I teach Ethics, Philosophy, World Religions, Bible, and Hx of Xty. Lay pastor.
Posted in: Mental Illness or Moral Illness?
Great to see reflection out there on the web on this important subject. The concept of "moral illnesses" I believe needs to replace much of the discussion we see in the popular media about "mental illness." Many psychologists, psychiatrists, and other MH professionals have questioned the whole concept of "mental illness" itself. And so while people may differ over what constitutes "moral illness," that question has also pervaded some aspects of the mental illness community. When one suffers a debilitating condition (a safer word), such as depression or anxiety, and cannot perform routine ADL (activities of daily living), that I believe is in a different category than a condition wherein one seeks to do harm to another human being. It occurs to me that psychology and the criminal justice system have done some work here already in talking about sociopaths and psychopaths. One of the great minds of the MH community, Dr. Karl Meninger, has dealt with this in his book Whatever Became of Sin. I confess I have not read it, but this blog has challenged me anew to seek it out and take a gander. Quite a while back I saved an article from Newsweek, I believe it was, on the "Psychologizing of Sin." I firmly and fully believe this topic needs to come out of the shadows and be addressed more in the mainstream press. Much of the problem has been the atheistic and agnostic and postmodernist bias of the whole higher education system. And we in the church have avoided apologetic confrontation of secular culture, confining our salt to our church saltshakers. We need to engage the secular, godless mindset effectively at every level, including academia and the popular press. I hope to hear more on this topic and benefit from the various contributions. The problem of universal definitions amidst so much multiculturalism was mentioned. I think few would take issue with murder or rape or child abuse as problematic in a definition of criminal evil, even in a culture committed to moral relativism. Thanks Mark for putting this out there on the table.