What are the results, outcomes, or fruit of the idea of mental illness? Here are a few to begin with: blaming and victimization, no individual responsibility, excuses for sin and the reduction of possibilities for improvement, determinism (or no free will), and people turning from God’s way to man’s way. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Blaming And Victimization
The principles of blaming and claiming victimhood go clear back to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:12-13). The fact that it continues today is verified by philosopher Rousas Rushdoony who said, “If my criminal behavior is not a moral fault in me but a social disease for which a disorderly society is to blame, I am then a victim, not an offender. Men find it easier to claim a sickness for which society is held responsible, than to affirm a moral modal.”1 He adds, “The cult of victimization is perhaps the most popular religion of our time.”2
Martin and Deidre Bobgan agree. They said, “The combination of these two mistakes (misnomer of mental illness and the influence of secular humanism) results in a pseudosickness which is supposedly caused by a society rather than self, since man is seen as good but corrupted by biology and/or circumstances.”3
No Individual Responsibility
The Bobgans also state that the concepts of mental illness violate the biblical principle of personal responsibility. They said, “The idea of illness, disease, or disorder in the mental realm conveys the notion that those afflicted are not responsible for their behavior4 …. Human will and responsibility go hand in hand. If a person makes choices, then he is accountable for his behavior …. A person is not responsible for all that happens to him, but he is responsible for his reactions.”5
Gives Excuses And Reduces Possibilities Of Improvement
The Bobgans continued: “If a person is not responsible for the problem, how can he be responsible for the solution? Calling someone mentally ill denies willful choice. It removes moral responsibility and thus reduces the possibility for improvement. Increasing a person’s awareness that he can and does choose and that he is responsible for his thoughts and behavior increases his possibility for change6 …. Labeling a person’s behavior as ‘sick’ and giving him the accompanying psychological excuse reduces the possibilities for improvement. Treating a person’s behavior as an illness only convinces him that he cannot choose to change on his own. The responsibility for behavior and change is thus transferred from the person to the therapist. Unless a person is held responsible for his behavior he will tend not to be responsible.”7
Determinism, Or No Free Will
According to the Bobgans, “The principle of personal responsibility and accountability is a critical biblical doctrine. According to Scripture, man chooses his thoughts, attitudes, and actions8 …. The medical model deprives us of this freedom of behavior. By viewing us as a machine and our behavior as determined by forces beyond our control, proponents of the medical model have been able to arrive at the idea of irresponsibilities.”9
Turning From God’s Way To Man’s Way
The Bobgans also stated: “The Bible raises the level of human dignity far above that of a physical organism. Not only has God created humans with minds which can think, reason, choose, and direct action; He has also created man in His own image with a spiritual dimension (Gen. 1:27). God created the human mind to know Him and to choose to love, trust, and obey Him….Because the mind goes beyond the physical realm, it goes beyond the reaches of science and cannot be medically sick.”10
In his article, “The Sin of Drunkenness,” Larry Thomas summed it up best when he said, “We have fabricated physiological, psychological, and sociological causes for the woes—including alcoholism—that beset mankind. We have created a guiltless society in which people are no longer responsible for their actions. We have ignored sin and found either a medical, emotional, or social phenomenon to blame for our problems.”11
1 Rousas Rushdoony, “The Chalcedon Report,” Chalcedon, January, 1981, p. 1.
2 Rousas Rushdoony, “The Cult Of Victimization,” Position Paper No. 71, Chalcedon, P. O. Box 158, Vallecito, CA 95251.
3 Martin and Deidre Bobgan. Christian Response To Mental Illness. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 2019, pp. 110-111.
4 Ibid., p. 108.
5 Ibid., p. 113-114.
6 Ibid., p. 117.
7 Ibid., p. 118.
8 Ibid., p. 114.
9 Ibid., p. 115.
10 Ibid., p. 106
11 Larry Thomas, “The Sin Of Drunkenness”, The Evangelist, March, 1986, p. 19-20.