FWOTW: psychoheresy-aware.org

This week’s selection is chock full of goodness from a couple who’s goal in life is apparently stopping people from getting mental health treatment from licensed professionals. Evidently ‘read your Bible more’ is a valid treatment for schizophrenia. Who knew?

Check any fundy pastor’s library and more times than not you’ll find a copy of their book Psychoheresy gracing his shelves. It’s a rule of thumb that any system of belief that involves a person’s problems being directly related to them not being good enough (or praying enough, or fasting enough, or giving enough) is going to find fans in fundamentalism. The are no victims, only sinners.

Don’t miss their online books, position papers, and a Q&A section that is downright scary.

36 thoughts on “FWOTW: psychoheresy-aware.org”

  1. I’ve been reading “Learned Optimism” by Dr. Seligman. So far, it’s been a pretty enlightening book! This whole anti-psychology thing stems, at least in part, from an improper understanding of the sufficiency of scripture. But what else would we expect from the IFB/KJVO camp?

  2. Man, I’m reading through the FAQ section, and basically every single answer boils down to reading the Bible. They don’t really give any more descriptive, helpful advice, other than to quote some scripture and tell you that all your needs will be met if you read the Bible and use it as your “therapy”. Why did they even bother making a FAQ if it’s all the same answer anyway?

  3. I had to read “Psychoheresy” for Ed Psych at PCC. I was angry from 2-3 every MWF for 18 straight weeks. A girl in my class ate it up and we ended up in an argument because she believed that women who are traumitized after being raped need to just pray more.

    It infuriates me when I think of the damage these people are doing to people who are already in a fragile state.

  4. Didn’t someone comment on the camps redux post something about the “one-size-fits-all” mentality? It’s especially fitting here. After all, everyone is exactly alike.
    I wonder if the fundy Muslims would say the same thing: “Just read the Koran more.”

  5. @Andrea I don’t think I could’ve done that. I look back at my days @ PCC just shocked that I was crazy enough to tolerate what was happening around/to me.

  6. If reading the Bible is a valid treatment for major psychological issues, then reading Dr. Suess is a valid treatment for major spiritual issues. When I have medical issues, I seek counsel from a physician. When my automobile breaks, I seek counsel from my auto mechanic. When I notice public safety issues, I call 911.

    While reading and studying the Bible can give one a healthy perspective on life, and is the reference for all theology, it is rather limited when used for purposes other than those specifically stated in the Bible.

  7. All I can say is WOW!! As someone who lives with someone who deals with severe emotional depression, I find it insulting. The problem with the “pray more, read bible more, and do more church work more” attitude to deal with this is that it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. It’s just a band-aid fix.

  8. I have to say that this is one of the more articulate fundy sites I’ve seen. These people can actually put words together coherently–which makes it even more scary. That Q&A is a terrifying monument. I like how it started with “God’s Word is sufficient for life and godliness, for equipping us for every good work” and ended with “The Bible is clear that we often need the wise counsel of others.” Huh?

  9. Dave Dravecky’s wife Jan suffered an emotional breakdown after her husband’s bout with cancer and loss of both his career and his arm. She wrote a book called “Joy I’d Never Known” describing her own comeback from depression and despair. She tried the “Biblical Counseling” route, and it did nothing but add to her problems. She thinks that telling people to “pray more and read the Bible more” borders on spiritual and mental abuse. Their pastor even preached sermons that were clearly directed at Jan and her “lack of faith”. Dave and Jan had to leave their church to get away from the mentality that was killing her.

    Jan finally got help from a professional psychologist and medication to help her depression. She wrote the book to help other Christians in her situation whose problems are not the problem of a lack of faith, but of real physical and emotional issues.

  10. Darn it! I’ll have to delete this one too from my Firefox Bookmarks. Darrell keeps posting all my favorite sites! Next thing he’ll post is my favorite YouTube video showing these guys running the aisles while some old guy is singing and then one guy jumps head first into a baptistry.

  11. I think I just had a flashback to my Bible college days, not to mention the first few years after I graduated. I’d actually never heard of the Psychoheresy book; at my alma mater I was exposed more to the NANC/CCEF people.

    @Josh: “This whole anti-psychology thing stems, at least in part, from an improper understanding of the sufficiency of scripture. But what else would we expect from the IFB/KJVO camp?”

    A few years ago I would have disagreed with you, but now I think you’re right. It definitely does stem from a misunderstanding of the sufficiency of Scripture, not to mention a misunderstanding of common grace, sin, human nature, etc.

