We thirst for knowledge and yearn for power: yet I’m sure the more we think we know, the less of either we actually obtain.
Parts of this blog post have been fermenting in my brain for a while now. I think it started when I first saw a commercial on TV for the drug “Abilify”. I hate that commercial. To me, this commercial embodies, in 30 to 60 seconds, so many of the things that are wrong with our society and the pharmaceutical industry. The commercial is an animated commercial with a plain Jane mother on some type of anti-depressant and it’s not doing the job for her: her “depression” still sneaks up on her, so the solution is to also take “Abilify” along with her anti-depressant. It’s as if God himself reached down from Heaven and handed her the pill bottle. The whole concept really gets under my skin. I didn’t realize that “Abilify” is actually a treatment for Bipolar Disorder (Manic or Mixed) or Schizophrenia in adults as well as an add-on depression treatment until I looked it up for this blog post. Isn’t it funny how they never mention that in the commercial – that would probably stop a lot of potential users from asking for it? They do mention a list of side effects that SHOULD scare anyone enough to never take it
This commercial plays a lot during the medical mystery and emergency room shows that my wife Kim and I like to watch. And, they also run a commercial for a class action suit for birth defects that occurred when taking one brand of anti-depressant. The birth defects they mention are heart-breaking and should really send up a warning flag that when we start manipulating brain chemistry and function we affect everything. It’s very different than treating a problem elsewhere in the body.
Jesus seems a lot safer.
Then a night or two ago Kim was flipping through the channels and stopped on a program about a little girl with multiple personality disorder. She had many, many, many personalities. She appeared to be 8 to 12 years old. They followed her to doctor visits and through her day to day life. She was on heavy medication. The only thing I heard her doctor say that made sense was that she hated seeing her so drugged. She then said there was not really anything they could do; there were just no new drugs to treat this thing.
Jesus seems a lot safer.
Speaking of children, the whole ADD/ADHD thing is such a farce: maybe a few kids actually have this problem, but most do not need to be drugged, definitely not the millions (6 million?) taking drugs such as Ritalin. If we abrogate our responsibility as parents, teachers, and society in general in favor of just drugging our problem children (in some cases some of our most brilliant and gifted children) we’re doomed.
Is Mental Illness Real, or, Is It the Perfect Profit Prescription?
I’m not saying that mental illness does not exist. Nor am I saying that doctors, medicine, and modern drugs are bad. Not at all. I have the upmost respect for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, scientists, and medical researchers. I am saying that pharmaceutical companies are not always driven by OUR best interest but rather by THEIR bottom line. The authority and respect given to doctors makes it hard for most people, especially young parents, to question their advice, or refuse to drug their kids. Multi-million (billion?) dollar pharmaceutical marketing campaigns are optimized and tweaked to the point that you ASK your doctor to drug your kids and even if he or she would rather not, they are pressured to do so. Do I go to the doctor and take my children to the doctor? Yes. Would I put them on any type of medication like I’ve mentioned above – NO!
How Do You Fix it Then?
A good percentage of depression cases (as well as most other health issues) could be cured by changing our environment, getting off our rear-ends and exercising, going to church, eating better, etc., etc., etc. Most people don’t want to hear this. It’s easier to just take a pill. An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and we’re no different! It’s hard to change your life, but it actually works.
Jesus Can Fix It.
This is from Matthew 15, verse 29-30, you’ll notice that “depressed” is not in most translations… but this translation is a direct translation from the original Aramaic to English. It’s easy to move between different translations using the online Bible I link to in the Right column (I link to the Aramaic Bible there too).
Matthew 15, verse 29-30
29. And Jesus passed from there, and came to the side of the Sea of Galilee, and he climbed the mountain and sat there.
30. And there came to him great crowds, having with them paralytics and blind and mute and depressed and many others. and they threw them at the feet of Jesus, and he healed them.
31. Those crowds were amazed as they saw the mute speaking and the depressed cheerful and the paralytics walking and the blind seeing, and they glorified the God of Israel.
Is Knowledge the Opposite of Faith?
The more we think we know the less we actually do. Have we doomed ourselves with knowledge, looking for facts and reason? Is knowledge the opposite of faith? The truth is that we don’t even know enough to know what we don’t know. Our understanding of reality, the universe, God is so minuscule that it’s like looking at a thimble of saltwater and thinking we understand the ocean.
A lot of times when Jesus or the Disciples heal someone, they talk about casting out demons. That’s different than fixing a broken arm. You can see a broken arm, or a cut, or a sinus infection. We can’t see demons (at least most of us can’t). But Jesus could. Demons are evil and if you don’t think that evil exists then you really need to open your eyes and mind. The sad thing is, we’re much too full of knowledge to believe in demons today, but we’ll take a drug that comes with warnings that would have scared Dr. Frankenstein.
Jesus seems a lot safer.
