• Brain Injury And Phineas Gage

I had to read about Phineas Gage when I was in college – I believe I had to read about him in a psychology class I took.

After a metal rod went through his head, Gage’s personality was drastically altered (according to what I read in college).

One of a few reasons I find this an interesting story is that so many Christians give horrible advice to anyone who is suffering from a mental health disorder, that if they just pray hard enough, have enough faith, trust Jesus, or attend church weekly, that they will be healed of their mental health problems.

I wonder how such Christians would deal with Gage’s story? I doubt that his condition could’ve been changed from church attendance or Bible reading. Personal sin did not cause his issues.

Phineas Gage and the effect of an iron bar through the head on personality

The extraordinary case of Phineas Gage has been used and abused by neurologists and even the occasional creationist. Mo Costandisummarises what we know, and what we don’t

Phineas Gage – on Wikipedia

Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable[B1]:19 survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain’s left frontal lobe, and for that injury’s reported effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining 12 years of his life‍—‌effects sufficiently profound (for a time at least) that friends saw him as “no longer Gage”. [H]:14

…Phineas Gage influenced 19-century discussion about the mind and brain, par­tic­u­larly debate on cerebral local­i­za­tion, ​​[M]:ch7-9[B] and was perhaps the first case to suggest the brain’s role in deter­min­ing per­son­al­ity, and that damage to specific parts of the brain might induce specific per­son­al­ity changes.

Photo slide: View drawing of Gage’s brain trauma, with notations

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• Abuse Survivor Blogs and Others Covering Horrible Christian Teachings and Counseling Methods Regarding Mental Health

I made a post on here a year or more ago where I expressed that I hoped that more Christian sites and blogs would cover mental health issues more often.

Farther below, you’ll see a set of links to other sites that have been discussing mental health in a Christian context. I may amend this post in the future to add more if I find them, unless I decide to make a new, separate post, that is.

There are many Christians who have mental health problems. (The number of all Americans generally, regardless of religious affiliation, appears to be on the increase; this is from 2018: Americans are more depressed and miserable than ever)

For years, I had clinical depression, and I still deal with anxiety. Neither the secular or Christian methods alleviated my depression or anxiety.

The Christian approaches to mental health I encountered amounted to “spiritual only” solutions, such as read the Bible daily, trust God, and pray to Jesus. None of those things worked for me.

Some Christian sources were also very victim-blaming, int hat they suggest things that if you have a mental health problem, it’s due to a personal sin, so that you brought it on yourself.

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• Posts About Domestic Violence at Cry For Justice Blog in the ‘Don Hennessy Digest’ Series

Posts About Domestic Violence at Cry For Justice Blog in the ‘Don Hennessy Digest’ Series

The Christian blog ‘A Cry For Justice’ began work on a series of posts about domestic violence by author Don Hennessy.

I wish to comment on this material in a future post (that post is now complete and can be found here: ACFJ Blog’s Hennessy Domestic Violence Series: Yes, Codependency Makes An Appearance).

I will be referring to the links below when or if commenting in future posts.

For now, here are links to the content at ACFJ blog:

Don Hennessy Digest – index page with links to the blog series, such as

(Link): 1   Don Hennessy says domestic abusers are like pedophiles – and there’s not much proof they’re redeemable.

(Link): 2   “How He Gets Into Her Head” — an introduction to Don Hennessy’s book

(Link): 3   How the male intimate abuser selects, sets-up & grooms a target woman

(Link): 4   The male domestic abuser is as ‘psychephile’ — a sexual offender

5   Offending and re-grooming: the skills men use to abuse their female partners

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• What Made Mental Illness a ‘Sin’? Paganism – podcast and article from Christianity Today

There is a podcast at the top of this page from Christianity Today:

What Made Mental Illness a ‘Sin’? Paganism via CT Magazine

Is suffering from mental illness the result of personal sin?

Last week, many Christians felt two prominent evangelical ministries affirmed that this was the case.

At last week’s evangelical women’s conference the IF Gathering, speaker Rebekah Lyons, in telling about her daughter’s anxiety attacks, suggested that mental illness could be healed through prayer.

The incidents at IF occurred several days after John Piper’s Desiring God ministry tweeted“We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.”

Nearly 500 people responded to the tweet, saying that the message implied that counselors and medication were unnecessary to cure mental illness.

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• Christians Need to Reform Their Ideas About Sex and Power by Megan Powell

This editorial I link to much farther below, by Powell, on Eternity News site, reflects several views I’ve held for a long time, one of which is that American Christians, especially the more conservative ones, are really not so different in their views towards gender and sexual behavior as the secular culture.

