Mourning with those who mourn

This is an old post from Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog, but they recently re-posted it on their RSS feed: “Should Christians Take Antidepressants?

That headline is infuriatingly stupid. The subhed for the post is even worse: “Medication can help, but it can also hinder our reliance on Christ.”

Is insulin just a crutch that Christians use to cope with diabetes instead of relying on Jesus?

This is cruel and ignorant.

And when ignorance strikes a pious pose of sanctimony, that makes it worse, not better.

No pious jackasses sit around pondering “Should Christians Take Insulin?” No insufferably holier-than-thou idiots pretend it would be deeply spiritual if they said, “Rattlesnake anti-venom can help, but it can also hinder our reliance on Christ.” Or “An emergency appendectomy may sometimes be beneficial, but only if we’re careful not to allow it to overshadow our true savior.”

Yet when it comes to any kind of mental illness, evangelical Christians suddenly turn into Christian Scientists or Scientologists — preferring “spiritual” treatments over medicine.

This hurts people. This kills people. This needs to stop.

Here’s a taste of the article:

In a 2010 Revive Our Hearts radio interview, Reformed writer Elyse Fitzpatrick, author of Will Medicine Stop the Pain? (Moody), said:

It’s so important for us just to remember that yes, perhaps the anti-depressants are making it so that we’re not feeling those raw, painful emotions. But those emotions are given to us by God to drive us to himself and then to force us to ask questions about our faith and about the way that we’re living and thinking and responding to things.

Should Christians avoid taking antidepressants, instead “letting go and letting God” lead us through the ups and downs of life? I’m not sure.

Again, would these people talk like this about any other ailment? What if she had written this?

Should Christians avoid taking antibiotics, instead “letting go and letting God” lead us through the ups and downs of infection? I’m not sure.

Or who wrote the following as the conclusion of the essay?

Certainly antibiotics can take the edge off the pain of living in this broken world. But is it possible that we need those edges, which so often lead us to Christ?

I only changed one word in that — the rest is verbatim from the last two sentences of the actual article.

Seriously, this is abysmally stupid and it does real harm to real people. Knock it off.

 

  • Lori

    This thread now has almost 950 comments and is over a month old. I do not recall every comment made. Given how difficult disqus now makes it to follow long threads I may well have missed seeing the comment that has you so worked up when it was first posted. I am not going to respond to your characterization of someone else’s comment.

    If you want me to respond to it, link to it. If it’s not important enough to you for you to put in the effort to locate it, then stop whining about it.

  • Just Sayin’

    Surely a comment so violent would have caught your attention? It was commented on by other posters at the time and by me. As you’ve been obsessively following my posts and responding to most of them, it’s barely credible that you could be ignorant of one of the most controversial ones — far more controversial than anything I’ve posted, which have merely been calls for more research and enquiry.

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

  • Lori

    There is no amount of facts that will help someone such as yourself who is demonstrably unable to grasp them. You are on an crusade. Facts don’t actually matter to you.

  • Lori

    Link or stop whining.

  • Just Sayin’

    I’m not the one whining, dear.

  • Lori

    So it’s silly of me to complain when you respond to me, but stalking and obsessive when others respond to you?

    I’m just trying to clarify your terms here.

  • Lori

    Don’t call me dear. It’s neither cute nor appropriate.

  • Just Sayin’

    I’m the one calling for an open mind, caution, and further enquiry and research, based on the facts I’ve linked to. Those facts that don’t matter to you and your jaw-wiring friend.

  • Just Sayin’

    You’re just being obsessive. Let it go.

  • Just Sayin’

    Then kindly stop the name-calling yourself. It’s not nice, is it?

  • Lori

    Oh sure, totally the same thing.

  • Just Sayin’

    No, actually name-calling is worse.

  • Lori

    If all you were calling for is “open mind, caution, and further enquiry and research” this thread would have been over 4 1/2 weeks ago (as it should have been). You’re on a crusade.

