the full scope of the SOUL in both its transcendent and immanent, natural and supernatural, physical and spiritual, temporal and eternal powers and capacities, modes and relations) as THEE cornerstone of our psychology and psychiatry, once again. Any thing less, in my view, will ONLY keep us, and uncontrollably, heading down the same, destructive-pathological path of bio-psychiatry.

    Therefore, or as I perceive reality, we ONLY have TWO possible FOUNDATIONS for the study and practice of Psychiatry (lit. the healing of the SOUL) and Psychology (lit. the study of the SOUL): 1. The Voice of God (i.e. Divine Revelation) or 2. The Voice of Nature (i.e. Human Reason). And accordingly, or as a consequence, we ONLY have two possible contenders, therefore, for the “Queen of the Sciences”: 1. Theological Science or 2. Natural Science.

    And so, or in the words of Joshua: “choose you this day whom ye will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

    Furthermore, the Christian (or Christian world view) understanding, of the “early modern” history and development of psychology, is for the most part, conspicuously, absent from most histories of “modern” psychology textbooks.

    Notwithstanding, or as a much, needed corrective to this (unscholarly) bias, an excellent book on the “early modern” history of psychology has been, recently, written by Fernando Vidal, entitled: “The Sciences of the Soul: The Early Modern Origins of Psychology”. A concise summary of his book is as follows:

    “The Sciences of the Soul is the first attempt to explain the development of the disciplinary conception of psychology from its appearance in the late sixteenth century to its redefinition at the end of the seventeenth and its emergence as an institutionalized field in the eighteenth. Fernando Vidal traces this development through university courses and textbooks, encyclopedias, and nonacademic books, as well as through various histories of psychology.

    Vidal reveals that psychology existed before the eighteenth century essentially as a “physics of the soul,” and it belonged as much to natural philosophy as to Christian anthropology. It remained so until the eighteenth century, when the “science of the soul” became the “science of the mind.” Vidal demonstrates that this Enlightenment refashioning took place within a Christian framework, and he explores how the preservation of the Christian idea of the soul was essential to the development of the science. Not only were most psychologists convinced that an empirical science of the soul was compatible with Christian faith; their perception that psychology preserved the soul also helped to elevate its rank as an empirical science. Broad-ranging and impeccably researched, this book will be of wide importance in the history and philosophy of psychology, the history of the human sciences more generally, and in the social and intellectual history of eighteenth-century Europe.”

    Blessings,
    Reverend Haynes