Jewish Values in Popular Culture

It is often said that the novel was invented by Miguel de Servantes (author of Don Quijote), but we have found much-ancienter Jewish novels in the caves of Qumran along the Dead Sea, including Judith, Tobit, and the Testament of Joseph. Judaism and sci-fi have a long-standing comradery dating back at least eighteen centuries. The ancient fiction genre known as pseudepigraphica includes in its repertoire four tomes falsely attributed (hence the name of the genre) to Enoch of Genesis 5. These give the account of nephilim (men of renown) in Genesis a science fiction spin that is as popular a genre today as it was in the centuries when pseudepigraphica was a staple of entertainment (fiction) literature.

Fast-forward to the modern era, and we encounter Sydney Cecil Newman, who was born in Toronto to Russian Jewish immigrants. Newman left public school at 13 in order to attend an art and design school. From there, he was able to land a job with Walt Disney studios, but was not able to secure a work permit in the US. He returned to Canada and made enlistment films for the National Film Board throughout WWII, eventually going to work as the head of BBC’s drama department in 1962. In 1961, Newman had created a British spy-fiction franchise called The Avengers, but it was in 1963 that his greatest accomplishment first hit the screen – Doctor Who. [2, 3]

Doctor Jew

This show, still running after 50 years, is rife with Jewish values and themes. Is it any wonder that such would be the case, given that its creator (Newman), producer (Verity Lambert), and female lead (Carol Ann Ford) were all Jewish? [1] Zeddy Lawrence reminds us that the Fourth Doctor, “the incomparable Tom Baker – he of the unfeasibly long scarf – had a Jewish father;” and, Alex Kingston, who plays River Song/Melody Pond, is also of Jewish descent. [2] In 1994, the role of the Doctor was offered to Jewish actor of Star Trek fame Leonard Nimoy.

The Doctor epitomizes the stereotypical “wandering Jew” as he journeys through time and space after being exiled from his homeland, i.e. Gallifrey (a near-homonym to Galilee).  Abrams observes the similarity to the Doctor “choosing his name” and the numerous Diaspora Jews who changed their names to escape persecution. [1] Liel Leibowitz describes the Doctor as “the most compelling Jewish character in the history of television.” [3] Naomi Alderman, author of the Doctor Who spin-off novel Borrowed Time, asserts, “The character himself is an intellectual who is exiled from his homeland and who therefore has to wander the universe making himself useful, wherever he can.” [4] The Jewish concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) is incontrovertibly central to every episode. Also of note is the naming of the Time Lords’ mortal enemy – a species called the Dalek, which echoes the Hebrew verb “to stir up trouble” (daleq). They have been called “canned Nazis” by Leibowitz, and ironically borrowed their iconic “Exterminate!” voice from Jewish actor David Graham. [3, 4]

Naomi Alderman suggested in an interview that the Doctor’s methodology was distinctively Talmudic, in that “his method is obviously one of chevruta –he doesn’t need the companions to solve things, but he enjoys exploring through discussion.” [5] The First Doctor (played by William Hartnell) delivered a very Judaism-sensitive line in the second season: “I have no doubt that they, the Jews that is, consider Christianity to be a danger to them.” [6] Series 2, Episode 9 brings the the Tenth Doctor (David Tenant) face-to-face with “the Beast,” of whom he inquires, “Are you the Devil of New Judaism?” The Beast responds that he is the devil of all religions. [7] In Series 6, Episode 8, the River Song (Alex Kingston) sarcastically tells a Nazi officer in 1938 that she is en route to “a gay, gypsy bar mitzvah for the disabled,” referencing four of the prime targets of the historical Nazi regime. [8]

Following the lead of the Doctor Who franchise, another sci-fi serial would emerge in 1966 with even more obvious emphasis on Jewish themes – Star Trek. The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, was an ethnic Jew who was raised Southern Baptist. In the show’s second season, one episode, “Patterns of Force,” is set on the planet Ekos, which adopted policies similar to those of the National Socialism (historically abbreviated in German as Nazi). The planet was lead by a “Fuhrer,” who referred to a neighboring culture (the Zeons) as “Zeonist pigs” and implemented a “final decision” to exterminate the Zeons. [9] The German government banned this episode from being broadcast by their networks until 1995, deeming it “unfit for entertainment.”