And this from Matthew 17:14-21 (again from the Aramaic Bible… and you’ll notice that v21 is not even IN some translations.)
14. And as they came to the crowd, a man came to him and knelt before him, saying to him,
15. “My Lord, have mercy on me. My son is a paralytic and in terrible condition. He is sometimes burning with fever and other times he is shivering as though he were immersed in water.
16. “And I brought him to your disciples and they could not heal him.”
17. Jesus replied and said, “O, faithless and mindless generation, until when shall I be with you? And until when shall I minister to you? Bring him here.”
18. And Jesus rebuked him and the evil spirit came out of him and the child was healed from that hour.
19. Then the disciples came to Jesus by themselves and told him, “Why could not we heal him?”
20. Jesus told them, “Because of your lack of faith. For amen, I am telling you, that if you possess the faith of a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain here to move from here and it will move and no harm will befall you.
21. “However, this kind cannot be cast out, except by fasting and prayer.”
This makes me wonder how many illnesses are actually caused by demons to this day. Take cancer for instance: if there was ever a disease that qualifies as demonic its cancer.
Why Would God Allow Sickness?
Sometimes when someone has something wrong with them, we’re tempted to ask why would God do that to them. Here’s a passage from John 9:1-7 that sheds some light on it (with special emphasis on 3). Do all cases fit this reasoning? I don’t know, but some do.
1. And as he passed [through] he saw a man who was blind from his mother’s womb.
2. And his disciples asked him, “[Our] Master, who sinned, this [man] or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3. Jesus told them, “Neither he sinned, nor his parents, except that you should see through him the works of God.
4. “And to me it is a duty to do the works of whom sent me, who is the Day. Night of mankind* will follow when no work can be [accomplished.]
5. “As long as I am among people, I am the light of the people.”
6. And as he said these [things,] he spat on the ground and made mud with his saliva, and covered the blind man’s eyes [with it.]
7. And he said to him, “Go and bathe in the baptismal of apostleship.” And [the man] went and bathed and came [back] seeing.
Jesus was always getting into trouble with the Pharisees and this was no different: he made this blind man see on the Sabbath. The Pharisees the Sadducees were more concerned with following the “law” and less concerned with doing what was right (they also wanted to condemn Jesus).
I think today, Christians on average are much more aligned with the Pharisees and Sadducees than with Jesus. Most Christians want to help, and even heal, but our “laws” (scientific knowledge) say that’s impossible. So as we watch a loved one afflicted with a disease or condition, we pray and ask others to pray, but deep inside we lack the faith of a mustard seed. Deep inside we believe our earth bound, limited knowledge more that the ability of Jesus and God to reach through time, space, and whatever various dimensions to cast out demons and/or heal.
As much as we keep discovering that our previous knowledge was flawed, I’m trying to focus on Jesus more! Miracles do still occur, things that otherwise cannot be explained. I think more occur than we ever hear or read about.
I think that’s where childlike faith comes in. Children don’t “know” better, they just believe:
Matthew 18, verse 3 – 5
3. And he said, “Amen, I am telling you, that if you do not go back and become like children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
4. “Therefore, whoever becomes gentle like this child, he is the one who becomes great in the Kingdom of heaven.
5. “And whoever is accepting like a child, shall receive me.
What’s the Solution?
It’s as if we are sitting right beside the solution to most, if not all of our problems, and we can’t see or touch it… that’s the faith part. Part of the problem is that we’re afraid to have (conduct is a better term) that much power – it’s a quirk of human nature, cultural programming, a trick of Satin, or all three. We don’t always realize we’re afraid or recognize our fear but we are afraid: we’re afraid of what people will think, what they’ll want us to do, what we’ll have to do, and after all, we’re an object at rest and hate to move. When and if we can get past hang-ups, or blocks like this, and realize that Jesus tried to teach us how to have this kind of faith, how to let the power of God flow through us (we as humans don’t actually have any power and shouldn’t think that we do), then maybe we can make some progress.
Until next time,
To accompany this post, I created several products such as t-shirts, bumper stickers, and mugs with “Jesus – My Anti-Depressant” on them… show the world your faith and help support this blog at the same time! Click the image above or here: Jesus – My Anti-Depressant to see them. Note that the dark shirts are available in several colors you just have to click into the items.
Here’s a good article on the pharmaceutical industry from by blogging buddy Brent Riggs:
Behavioral Ludicracy Illness & Natural Disposition to Need Excuses for Spiritual Stupidity he has several good articles on his site: just search for things like psychotherapy, psychobabble, or psychotropic.
This is from the Moody Blues song “The Eyes of a Child” which I think had more to do with space flight than Jesus but I like it just the same!
With the eyes of a child
You must come out and see
That your world’s spinning round
And through life you will be
A small part of a hope of a love that exists
In the eyes of a child you will see.
~ John Lodge, The Moody Blues (1969)