I can sympathize with DC. Modern scientific knowledge has improved. We realize that some behavioral problems are rooted in physical–chemical–causes. At the same time, I think that the logic of empirical materialism threatens to medicalize–and prescribe away–most everything. I wonder what the consequences of this are. I have alcoholism in my family. Religious people then would have said that my grandfathers were in “sin”; medical professionals today would say that they had a “disease”. Since we know that alcoholism is a disease, does it mitigate their behavior–or their actions when they were drinking?
To what extent are our medical conditions beyond our control, and therefore our volition which is one of the ways that I understand sin? At what point does medicalization of non-standard/deviant behavior become problematic? All over the papers last week was the death of a little girl who was terribly abused. Was her stepfather “mentally ill”? And if so–what does that say (or not say) about his moral state? Is he not responsible for his actions because of his medical condition?
This is the scientific version of the bondage of the will, isn’t it?
At the end of the day I come down with bls. While I know that medical conditions exist and effect our behavior, I can’t move beyond the fact that sin–real honest to goodness non-Vegas-poster-advertisment sin–is a reality in our world. As I’ve mentioned before, my most up close and personal experience of the true reality of evil was a lengthy pastoral visit in jail with an young man charged with attempted child molestation. I came away from that visit with a profound notion of the reality of evil and with the conviction that part of the Gospel is actively resisting real and living active evil. I’m convinced that sin and evil are realities. Because of these realities, we must build our communities and our liturgies in the face of it. Liturgy becomes far more serious to me when it is done knowing that we do it in the face of the reality of death and in the face of the reality of evil (two *different* things imo). This is where proclamation of Gospel and administration of the Sacraments really hits the road.