  • Just Sayin’

    Antidepressants are guesswork in an area of which doctors know virtually nothing. And no, they aren’t all in the pay of the drug companies, but any honest doctor will admit that many are influenced by the perks and benefits which the drug companies give to those who prescribe their pills. And many more are influenced by the need to get the patient out of the surgery quickly, with some form of apparent reassurance. How will you know if you are on the receiving end of either of these factors? You won’t.

    The level of objective scientific knowledge about the operation of antidepressants is pitifully small. Doctors are mostly no more qualified to make judgments on how chemicals will affect an individual’s brain than are Miley Cyrus or David Beckham. Why? Because there simply is no reliable objective knowledge on this matter. We know that these things change moods. We don’t know how or why they do it, or what the long-term effects may be. In many cases, it may be a placebo effect. The real effect, dismissed as a side-effect, initially disguised by the placebo effect, may well be the more important effect.

    For all these reasons, and more, we need a government enquiry with subpoena evidence. That’s my argument. Hardly a radical position. Some might even say it’s a responsible one.

    Others will call for my jaw to be forcibly wired for daring to express it. Others, like you, will try to call it a “crusade.”

  • Lori

    The depth of your ignorance, and your determination to maintain that ignorance, is truly impressive.

    Who exactly do you want to subpoena and why?

  • Just Sayin’

    All relevant parties.

  • Lori

    Who would those relevant parties be?

    Also, there seems to be a bit of a contradiction in your stated aims and methods. On one hand you keep saying that no one really knows anything about anti-depressants. On the other you want to subpoena unnamed persons to get them to tell what they know. So, do people not know anything or do they know things and they’re just keeping it from you and need to be forced by the law to tell?

  • Just Sayin’

    I’ve already been through all that with my other Chief Interrogator, the smug Policar bloke. The big drug companies for one. Obviously.

  • Lori

    Have at it. Good luck with that. Go with god and all that.

  • AnonaMiss

    Yes it is. The US Census tracks causes of death and therefore gives us statistical baselines for deaths by suicide & homicide among the general population. The US census is the control group.

    This is how science works: you have the target population you’re investigating, and the control group. The data on the target population is meaningless without knowing how it differs from the control.

    You haven’t addressed the scientific studies you’ve been linked either, instead stating (upthread) that “the research hasn’t been done” even when linked to the research in question.

  • AnonaMiss

    It adds more of the only thing this “discussion” still has: entertainment value.

    Not even snarking: you seriously brighten my day. It’s hard not to feel your ego stroked when confronted by someone who disagrees with you who also happens to be an idiot.

  • AnonaMiss

    Not until you comment on our contributions. You don’t get to soapbox any longer. You need to address one of our citations to demonstrate good faith.

  • AnonaMiss

    It’s not the topic of this subthread! That’s the miracle of written communication: you can follow every branch of a discussion without detracting from the other branches.

    How would you suggest I inform you of a misunderstanding, or the misuse of a word, without referring you to a dictionary or making note that you didn’t understand what I wrote (‘reading comprehension’)?

  • AnonaMiss

    Wouldn’t you say the topic of whether or not I’m juvenile is a “red herring”? Or do you only care about staying on topic when you’ve been embarrassed in a side-branch?

  • AnonaMiss

    As noted, the post in question was a) not in reply to you and b) over a month ago, so even if Lori were “obsessively following your posts” (instead of being alerted by Disqus’ email subscription service to new posts, which, remarkably, only you are making to this month-old thread!), there’s no reason ze would necessarily have seen it or remembered it.

    I only remember it because you put up such a fuss about it when it was a) new and b) not in reply to you, and at this point every silly, stupid, and/or dramatic post you make fills me with… not exactly schadenfreude… I’m gonna say unvernünftigkeitfreude, if my understanding of German synthesis is correct.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh you are soooo persecuted because someone used a colorful metaphor to express disapproval for people who make moral judgments about patients taking antidepressants. Clearly that person wants to stifle scientific inquiry, and anyone who doesn’t explicitly disavow hir completely unrelated remarks wants to silence all dissent!

