Science of the Soul ?
Psychiatry and pseudo-science
The word psychiatry literally means the "treatment of the soul." It is alleged to be the medical branch of psychology, the "study of the soul." This immediately calls to mind a single question. What is the "science of the soul?" Has anyone dissected a soul or examined it under the microscope? Can anyone determine the legitimate etiological cause for a given behavior? In short, is psychiatry a legitimate science?
Science is a tool. When used appropriately it can wrought seeming miracles. Man has traveled to the moon, he has created technological wonders such as television, and he has harnessed nuclear power. Science is also a tool for apologetics. It has been used to support opposing viewpoints such as creation and evolution, neither of which has or can be proven empirically. Likewise, it has been used to support varying views of archaeology, often in conflict with each other.
Over the years psychiatry, as well as its compatriot psychology, has become a widely popular and espouced "science." However, history has shown that what man considers "science" in one generation is considered supersticion a few generations later. Despite this the nature of humanity is compromise. He has a desire to accepted and fit in. Moreover, he has an inate ability to shift the burden for his own sins. These two facts have contributed to rise in popularity of one of the greatest psuedo-sciences known to history.
A psuedo-science is defined as a false science. It is a "science" which violates the natural laws of the universe and ignore legitimate empirical study. Alchemy was a psuedo-science; not because it failed to approach the subject of chemistry, but because it interpreted chemical data in a manner which denied the basic tenants of natural law. In other words, it crossed the line between the natural and supernatural. In fairness to these ancients, the natural laws as understood by Isaac Newton and others had not yet been fully apprehended. They merely assumed that if one substance can be changed to another than any substance should be able to change to any other; an assumption we now know to be false.
Psychiatry cannot claim the same ignorance as the ancient alchemist. Psychiatrists, as trained medical practictioners, have no excuse for ignoring the precepts of legimiate medical diagnosis. They have no defense for their rejection of valid empirical methodology in their quest to determine disease and cure. In short, psychiatry is a psuedo-science of the highest degree.
History is wrought with Christians erroneously accepting psuedo-scientific theories only to have those theories break down the very foundations of the gospel. They assumed, contrary to Scripture, that the minds of sinful men are not obscured when it comes to interpreting scientific data. Worse yet, many Christian fail to see that all scientific research must be interpreted based upon assumptions. These assumptions are really nothing more than ideas accepted upon faith. The Bible tells us that sinful mens minds have been . Therefore, the minds of secular men are in direct conflict with the gospel and God's truth. It follows then that the products of sinful men's minds must also be in conflict with God. This includes his arts, his literature, his education, and even his "science." When secular ideas infiltrate the Church it usually comes in the guise of science. Too many Christians are untrained in a Biblical view of science and have accepted the idea that science itself is truth. It was in this way that such psuedo-scientific heresies as evolution and secular archaeology have entered the Church and cast doubt upon the historical veracity of Scripture. Despite the mountains of evidence rebutting these heresies and proving the historical reliability of Scripture, many Christians have been unable to answer critics who attack the Bible on this basis and too many Churches and seminaries have merely sought a compromise between the secular and the Christian. Even from such fundamentalist backgrounds as Dallas Theological Seminary, Merrill Unger's Bible Dictionary lists the literal interpreatation of Genesis chapters 1 as "untenable," and recommends many compromising theories that can account for the supposedly five billion year old earth. Another evangelical supports "progressive creationism" that in his own words is "a suitable middle-of-the-road origin model, one that will allow Christians to function in both the secular world and in the church." Neither of these men seem aware of the arrogant assumptions behind radio-metric dating and neither seem to care. Christians seem to desire a "safe" "middle-of-the-road" view that will allow them to be both of the world and of God. Unfortuneatly, stading in the middle of the road tends to get you run over. In Revelation God states that "hot or cold" . Electing to take "safe" stands that will not embarrass us is really simply another way of making lukewarm evangelism. It presents a gospel that is acceptable to both secular minds and the Church but it is not acceptable to God. For those readers who are not acquainted with the creation/evolution debate I would refer to countless books written on the subject. Because there are so many on the subject I do wish to reprise what has been said therein. Rather I present evolution as an example that most evangelical Christians should be aware of by now. Nonetheless, the topic of this book is not evolution, radiometric dating, or secular archaeology but another psuedo-science that has been ignored for too long. This is psychiatry.