  12. When I was at BJU in the mid 1990’s I was already a licensed nurse for 5 years. I had worked in a ER and for the VA with Persian Gulf Vets. They decided my abnormal psych I had already taken was “evil” and decreed I had to take abnormal psych at BJU. Psychoheresy was mentioned a lot. I got into trouble for arguing with the professor because he was denying there is a physical reason for depression, he denied the existence of neurotransmitters and said “I have never seen a neurotransmitter, so I don’t believe they exist.” Well, I told him I have some orthophosphate’s for gardening. AKA “nerve gas” that I could concentrate and we could have a little show and tell….Nerve gas inhibits Acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a common neurotransmitter found in the central and peripheral nervous system. When acetylcholine is released from an axon terminal, it moves across the synaptic cleft to bind to a receptor on the other side of the synapse (on the post-synaptic membrane). In the peripheral nervous system, acetylcholine is located at the “neuromuscular junction” where it acts to control muscular contraction. Acetylcholine is also used in the autonomic nervous system. The action of acetylcholine is stopped by an enzyme called “acetylcholinesterase” (AChE).
    Nerve agents bind to part of the AChE molecule. This makes the AChE inactive and blocks the action of AChE. Therefore,
    1) there is no way to stop the action of acetylcholine
    2)acetylcholine builds up at the synapse.
    3) acetylcholine continues to act.
    Soon he would begin to believe in a neurotransmitter he could not see and all of us could watch him as he Twitching, Weakness, Paralysis, Breathing difficulty. confusion, DEPRESSION, Slurred speech, Reduced Vision due to constriction of pupils, Drooling, Sweating, Diarrhea, Nausea, Vomiting after excruciating Abdominal pain, Headache, Convulsions. but before he slipped into a Coma and died of Respiratory arrest because of Respiratory depression I would give him the antidote of Two drugs, atropine and pralidoxime chloride, have been used as antidotes for nerve agent poisoning. Atropine works by blocking one type of acetylcholine receptor so that the acetylcholine that is already in the synapse cannot work. Pralidoxime works by blocking the binding of the nerve agent to the AChE. Both of these drugs were issued to US troops during the Persian Gulf War in the form of an antidote kit called the Mark I. Diazepam (Valium) may be used to reduce convulsions and seizures brought on by exposure to nerve agents…but he better hope I knew what I was doing, unlike him, and catch it in time

  13. kitty- i don’t remember reading the word “neurotransmitter” in my kjv. so i checked in strong’s. not in there either. conclusion: you need to get (a)your heart right, or (b)saved.

  14. @ Mo: 😉 Have you found Acetylcholine, Atropine,nd pralidoxime chloride in your kjv, yet? Keep looking, let me know when you find it, I will let him know! 😉

    Pssst! The Bible Does not Provide the Answer to every question or problem! GASP

    Drive’s me absolutely batty that people who tell folks who have emotional or mental issues should not take medication for it will run to the doctor themselves at the first sniffle or owwwie in the chest.

    Here are some examples of questions that cannot be answered in the Bible:

    -What is the best course of treatment for childhood leukemia?
    -Explanation of Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (“Open Heart Surgery”)
    -How many planets are in our solar system?
    -What makes up our body chemistry?
    -How should we maintain excellent dental health?
    -What is a healthy body mass index
    -What Diabetes is and it’s treatment.

    You get the general idea. These things and other’s had to be discovered.

    I am a proponent of solo scriptura, but I don’t want to take it to the level where the Bible is the end all be all authority in every aspect of life. It simply isn’t possible for it to be so. Thankfully, God gave us curious minds so that we could figure things out with his love and guidance. We often need to take direction from sources outside of God’s Holy word. Sometimes from a surgeon who may not be a Christian. Sometimes a scientist who has the gall to tell us… the earth is not the center of the universe.

  15. also- i love how the guy doesn’t believe in neurotransmitters because he hasn’t seen one, but he believes in: The Holy Trinity, angels, the devil, demons, heaven, hell, reasonable fundamentalists, &c.

  16. @Reader Mo comes through AGAIN! Whoever he is, he needs to author a guest post! 🙂 Why didn’t I think of looking for Nuerotransmiters in my KJV concordance? DUH! LMAO!

  17. @Reader Mo, you are a very creative writer, but you should consider that using numerology software on the KJV text will reveal the answers to all of your questions, improve the creativity of your comments and reveal next week,s lottery numbers.

  18. I’ve been to this website before and encountered this attitude before. It’s one of the myriad of reasons why I left fundamentalism. I realized that to be a fundamentalist would mean to have no logical means of navigating away from the anti-psychology nuts. Hey, that’s it! Maybe they’re all nuts but refuse to see a psychologist for it!

