Practical Christianity (II): Modern Psychiatry has No Answers

By Jeffery Kingry

As a Christian, if a brother came to you with a serious personality problem, what would you do? What if you were approached by the family of someone “clinically psychotic?” What response would you make to one who had lost contact with reality in one way or another, either by rejecting the world in paranoia (excessive or violent distrust and rejection of others) or by withdrawing from the world in schizophrenia (loss of contact with stimulus and disintegration of personality)? What would you offer to the person who was chronically depressed and unable to function in their work? If your response would be, “I am not qualified to help” and to send them off to an “expert” in psychiatry, you may have done them the greatest disservice imaginable.

Mental Illness?

When Psychiatry speaks today of “mental illness” they mean a vast spectrum of behavior which is not illness at all. There are organically caused varieties of behaviour that have nothing to do with the mind of man. Schizophrenia, for instance, can sometimes be caused by a brain tumor, or a chemical disorder, like diabetes. These organic causes produce perceptual difficulties: hallucination, blurred sight, crossed dominance in visual perception, hearing disorders, etc. A person’s ability to cope with life may be hindered by drug abuse. “Pep” pills, sometimes taken by people who have to stay awake at a night job, students studying for an exam, or obese people on a doctor controlled diet, can cause irritability, suspicion, and hallucination. Even such “innocent” medication as birth control pills (a hormone pill) can cause personality and behavioral change.

A person’s ability to cope with life’s problems can be affected by toxin buildup in the system by kidney and liver disorders. Lack of sleep can also produce buildups of harmful toxins in the body. Stress produces toxin buildup, and consequent behavioral change. Stress can even kill you. The four year long presidential campaign of Harrison in 1840 killed Daniel Webster. Harrison himself, died of exhaustion after only a month in office, making him the shortest lived president of them all. (And we thought modern campaigns were grueling!) Stress can come in many forms: noise stress, pain stress, the stress of anxiety or grief. Any stress over a long period of time can lead to physical disorders that affect behavior. The “shell-shock” of recent wars is a vivid demonstration of how environmental stress can affect ones ability to function properly.

Humanistic psychiatry does not even consider behavior caused by lust and its product as sin. It does not consider man’s anti-social or irreligious behavior as condemnatory but as “sick.” This “sickness” according to modern thought is brought on by external rather than internal causes. The world (and the brethren) have been so indoctrinated by the psychiatric ethic, that those who have the tools and ability to help those in the grips of sin, often do not. They defer to the “specialist” and his humanistic methods.

After recognizing the place of medicine to deal with organically induced behavior problems, does it necessarily follow that the Christian must defer to the psychiatrist for treating behavior that is sin induced? God forbid. If a person has a physical checkup by a medical doctor and there are no physical causes for his problem, then the counselor who must deal with the “patient’s” problem must be a Christian, not a psychiatrist.

Who Can Help If Not Christian?

Modern psychiatry offers no solutions to one who is a Christian. Often “therapy” and “analysis” makes new problems instead of dealing with those that already exist. There are “therapy-induced” problems that make any real help almost impossible to be received (such as the woman who has told her problems would be solved by finding a lover. She did. She still has her problems, as well as the guilt and complications of the sin of fornication.). In my own experience, I have known of saints who left the Lord, His commandments, the church, and made shipwreck their faith and morality at the insistence of their psychiatrists. One woman committed herself to a mental institution, and left the next day when her counsellor told here that the base of her problem was all of her “hang-ups” in religion.

Modern psychiatry readily admits that the same percentage of patients get better without analysis as do with it (This Week Magazine, “Farewell to Freud”, 9/8/66, as quoted by Adams in Competent to Counsel, p.3). Two out of three inmates in mental institutions eventually show improvement regardless of the treatment given. Modern psychiatry interprets this as a direct result of its expert treatment. The fact of the matter is that the same ratio got better 100 years ago in the barbarious “lunatic asylums” without the benefit of modern hypnosis, psychoanalysis, cold baths, shock treatments, placebos, etc. (Time Magazine, Feb. 14, 1964. p. 43).

Psychiatry operates on the assumption that sinful or bizarre behaviour is caused externally rather than issuing from the heart of man (cf. Jas. 1:14,15). Freud, the “father of modern psychiatry and psychoanalysis” was a Jew, and called himself a “hopeless pagan.” He divided man’s spirit into three parts: (1) The Id – the animal or “natural” part of man which includes all selfish drives, aggression, and the sex urge. The Id, accoring to Freud, was constantly seeking expression through the (2) Ego – or the conscious part of man, the man of the moment. The part of man that held the Id in check and was responsible for all of man’s problems was the (3) Superego. The superego was defined as the “conscience” of man, or the “socialized” man. The superego is supposed to be an artifical part of man formed by the pressures to conform presented by home, parents, school, teachers, peers, society, religion, and other man-made institutions. The problem of human behaviour, as Freud saw it, was a natural result of the conflict between the id and superego. The resultant “subconscious” conflict produced feelings of “false guilt” and anxiety that bore fruit in unusual behaviour by the ego. The “medical model” is still used in varying degrees by today’s psychiatry. The psychiatrist relieves the patient’s conflict by taking sides with the “id” against the superego. The patient is told to “ventilate” his feelings in various ways (it is dangerous to not express our feelings of hostility and lust. But, not according to God. Cf. Prov. 14:29; 29:11; 29:20; 22:24,25). By giving vent to anger and pent-up resentments in emotional outbursts, the psychiatrist hopes to prevent the buildup of conflict described earlier between the id and superego. “Resocialization” is employed to break down the patient’s social and moral “hangups.” A recent form of resocialization finding wide spread acceptance is mutual fondling, caressing, and handling in group sessions. Patients have been encouraged to fondle one another in the nude while basking in warmed swimming pools. Masters and Johnson, the “sex-specialists” (who incidentally are divorced and remarried) have set up “training clinics” that provide high-cost instruction by professional counsellors (real prostitutes) in overcoming sexual problems.

Modern psychiatry places the blame for sinful behaviour anywhere but upon the one actually demonstrating it. The “sick” person is not responsible. The “alcoholic” cannot help himself. He has a “disease.” “The sinner is not responsible, religion is responsible;” psychiatry declares, “the home is responsible, society is responsible.” The result is that the state is reluctant to prosecute the “psychopathic killer” or the “socially deprived killer or criminal.” Criminal action is overlooked for the “temporarily insane.” Parents overlook such clear passages as Prov. 23:14 and 29:15-17 and refrain from disciplining their children for fear of damaging their personalities. Brethren in the church are cowed into overlooking such sins as homosexuality, perversion, chronic lying or fault finding, as sickness and send such people off to another town and church with the admonition “see a doctor” (cf. Gal. 6:1-5). Humanistic psychiatry cuts away at the very foundation of our relationship with God, namely, that each man is responsible for what he does (Rom. 2:6-11). The science and the philosophies of men have given us evolution and its inherent rebellion against God’s word and trustworthiness. The “experts” have given us humanistic “higher criticism” with its attempted destruction of the inspiration of the scriptures. “Higher education” has given us the “Doctor of Philosophy” and has robbed man of his moral right to stand justified or condemned according to God’s word. One can no longer read and understand the word of God without a degree and a commentary. This same intellectual structure in the world has given us godless psychiatry. If the scriptures do not give the Christian the tools and ability to deal with basic human problems as promised us by God (2 Tim. 3:16,17), then the Bible is useless, the message it brings is without value, and Christianity is a sham. But I believe God, “according to his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who has called us to glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3).

Truth Magazine XXI: 20, pp. 316-318
May 19, 1977