• 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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• 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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 • Equally Yoked Teaching, Complementarianism, Christianity, and Singleness (part 3)

Equally Yoked Teaching, Complementarianism, Christianity, and Singleness (part 3)

What is the use of the equally yoked rule for Christian single women if it affords no protection for women? (Because “Equally Yoked” does not protect Christian single women from marrying abusive men, or men who are serial adulterers or insensitive jerks.)

Some of these Christian women I’ve mentioned in the previous post, and in this one, were judging these self-professing Christian men by their “fruit,” as Jesus says to do in the Gospels.

These men showed the outward signs of being “true” believers, but they were actually rapists, physical abusers, or sleazy operators.

Look at this guy. He gave all the signs of being an honest to goodness, real, Christian (I mentioned him in a previous, separate post):

Christian volunteer charged with killing wife and daughters, 7 and 8

December 23, 2017

A man described as a devout Christian who volunteered at a local church was charged this week with killing his wife and two young daughters after their bodies were found in a home in western Canada.

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• Misinterpreting “Head” Can Perpetuate Abuse by B. C. Miller

Misinterpreting “Head” Can Perpetuate Abuse by B. C. Miller


Instead of lovingly following the example of Christ, these men used the Bible as a weapon to control their wives. One specific way they did this was by interpreting the word “head” in Ephesians 5:23 and 1 Corinthians 11:3 to mean “authority” or “overlord.”

In the kingdom of God, all people are equal in worth and in opportunity—women are not under the power of men, nor are wives specifically under the one-way authority of their husbands. Understanding this principle helps eliminate abuse.

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• Lynbrook Girl Is Beating Boys On The Wrestling Mat

Most gender complementarians won’t be happy to see news stories such as this one.

Complementarians will be unhappy to see such stories, because all women are supposedly designed by God – they teach – to be frail, helpless little waifs who need men to protect them.

This girl is also not staying confined to her complementarian- approved box – which would include, but is not limited to, doing nothing but baby-sitting kids, cleaning bathrooms, and baking cookies, and engaging in other acceptable- to- complementarians “feminine” pursuits – but stepping outside of it.

Lynbrook Girl Is Beating Boys On The Wrestling Mat

 December 27, 2017

LYNBROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A high school wrestler on Long Island fought extra hard to get on the team, and is now proving to be just as tough as the rest of them on the mat — even better.

As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, she’s been the talk of the town and made history as the only girl on her all boys wrestling team.

Ally Fitzgerald is also the first female to ever win a boys high school tournament on Long Island.

“A lot of people don’t like losing to a girl, so they try to use tactics like, ‘oh this is gonna be easy, oh she’s not good, and making fun of me and pointing, laughing,” she said. “I can’t focus on that, I focus on me.”

With laser sharp focus she proves them wrong again and again.

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• Men Are More Satisfied by ‘Bromances’ Than Their Romantic Relationships (which lowers the marriage rate), Study Finds – And How Christian Complementarianism Is Playing A Role In This

• Men Are More Satisfied by ‘Bromances’ Than Their Romantic Relationships (which lowers the marriage rate), Study Finds – And How Christian Complementarianism Is Playing A Role In This

I have seen similar articles the last few years which say something similar about women: more women are choosing to stay single and some women are more satisfied with same-gender friendship than they are with dating or marrying men.

One thing that is “sad-funny” about the findings reported in this article is that one thing that is driving these marriage-killing “bromances,” according to the article, is that some of these men say they feel they have to be ‘manly’ around their girlfriends, which they say inhibits them, but they feel they can reveal more “feminine” or sensitive things or aspects of their personalities to their male friends.

(It used to be the opposite in culture, I think, but anyway.)

I find this all sad or ironic, because Christian gender complementarians, from John Piper to Mark Driscoll, have been saying for years now that Christianity needs to be “more masculine,” and Driscoll (and men like him), complain all the time that Christianity, or church, is supposedly “too feminine.”

Piper, Driscoll, Owen Strachan and other complementarians also teach that all men need to act very manly (which usually means act like a Tough Guy, do things like crush beer cans in one hand, love football and spitting, never show emotion, except for anger, to others), while all women need to act very feminine (and by ‘feminine,’ complementarians usually mean be a soft-spoken, sweet, emotionally open, codependent doormat at all times).

But it is that very situation – men feeling they have to be “manly” for their wives or girlfriends, so that they feel they can only confide in male friends over sensitive topics – that is driving these men to forgo marriage to women.

I’ve seen gender complementarian Christians who get upset, yell, and scream that more and more Christian singles are staying single; they are upset because they think all Christians should marry, and marry very young.

Meanwhile, it’s the complementarian insistence on biblical gender roles – that men must be very “manly mannish”and conform to some kind of  Tough Guy Christianity, and which teaches that God only wired women to be emotional and sensitive – that is playing a role in the dynamic why singles are staying single.

Complementarians, for those of you who notice that the marriage rates are declining, and you’re upset by this, you need to go look in the mirror for who to blame for it, because it’s the very gender role nonsense you peddle to Christians and the public which is encouraging all this.

(Link): Men Are More Satisfied by ‘Bromances’ Than Their Romantic Relationships, Study Finds

by Amanda MacMillan, October 2017

Young men get more emotional satisfaction out of “bromances”—close, heterosexual friendships with other males—than they do out of romantic relationships with women, according to a small new study published in Men and Masculinities.

Intimate male friendships have become more socially acceptable in recent years, say the study authors, and that’s largely a good thing. But they caution that the shift could lead to weaker bonds among dating or married couples, or even reduce the likelihood of men and women pairing up at all.

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