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The Sounds of Fundamentalism: What God Says About Mental Illness by Todd Friel

todd friel

This is the eightieth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a  video clip produced by Wretched Radio.— the ministry of Todd Friel.  This video also features part of a speech by medical doctor Charles Hodges,Jr. Hodges gave this speech at an  Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) conference. Just remember, no matter how much people such as Hodges use medical terminology, they are still Fundamentalists who believe that Jesus is the cure for everything. Hodges, by the way, is a graduate of Liberty University — a bastion of ignorance founded by Jerry Falwell.  While Hodges is a Indiana University School of Medicine trained medical doctor, I suspect his views on mental illness were birthed and nurtured during his time at Liberty.

Video Link

Series Navigation<< The Sounds of Fundamentalism: If God Does Not Exist the Nazis Were Not Wrong by Todd FrielThe Sounds of Fundamentalism: Stephen Hawking Before God by Donnie Romero >>


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    Christianity of the fundagelical variety is a primary basis for my early depression in life. It took me a long long time even admit that religion might be an aspect of my illness but it bacame clearer and clearer to me as I was able to distance myself from regular church attendance: While a regular attendee I could not peel away those layers of pain because Jesus!
    It makes me simmer when I hear preachers talking about mental illness as if they have some insight other than their trump card Chritianity. It is a mockery of learning, a disdain for Science. When Freil prefaces his nonsense with, “We have to be wise as Christians…”, I spit my breakfast out all over myself. What is wisdom? The BIBLE. Pastor Steven Anderson has memorized a lot of it so that makes him a man of wisdom.
    This is Christianity at work today.
    As for mental illness, I am only one mentally ill fellow, so I cannot say how it is for everyone else. For me, I know that part of my illness was passed on in the family. Many in my family suffer various degrees of depression. I can follow that back a few generations. Does that make it physical or is it environmental, the family dynamic? One thing very clear to me is that Christianity became the place to take my feelings and to dump them on Jesus. It did not cure the cause but it was a refreshing Kool-aid at times. What has meant most for me in overcoming depression is being allowed to be me, to feel whatever I know is there, freely. Having a therapist witness and not direct me, just listen and allow… I wish my mom and dad could have witnessed and allowed, not preached and trained. Depression is about feeling or lack of it, an imbalance that overwhelms me. I began to get better as I began to let go of belief and Baptist harm in my life. I started to feel that it was okay to be myself and to air what was in my heart. I did not say, this is the answer, just felt what was inside, said it in words or noises and howls, got it out. It was okay, then, not the doom if Satan and Hell, not the joy of rolling in the aisle, just okay for a change.
    Perhaps there is no one answer to mental illness; perhaps the answer for each of us is just for us, for our one name alone. Perhaps the very best help is just to be there and listen, to allow, not try to fix or change. Imagine there’s no heaven, Lennon sang. And the whole of Christendom groaned.

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    Reverend Greg

    This is what is called ‘nouthetic’ counseling. I was asked at one point at a church to explore the possibility of a recovery ministry. The other person I’d be working with was into nouthetic (or Biblical) counseling. After investigating it, I was not comfortable using it as the sole method of counseling. I spoke to people licensed by the state, a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University and Christian counseling services. While it may have some value, the danger is that if it is the only method used, the results can be devastating. It also devalues women as equals, IMHO. Another problem is that it leads to arrogance on part of the counselor, or at least it did in my case. As a pastor, I would never send someone to a nouthetic-only counselor.

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