Spock saluteDoctor Spock’s signature greeting “Live long and prosper” is a paraphrase of the last line of the Priestly Benediction – v’yaseim l’cha shalom. The accompanying hand gesture is the shin presented by rabbis when pronouncing the blessing. Leonard Nimoy explained that he purposely incorporated this into his character as a nod to his own Jewish upbringing:

“The special moment when the Kohanim blessed the assembly moved me deeply, for it possessed a great sense of magic and theatricality… I had heard that this indwelling Spirit of God was too powerful, too beautiful, too awesome for any mortal to look upon and survive, and so I obediently covered my face with my hands. But of course, I had to peek.” [10]

The show’s original producer was Robert Justman, who happens to be Jewish. Members of the USS Enterprise crew ever appear from time to time sporting traditional Jewish surnames such as Kaplan and Kelowitz. Star Trek continues to present Jewish themes through its several emanations today. Walter Koenig played Chekov in the original series (1966-1969) alongside Leonard Nimoy (Dr. Spock) and William Shatner (Capt. Kirk), Brent Spiner portrayed Data in The Next Generation, and Armin Shimmerman was the actor behind all the prosthetic make-up for Quark in the Deep Space Nine series – all five of them ethnically Jewish. Harlan Ellison, aka Cordwainer Bird, was one of the show’s writers in 1967 and was likewise a member of the Tribe.

The next decade brings Jewish sci-fi novelist Isaac Asimov onto the scene. In 1974, he wrote and published Wandering Stars. He was soon joined by an onslaught of other Jewish voices contributing to the genre.

Writers write about what they know, so is it any wonder that the Weltanschauung (worldview, or in Judaism – hashqafah) with which one is most familiar would find its way, veiled or not, into what the author creates? We can find the same phenomenon in the LDS themes of Battlestar Galactica (original series), which was created by a screenwriter with Mormon background. Even mainstream Christianity has engaged with the genre. Of course J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series come to mind, but it can be traced back even further, to the Eighth-Century Coptic work of Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem which depicts Iesous (Jesus) as needing to be betrayed by Judas in the way the Gospels describe because He was a shape-shifter and never had the same appearance twice. If that isn’t sci-fi, please tell me what is.

 


Sources

  1. Nathan Abrams, “Is Doctor Who a Jew?” HaAretz (23 Nov 2013; online: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/culture/.premium-is-doctor-who-a-jew-1.5294175).
  2. Zeddy Lawrence, “Doctor Who’s Jewish Roots,” Australian Jewish News (22 Nov 2013; online: https://www.jewishnews.net.au/doctor-whos-jewish-roots/33222).
  3. Liel Leibowitz, “Doctor Who? Doctor Jew,” Tablet (9 May 2013; online: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/131751/doctor-who-doctor-jew).
  4. Naomi Alderman; in Simon Rocker, “Obey! Or is that Oy Vey? Who Knew – the Doctor and the Daleks are Jewish!” The JC (21 Nov 2013; online: https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/obey-or-is-that-oy-vey-who-knew-the-doctor-and-the-daleks-are-jewish-1.51061).
  5. Naomi Alderman; in “Could Doctor Who be a Jew?” Jewish News/Times of Israel (21 Nov 2013; online: http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/could-doctor-who-be-a-jew/).
  6. “The Romans,” Doctor Who (London, England: BBC, 16 Jan 1965).
  7. “The Satan Pit,” Doctor Who (London, England: BBC, 10 Jun 2006).
  8. “Let’s Kill Hitler!” Doctor Who (London, England: BBC, 27 Aug 2011).
  9. “Patterns of Force,” Star Trek (Los Angeles, Calif.: Gene Roddenberry, 16 Feb 1968).
  10. Leonard Nimoy, I am Spock (Hachette Books, 1995), 109.
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A Hebraic Understanding of Modesty

Modesty banner

In the words of the Prophet Micah (6:8 MT):

הִגִּ֥יד לְךָ֛ אָדָ֖ם מַה־טֹּ֑וב וּמָֽה־יְהוָ֞ה דֹּורֵ֣שׁ מִמְּךָ֗ כִּ֣י אִם־עֲשֹׂ֤ות מִשְׁפָּט֙ וְאַ֣הֲבַת חֶ֔סֶד וְהַצְנֵ֥עַ לֶ֖כֶת עִם־אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃

The word הַצְנֵעַ is most generally translated “humbly,” but the Hebrew word has more layers to it than that.  This same root (צָנַע) also means “modestly” or “reservedly.” [1] How does it change the reading to use this rendering?

