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SweetSomber
Mar 29th 2009, 01:30 AM
I was wondering, what do you all think about the spiritual implication of sociopaths and psychopaths?

People who apparently lack conscience, remorse, etc. They seem to lack fear, and empathy as well.

The Joker is a good example.

Are those people redeemable? Changable? Is it physical, or psychological?

Equipped_4_Love
Mar 29th 2009, 01:39 AM
Hi, Somber;

Interesting thread.

I do believe that psychopaths and sociopaths are redeemable, because no one is beyond God's power to save. As far as spiritual implications, I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

Are you referring to serial killers, like Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy?

I do believe that it is more psychological than physical, but in actuality, I think it goes way beyond the psychological realm, into the spiritual.

SweetSomber
Mar 29th 2009, 01:46 AM
Some christians (calvinists) believe that pychopaths are incapable of repentance, and are therefore non-elect. We shouldn't pray for their salvation, etc.

Others believe that God would have to heal their mind, before they would be able to be saved.

Others believe that faith is a choice, and a psychopath could choose to follow God, but would always probably be incapable of emotion.

So I was wondering what you all thought about it...

shepherdsword
Mar 29th 2009, 01:54 AM
I am not sure but it does seem as if God does give some over to a reprobate mind which would make repentance impossible. This is because repentance or "metanoeo" means to change one's mind.


Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Maybe sociopaths have crossed this boundary.Then again it could be as Welder has said. The thing is, it is dangerous to let sin progress to the point where our consciences are seared .


Here is an example where some have departed from the faith:

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

SweetSomber
Mar 29th 2009, 01:57 AM
I agree that some people are reprobate, and will not be saved.

Who are we to decide who these people are?

What about christian psychopaths who serve God, but have no emotion?

shepherdsword
Mar 29th 2009, 02:03 AM
I agree that some people are reprobate, and will not be saved.

Who are we to decide who these people are?

That's just it..we don't decide ;)


What about christian psychopaths who serve God, but have no emotion?I think we serve God by faith and this faith may or may not be rewarded with emotions. However, I do think that as we continue to see Jesus in every situation and we become doers of the word then we will eventually find joy and happiness. God sometimes puts us through years of dryness with no emotional crutch to aid our walk but eventually he always fills us with joy.

Joh 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

El-Bob
Mar 29th 2009, 02:05 AM
Here is an example where some have departed from the faith:

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. :eek:

shepherdsword
Mar 29th 2009, 02:09 AM
and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. :eek:

I don't think it's a slam on vegetarians. I think he means that if they teach that eating meat is forbidden by God.

El-Bob
Mar 29th 2009, 02:13 AM
I don't think it's a slam on vegetarians. I think he means that if they teach that eating meat is forbidden by God.
yeah, sorry, i just really like that verse, and felt compelled to post it after the first one :P

SweetSomber
Mar 29th 2009, 02:26 AM
That's just it..we don't decide ;)

I think we serve God by faith and this faith may or may not be rewarded with emotions. However, I do think that as we continue to see Jesus in every situation and we become doers of the word then we will eventually find joy and happiness. God sometimes puts us through years of dryness with no emotional crutch to aid our walk but eventually he always fills us with joy.

Joh 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

So you believe that if a christian psychopath serves God long enough, he or she will cease to be a psychopath, and will experience emotions like the rest of us? Or just positive emotions? (cus even killer psychopaths experience positive happiness and stuff)

Equipped_4_Love
Mar 29th 2009, 02:27 AM
I think that someone can perhaps not be in touch with his/her emotions, but still have the moral aptitude to know the difference between right and wrong.

The thing is, with psychopaths like Dahmer and Ted Bundy, the reality of murder actually got them excited, so I'm not so sure if it was a lack of emotion rather than a re-directed emotion. They felt alive, so to speak, when they engaged in the act of murder.

In Dahmer's case, his need to feel attached to his victims led him to cannibalism....a twisted type of emotional dependency.

I do think that there is a possibility that God gave them over to a reprobate mind, though, but none of us know for sure. I do believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that serial killers are motivated by demonic forces....perhaps not possessed, but they have become drawn to that element in some way.

Equipped_4_Love
Mar 29th 2009, 02:30 AM
So you believe that if a christian psychopath serves God long enough, he or she will cease to be a psychopath, and will experience emotions like the rest of us? Or just positive emotions? (cus even killer psychopaths experience positive happiness and stuff)

I think you are confusing emotionalism with morality. A person can be a cold and unfeeling person, but there is still that knowledge of right and wrong. The Bible tells us that Godly sorrow leads to repentance, and since sorrow is an emotion, I suppose that a person would have to have some sort of emotional aptitude in order to experience true repentance.