Recently "Christian psychology" has come under attack with increaing intensity but even its sceptics seem to lend all to much credibility to psychiatry. Because its must go through medical school critics themselves tend to shy away from this "field of medicine." However, evolutionists must also take many valid science courses and persue rigorous scientific scholarship. There can be no doubt that much psychiatric research is invaluable. But just as evolutionist do valuable research, the research must be interpreted. Psychiatric research is welcomed, it is psychiatric interpretations, whether by Christians or nonChristians, that must be rejected. It is my contention that Psychiatry is not a valid medical science because it fails to subscribe the very foundations of medical science. As I hope to illustrate, psychiatry is powerless to distinguish between physiology and etiology. Or more simply, between cause and effect. Moreover, it does not bear the mark of sincere medical diagnosises. Indeed, in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders [DSM-III], refered to as the "Bible of psychiatry" by Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, the opening page contains a "cautionary statement" that warms doctors not to use the diagnosis as a standard. It states that the diagnosis in the book merely "reflects a consensus." Indeed, many "diseases" seem to come and go depending and the mood and political climate of psychiatry. For example, homosexulaity was once considered a "disease" but now it is considered perfectly normal and the very "evidence" that was once held as proof of disease is now held as proof of normality. The alledged genetic disposistion of homosexuality has gone from being a virus to a genetic normality. Many will doubtless say that "Christian psychiatrists" have seperated the secular from the science but the very fact that use the name of psychiatry proves that they have not. If someone called himself a "creationist evolutionists" he would be talking in paradoxes . How can you distinguish between "Christian psychiatry" from "secular psychiatry"? Is there such a thing as "Christian biology," "Christian neurosurgery," or "Christian vascectomy?" No. There may be such a thing as a Christian biologists but not Christian biology. Biology is biology regardless of the religion of the biologists. The very attempt to distinguish Christian and secular psychiatry is an open admission that psychiatry is not a pure science, but rather something that touches upon the realm of reigion. Indeed, the very name of psychiatry suggests that; for the name means the healing of the soul. Unfortuneatly, many no longer believe that the healing of the soul is the perogative of the Bible, of God, and of His Holy Spirit. They believe it is under the domain of "science." It should be stated at the outset, however, that criticism of psychiatry as a legitimate science is not judging or those who practice it. On the contrary I do not doubt the sincerity of Christian psychiatrists, I only doubt the veracity of there work.
Indeed, this article would not have been possible without the assistance of Frank Minirth. Virtually all of the research came from his own personal library at the clinic. I do not say this to imply that Frank Minirth lends credibility to my arguments, for I am sure he disagrees with most of what I am to write, but rather I say this to prove that I have no malicious intent to harm the integrity of Christian psychiatrist as critics are so often accused of doing. On the contrary, true science thrives on criticism. So to should the true Christian. In Galatians the apostle Paul had what you might call a disagreement with the apostle Peter on whether or not new converts should be circumcised. On a matter that to us would seem almost trivial, Paul tells us that he "stood up before them all ." This was from a man who called himself "the least of the apostles." In other words, Paul did not consider himself superior to Peter as some have claimed but he wanted to make sure for all to know . Indeed, the Bible tells us that if someone sins privately, he should be rebuked privately, but if someone sins publically, he must be rebuked publically. If he is not rebuked publically tthen it will seem as if his sins were being condoned. The same is true as false teachings.
There can be no doubt that there is an integral connection between the body and the soul. No critique of psychiatry would be valid without an acknowledgement of that simple fact. The question is not whether or not the human soul is of importance to mental health but whether or not psychiatry properly understand this correlation. Moreover, can psychiatry accurately resolve the physcial, neurological, and psychological problems their patients face? The real question, fundamental to both answers, is whether or not the human soul is within the realm of legitimate science. As a field of medicine psychiatry does much neccessary and important research. Like most science however, this research must be interpreted. No matter how unbiased and methodical a person may claim to be there can be no denying that man is neither unbiased nor methodical in his thoughts. Every man brings critical assumptions into his interpretations and analysis of the facts which scew the outcome assuming he has sufficient facts to make viable conclusions in the first place. It is important to note that psychiatry did not arise out of medicine but out of psychology. Neurology did not lead to an innevitable clash with psychiatry but vice versa. Nonetheless, because psychiatry deals with medicine and all of its intricacies it is impossible to deal succinctly with general psychiatric medicine which blends truth with lies, facts with fiction, and reality with fantasies. Hence, this book. Unlike modern psychiatry I feel it is essential that my own prejudices and biases be laid bare so that the reader may judge for himself not only where I am coming from but so that he may also be able to follow my logic throughout my critique of psychiatric medicine. Too often scientists fail to do this very simple, honest thing because it would take away from the omnipotent aura that scientific theories have enjoyed over the years. Indeed, if psychiatrists had presented their own assumptions up front it is very unlikely that Christians ever would have been fooled into believing it was a legitimate science.
