My good friend Dan Phillips hosts a provocative conversation at his place on depression, the legitimacy of diagnoses like bi-polar, manic depressive, and the like, and whether treating such issues with medications is wise. It’s a response to Mike Adams’ even more provocative post at Townhall.com, “You Aren’t Bi-Polar, You’re Just a Jerk.” (How’s that for saying what you mean?!)
Here’s my “on the one hand, on the other hand” comment, reposted from Dan’s site without permission:
I had this (and several other things) all figured out when I finished seminary. People with emotional issues needed to pray. Duh. It’s not chemical, it’s spiritual. Amen?!
Life is rarely that clean-cut. We can’t excuse sin, obviously, but the fall affected humanity in so many ways, all of them inter-related. In other words, it’s complicated.
Does a guy with undiagnosed diabetes need to “get right” because he’s sluggish and depressed? Or does he need to watch his diet and get on insulin?
Does a guy (like me) with Celiac Disease need to repent of laziness, or does he need to get off gluten so he’s not malnourished?
How about thyroid issues? You can apply the same principles, I think, to cases of post-partum, menopause, even PMS. None of these biological/medical/chemical issues excuse sinful thinking and behavior, but ignoring them as at least partial explanations is foolish.
So God sometimes prescribes sleep or nourishment to a rebellious prophet before (but not instead of) addressing his spiritual need.
I’m not suggesting that we give out pills like candy or deny people’s spiritual needs. Many so-called ADHD children need affection, instruction, and discipline rather than Ritalin. No doubt. But, again, it’s complicated. More complicated than I initially wanted to admit.
(Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. Nor are pastors and counselors who poo-poo these things, however.)