Most of the debate centered around what degree a persons faith plays in the cause and the solutions offered to psychological issues. I am basically going to summarize a two-hour debate in a few sentences just so I can get to my diabetes point
for this post.
The pastors argument was basically that unless there is an organic issue (e.g. mental retardation) than can be dealt with organically, what is offered by psychology is not compatible with Christianity. His problem was with symptom-based diagnoses because we arent really determining the cause. If man is by nature fallen, then we will want to resist taking personal responsibility in our conclusions and attribute our problems to what has been done to us by others. In his opinion, the cause of any soul trouble must then be a moral issue before God. Through the sufficiency of Scripture (links to a pro-counseling definition of this term)
, God has revealed all that is needed about His creation.
I should tell you now that my bachelors degree is in psychology. I came into the debate with presuppositions and could not be completely objective. I think that the pastor was wrong in many of his conclusions. I dont want this to necessarily turn into a religious debate so I wont detail them here. But I will say that even in secular psychology, it is not about removing personal responsibility or letting self off the hook but about helping people take responsibility for their lives and reorient themselves.
To also speak briefly of sin and suffering, there are certainly examples in the Bible of people suffering for their sin (David
) but there are also plenty of examples of people who experienced extreme suffering under no fault of their own (Joseph
). To reduce all psychological issues to simply an individuals
moral issues before God is just not accurate
During the debate, I was actually reminded of a conversation I was eavesdropping on between Scott Strumello
. The tweet that got me interested in the conversation was when George said, I believe in God and seatbelts.
Dont get me wrong, I am a very conservative in my religious beliefs, but I think there is a big problem when your beliefs cause you to ignore an entire area of science. Two of the audience members who were there in support of the pastor cornered (and I really mean cornered) me after the presentation to ask me what I thought of the debate. Even though I could tell that they werent really interested in listening and had already drawn their own conclusions, I told them my thoughts.
The pastor had actually used diabetes during his presentation as an organic problem that should be treated medically with an organic solution (insulin). He mentioned that he would never suggest that a diabetic stop taking their medication (whew I appreciate that! /sarcasm).
I mentioned to the two men questioning me after the presentation that I was diabetic. I told them that I had no plans to stop taking my insulin. They agreed that would be a good plan.
I proceeded to tell them that when I am anxious, stressed, nervous, depressed or dealing with other similar feelings, it often has a large effect on my blood glucose values. I didnt tell them this, but for me, emotional stress often has a more dramatic effect on my numbers than most high carb foods.
When I am experiences those feelings of anxiousness or depression or am carrying too much stress, I often turn to God through prayer to help reframe and reevaluate my thoughts, feelings, and priorities. I also get my meter out to obtain a scientific measure of my blood sugar. If I need to, I plug that high blood glucose value into my pump and evaluate the need for a correction bolus. And you know what often happens as a result of both of these actions both together and when done separately? My blood sugar stabilizes.
God and seatbelts.