My first bias is this; that God is that master of all knowledge and that, as Sir Isaac Newton believed, true science is the exploration of God's creation. Therefore, no valid scientific theory can contradict God and his Word. In other words, what is described as sin in the Bible can never be the result of a mental disorder. Nothing in psychiatry can ever take away any amount of responcibility for man's actions.
Second, I believe that failure to distinguish between cause and effect invalidates any legitimate scientific credibility. Modern science itself was founded upon the idea of cause and effect but psychiatry has consistantly failed to distinguish between physiology and etiology. In fact, in a psycho-pharmocology course I took in college the professor would constantly ask students whether or not a given effect was physiological or psychological. The only accepted answer was "yes." It was both or so we were told. No scientific standards were set to distinguish between the two.
Third, I believe that clear distintion must be made between secular terminology that tends only to lend credibility to secular theories and assumptions and Christian terminology. For example, many Christians now claim that man consist of the mind, body, and soul. However, the Bible list any entirely different three. It list the spirit, the soul, and the body. This is not an idle semantic error but a critical error in "Christian psychology." The word "mind" was used to supplant the belief in the human soul. The early founders of psychology denied the very existance of the soul, despite the fact that the name psychology means the study of the soul. On the contrary, early psychologists based their idea of the mind upon the evolutionary idea that man is merely an evolved animal. For them all the intangibles in man's personality were merely products of different factors. These intangibles soon became housed in a mysterious part of the brain called the mind. The word merges the human soul with the human brain. Such error is clearly psuedo-scientific however.
Once men thought that the soul was located in the kidney and later it was associated with the human heart, hence the phrase "he is a heartless individual." Now we belief that man's soul is housed in his brain but this is not soul. The brain is a physical organ which interacts with the soul but is untouched by it. Finally, it is my belief that problems diagnosed by psychiatrist as "mental disorders" are often the result of one of four things:
1. Physical Problem Dissassociated From Psychiatric Theory. It can be a purely physical problem such as "mental" retardation which would be better handled by a legitimate medical practitioner. Far too often psychologist and psychiatrist "diagnose" people under mental diseases when they suffer from simple medical problems. In fact, when I was in high school I suffered from hypoglycemia, a blood sugar level problem. The doctor put me on a diet and I have been fine since. Many however take the advice of their church pastors or others who erroneously send them to Christian psychiatric clinics that offer "free hyperactivity screening." When the screening is complete, the people are promptly checked for medical insurance and carted away to psychiatric hospital where they are often kept under sedation. And rest assured this is not an isolated problem. It is a severe one that affects many people including Christians as will be discussed later.
2. Spiritual Problems. It could be a purely spiritual problem of living such as psychiatrist are apt to treat. Often spiritual problems, despair, hopelessness, and normal emotional problems are quickly labeled as "mental disease" but rarely if ever are their problems ever truly solved. Rather than pointing to a proper relationship with Christ as a solution to their despair they are treated with drugs and psychotherapy.
3. Physical Complication Aggravated By A Spiritual Problem. It could be a physical problem that is creating a spiritual problem on the side. In other words, the physical problem is distinct from the spiritual problem but hte person is unable or unwilling to respond to his physcical ailment in a proper manner. For example, a woman who is in her period may often be very irratable and cranky. However, removing the physical pain will not cure her soul. We have somehow justified sinful actions providing the person is suffering physically themselves.
4. Spiritual Problem Aggravated By Physiological Side Effects. The "disease" could be spiritual with physiological side effects. Most "mental" illness would by far fall into this category. For example, a person who gets angry will usually experience a rise in body temperature as well as a rise in his blood pressure. In some cases a person may get a severe head ache. This is because oxygen is cut off in route to the the brain and is one reason that people cannot think straight when they get angry. These are all physiological reactions. The emotion triggered the physiological response. Moreover, it is a well known fact that such things as ulcers can and are caused by emotions and stress. This could also be true of many "mental" diseases. Indeed, it is well established by cult experts that many people suffering from spiritual oppression, the occult and other problems exhibit the same "symptoms" as schizophrenics and manic depressives. While psychologist and psychiatrist keep these patients under drugs, ministers often find that these diseases mysteriously disappear when reconciliation is made. Often, diseases such as epilepsy can fall into one or more of the above categories. Sometimes it could be a purely physical ailment. Other times it could be a person suffering from occultic or spiritual oppression. Indeed, epilepsy was once concidered synonymous with demon possession because occultist that undergo self hypnosis or "out of body" experiences often exort the exact same symptoms as epiletic seizure. No simplistic ot trite "answer" will do as psychologist try so often. If anyone doubt this analysis then I present the following scenario for consideration.
