Medical or Spiritual?

Discovered a website this weekend that is very disturbing to me as a Christian obsessive-compulsive.

At GreatBibleStudy.com, you can read quotes like the following:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, commonly referred to as OCD, is not a mental disorder or disease… it is a spiritually rooted bondage in the person’s mind that needs to be uprooted.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is basically demonic torment brought on by a person’s bondages to fear and shame.

These ‘voices’ or compulsive thoughts are NOT caused because of a chemical imbalance (which the secular world cannot explain anyways); they are there because of a spiritual bondage in the person’s life.

Now, don’t get me wrong!  I believe that obsessive-compulsive disorder has entered into this world due to SIN, yes, but to negate that OCD is caused by a chemical imbalance seems ridiculous to me.  As a Christian, I view ALL of life through a spiritual lens, but these quotes seem like the equivalent of saying, “Diabetes is not a problem with the pancreas– it’s a spiritual issue!!!”  To say that diabetes is not connected to the pancreas’s inability to produce insuliin would be silly, just as saying that OCD is not connected to a chemical inbalance (our bodies absorb serotonin too quickly … that’s why we take SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors … they SLOW DOWN the reuptake/reabsorbtion of serotonin]).

All issues are spiritual issues, but that does not mean that they are NOT also medical issues.  God is also the Author of Science and the Creator of our bodies.  To not combine the spiritual with the scientific is short-sighted, I believe.

What are your thoughts on these quotes?  I’d especially love to hear from obsessive-compulsive believers!

This is a repost of an earlier entry.

6 thoughts on “Medical or Spiritual?

  1. I don’t have OCD, but I do know several people with mental health issues, and this sort of thinking (from the website you found) is both dangerous and offensive. This type of thing is built under a false assumption that all mental disorders are the result of demons. One problem with that is that, as a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit within you. I have a lot of difficulty that, if having the Holy Spirit within you, a demon could somehow also possess you. Also, to ignore the clear empirical evidence is simply foolish. Admitting that mental disorders (like OCD) are real and ones that real Christians struggle with is a good thing. It recognizes that our bodies and minds are not perfect, and that we need help. To assume that help can’t come from medical or psychological assistance is arrogant or presumptuous (maybe both). This type of spiritual counseling (a form of “nouthetic counseling” I believe) only serves to build up those who claim to be “normal” as superior (something antithetical to the Gospel, just read 1 Corinthians).

  2. That kind of thinking fascinates me a lot. When I look through history I find that there is a huge pendulum in thinking. For a while the world will be conservative then it quickly changes and goes just as far liberal as it was conservative (if not indeed farther). Then it changes back again going just as far conservative as it way liberal. It’s a cycle that repeats continuously in the church and world issues.

    It seems clear to me that the aim of this rhetoric is to debase a modernistic world through a post modern manner. It reject science as worthy of knowledge and puts forth a charismatic knowledge as greater or more intuitive. By presenting itself in a western type argument they are then disabled from making any compromise or trying to find an equilibrium between the two subjects. This is not a good way of gathering or presenting knowledge.

    I believe that OCD, along with the various different mental and physical disorders are most often from real and natural issues. I also believe in special cases as Job or the demon possessed in the Bible that demons can also inspire these issues fully. I am inclined to believe that they can manipulate such things to their advantage though. Perhaps the thoughts that pass our mind in times of struggle can be attributed to such things.

    In summation, I believe that there is truth to the scientific evidence for OCD and that there is also demonic influence in all of our lives. Some things in life naturally occur, others are rooted in sin, others are God given thorns, and some are clearly demonic. As we all seek to understand these things we must never look at them completely from one angle while dismissing the others as wrong.

    (Sources: Screwtape letters, Ephesians 6:12, 2 Cor 12:7-10, History)

  3. Thank you for questioning the information on greatbiblestudy.com. My son suffers from OCD and I had just been on that website. I found it discouraging as a Christian and totally false. Thanks also to Trey for your comments. Much appreciated.

  4. I have led a very spiritual life for over 20 years, prayed whole heartedly during my anxiety and ocd episodes, practiced honesty to the bests of my ability, trusted that He will heal me of those troubles in His time, helped others, always have had a spiritual adviser, etc. I could not for the life of me figure out why symptoms were getting worse over time. God had removed many problems in and around me, but not the OCD and anxiety. Yes, I would pray, and say, “Thy will be done”, and, “God, I know I will be okay, eventually, even after someone breaks into our house, and kills the kids with a machete, You will help me to heal”, and I know He would, but it still didn’t stop the suffering of having the irrational thoughts, the pain that occured with them, or the panic of them happening. Eventually each thought passes, whether I act on it or not, but they still kept returning. I ALWAYS turned to God in those instances, asking for help, trying to find refuge in Him, which sometimes helped, other times, not. one particular bothersome intrusive thought I have always struggled with, I never got ANY relief while it was happening. I always had to suffer through it until I could finally bee removed from the situation that after ma triggered it. This was extremely painful and destructive. Many people in my spiritual group believe people with troubling thoughts have a type of spiritual problem, ,but I just cannot agree with this. After many years of waiting for God to ‘remove” this burden from me, and trying exposure therapy on my own,, ,and with guidance from spiritual teachers, symptoms still increased, until I practicallybecame housebound. I had a breakdown with my symptoms and the anger I felt towards spiritual people judging anyone with a problem as “not trusting God enough–therefore spiritually deficient”, when I knew darn well I had a very close relationship with God, and had tried “spiritual practices” for may years, but still the ocd remained, even intensified. I finally got on meds, and am doing cbt. I firmly believe ocd is about brain wiring, and also may include personality, environment, other influences, but that the different brain wiring only enables those things to exacerbate it. Most people I know have the same spiritual beliefs I do, practice the same spiritual principles that I do, many don’t practice them at all!–yet don’t have this problem. Meds help me and I continue with CBT and have had improvement, but I still have more work to do with my therapist, and I continue on practicing spiritual principals to the best of my ability at any given time. sorry this is so long—-this is something that I feel strongly about.

  5. To bridge the gap between physical chemical balance and how it happens, I would suggest listening to Dr Henry Wright and the Be In Health team. (I was clinically diagnosed OCD in 2004, and I am walking out of this diagnosis into my true identity in Christ.)
    Henry Wright – hands down – has the most comprehensive explanations on all the pieces and how they work together, and what your role is as a Christian to own your healing while walking in complete love of our Father God. They also practice deliverance.

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