Want to Mud-Sling? Sorry...I'm Too Busy to Accomodate

Dear Readers:

Due to the unusually high number of abrasive and straw -man argumentative comments I have been receiving lately on this blog (most apparently from the same "anonymous" user,) I feel the time has come to clarify a few things in a post, since I have no intention of engaging the same red herrings over and over again in the meta.

First of all, anonymous comments are fine. When I set up the comment box for this blog, it was with the expectation in view that many eating-disordered young women would prefer to share their thoughts privately. Most who have chosen to communicate with me have done so through e-mail, and that is also welcome (in fact, I wrote my book "Redeemed from the Pit" after years of explaining the principles of overcoming eating disorders through e-mail - to countless women.)

"Some people want to believe lies & no factual info will persuade them. Only the Holy Spirit can transform the stubborn heart." - Dr. Mark E. Shaw
However, recently the comment box has been used more frequently by "anonymous" users who wish simply to argue with me and tear down the premise that the Bible does, in fact, address life-dominating sin. Axiomatically, such anonymous users invariably take issue with my (and other biblical counselors'....and increasing numbers of scientists') conviction that addictions are not organic in nature. Specifically, my (factually true) statement that EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT DISEASES. Often the vitrolic (and sarcastic) comments are accompanied by links to inconclusive "studies", showing that "it is thought" there "may" be genetic predisposition to bulimic and/or anorexic behavior.

A little over a year ago, Calvary Press published a 317-page book, thoroughly researched and written by me, which addresses this question (among many others). Rather than repeat everything I wrote there and cite all of the studies proving exactly the opposite, I'd encourage the skeptic to actually read my book. Better yet, specifically dealing with the "mental illness as disease" controversy, I'd like to point the reader to the following excellent resources:

The Christian Counselor's Medical Desk Reference, by Dr. Robert Smith, M.D.

This was the main text used in the course "Medical Issues in Biblical Counseling", one of many I took during my certification program as a biblical counselor.

Another excellent resource (which I cite several times in "Redeemed from the Pit") is Deceptive Diagnosis: When Sin Is Called Sickness, by David M. Tyler and Kurt P. Grady.

Ambitious to know more about the true nature of addiction? Let me recommend one more wonderful resource, by my friend Dr. Mark Shaw of NANC and His Truth in Love MinistriesThe Heart of Addiction: A Biblical Perspective

Now, once you have read all (or even some) of the informative books above, written by highly-educated and respected doctors and experts in the field of addiction, come back and we'll talk about your junk science links. But in the meantime, let me just quickly address some of the other red-herrings that have been thrown my way:

Accusation: "Who do [I] think [I] am anyway?"
Answer: A sinner saved by grace, who God has seen fit to use for His glory. A former pit-dweller whose  joy in freedom in Christ compels me to help others come to the Cross. A beggar telling other beggars where to find bread.

Accusation: "You're ignorant. You'll be flipping burgers. You have no education." (Various takes on this theme.)
Answer: I'm neither ignorant nor uneducated, not that my ability to share the Good News is impacted in any way by my degrees. For the record, I am college-educated (B.S., Syracuse University) and have a strong background in both biology and bio-psychology. (For what it's worth, I am also multi-lingual and am employed as a medical and courtroom interpreter). More importantly, I have been studying the Word of God for well over 20 years and completed the most demanding biblical counseling course of training in existence - Jay Adams' Institute for Nouthetic Studies. Before receiving my certificate, I completed difficult courses in biblical and systematic theology, medical issues in counseling, and a myriad of other topics (see complete syllabus here.) Copies of my 75-page theology and counseling NANC exam are available upon request.

I have been counseling Christian women with eating disorders (formally and informally) since 2005. A number of them have found complete freedom in Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Accusation: "You seem to hate bulimics. You tell them their behavior is a sin!"
Answer: I was trapped in bulimia for 17 years myself, so please don't tell me who I "hate". The most loving thing we can do is help a fellow believer repent of his or her sin, in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1; Jude 1:23). Which is more cruel? Condemning a person to a life-long "disease", as the psych world does; or telling her about the freedom available to her in the Gospel? How is telling someone that Jesus died for their sin too "cruel" or "unloving"?

Accusation: "Everyone knows that eating disorders are diseases. You are ignorant and it's just your opinion that they're not."
Answer: You may have heard that eating disorders are caused by genetics or some sort of non-specific “chemical imbalance”. Low serotonin levels have been seen as the culprit for bulimia, despite the fact that no diagnostic tests or tissue samples have confirmed this hypothesis. Non-invasive “brain mapping” scans point to “hot spots”, but the problem with this form of test is that areas of the brain display differently according to the patient’s anxiety level or emotional state. The theory of “chemical imbalance” has prevailed for so long in the medical community that many accept it as iron-clad fact.