  19. This hurts me. There are more than likely Fundies out there who do have legitimate mental health issues and then morons like this come along and tell them, “Oh you’re not depressed, you just need to read the Bible more.”

  20. When I had post-partum depression, one of my [very Fundy] sisters told me I just needed to have more faith, and, in order to get that, I had to read the Bible more. That’s Christ-like compassion for ya!

  21. The brain is an organ. As such, it can fail to function at 100%, just like any other organ. In other words, the organ itself can get “sick”. Because it’s our “thinking” organ, its malfunctions are likely to show up in our thinking processes. Depressed people know this well. Before I began taking an antidepressant, admonishing myself with Scripture and “claiming the truth” were just like trying to stick velcro to teflon. The truth was plenty sticky, but until I began the medication it would not stick to my thoughts. Only when my brain got “well” again did Scripture begin to stick again. I believe we honor God when we reckon with the way He designed us, including how the truth of the Fall has corrupted our physical nature. It’s the orderliness of creation that enables science to devise remedies that enable us to live more as God intended.

  22. @Rob: thanks for the kind words. unfortunately, 1 wife, 2 jobs, & 3 kids under the age of 4 prevent me from taking the time to contribute anything other than the occasional smart-ass remark.

    @JimE: you are awesome! i had never considered the computer-generated-kjv-superstitious-numerology angle. i have a lot of work to do- perhaps the kjv does indeed hold the key to winning the lottery, and thus casting off the burden of 2 jobs, and thus devoting more time to mockery.

    off-topic: speaking of “burdens”, has sfl done a post on having “burdens” yet? you know, like “i have a burden for the lost”, “i have a burden for the philippines”, etc.

    come to think of it, i think there may be more fundy missionaries in the philippines than there are philippinos. also, i’m not sure how to spell “philippines”, and don’t feel like googling it.

    that is all.

  23. I can’t even read this crap. It’s sad. This was the mentality that basically tore my family apart because “reading the Bible and going to church” should be enough for anyone. Counseling isn’t for people who are right with God. . .at least not more than 6-12 weeks of counseling, at which point the problems should be solved.

  24. My exodus from fundamentalism began with a friend of mine who wanted to enter full-time ministry. He was denied the opportunity because some dumbass lay pastor told him that his faith wasn’t sufficient due to the fact that he needed medication to control severe clinical depression. In order to prove he had sufficient faith, my friend stopped taking his meds. Three days later, after a very incoherent telephone call with me in which we argued about waiting periods for guns, he killed himself. He borrowed his father’s shotgun (apparently the three-day waiting period was too much for him) and blew his brains out.

    Since then I’ve encountered many other people who’ve had problems with mental illness that a legitimate practitioner could have helped them cope with. But they went the Fundie approach–pray more, read Scripture more, beat yourself up for something that isn’t your fault, and watch your life spiral out of control.

    It’s especially bad for women, who already bear a disproportionate level of guilt and shame in the operation. Some fall away from faith completely; others embrace the madness fully to the point they’re convinced that God told them to raise up the dead feral cat the landlord is getting ready to throw in the dumpster (I’ve seen this happen! After 45 minutes of intense prayer, the poor woman decided her faith wasn’t sufficient…and drove herself further over the edge. This was an educated woman–a mechanical engineer–who was also told that her education was a source of pride, and therefore remade herself into a complete airhead.)

    I am still convinced that Jesus can heal the sick, but most of the time He’s going to pass along the number of a skilled, licensed medical professional…because we are *all* supposed to be going about His business.

    Since then, I’ve been diagnosed with some learning disabilities (as has my son). These too are seen as signs of insufficient faith by hardcore fundamentalists. Fortunately the pastor of our church is aware of modern medicine and psychology and endorses both when needed. Otherwise I’d be out the door.

    I’m convinced that Fundamentalism is a religion entirely separate from Christianity (or Islam, or Hinduism, or any of the other great worldviews that get abused by human beings).

  25. I am not even sure what a fundamentalist is, but these Psychoheresy people are clearly not alright and I was wondering if anyone else had noticed. Of course it’s true that psychiatrists make mistakes, especially if they go out of their way to avoid the spiritual aspects of wellness–but telling me that my MPD was created by my nonexistent therapist is outrageous enough to make me suspect that this “ministry” is erring out of malicious dishonesty rather than the honest ignorance that occasionally afflicts their opponents. I wonder, have these people got a PERSONAL stake in keeping broken individuals out of professional treatment?

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