Since Reformers Unanimous (RU) is an organization that treats addictions, I thought it would be important to understand their definitions of addiction.
From their website on “What We Believe about Addictions:
Addiction by one definition is “to cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance.”
That’s a good definition which would incorporate ten of the 15 topics covered by RU.
Addiction by another definition is “to occupy oneself or involve oneself in something habitually or compulsively.”
This definition is missing a key point; the activity has to be negatively affecting the person’s life in a major way. When that point is added, the remaining four listed topics could be incorporated under this definition.
Logically, since they’ve defined 14 out of 15 topics – and my guess is that the 15th topic is alcohol – they don’t need any more definitions. Yet, the list continues.
Addiction is an unnatural obsession with anything other than God.
Under this definition, my love of cheetahs when I was seven was an addiction. Plus, what is an unnatural obsession with God called? (This is why someone should proof-read websites for public consumption, IMHO. Sloppy construction undermines messages.)
Addiction is any appetite on a binge.
Too vague for actual use. Although….. this definition does allow outsiders to label Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s attempts to have a twentieth living child after Michelle had had a micro- preemie due to preeclampsia and a stillborn baby an addiction.
Addiction is anything you continue to do knowing it is harmful for you.
Overly broad categorization. For example, people working in high stress jobs with lots of sad outcomes – police, firefighters, certain medical professions, certain teachers, CPS workers – can be emotionally harmed by their jobs. That’s not considered an addiction anywhere else.
Addiction is a disorder caused by sin.
Partial credit for this one. Addictions are a disorder – generally a medical disorder that affects brain chemistry. To treat addictions, the person with the addiction must choose to behave in ways that separate them from the addictive substance or action. I have a problem labeling failure to follow those choices as sins because my understanding of sin requires conscious choices. Since addiction often coexists with other mental illnesses, labeling failure to comply with treatment a sin feels like a bridge too far.
Addiction is anything that brings you into spiritual bondage.
Well, according to one whack-a-doodle blogger, Anne of Green Gables drags girls into spiritual bondage so that’s another addiction.
Addiction is being under the rule of anything other than the Holy Spirit.
That’s why we’re called “Spirited” not “Christians”. That’s also why the Rule of Law is completely pointless and addicting.
Addiction is anything to which I run to meet my needs apart from God. What does that even mean? I need to stay warm during the winter so I use indoor heating and put on a coat when I go outside. Under this statement, both indoor heating and wearing a coat are addictions.
Addiction is any coping mechanism I use to deal with disappointments.
Apparently, including prayer or reading the Bible are now addictions according to this definition. I’ve been disappointed recently that a car accident injury dragged my graduate school career to a temporary halt. To deal, I’ve been trimming blackberry bushes, winterizing the garden and cleaning out my poultry shed. Those now addictions as well.
Addiction is any sin, because all sin is addictive.
RU really needs to add a definition of sin to their theological statement of beliefs because I don’t know what they mean by sin anymore. I’ve heard that sin is attractive – but not addicting.
Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide She is also an very valuable source of scientific information for us here at NLQ. Mel is also blessed with the ability to look at the issues of Quiverfull with a rational mind and break them down to their most basic of elements.
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