Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Dangers of Misdiagnosis

Some of the saddest stories I come across are when we hear of someone dying because of a misdiagnosis. It grieves my heart to see the pain that results in death.Similarly, we must realize that most self-help books, popular talk-show hosts, and fad diets are misdiagnosing the real human problem. This is the main theme of my upcoming sermon this Sunday at Cornerstone Church.

But here's an example we can glean from a modern film: In a scene from Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs¸ a detective who is trying to catch a brutal killer goes to a convicted killer and canniblizer, Hannibal Lecter, and tries to get him to join her cause:

Starling: "...I think you can provide some insight and advance this study."

Lecter: "And what possible reason could I have to do that?"


"About what?"

"About why you're here. About what happened to you."

"Nothing happened to me, Officer Starling. I happened. You can't reduce me to a set of influences. You've given up good and evil for behaviorism, Officer Starling. You've got everybody in moral dignity pants--- nothing is ever anybody's fault. Look at me, Officer Starling. Can you stand to say I'm evil? Am I evil, Officer Starling?"

Lecter hits the nail on the head. If you believe in social Darwinism or surival of the fittest, you would have to assert that such a monster is no more evil than a cute caterpillar. There is no "ought" morality in a world that just "is." If random chance is the determining reality, there is no Being or Beings capable of saying what is good or evil. Everything just is. But most people know the true answer to Lecter's question. "Yes, you are evil. You are a sinner. You are guilty before a holy God. You are a perversion of nature, a broken being in need of healing." Chuck Colson writes, “When we refuse to listen to the true diagnosis of the sickness of the soul, we will not find a true remedy, and in the end it will destroy us.” (191, How Now Shall We Live?)

Let's quit misdiagnosing humanity's problem and turn to the only solution that matters: the Christ who came to save evil sinners. Education doesn't save sinners. Money does not save sinners. Even morality does not save sinners. More to be said . . . hope to see you Sunday.

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