“He has told you, O man, what is good and what YHWH requires of you: just doing justice, and loving covenant loyalty, and modestly walking with your G-d.”

If humility and modesty are so closely related, that should reflect in how we present ourselves publicly. We should be dressing as for an audience with YHWH Himself, in His throne room.

A pertinent question to ask in defining “modesty/humility” is what is not modest or humble.  Tim Kelly of Season of our Joy answers that question, “Anything that draws attention to yourself.” [2]  quote-Alice-Roosevelt-Longworth-my-father-always-wanted-to-be-the-142693_1.pngThat answer applies to both men and women.  Anything we do that takes the attention away from others and directs it to ourselves is worship-thievery.  We are stealing worship that is due only to the Almighty by misappropriating it to ourselves.

Paul Nison suggests, “Anything we expose, we advertise…  but Modesty Paul Nisonnot for sale.  We advertise it as ‘free for the taking.'” [3]  The present author can see where that statement could be taken to an extreme, e.g. requirements that every body part be covered, including covering the face, veiling the eyes, gloving the hands, etc.  As that extreme is not in view in the culture whence the Bible comes, it would be a supererogatory demand.  modesty free for the takingIt is also important to note that there is a greater responsibility on the part of the viewer to exercise self-control, though a responsibility not to stumble our brother or sister, as Nison observes, should inform our decisions on how we present ourselves.

Armani suitIn a culture where there was limited selection in attire, the issue of modesty dealt less with exposed midriffs, cleavage, and undergarments in Biblical times and more with ostentatious dress.  In fact, jewelry (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3), elaborate hairstyles (ibid.), expensive clothing (ibid.), extra-long tzitziyot (Matthew 23:5), and extra large tefillin/phylacteries (ibid.) are specifically mentioned in the Biblical discussions.  Thus, wearing an Armani suit or a large diamond would be just as immodest (Biblically) as wearing a bikini to a worship service would.

Modesty responsibilityThere is a mutual responsibility for men and women — yes, both — to guard the purity of one another, both in how we present ourselves to one another, and in how we act toward one another… regardless of how they present (Song of Songs).

Psalm 119:133 jps

:פְּעָמַי הָכֵן בְּאִמְרָתֶךָ וְאַל-תַּשְׁלֶט-בִּי כָל-אָוֶן

“Order my footsteps by Thy word;
and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”

_____

  1. s.v. “צָנַע,” Francis Brown, S.R. Driver, & Charles A. Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Boston, Mass.: Houghton & Mifflin, 1906), 857.
  2. Tim Kelly, “Modesty and the Hebrew Roots Movement” (interview), TorahLife.tv (1 Oct 2013), 1:12-1:38.
  3. Paul Nison, “What Happened to Modesty?” (video), Modesty: An Issue of the Heart.

Nomina Sacra in the Bible-Believing Faiths

alexandrinus_lk-4-8-9Nota bene: By nomina sacra, the present author is not intending to address the “sacred name” movement, but rather a practice common to the first sixteen centuries of the Common Era whereby certain words were (and in some contexts still are) written in a contracted, suspended, elided, or conflated form in order to remind the reader of the sacred character of those words or the Being they represented.

The principal work engaged in this discussion is a work about fifteen years aback of the present audience, but quite in step with current scholarship on the topic, i.e. Larry W. Hurtado’s “The Origin of the Nomina Sacra: A Proposal,” which was published in the Winter 1998 Journal of Biblical Literature (pages 655-673).