Four patience have been checked into a local psychiatric hospital. Unknown to the doctors the people really suffer from the following problems:
Patient #1: A person suffering from the Adrenochrome syndrome.
Patient #2: A recovering LSD addict.
Patient #3: One emotionally unstable person with delusions of granduer.
Patient #4: Let us say facetiously one demon possessed axe murdered. Say the "Son of Sam" murderer, Charlie Manson, or David Koresh. The examining psychiatrists may come to the following conclusions:
1. At least 3 patients may see and talk to people that are not there (1,2,4)
2. At least 2 patients may believe themselves to be God (3,4, and possibly 2)
3. At least 2 patients may be violent (2,4)
4. All may yield excess ammounts of dopamine messangers at the time of testing.
All have similarities that can be used to draw parrallels and may be used to attached labels all the men for problems from which they do not suffer. None of their problems are accuraetly dealt with and most are treated for problems from whence they do not suffer. For example, if treated for Adrenochrome syndrome (no cure) then only one is helped and the other are hurt rather than helped. One reason that such broad categorization has engulfed the medical community is arrogant presumption on the part of psychiatry. If a scientist discovers a new disease then he has discovered a disease previously unknown. If, however, a scientist sets out to find a disease he already believes exist then he will probably find that disease whether it actually exist or not. He may even interpret unknown diseases to fit his own; i.e., schizophrenia. Indeed, one can always find what they are looking for if they look long enough and hard enough but this is not objective medicine. Because atheistic psychologists refuse to accept the belief in soul of man, which their "science" is suppose to deal with, they must interpret medical information to fit their own presumptions. Cause and effect become obscurities. By uniting the body and soul into one "mind," the "cause" becomes indistinguishable from the "effect." This in turn leads to numerous "diseases" that have no true compelling or logical basis in medicine. As a result, yet another grandiose problem underlying psychiatric research has arisen. Specifically, a logical definition a "mental disease."
Medical doctors must utilize a working model of "disease." This definition often involves the finding of specific viral or biological causes that effect a specific change. Nowhere in the valid medical sciences is "disease" thrown around to imply "deviant behavior." The problem with neuropsychiatry and other forms of psychiatry is that it is in fact a merger between the highly credible field of Neurology and psychological/evolutionary assumptions. It is a fusion of the "study of the brain" and the "study of the soul." Hence, the "mind" has supplanted both. Because the brain is the central organ necessary to help man's body and soul communicate and interrelate with the world, much confusion can occur as to what factors are genetic, what factors are chemical, and what factors are inherent in the nature of man, or in his soul. This naturally creates much confusion. For example, in Richmond, Virginia a young boy was born with a cyst "at the stem of the brain (keeping) the rest of it from forming, leaving his skull filled with fluid. According to medical doctors "the parts of the brain that allow humans to think ... never formed. Doctors gave the boy only a week to live and said that he would never be able to think, smile, or feel. Despite such proclamations the boy grew to attend nursery school and he smiles, laughs, and "participates in all activities other children do." Furthermore, the boy was diagnosed as cortically blind which means that, since he has "no brain", he is incapable of interpreting the images that his eyes see. Once again, another brain theory goes down the tube for the boy "laughs when he watches the Disney Channel." The implication is that he knows what is supposed to be funny and what is not (something a lot of adults today don't seem to know very well). He can indeed see and think and feel. He does so, not because he "lacks a brain," but because he has a soul. However, by merging the brain and soul neuropsychiatrist and psychiatrist are able to invent multitudes of new "mental diseases."
The majority of these, as we shall see, are not real medical problems but problems of living, of sin, and of self-control that are so implicit in Scripture and so vague in psychiatry. The book itself follows the Diagnostic Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders [DSM-III] regard to alledged psychiatric diseases. The first section deals almost exclusively with psychiatric diseases that have virtually no basis in scientific facts. The last second, which the reader willnote is the shortest, contains information on legitmate medical diseases but critiques the treatment of the patients by psychiatry as well as other harm that may be done to legitimate medically ill people that are subjecetd to psychiatric "care." This category includes such things as "Mental" Retardation, Parkinson's Disease, and other diseases that psychiatrists have wrongfully claim domain over.
In conclusion, Psychiatry is a pseudo-science. Christians should NOT place any faith in it and should never intergrate Christian theology with humanistic and materialistic theolories. If there is a legitimate medical problem then they should consult a legitimate (non-psychiatric) medical doctor. If the doctor cannot find anything physically wrong with him then Christ, not Freud, is the answer.
Note : Endnotes were removed for space but can be found in my book, Controversies in the Book of Revelation.
Copyright = David Criswell = 2004 = All rights reserved
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