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. ShawHowever, 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 Ministries: The 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.