  • AnonaMiss

    Also just to clarify my position, I would be for responsible research into SSRIs and in fact any drug and in fact anything. But research dollars are scarce, and when preliminary research indicates no correlation (as demonstrated upthread), it is irresponsible to direct our limited resources towards investigating further – thus delaying other, more promising medical research – because a few people have a hunch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dpolicar David Policar

    I’m now sort of tempted to change my handle here to “the smug Policar bloke.” In any case, thanks for answering the question.

  • Just Sayin’

    Glad to see that you’ve come around to my way of thinking.

  • Just Sayin’

    But it doesn’t track, for example, the correlation between mass killings and antidepressant medications, which are very often not even noted. Nor the activities of the drug companies in masking the ineffectiveness and side effects of antidepressants. That’s why we need investigation.

  • Just Sayin’

    Sorry, I don’t find mass killings, suicides and gross human misery “entertainment.” If you do, you’re simply not taking the discussion seriously. In other words, you’re admitting to trolling.

  • Just Sayin’

    As I initiated the discussion, and have posted numerous links containing supporting evidence and expert opinion, it’s up to you to address it. Instead you seem to prefer name calling.

  • Just Sayin’

    Sorry, I’m not interested in your “subthread.” I’m interested in the very serious subject of antidepressants, linked to such grim realities as suicides and mass killings. You’re interested in “entertainment”, name calling and general trolling behaviour, alas.

  • Just Sayin’

    You’ve admitted that you’re here for “entertainment” and not on-topic discussion. Instead you want to divert to your “subthread” i.e. obsessing about me.

    If you don’t have anything to add about this serious topic of antidepressants, then you should stop posting to me.

  • Just Sayin’

    So do you support your jaw-wiring pro-anti colleague or don’t you? It’s very easy to answer that in one word: Yes or No? Why wouldn’t you want to answer?

  • Just Sayin’

    ANTIDEPRESSANTS. That’s the topic. Not me. You seem to find me endlessly fascinating, I don’t.

  • Just Sayin’

    I see the Chief Troll is back. Antidepressants. That’s the topic.

  • Just Sayin’

    ‘We do know that anti-depressants have effects. Mostly they have placebo effects and side-effects. We also know that for many people they can have sedating or numbing effects’. — Cracked – Why Psychiatry is doing more harm than good’ by James Davies, Icon Books, page 98.

  • Just Sayin’

    ‘These [antidepressant] pills , in other words, don’t cure us – they simply change us. They can throw us temporarily into a foreign state of mind, into an altered version of who we are. From this standpoint, antidepressant medications do not return us to health as medical pills aim to do- they rather manufacture a new state of mind, an often unnatural state’. — Cracked – Why Psychiatry is doing more harm than good’ by James Davies, Icon Books

  • Lori

    I haven’t “come around” to you’re way of thinking. I think what I always though. I was never the “pro-anti” cartoon you’ve been pretending that i am and I have not become a anti-antidepressant crusader now.

    Mostly I just want you to go away. There is no reason for you to be posting here.

  • Just Sayin’

    The manufacture and distribution of antidepressants is controlled by large companies whose gigantic profits depend on the continued sale of these pills. Combine this with the enormous pressure on doctors who need some way of sending unhappy patients home happier than they were when they came in, and who can receive cornucopias of free gifts and free trips if they play along with those large companies.

    But the greatest obstacle to a serious debate — as we’ve seen on this thread — is the complicity with the doctors and the drug companies of many of the patients themselves. They have been persuaded to believe that they have been helped by medications. So persuaded that any contrary view often meets with fury, torrents of irrational wrath poured upon the doubter, and even a call for forcibly wiring such a Doubting Thomas’ jaw! Well, their pills have certainly had an effect on them. But what is that effect?

    I’d like to find out. But I don’t expect any sudden revelations of honesty from the drug companies, or confessions of doubt from harried family doctors. It will need an independent, government sponsored enquiry.

  • Just Sayin’

    Pro-anti, to repeat for the umpteenth time, isn’t a cartoon or pigeonholing or ad hominem anything other than shorthand for an identifiable group sharing a viewpoint.

    And again for the umpteenth time, if you want me to stop posting my replies why are you obsessively posting to me day after day after day?


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