I know that when serial killers murdered their victims, it's as if they become detached -- they no longer see them as human, but as objects. They no longer empathize with them, they have no emotion towards them as humans, but I'm sure they got some sort of fulfillment from the murder, or else they wouldn't keep doing it.

I just don't think that a person has to be emotional in order to understand the difference between right and wrong.

SweetSomber
Mar 29th 2009, 02:53 AM
The Bible tells us that Godly sorrow leads to repentance, and since sorrow is an emotion, I suppose that a person would have to have some sort of emotional aptitude in order to experience true repentance.

I just don't think that a person has to be emotional in order to understand the difference between right and wrong.

I agree that a person, even a psychopath can KNOW the difference between right wrong, even without "conscience," care, or feeling. Thus, if they realize that what they are doing is wrong, they can turn away from it (a choice) and repentance means literally to make a behavioral U-turn.

Godly sorrow does lead to repentance. Does that mean it is the only thing that leads to repentance? No. Marina BLVD leads to 880 freeway. But do does Davis St. So it does not logically follow that if godly sorrow leads to repentance, there is no other way to repentance.

Equipped_4_Love
Mar 29th 2009, 03:05 AM
Hey, Somber;

I am just stating what the Bible says on the matter, that's all.

Even so, if you really think about it, what else would make a person turn from his or her sin, other than Godly sorrow?

There is remorse, of course, but it is not the same as Godly sorrow. Remorse is being sorry for something because of the repercussions of your actions, while Godly sorrow is the sorrowful knowledge that you have offended God, the wonderful creator. I really believe that Godly sorrow comes about when you have come to the realization of who God is -- His wonderful nature, full of love, mercy, and compassion. The knowledge that you have hurt Him brings about Godly sorrow, and Godly sorrow, repentance. You want to change, because you don't want to hurt God again....whereas remorse really only entails not wanting to pay for your sins. For example, if a person does time for stealing, he might stop stealing because he doesn't want to get caught again, but this doesn;t indicate any change of heart.

I would think that for the psychopath, the personality is so far gone into depravity that the only thing that can elicit some sort of change is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that brings about Godly sorrow, which brings about repentance.

For someone who has absolutely no empathy for anyone else, no emotion or feeling for others, than what other hope is there?

Moxie
Mar 29th 2009, 03:34 AM
First, a sociopath and a psychopath are the same thing. However, the correct term now is "antisocial personality disorder". Somewhat of a misnomer, since these individuals do not have a fear or dislike of people. A personality disorder by definition is lifelong prevalent behavior that is maladaptive.

An antisocial's primary maladaptive behavior is lack of empathy and total disregard for rules or authority. Whereas, 'non-antisocial' individuals are guided by a moral standard, God, feelings etc the 'antisocial' operates on nothing but "what is in this for me". This may seem simple but it is very hard for those of us who operate on other standards to understand this concept.

As others have said, these individuals have no conscience. With that being said, I believe God can change anyone. These individuals need prayer, maybe even prayer and fasting. I'm not sure if these individuals are what God refers to as "having their conscience seared with a hot iron" but it does seem to fit the bill. I do feel if the holy spirit is telling me to witness to an individual who appears to be antisocial I should comply. We simply don't know what's in their heart.

Jerome1
Mar 29th 2009, 03:41 AM
Excellent subject for a thread, it touches on a thread i was going to make myself.

I was watching a program about psychopaths/sociopaths and how they differed emotionally from other members of society. They measured the activity of peoples brains which governed emotions and found that psychopaths/sociopaths had much less of an emotional response when they were shown images that were designed to convey an emotional response.

From what I recall they concluded that people with violent tendencies may have some type of nerological defect which prohibited them from having what would be considered a normal response to human suffering, ie empathy towards their fellow human beings.

I personally believe we can train ourselves to become desentsitized in this way by habitually refusing to take heed of our consciences. The bible goes into great depth about this.

Moxie
Mar 29th 2009, 03:49 AM
There's all kinds of interesting experiments about sociopaths. One study in particular had two groups---one antisocial individuals and other other non-antisocial. Each individual was wired to show physical responses. Each were told they would receive a small electric current (not harmful but painful). Right before they were told they would receive the jolt of electricity the non-antisocial group had an increase in anxiety. However, those who were antisocial had a below normal response in anxiety. Somewhat of a "bring it on" attitude. (By the way, no one actually received a shock)

SweetSomber
Mar 29th 2009, 07:55 AM
Even so, if you really think about it, what else would make a person turn from his or her sin, other than Godly sorrow?

For someone who has absolutely no empathy for anyone else, no emotion or feeling for others, than what other hope is there?

Intellectual concern, and external input would help those people. God is the hope for those people, and also us who are embassadors of Christ. As Moxie said, if the Holy Spirit motives us to witness to or with such people, we should! We should also love these people.

