vendredi 26 juillet 2013

Why I have a Personal Grudge against Kenotic Heresy

Series: 1) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere 2) somewhere else : Bible and Church Questions 3) Creation vs. Evolution : Why I have a Personal Grudge against Kenotic Heresy 4) item : St Augustine gives an inch and some take an ell 5) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : When St Augustine makes a fault, it is not all that faulty

I got mail, arrived Monday 29 of July, St Olaf of Norway, about how I put this:

Dear Mr Lundahl/Dear Hans-Georg

Thank you for forwarding your blog. I have no problem with you making critical comment on anything I/we write, but I found the way it was laid out a little confusing, to the point where it actually misled the reader.

I.e. it readily gave the impression that it was I who claimed that Jesus did not know as much science today as we do, whereas in fact that was a quote from a theistic evolutionary professor. Even though it was my article, I had to look it up to work out that the bit on mental illness was my response to a comment on the article. Perhaps it would both enhance your blog and alleviate my concerns if you were to add a few things to clarify things in that regard.


Carl W.

Dear Carl,

I thought it was clear:

a) that you gave an answer that was perfectly satisfactory as to inerrancy of Gospel and of Christ's knowledge,
b) that my issue with it was only your assumption that Christ must have met mental illness properly so called as per modern definitions
c) that what I was citing was not your article (except I was giving a resumé of Jonathan Sarfati's part right at the start), but one comment response plus your answer to it
d) whereafter I added my thing.

If it was not, I hope putting your letter on top of the post and this answer of mine below it and only hereafter original article of mine with its citiations from your comment section will make it doubly clear!

Thank you for the encouraging words!

Hans-Georg Lundahl

original article as already previously published, but modified in order to clarify, as per request:

Basically, there is a passage of, I read online it was Philippians, where the Son is said to have "emptied himself", and the Church back in IVth Century already answered that this did not mean emptying Himself by becoming less God, less Divine or loosing even one single divine attribute, such as all knowledge.

Now, there is an article about this on Creation dot com. I am not citing it because they are Protestants, condemned by Trent, though they may incidentally be that too, but because they are not Arians condemned by Nicea I and Constantinople I. Since one of the writers was a former doctor, he got in the comment section under the online article another question about the Scientific Knowledge Our Lord could have had. He gave a sufficient answer to save inerrancy, but insufficient for our moral positions today. I cite relevant part of comment section:

Travis F., Australia, 8 May 2012

He said:

“Jesus didn’t know as much science as we do today.""


Given your unease around this comment, I am wondering on your views around mental/physical health issues and the likelihood that the ancient way for interpreting these was through a demonic lens.

  • Did Jesus only encounter demons?

  • Did mental illness not occur in Jesus' day?

  • Is mental illness always linked to demonic activity?

  • Did Jesus share the scientific/medical understanding of his day; an understanding that has developed over time?

These may be age-old questions for you, but I appreciate the space to be able to ask them here.

Carl Wieland responds

I will repeat your comments if I may, but firstly let me suggest that it is not just a question of any personal 'unease', what is at stake is the trustworthiness of the entire fabric of Christian doctrine, if one thinks it through carefully. And the extent to which the ancient world saw things through different lenses is not really relevant to the question of the Creator's own trustworthiness, because He has no such limitations. In short, it would not be an adequate 'excuse' for Him.

So here goes--and btw, I have in the past thought on such issues a bit, also because of having been a Christian medical doctor with a great interest in mental health issues- plus someone who has seen the reality of the demonic, as my book Beyond the Shadows documents in detail. You wrote:

  • Did Jesus only encounter demons?

CW: We have no way of knowing the totality of what Jesus encountered, we can only make comments on what the Bible describes Him as having encountered. I think it likely that He encountered mental illness as such, but I have no way of knowing that. The encounters with demon possession are clearly described as such and so the presupposition of biblical inerrancy (without which we have no epistemological basis for knowing anything from Scripture) forbids us from making the leap that this is merely a way of describing mental illness (which incidentally would have to in one case have involved mental illness in a whole herd of swine causing them to have the same suicidal impulse at the same time as each other).

  • Did mental illness not occur in Jesus' day?