However, American Christians really like to run about in their blogs and podcasts saying their take on things is “counter cultural” and oh so very different from what they imagine liberals and feminists promote.

My response to that: No, it’s not. The Christian view is not all that different from what they, Christians, believe liberals and feminists supposedly promote or believe about sexuality.

Christians are actually maintaining and enabling the cultural status quo and re-enforcing cultural gender stereotypes and sexual practices they claim to be in opposition to.

I have also noted that strict adherence to traditional gender stereotypes, which Christians promote under gender complementarianism, are not going to resolve societal problems, such as divorce, transgenderism, and other things Christians say they are concerned about.

(Nor will heterosexual marriage, natalism, or the nuclear family “fix” societal ills either, but Christians from James Dobson to Al Mohler and secular conservative think tanks keep promoting these entities, though the Bible itself does not – not as a solution for cultural decay.)

Where the author, Powell, states:

…[we should be] teaching our sons a masculinity that isn’t based on power and aggression…

She would be describing some of the elements that encompass what feminists refer to as “toxic masculinity.” Many anti- feminists, Christians and conservatives misunderstand what the term “toxic masculinity” means.

Christians Need to Reform Their Ideas About Sex and Power by Megan Powell

#metoo shows the church has the same problem as society

A return to traditional sexuality and gender norms will not solve the problems raised by the #metoo movement, because research shows that it makes no difference to the incidence of sexual harassment and abuse.

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• Understanding Grief, by Jane E. Brody

Understanding Grief, by Jane E. Brody

I have been considering writing a post or two of my own about grief, and I may still.

My experience after my mother died a few years ago is that the vast majority of Christians are not only terrible and incompetent at ministering to those with grief but they are, in addition, heartless.

Rather than receive love, encouragement, and empathy from Christians I approached after the death of my mother, I was subjected to all sorts of hurtful attitudes, actions, and comments: some Christians ignored me, hoping I’d back off and stop calling; some lectured me; some shamed me; some victim blamed me, some gave cold, hard advice.

Grief is going to happen to each and every person reading this post. You too will have someone you love very much die before you do.

If you are a Christian who has yet to experience the death of a loved one, do not count on the Christians around you to be there for you during your time of loss, because most of them (perhaps not any) will not support you, nor do most of them truly want to support you during your grief. I can perhaps blog on that issue more at a future date.

I believe all Christians should read this article at the New York Times about grief and learn from it:

Understanding Grief, via New York Times

Snippets:

“There is no right or wrong in grief; we need to accept whatever form it takes, both in ourselves and in others”

by Jane E. Brody

Although many of us are able to speak frankly about death, we still have a lot to learn about dealing wisely with its aftermath: grief, the natural reaction to loss of a loved one.

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• Selective Focus, Selective Outrage in Abuse Coverage – Andy Savage Vs. Clayton Jennings

Selective Focus, Selective Outrage in Abuse Coverage – Andy Savage Vs. Clayton Jennings

Among other blogs and news sources, I am referencing these blog posts at The Wartburg Watch blog (I don’t want to link to the posts themselves, as they will create ping backs, and I don’t want to create ping backs):

Post 1. Dated Jan 5, 2018, title:
I Thought He Was Taking Me for Ice Cream: One Woman’s #MeToo Story of Molestation By Her Former Youth Pastor, Andy Savage

Post 2. Dated Jan 8, 2018, title:
More Developments As Well As the Drop the Mic Moments in the Andy Savage/Highpoint Memphis #metoo Situation

This story of Andy Savage and Jules has been covered in national papers and on national television, such as by CBS News.

The story got started on TWW and on the Watchkeep blog.

I want to make it very, very clear I am not criticizing abuse survivor blogs or secular news stations or Twitterverse for calling out pastor Andy Savage for his sexual assault of Jules.  I think it is good and right that this story receive attention.

One thing I find puzzling is that the cases of alleged abuse by evangelist to youth, Clayton Jennings, did not receive any where near the attention as did the abuse story of Jules by Andy Savage.

Andy Savage is a carbon copy of Clayton Jennings.

Jennings is KNOWN to have more than one alleged victim. (Though I believe Jenning’s father denied in one interview that there is more than one – but there is more than one, the women gave statements about their experiences with Jennings.)

(Edit: I added the word alleged in there for legal purposes – I don’t think they are “alleged” victims, I believe them to be actual victims based on the news stories I’ve seen about Jennings and their statements to blogs.)

At this point, we only know of one victim of Savage’s. Savage swears up and down in his publicly released apology that Jules was his first and only victim, but I am betting there are more – but at this point, Jules is the one and only confirmed victim we have on record.

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