Like I said before, I have known CHRISTIANS who had no emotion or feelings for others, didn't feel remorse, etc. Who were intellectually concerned about their lack of ability to feel anything. One of them, through therapy, was healed by God and lives a vibrant christian life as a life coach. There is hope.

If people go through a lot of pain in life, it is very possible to "switch off" negatives emotions and empathy. It's scary. But - as stated in Psalm 23, The Lord is the one who "restores our soul."

shepherdsword
Mar 29th 2009, 08:30 AM
So you believe that if a christian psychopath serves God long enough, he or she will cease to be a psychopath, and will experience emotions like the rest of us? Or just positive emotions? (cus even killer psychopaths experience positive happiness and stuff)

I believe the term "christian psychopath" is in itself an oxymoron.

"If any man be in Christ he is a new creature,old things are passed away all things have become new."

This suggests that a christian cannot be a psychopath and when a psychopath is born again then he is no longer a psychopath.

SweetSomber
Mar 29th 2009, 08:35 AM
I believe the term "christian psychopath" is in itself an oxymoron.

"If any man be in Christ he is a new creature,old things are passed away all things have become new."

This suggests that a christian cannot be a psychopath and when a psychopath is born again then he is no longer a psychopath.

Would you also say that the term "christian sinner" is an oxymoron?

"If any man be in Christ he is a new creature,old things are passed away all things have become new."

Would suggest that a christian cannot be a sinner, because when that person is born again then he is no longer effected by his physical or sinful nature?

Would you also say that no one with multiple personalities, obsessive compulsive disorder, or post traumatic stress disorder are not christians?

Who are you to say that a person isn't a christian - you haven't even MET the people I've mentioned :S

shepherdsword
Mar 29th 2009, 09:04 AM
Would you also say that the term "christian sinner" is an oxymoron?

This is the classic logical fallacy of the false analogy. In simple terms you are comparing apples to oranges.


"If any man be in Christ he is a new creature,old things are passed away all things have become new."

Would suggest that a christian cannot be a sinner, because when that person is born again then he is no longer effected by his physical or sinful nature?Why the red herring? We are discussing psychopaths are we not? However, I do believe that grace is an enabling power to change and mold us. If the faith we claim we have is not doing this then I would question it's validity.


Would you also say that no one with multiple personalities, obsessive compulsive disorder, or post traumatic stress disorder are not christians?

None of these conditions are comparable to a psychopath so no,I am not saying that.


Who are you to say that a person isn't a christian - you haven't even MET the people I've mentioned :SFirst of all learn to have a simple discussion without attempting to antagonize the other person. You were asking a general question and I responded in a general manner. Each person is an individual that must be looked at on a case by case evaluation.It's true I don't know any of the people you are talking about. However,what makes you think they are really saved? I am not trying to goad you. I really want to know the answer. Do they have a brokenness over their sin? Are they under conviction because of the sin they commit? Are they grieved over the pain and the hurt they have caused God as well as others? Is such sorrow causing them to change and repent? If the answer is yes then I would say you have enough evidence to make the assumption that they have been born again. You would then counsel them as you would a believer. However,if they don't have this fruit I am not saying you give up on them and throw them away. I am just saying that you need to have them consider the possibility that perhaps they have yet to come to saving faith and that needs to be explained in a non condemning manner.If they have true salvation there will be some evidence of it,even if it's very small.

I would fear having a "salvation" experience that doesn't result in some real heartfelt repentance and conversion. However,if that's what you see in these people then who can deny it?

Sam07
Mar 29th 2009, 02:37 PM
Hey Everyone,

Our father is the creator of man and it is obvious the sacrifice of Jesus covered every infirmity humanity could ever suffer so it stands to reason the mental spiritual physical or emotional state of a person is of no consequence to the father and he is able to save heal deliver or meet the need of any person.

The key is freewill, we have to be willing to ask God for help.

Peace

Sam

moonglow
Mar 29th 2009, 03:11 PM
The Son of Sam became a Christian while in prison: SON OF SAM (http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/berkowitz/24.html)

Below is a video on it too:
Son of Sam/Son of Hope Part1 (http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=6cfc29378e24829cddba)

I think it can happen with literally anyone.

God bless

*Hope*
Mar 29th 2009, 03:35 PM
The scary thing about sociopaths is that you often don't know they are one until it's too late. Although there are "profiles" and indicators, you first have to have an astute person to be aware of them...and then someone care enough to intervene. Very often, in our society, even if we recognize someone is "off" or acting bizarre, we tend to avoid or ignore them instead of seeking to help them. Other times, their behavior is so well-masked, no one notices it all (BTK for example).

I actually know some forensic psychologists, and from what I understand they narrow down these personality disorders to 3 basic causes: facilitators (which means the person is in an environment or situation that might produce violent behavior), predisposers (which usually means child abuse, or some other condition they were exposed to for a long period - usually as a child) and precipitants (which means something suddenly happened to enrage them, something triggered their violent act).

