"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Friday, September 08, 2006

Holy Infiltrating Socialism, Batman!

My "Concepts in PE" section is using a secular textbook. This has not bothered me. Our instructor starts each topic by building (or asking us to research) its Biblical foundation, and then uses the book for the technical/medical aspect.
In fact, if this textbook was, shall we say, following the Holy Spirit rather than the spirit of the age, I probably wouldn't have anything to blog about right now. So I'm actually thankful for the secular book.
That said, let me just quote some things to you out of Concepts of Fitness and Wellness, 6th Ed., by Charles Corbin, Gregory Welk, William Corbin, and Karen Welk.
p4: "Wellness has been recognized as the positive component of optimal health, as evidenced by a sense of well-being reflected in optimal functioning, health-related quality of life, meaningful work, and a contribution to society." -- So you are not healthy, I take it, unless you feel good about yourself and are contributing to society, among other things.
Still p4: "Some people include environmental and vocational dimensions in addition to [the ones they use].... In this book, health and wellness are considered to be personal factors. Environmental factors, including the factors in the vocational (work) environment, are considered to be factors that influence the five dimensions of personal wellness." -- So some people do not think you are healthy unless the environment around you is healthy, and you have a good job. But this book, though noting the claim, does not buy it. Thank goodness. Check back in the 7th edition, though.
The kicker: p5: In a definition of Emotional-mental Health:
"A[n emotionally, mentally well] person...possesses emotional wellness."
In the following definition of Emotional/mental Wellness:
"...ability to...deal with personal feelings in a positive, optimistic, and constructive manner. A person with emotional wellness is generally characterized as happy instead of depressed."(my italices).
--A mentally healthy person, therefore, is happy. An unhappy person, therefore, is mentally unhealthy. How do we treat mental illness? Counseling, therapy, drugs.
It is no longer acceptable to be unhappy. If we are unhappy, the medical/pshychological/governmental worlds must intervene with presriptions, therapy, counseling, and money for these things.
When will it stop? When we're happy.
What is one of the goals set for 2010 by Healthy People 2010 and promoted by my text?
"Eliminate health disparities."
I would like everyone to be happy. I'm glad my PE text wants them to be.
If we are a lot happier in 2010, well and good.
So long as it's not because we've been talked and drugged into believing that we and everything else is hunky-dory when it's not.
Do not set your heart on doing something yourself that you by yourelf cannot do.
Anyway, that just gave me the creeps. If anything I said sounded like I wanted everyone to be unhappy, or die or not get adequate medical treatment, please comment specifically and I'll respond.


  1. Interesting. Pastor Martin said a lot of what you said - particularly regarding 'forced happiness', if you will - in his last two Sunday schools about depression. You'll have to get the tapes and listen to them, as your viewpoints on the issue seem to match up very nicely. You're probably both right.

  2. I have to disagree on the 'all drugged up and happy' point. I think that in some cases, severe depression does have a chemical cause that can only be treated effectively with corresponding chemicals. Now, not everyone who is on meds for depression really needs them, just as not every kid on Ritalin has a genuine attention problem. In many cases a mild mental problem (mild as in not full-blown schizophrenia or manic depression, which are serious and need medical attention in all cases) is used as a crutch by the so-called 'patient': ADHD to avoid schoolwork, maybe, or, using the problem of the day, depression as an excuse for not holding a steady job. In some ways I think overdiagnosis of ADHD (which is a bad example, but still), depression, etc. has served to downplay the difficulties faced by actual sufferers of said problems. So there has to be a cut-off line. If depression is a big enough problem that it interferes with someone's daily life for an extended period of time, there might be sufficient reason to see a doctor and consider medication. And I think that's perfectly all right. What isn't is people feeling a little down for a few weeks and asking for a prescription for Prozac.

  3. Yeah, I agree with Caroline. Whoever wrote this needs to just...oh, wait.
    I do agree with you; however, I think I would put that line a little farther into serious problems than most would. And, acknowledging the usefulness of medication and other medical treatment, I still hold that the medical community will not, by itself, cure unhapiness without curing freedom and reality with it. There are times when it is right and good to be unhappy, and there is nothing wrong with the unhappy person at all. In fact, I would argue that there are situations where someone would have to be mentally ill to be happy!
    Then of course, God commands Christians to rejoice always in all things. Joy doesn't quite equate with hapiness, but it still raises questions. Anyway, it would be fun to branch off into the question of what a Christian's view of life in this fallen world should be, but not right now.

  4. I think I should have been a little more clear on my basic, default opinion of applying psychobiological treatments to mental and emotional problems. Ignore the misleading air of advocacy in the above paragraph: I am very, very skeptical of drug therapy in all but the most desperate of cases. I guess I hesitated to point this out because my main gripe is relating to ADHD, which isn't depression and is therefore off-topic. (If there's one thing I hate, it's seeing strong-willed, rambunctious elementary schoolkids drugged so their teachers won't have disciplinary power struggles. It's worst with the boys, being made to behave like little girls using drugs. That's just scary.)
    Anyway. Excellent post, Joben, good points, and I probably agree with them more than it looks like after my little dissertations here.

  5. Oh, wait, I disagree with myself again. I would explain now but I want to make sure I understand what I think, so hold tight (I know ya'll are waiting with baited breath).

  6. Hmm... Personally, I think that taking drugs that make you a spiritual zombie cannot be justified in any situation. A person's spiritual (eternal) state is much more important than their physical (temporary) state. If one is extremely depressed, then one might be in a spiritual battle, in which case taking drugs to make you not really care about anything is pretty much pulling out of the battle. You end up not only pulling out of battles but just surrendering, and, thus, sinning. Then you don't even care that you sinned. So even if you're physically functioning better, you had to sacrifice your spiritual health (and maybe even salvation) to get there. Of course, if you were depressed, you weren't exactly healthy in the first place, but taking drugs caused recovery to be almost impossible. It's a battle, and even if it's hard and keeps you from functioning well physically, you have to fight it. You turn to the Lord first, not human medications. He knows how to bring you through without making you a spiritual zombie.

  7. "drugs that make you a spiritual zombie"...well we sure do know a lot about the side effects of drugs, don't we?

  8. *Sigh*... You're ruining the effect.

  9. Hope, you're just jealous of Claire's raging wit and intellect.

  10. What?... Huh?... Oh, yeah, my raging wit and intellect! Of course!:)
    Thank you Heather, despite the fact that I disagree.

  11. I'm afraid of some of the ideas upon which modern medicine bases its forward momentum.
    The idea that man is not inherently bad or the idea that sin is not the root cause of pain, suffering and all other ills is really scary.
    What happens when you have a purely materialistic perspective on life and medicine is that you treat all cases as being purely physical. For example, depression is never the soul's agony in dealing with a guilty, God-less condition, but it is a chemical imbalance. Thus, a spiritual problem is poorly addressed as a physical one, and the real issue is never gotten at.

    I'm not for a split second intimating that all depression is a spiritual problem, but I am certainly saying that without biblical discernment it is very difficult to ferret out the difference between the soul's travail and a real physical malady.

    The opposite problem exists as well: a man comes in with cancer, and his church leaders tell him he needs more faith. Does he need more faith so his cancer will go into remission, or does he need a good doctor to help with his real physical condition? He certainly needs a doctor! But in the same way as the cancer paitient really needs the physical doctor, so a depressed patient could very legitimately need not the physical doctor, but the gospel. The proper tools must be used, and this requires discernment.

    In an age of materialism, spiritual bandages and spiritual treatments will never be prescribed.

  12. Yes, that's exactly what I was attempting to say.


A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.