First of all, some history of the phenomenon is in order.  We can find nomina sacra in use as early as the Septuagint (LXX), 3rd Century BCE, and as late as the 16th Century CE.  We find these sacred notations not only in the common (koine) Greek of the early Church or Latin of the Catholic Church, but also (prominently and consistently) in the Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and Slavonic manuscripts and, I posit, in ancient Hebrew texts as well.  The Latin term we now find common as the moniker for this phenomenon, i.e. nomina sacra, seems to find its etiology in Ludwig Traube’s work Nomina Sacra: Versuch einer Geschichte der christlichen Kürzung (Munich: Beck, 1907).

Per Hurtado, the fifteen sacred epithets represented through nomina sacra are G-d, L-rd, Messiah, Yeshua, Spirit, Son, Father, David, Israel, Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), Savior, Heaven, Execution Stake (Cross), Mother, and Humankind.  I would argue that the Covenent Name of Adonai (generally transliterated YHWH) should also be counted among the nomina sacra.

Certainly it is not a nomina sacra solely by nature of being presented without vowels, as that would make every Hebrew word a nomina sacra in texts predating the Masoretes, but there are instances of truncated forms of that Covenant Name in several languages which would place it into that category.  The fact that once vowel indicators are introduced to the Biblical text, the vowels which belong to the Covenant Name are replaced with those indicating the kethib-qere  for L-rd (Adonai) 6518 times and for G-d (Elohim) in the other 305 occurrences reflects the Jewish and early Messianic concern for safeguarding the Covenant Name from blasphemy.

We find this same concern apparent in texts rendered  in other languages besides the Hebrew, establishing that this cultural concern is not language-bound to Hebrew alone.    We find an interesting Greek nomina sacra standing in for the tetragrammaton (Covenant Name) in 4QpapLXX-Levb (aka 4Q120) where the Name is replaces with the three Greek letters iota, alpha, and omega beneath a supralinear stroke (the usual indicator of a nomina sacra).  What is interesting about this sigla is that it will later come to signify Yeshua as a sacred shorthand representing the Greek words Iesous Alpha Omega (Yeshua Beginning and End).  Cf. Epiphanius, ca. 380 CE.

Siegfried Kreuzer, whose work on P967 (LXX 4) introduced the world to a text which bears both Greek and Hebrew nomina sacra in the same document, makes an important observation:

Due to the nomina sacra, P967 is considered a Christian codex, however this is not always a good criterion since that is also a Jewish phenomenon.

Antiquity reveals some nomina sacra practices indicating that reverence for the L-rd’s Covenant Name is expressed universally, not just in Hebrew, e.g. the embedding of the tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew characters into Greek manuscripts (P.Oxy. 50.3522, 8HevXIIgr).  Emanuel Tov notes that Qumran often replaces the Name with “four or five dots, sometimes preceded by a colon” (Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 1992), and P.Oxy. 7.1007 and P967 both bear the replacement of the tetragrammaton with two paleo-Hebrew yods.  The two yods (bearing the vowel points for Adonai) is still a common method for presenting the Covenant Name in liturgical works today… nearly two millennia after its appearance in those two First Century manuscripts.

I find agreement with Kurt Treu in my position that the Covenant Name is the original nomina sacra.  He proposes this in his work Die Bedeutung des Griechischen für die Juden in vömischen Reich:

“[The phenomenon] began among Jews prior to Christian usage and initially included both theos and kurios, written as contractions with a horizontal stroke placed over them to distinguish them in Greek texts where they served as translation equivalents of  יהוה.”

A few ancient witnesses also testify to manuscripts which used gold ink to letter the tetragrammaton (Josephus, Antiquities 12.89; Aristeas 176).

Hurtado, comparing the nomina sacra to other abbreviations to be found in secular sources contemporary to those in which we find this phenomenon:

“They are not intended to conserve space or labor.  They appear more frequently in Christian manuscripts prepared for formal usage, such as public readings… [and are used exclusively for] a relatively fixed set of terms, all of which have fairly obvious religious meaning.”

It is also noteworthy that the indicator of a nomina sacra is different than how abbreviations are indicated in common or secular texts.  The supralinear stroke does not occur in non-religious literature.

Hurtado observes the reverence which is illustrated through the use of these sacred alternatives to fully spelling out divine names and titles.

“In the nomina sacra, we encounter a fascinating manifestation of ancient Christian devotion.”