Actually, in over twenty years of research, no evidence has been discovered suggesting that eating disorders are organic, and both psychotropic drugs and SSRI  inhibitors (anti-depressants) have been ineffectual in “curing” anorexics and bulimics. Renowned psychiatrists are now admitting that the chemical imbalance theory was just that all along – a theory. Be careful of words like "is thought to be" or "may be caused" in studies - they point up the fact that these hypotheses are inconclusive. (See Chapter 2 of my book and The Christian Counselor's Medical Desk Reference for a more complete discussion of these "studies" and the effect of psychotropics on the brain.)

Accusation: "You probably think that people with autism/Asperger's/depression/ADD/bi-polar etc. etc. are going to hell." 
Answer: Anyone apart from Christ goes to hell. (John 14:6). See here for a more thorough explanation, and let's keep the straw men to a minimum, shall we?

Respectfully, I am far too busy serving God by loving His people to engage each and every silly and arrogant attack thrown at me in the meta. I hope that this explanation clarifies where I stand (firmly on the Word of God) and answers any questions you may have about my biblical worldview (and subsequent approach to matters of soul-care.) For more information about biblical counseling, I encourage you to visit the Biblical Counseling Coalition's website.


  1. Excellent response to the critics!

    It seems that this is the common way "anonymous" commenters operate on most blogs I follow, as well as my own. They refuse to educate themselves on the issues and would rather listen to false teachers and junk science rather that actually examine evidence which is presented to them.

    These people are so invested in their deception that they really are not interested in learning the truth.

    1. Thanks Glenn!

      I bet you get attacked even more than I do, given the broad range of discernment topics you cover. As my theology professor Donn Arms advised me when I got my very first piece of hate mail from a psychoanalyst: "You're going to have to grow thicker skin. These people are not your audience, and their very livelihood is threatened by the Truth you proclaim. The fact that this woman disagrees with you should be a sign that you are on the right side."

      The funny thing is, my skin is plenty thick now and I wouldn't mind engaging each and every one of them in a debate - knowing that science is on my side, I have the goods to back it up. But unfortunately between work, counseling, taking care of the kids and cleaning my house, I'd literally never get anything else done! I hope that this entry will at least point those interested in what "studies" are actually showing in the right direction. That is, if the critics are not too lazy to do the research for themselves. I was quite surprised myself when I learned that psychiatrists, by and large, do not consider depression to be a disease anymore (despite the fact that it's still in the DSM-IV.) Very telling.

    2. I do indeed get a lot of "hate" e-mail and comments. Most comments of that nature no longer get posted, because I made it a comment policy that personal attacks will not be published. I used to try to respond to all of them, but, as you say, it takes way too much time and we have better ways of using our time for the Lord's work.

      Jill says to let you know she'll be praying for you as you deal with these people.

  2. Marie,

    First of all, I thank God for you and your ministry. As I read through your story of the types of comments you have received I felt sad. It sounds as though you are the "victim" (if you will) of some individuals who have unconsciously bought into a world view perspective that fails to see the complete picture. Your approach disturbs these "anonymous" individuals because if accepted, they must change their identities. The story that they have had partially written for them "I am this way because..." gets obliterated when someone such as yourself offers an alternative story that says, "My sin has alienated me from God, others, and even myself. I have attempted to make things write through unhealthy behaviors and have realized that the only way that things can be redeemed is through a Redeemer." This of course offends those who have found comfort in their old story. It is my prayer that you will continue trumpeting the necessity for redemption through the Gospel to those who struggle with these heinous disorders and that those who are suffering from them will set aside their deep-seated need for control and reach out to those in the biblical counseling community for help.

    In Christ,

    Dr. Todd Hardin
    Executive Director, Charis in Action Counseling Center

  3. Thank you very much, Todd!

    I figured it was easier to post one entry on where I stand and why than to respond to each comment individually. Interestingly., most of the negative comments seem to be in reaction to a review I did of a counseling center that bills itself as "faith-based", yet does not post a statement of faith on their website or use the Bible in counseling.

    I just read Part 3 of your series "Thinking Christianly About Early Childhood Experiences" and will go back to read Parts 1 & 2. Recently I received an e-mail from a reader who raised questions that you addressed very biblically in the piece. I believe this will be of great help to her. Thank you for writing it!


Thanks for visiting! Please leave me a message, share your testimony, or feel free to ask questions. Anonymous comments are welcome. Or e-mail me privately at marie4thtimemom@yahoo.com.