Even with all of that considered though, a person is still responsible for their own actions. Child abuse is horrible (and sometimes itself is the result of a mental disorder), however...child abuse is never an excuse for someone to turn around and harm others. Maybe I'm too bent towards justice, but I think no matter what factors are involved in creating a sociopath, they must STILL be isolated and punished. This doesn't mean God can't heal them, nor does it mean they can't be forgiven. It just means forgivenes should happen while they're behind bars :)

*Hope*
Mar 29th 2009, 04:16 PM
I meant to add in response to the OP, that sociopathy can be the result of mental disorders or a person's environment, but the cause is less important (in my opinion) than the effect. While it helps us to understand a person better and possibly prevent such things from occuring (for instance we see the importance of consequences as a child and empathy), at the same time, the reasons "why" a person harms others, to me, can sometimes overshadow the fact that they committed a heinous crime. Very often in our society, there is too much focus on the criminal and not enough focus on their victims. Crime is sensationalized and sociopaths are glamourized (see modern horror movies). This creates somewhat of a detachment and desensitization.

While we need to have some understanding of sociopaths, we should never cross the line to creating excuses for their behavior. Harming another person is always a choice. Poor choices have consequences. Period.

Equipped_4_Love
Mar 29th 2009, 09:29 PM
.....but does a person necessarily have to be violent to be a sociopath?

If a person turns off his/her emotions, a person can still have a sense of empathy towards others, but will engage in behaviours that are self-destructive.

Even so, just because a person turns himself/herself off to those emotions (for example, if a person has a life of trauma, there are 2 ways to handle with it....dealing with the pain, or internalizing it (which is pretty much ignoring it)....and if a person internalizes it, the pain is still there, the person has just shut himself off from feeling it), doesn't mean that the pain has disappeared.

It still needs to be dealt with, but the person just finds alternate ways of dealing with it. This could manifest itself in violent behaviour, or self-destructive behaviour.

Am I making sense? I guess what I'm trying to figure out is what defines a sociopath?

SweetSomber
Mar 30th 2009, 03:00 AM
Welder, I would say definately that people do NOT have to be violent to be psychopaths/sociopaths. The defining characteristic is a lack of care, empathy, pain, fear, or conscience. And a person can choose lack those, and still make decent choice.

The christian psychopaths I've mentioned were like that. No feeling for others, but intellectually cared, worried about their lack of feeling or emotion, and prayed about it. Becoming a psychopath is because of pain, and can be healed.

And since they can still know logically right from wrong, as Hope said, they are held responsible for their actions.

Moxie
Mar 30th 2009, 03:21 AM
.....but does a person necessarily have to be violent to be a sociopath?



There are two good books. The sociopath next door (I can't recall the author) and Without a conscience by Robert Hare. No, sociopaths do not have to be violent, but they can display sociopathic behaviors in a number of different ways, which is described in the first book. Like all personality disorders, these behaviors are lifelong and have to be prevalent during adolescent. Also, individuals can have sociopathic traits without meeting the complete criteria for the personality disorder.

SweetSomber
Mar 30th 2009, 03:37 AM
What if it is not lifelong?

A person can at one point have a personality disorder, but then change as a result of therapy, and God's grace I believe. I've seen it happen. :)

exposingdarkness
May 19th 2009, 10:56 PM
Okay, here's a good thought and question for everyone who understands the sociopath definition. These people are without God, the holy spirit indwelling in them. Sociopaths know what they are doing to harm others, insidiously, so if someone is married to one, they can be brilliant at acting like a wonderful, caring, loving husband, even claiming to be saved, read the bible with you, pray sometimes with you, yet can without a second thought, steal their parents identity, not once but 3 times. Commit fraud at a job and being caught and fired for it. And of course, that's not what happened according to them, it was an accident. Look at websites like "captainstabbin" and keep it hidden. Have a bag of dirty childrens underware, make sick jokes in front of a girl child walking by, you know the one about getting kicked out of girl scouts for...." All of his buddies he associated with up until recently were perverts of some sort, but he has cleaned up his act now that he's recently remarried and his wife is a God fearing Christian born again believer. So, is it possible for them to be so good at being the "perfect husband" almost overnight? Just curious what one should do in a situation like this, the damage that has been done, ruined credit, no credit, has had 8 jobs in 3 years, and moved 8 times in 2 years with his new wife. Now he's working for a Christian owned dealership and the owner is a Christian man (african american) and when interviewed went all out to proclaim his faith, and then continues to send racist emails to his buddies. What does one do when in a situation like this one?

crackedpot
May 21st 2009, 11:17 AM
This video is facinating, it cuts right to the problem today in knowing them by their fruit, motives: Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?
http://theramblings.org/2008/09/15/christian-or-sociopath/