This same devotion is apparent in the Judeo-Messianic practice of writing certain divine titles absent the vowels in English, e.g. G-d, L-rd, and YHWH.

I am frequently asked for an explanation of this practice by those who perceive in it a disrespect for HaShem, and my hope is that this article adequately answers that concern and demonstrates that it is a greater showing of devotion to join our ancient co-worshipers in a custom which was the norm for Jew and Gentile alike for the first 1500 years of the Common Era, finding its origin while the Apostles themselves were still living and leading.  See J. Z. Lauterbach, “Substitutes for the Tetragrammaton,” PAAJR (1930-31): 39-67.

It is problematic for me that the generation which presumed to abandon this ancient custom is the same one which was led to rabid anti-Semitism by Martin Luther and John Calvin.  That fact alone should move us toward a great hesitance to follow these hatemongers in their arrogant abandonment of all things Jewish, including the nomina sacra.


Thoughts on Atwill’s Theory of the NT

Atwill book Caesar's MessiahJoseph Atwill, an American atheist, is promoting the claim in his book Caesar’s Messiah (Ulysses Press, 2005) that the Roman government invented a fictional and pacifistic Messiah figure (Yeshua) in order to squelch Jewish rebellions. It seems that Atwill has overlooked a few passages which present the Messiah as decidedly un-pacifistic (Matt 10:34-36; Luke 12:51-52).

If Yeshua were such a pacifistic figure, it is problematic that the literature Atwill claims to be Roman political propaganda presents data that conflicts with a peaceful Messiah his premise demands.  Besides the passages alluded to above, which quote the Messiah as stating He came not to bring peace, but the sword, we also find in the canonical literature a description of his arrest which does not correlate with the Atwill theory.  Would it take an armed multitude to arrest a pacifist?  But, see Mark 14:43…

While Yeshua was still speaking, Y’hudah (one of the Twelve!) came, and with him a crowd carrying swords and clubs….

The verse in Jerome’s Vulgate (Latin translation) replaces “crowd” with the word “cohortem” (a military technical term indicating a regiment of 480 soldiers) – quite a large number if the object of the arrest were a pacifist with only a small following, who would also be pacifistic (as a follower in that era would emulate his Teacher in every detail). This pericope finds a parallel in Yochanan (John) 18:2-3 as well.

I wonder how Atwill would justify his theory against Luke 19:27, which quotes the Messiah calling for the death of his (probably royal Roman) enemies:

However, as for these enemies of Mine who did not want Me to be their king, bring them here and execute them in My presence.

Atwill has employed a selective approach to Scripture, cherry-picking it for the small handful of verses which can be twisted, divorced of their context, to fit his presuppositions.

Atwill bases his incredulous theory on the obvious similarity between the geographical path Yeshua’s ministry takes and the path of Rome’s military campaigns (cf. Josephus’ Wars of the Jews).  Examining his claims, I encountered his baseline argument:

What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of [Emperor] Titus Flavius as described by Josephus.  This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern.

What Atwill perceives as “clear evidence,” however, is anything but.  What is clear from Scripture is a Messiah who fulfills prophesies which predate Him by no less than four centuries and whose earthly life ends at the hands of the Romans.

Atwill’s claim that the Bible’s New Testament was Roman propaganda written by political agents in order to control Jews is tenuous and even laughable.  Would Roman propaganda portray Roman officials (Pilate and Herod) as an instruments in the Messiah’s death (Matt 27:11-26; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23:2-25)?  Governments of that era were anything but self-deprecating in their portrayal of their officials to the masses.

What we know of the Roman Caesars of the First Century CE presents a cast of political players which would be inept for the task of composing a work like the New Testament as the principal piece of the elaborate scheme Atwill imagines.  Atwill asserts that Emperor Titus is the covert founder of Christianity, creating the supposedly-fictitious Messiah of the New Testament in his own image and employing Josephus to give his pseudepigraphal “fictitious writings” credibility.

While the observation that the paths of the two figures – Yeshua and Titus Flavius – correlate is significant, I disagree with Atwill’s analysis of that correlation.  I see a Messiah-Healer who follows the path of devastation and destruction wrought by Rome and brings healing (spiritual, physical, sociological) where it is needed most… in the aftermath of a vile political force which has a deleterious impact on its people at every turn.