CW: As indicated, I think it likely did, but that still has little to do with the issue here, because doubtless so did acne, and so did cancer, but there is no indication that Jesus encountered and dealt with either of these. He may have; we simply don't know. Had the Bible merely recorded the opinions of others that these were demonic possession, it would be a different story. But it clearly states the cause.

  • Is mental illness always linked to demonic activity?

CW: I don't believe that for a minute, except in the most general sense of the effects of the Fall and the resultant Curse. I do believe that in today's world, much mental illness is misinterpreted as demonic. But the demonic variety (which is real, as i can testify, but extremely rare) can be clearly overcome by the Christian wielding the sword of the Spirit and the blood of Jesus, without any long incantations/rituals, etc. - and responds to it dramatically and not just by way of some shorterm improvement. Importantly, it does not respond to psychotropic medication, which true mental illness does, even if not as a total healing.

But there is a further important point to make, namely that the types of mental illness today that are most likely to be confused with demonic activity are psychoses, in particular schizophrenia. I read an important paper a few decades ago in which a secular Melbourne Prof of Psychiatry argued that one can identify schizophrenia fairly well from descriptions in early documents and from this it is reasonable to conclude that whatever the causes of this disease, it seems as if it was unknown prior to a few hundred years ago, at which time there was a virtual epidemic. And those psychoses known to be caused by genetic mutation would be subject to the accumulation of such mutations in time - all of which suggests that the types of mental illness most likely to be confused with demonic possession (because they involve hearing voices, etc.) were likely either unknown or exceedingly rare in Jesus' day.

  • Did Jesus share the scientific/medical understanding of his day; an understanding that has developed over time?

CW: There is no evidence of this, and thus no reason to assume that He was merely misinterpreting things due to His limited understanding. The accounts of his demonic encounters make sense in their own right, without the 'mental illness' understanding.

I appreciate the opportunity to comment.

Comments section (closed) on
CMI article : Jesus on the age of the earth
(a passage in the article itself gives exact reference about Philippians)

Now, I have another take.

There are certainly mental troubles that occur due to lesion of brain. In Jesus' day there was less industrialism and thus less car accidents and similar (none car accidents properly speaking). The war like things going on left people with brain lesions acquired in battle lots less likely to survive.

There are mental troubles linked to an extra chromosome in some of the chromosome pairs, notably pair 21. In Jesus' day girls married early, and women giving birth in forties had not lost so many good ovulations by menstruating every month up to that event in their forties. Down's syndrom was much rarer than now, not because of abortion, but because the women who get Down's syndrom babies do so pretty often by not having given birth previously. I forgot if the statistics I read were about births or first births, but for a woman 20 years old it is one in ten thousand, for a woman 40 years old, one in hundred that is a birth of a Down's syndrome child.

There is depression. I think in Jesus' day the social tolerance of depression was less likely to stamp depressed peoples as "mentally ill".

Now, the diagnosis most usually associated with troubles such as of the demonically possessed is schizophrenia, but it is a mysterious diagnosis, and it is also used for things hardly worth calling mental troubles at all, such as absentmindedness or as being "still a boy at forty".

Now, there is a thing about real demoniacs, the one at Gadara had severe problems with hygiene until the legion of demons was thrown out. They - the onlookers - saw he was washed and combed and clothed ... and realised that the demons were cast out.

There is also a thing about Pharisees: they said Jesus was a demoniac because he did not wash his hands before the meals.

Do you get it? Verbally same criterion - say "dirty" - can be applied in so totally different ways.

I think modern psychiatry applies criteria for demonic possession on people most certainly not possessed (thereby giving reasons, so to speak, to discredit demonic possession and validate schizophrenia, though no one can explain what it is). They are doing so by Pharisaically misapplying criteria.

If you go by the real criteria - those used by Jesus and His disciples, not by the Pharisees - mental illness is far less common today than mental diagnoses. Psychiatry is so often repeating Pharisees' saying "he has an unclean spirit" when any Christian would disagree completely, but disguising it as something else ("schizophrenia") so as not to provoke a reaction from the Christians.

If Christians admitted that Christ knew all there was to know about science that was relevant for living correctly and could transmit it, it is not just Evolutionism which must go, but also so much of modern Psychiatry.

