Christianity and Psychology Can Go Hand in Hand

Christianity and Bipolar
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Are Christian values and bipolar disorder fundamentally contradictory? It is the unfortunate experience of many with this and other mental illnesses to come up against teachings that preclude acceptance of a diagnosis and treatment with medications.

Diane shared her experience and frustration with the views of Lisa and Ryan Bazler, authors of Psychology Debunked - a book and weekly newsletter proclaiming to expose psychology and exalt Christ.

In response to one of this group's newsletters Diane writes, "If bipolar disorder is fake, then what is happening to us? Why can we feel our bodies shift from one state to another? Is PMS all in our minds? Is the brain not a physical part of the body? Can it not malfunction? Is Alzheimers fake, too? Are you saying that a malfunctioning brain cannot affect the body and mind? If you do not believe in drug therapy and psychology, then what is your alternative medicine? People are dealing with this everyday, so saying that it doesn't exist isn't helping anyone."

Ileana responded with an encouraging and insightful view on this topic. She writes, "As a person whose bachelor's degree is in Religious Education (Christian) and a master of arts in theology, I can be pretty confident when I tell you their reasoning is, in short, BUNK.

"There is NOTHING in the Bible to say that we shouldn't take medicines.

And the Bible sure doesn't seem to make any distinction between 'bodily' and 'psychological' illnesses. Actually, the idea of dividing the body from the mind is a Gnostic idea, which was very quickly deemed a heresy in the early Church.

"Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach. Was Paul telling Timothy to get drunk?

No. Taking wine for stomach problems was a medical treatment back then as was anointing with oil. Anointing one's head with oil was not just a sign of trust in God. It was believed to have physical benefit as well as spiritual. Again, this illustrates the idea of not dividing the physical from the spiritual.

"When Elijah was depressed, did God condemn him or tell him to be a better Christian? (Ummm, yes, calling Elijah a 'Christian' is an anachronism, but it is the same God.) No, the angels ministered to him and he slept, got up and ate, and slept some more. His body was worn out, and God provided the physical treatment he needed for his emotional and mental health.

"If anything, the Bible would be PRO medicine and PRO getting psychological help.

"If Christians are truly the Body of Christ and God has made it clear that no one is supposed to go it on their own, then why in the world would we assume that we are supposed to be strong enough on our own with mental disorders?

"Although there are Christians who are against any kind of medicines, a lot of Christians think its fine to take meds for 'physical' problems, but not for 'psychological' problems.

Well, physically there's proof of brain damage from manias. Apparently there's also research indicating that depressions cause brain shrinkage. Also MRIs clearly show variations in brain functioning between those who are normal and those with depression. When a person is depressed, the brain colors are all kinds of blues. When a person is manic, the brain lights up with reds and yellows. These are physical manifestations of what some people call a purely emotional problem.

"Why isn't there an abundance of Biblical support for medications? Because it was assumed that people would take them if needed. Nowhere does the Bible prohibit them. If we have to have Biblical support for everything that is not forbidden, then we can't:

  • Eat lots of the food we eat - apples, oranges, peaches, tortillas, etc.
  • Drive a car
  • Use a computer
  • Use electricity
  • Have an indoor bathrooms or indoor plumbing at all

"Am I being too extreme? Well, as you know, there are groups of people who believe this way - that using modern conveniences are not in the Bible, so we cannot have them.

"In short, those who say we cannot/should not see a therapist or use meds for emotional and psychological disorders are:

  • Deceived
  • Twisting Scripture
  • Poor exegetes (interpreters)
  • Usually quite judgmental
  • Victims of the heresy that God somehow looks differently at our emotional self than He does our physical self
  • Causing a great deal of harm to Christians who would otherwise have the treatments they need to follow Christ fully.

"Not taking meds means, quite literally, that you cannot follow Christ as closely as you would be able to otherwise. Does it make sense to you to choose a path that would lead you away from God? How in the world would that be pleasing to Him?"

Mental Illness Stigma - Christian and Otherwise:

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