Category Archives: Babblings (Acts 17:18) - Page 2

Kids and Obedience

I like to watch people, particularly parents with little kids. I am always interested in how the child responds to the parents’ directives or more commonly how often the child does not obey. Usually, the conversation goes like this. The child behaves in a manner that is not publicly acceptable. Parent tells child to stop. Child pauses for a moment, as if she/he was actually considering the directive, and then proceeds to ignore it.

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Psychological Interpretation of Crime

Whenever someone commits violent crime, news-watchers are inundated with the standard line that individual in question must be mentally deranged. Mental-health professionals are interviewed in the hopes that they can provide some kind of “explanation” that will help people understand, and thereby, regain a sense of control over the chaotic event. As C.S. Lewis has shown, such an understanding of criminal behavior is dangerous to human liberty.

In God in the Dock, Lewis explains how suggesting that criminals are “sick” transforms them from victimizers to victims. Once we treat them as victims, we can then “help” them by taking away their freedom in the name of protecting their interests. Some of you may be nodding in agreement. Treatment, you say, not vengeance is the answer to these people.

Not so fast. If we treat criminals as mentally ill, then we cannot release them from confinement until they are cured. How does one know when they are cured? If we treat criminals on the basis of their behavior, then their punishments must relate to the crime. There is an endpoint.  I also have another reason to oppose the psychologization of crime. It relates to the way Christians were treated in the former Soviet Union. Christians were diagnosed as mentally ill and thereby sent to asylums for treatment thereby losing the few rights they might have had if they were designated as criminals.

As Lewis pointed out, criminals have rights. Sick people don’t.  Think about that the next time you hear someone saying that a criminal needs treatment rather than punishment.

Stephen M. Vantassel is a tutor at King’s Evangelical Divinity School

Copyright, 2009 Stephen Vantassel.

A Tool for Sunday School Teachers

Sunday School teachers know that there is always a need for interesting ways to teach biblical truth to the young and old alike.  One suggestion is to pass out attention-getter worksheets at the beginning of a class. This allows the early arrivals to stay busy (and quiet), while you wait for the rest of the attendees to arrive. Rev. Dr. Tom Rakow has written a book full of material that should prove useful for teachers entertain and educate their students.

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Why love one and eat the other?

While in Denver, Colorado, in mid-October, I saw a billboard that said, “Why love one and eat the other?” You can see the sign at Mercy for Animals. It shows a picture of a dog and a pig.  It is an ingenious marketing ploy. But as usual, it is yet another example of how animal rights protest industry advocates miss the point.

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International Family Law: A Modest Proposal

Recently the news has been peppered with stories about men and women who have citizenship in different countries taking their children back to their home countries against the wishes of their former spouses. Sometimes the children are taken against the custody agreement determined by the court.  The result is the parent without the children usually has no legal standing in their former spouse’s country to get the children returned. What can be done about this?

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Bernstein’s book, Against the Gods, takes the reader on a remarkable historical journey on the identification and management of risk. Risk involves uncertainty and lack of control about negative unforeseen events. For example, when one buys a house, will it increase or decrease in value? That question is ultimately about risk as no one, short of God, can know for certain the answer to that question. So a buyer must make an educated and informed assessment regarding the likelihood of losing or gaining money on the purchase. Interestingly, the bible has much to say about risk.

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