It is a sham science, flattering Pharisaism, making it socially dominant in countries previously Christian, it is also by the use of Neuroleptics a real case of slave hunt with torture. If you have never had a week with a restless body and mind due to Neuroleptics ... I have had it, some close to me have had it as well.

I could have accepted Benedict XVI as the Pope, if, acting on behalf of God, seeing how "mental issues" were differently dealt with by Jesus and by Pharisees, hearing the complaints of Psychiatry's victim's, he had condemned psychiatry.

I thought Susanna Maiolo was such a victim, and that her flooring the Pope or apparent Pope or Cardinal so and so instead of the Pope (apparent) was a misguided but understandable protest against Catholic priests endorsing her captivity among Psychiatrists.

No condemnation of Psychiatry came. Possibly because that would have implied too many Jews and therefore disturbed the Jewish-Christian dialogue which the Vatican seems to prefer to Christian Orthodoxy since the Vatican II Council.

But that does not mean Evangelical Protestants are exactly helpful. You see, some of them think Hitler was worse than Trotski because Hitler fought against Jews and Trotski against non-Protestant Christians. You know where Evangelical prejudice places the title of "People of God". And calling Psychiatry Pharisaical would have involved calling Jews Pharisees.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BU Nanterre, Paris X
St Anne's Feast
(the Grandmother of God)

I nearly forgot the matter of autism. A society more and more loth to listen to others will be more likely to shove that reproach on the others they won't listen to. And invent autisms that do not exist. Some that do seem to have possibly originated by use of quicksilver in connexion with vaccinations.

4 commentaires:

  1. Hans, I was saddened by your defriending today, but I think our views on this subject are not *quite* as dissimilar as you think.
    Part of my own "take" on this subject is defining things as necessarily "mental illnesses." Terms may be newer, but they just had different terms in the past for the same thing (e.g., "village idiot" or "eccentric"). I don't think that autism, or even schizophrenia, necessarily has to be a "mental illness," and that it is only societal demands and circumstances that maka them such. I think that schizophrenics, for example, are just people in tune to the spiritual realm (e.g., St. Anthony of the Desert's ability to see angels and demons). Most of the saints would have met modern definitions of "mental illness," and I have no problem with this as an advocate of "neurodiversity." Sure there are problems with being autistic, but there are also problems with being "neurotypical," as well.
    I believe, as the disgraced Fr. Corapi put it, that mental illness and the demonic can be related to injury and infection: some people have physical injuries or genetic disorders that don't become infected, while others have health problems that *do* become infected. Similarly, some people, particularly schizophrenics, have a propensity for hearing and seeing things the rest of us can't (I have spoken to several Christian practitioners who agree with this), and can potentially become obessessed, oppressed or possessed because of it. Others with PTSD-type problems can become possessed by demons "infecting" the psychic damage they have suffered.
    This is proven by the fact that so many psychiatric drugs do nothing to solve the fundamental problems. The Church has long acknowledged, even before Freud, that mental health is a combination of physical, psychological and spiritual factors. Meanwhile, non-Catholics like Meninger and Jung acknowledged that Catholicism was more effective at treating "mental illness" than they ever were.

  2. 1) Among people with diagnosis schizophrenia, not all, nor even half are mad. There was a time when shrinks in US were into "recognising schizophrenia patients by their carrying LotR when they came in".

    2) A demonic possession, obsession or even infestation need an exorcist, not a shrink.

    3) Visions, whether from God or from Demon are not illnesses. St Augustine notes (in an enumeration of miseries in this earthly life, I think) that demons delude "even sane people".

    4) Most people with such problems as are called mental illness have nothing to do with any of above, it is for instance a certain neurosis I would call Ben Gunn's syndrome, which drives some to blurt out answers to physically absent, which is too often taken as "auditory hallucinations".

    I will not be a friend of someone basically delivering his child to shrinks.

  3. In a ward of a mental hospital, obviously not all are diagnosed schizophrenia, but of all in a ward, it is about 1/10 or even just 1/20 that is mad.

    And no, madness is not a contact with the spiritual realm, although it may be occasioned by a bad one.

  4. Terms may be newer, but they just had different terms in the past for the same thing (e.g., "village idiot" or "eccentric").

    Terms are newer so that MORE can be stamped as the equivalent of village idiots. Vastly much more.