From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Morgan in Colorado Springs)
Subject: Comments on Clergy Abuse article...
Date: 23 Feb 90 18:11:31 GMT
Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation
Today's religion and psychology are inseparably linked. This is
especially true of contemporary Christianity. As seen in the Clergy
and Laity Abuse topic here the cost of ignoring one's deepest needs
far exceeds the benefit of ignoring or repressing that need. Yet that
is just what Pauline Christianity demands the follower do. Paul
preached celibacy with marriage a second best option to stop the
'burning'. Jesus said to be 'perfect even as your Father in heaven is
perfect', that there are eunuchs for heaven's sake; for a married man
to look upon a woman with lust in his heart was the same as adultery.
Both men come from a time when pregnancy could mean the death of a
fetus and/or mother; not to mention the medical and mental problems
of untreatable venereal disease. Both men transmitted to their
followers an impossible task.
And still after 2000 year the Sisyphean task of repressing deep
inner needs drives many a Christian to desperate states of mind and
body. Why? Today's psychology can tell us why and what the costs are
of such behavior.
In the following quote from Willam Glasser M.D., co-originator of
REALITY THERAPY with Dr. G.L. Harrington, there are a few terms which
need defining. ERROR is desire for or the pain of not experiencing
what is (sometimes desperately) needed or wanted. REDIRECTION is
doing some behavior taken from a _mental_storehouse_ of previously
successful behaviors. REORGANIZATION is doing _random_ behaviors that
may or may not be a viable solution to the (sometimes great) pain or
desire which pushed us past redirection.
"Self-control or self-discipline, as most of us believe in it, is
a myth. It cannot exist, because if we cannot reduce the error
[desire or pain], the error signal will cause us to reorganize
[behave randomly]. Few authors understood this as well as Somerset
Maugham, who, in the story RAIN, depicts the married but
passion-starved missionary, Rev. Davidson, desperately attempting to
control his own sexual frustrations through zealous religious
redirection. Until he was aroused by the prostitute Sadie Thompson,
praying and proselytizing kept the conflict under tenuous control,
but his unexpected passion for her, which he frantically tried to
repress, made him desperate. He redirected [known successful
behavior] with prayer for hours on end to maintain the behavior of
repressing, to try to keep unconscious the desire for her that was
causing him to lose control. His efforts to convert her seemed to be
succeeding when suddenly his self-control broke and he succumbed to
her sexually. When this happened his conflict was so severe he
reorganized [random behaviors] by killing himself. What Maugham knew
is that we cannot stop the system. One can pray, condemn, damn, or
entreat, but repressing will eventually fail and we will either
redirect or reorganize. It may be that when we talk of self-control,
self-discipline, or repressing in the sense of completely stopping
our behavior system what we are really talking about is suicide,
murder, psychosis, or serious illness, desperate reorganizations that
destroy one or the other or both sides of the conflict."
STATIONS OF THE MIND, page 141, William Glasser M.D.
In the Clergy and Laity Abuse files we see the fruit of such
repression. These were normal, innocent folks until the schizophrenic
teachings of their role models drove them into reorganization. Even
as these people bear the responsibility of their crimes, their role
models--Jesus and St. Paul--have contributed heavily to their crimes.
These mental and emotional problems show up first in the most
fervent and zealous, then trickles down into the lesser dedicated
followers. Fundamentalists are more likely to explode than liberal
When schizophrenic Gods give Sisyphean tasks to mortals it's time to
change the game or maybe just forget the game entirely.
*** As always I speak for myself. ***