Finally, would the Roman government produce a text which advocates arming a segment of the populus which was already staging uprisings against Rome?  Consider Luke 22:36…

“But now,” He said, “if you have a wallet or a pack, take it; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your robe to buy one.”

Yeshua’s ministry may have undercut some potential conflicts between His talmidim and Roman officials, but overall, He was countercultural and caused Rome far more turmoil than tranquility.  Yeshua certainly teach some things that moved people to more peaceful conduct when the conditions warranted such, i.e. Biblical morality, but he also advocated a Biblical justice which mandated His followers to be a voice for the voiceless and to stand against any oppressor, which would include the tyrranical Roman government.

As a professor, I would call Atwill’s treatise imaginative but unconvincing and his premise untenable.   The fact that he has failed to address the few passages I have presented here demonstrates a lack of critical thinking in that he has dismissed all portions of the text which challenge his premise, and a lack of honest engagement of the source text.

Grade: D/F.


A Biblical Perspective on Psychology and Psychiatry

Anything rooted in any Weltanschauung contrary to His Word is forbidden by the G-d of the Bible.[1]  This is taught in every section of the TaNaKh and in the Renewed Covenant (NT) as well.  One of our most revered writing prophets, Isaiah, warned Israel that seeking counsel from any source other than Adonai would lead to destruction (8:19-20). So, what is the Weltanschauung in which psychology and psychiatry are rooted?

drphilThe Isaiahic passage specifically references mediums and fortune-tellers (8:19-20), but the secular fields of psychology and psychiatry also offer alternate sources of counsel. Are they Biblically acceptable sources of counsel?  New York University psychology professor Paul C. Vitz defines psychology as “the cult of self-worship,”[2] which makes it a form of idolatry. The extravagant prices that these practitioners of the religions of psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy charge would deter any Bible-believing Judaeo-Christian from seeking their counsel. Isaiah cautions, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” (55:2). Ph.D.-holding psychiatrist Bernie Zilbergeld affirms that no psychological therapies are able to “satisfy,” writing of their universal ineffectiveness, “You can expect the same results regardless of which therapy you choose.”[3]

The first book of the psalter begins, “Oh, the happinesses of those who reject the counsel of the wicked and stand not on the way of sinners or sit where scoffers sit! Their delight is in ADONAI’s Torah; on His Torah, they meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2).[4] The belief system devised by atheists Freud and Jung, et al., being unrooted in Divine Truth, operates in opposition to it, making its central focus not the one true G-d Adonai, but rather the false deity of the self. Psychology professor Gary Collins admits, “When counseling is successful, the counselee’s values – including religious values – become more like those of the counselor.”[5]

Much of Sigmund Freud’s work is characterized by “a bitter antagonism to religion and all forms of religious authority.”[6]  Key figures in psychology Jung, Fromm, Maslow, May, and Rogers harbored similar sentiments regarding religion. Following in the footsteps of other promoters of false religions before them, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Collins reports that someone presenting himself as a Christian psychologist proclaimed that psychology eradicates the need for the Holy Spirit’s role in developing the fruits of the Spirit, saying, “They could all be duplicated by any competent psychologist” (emphasis mine).[7]

Jung represented psychotherapy as a Heilsweg, meaning that he promoted it not only as a means of “healing” but as a means of salvation, defined as “the knowledge and fulfillment of [one’s] personality, which have always been the aim of spiritual striving.”[8]  In the Bible-believing religion, however, salvation comes only by calling upon the name of the Judaeo-Christian G-d,[9] not by knowing and fulfilling one’s own personality (Gnostic self-deification; i.e. idolatry). Jung asserted that the psychotherapist has the “role of priest” with a duty to “free [patients] from distress.”[10] Carl Rogers, aligning himself with this same brand of Gnostic false religion, writes, “I [rather than G-d] am the one who determines the value of an experience for me.”[11]  Scientific measures cannot support the belief system stemming from Jungian psychology as valid. “There is no evidence that high self-esteem itself [the aim of psychology] reliably causes anything.”[12]

It can easily be demonstrated from the writings of Jung, Fromm, Maslow, May, Rogers, and many who follow in their traditions that sinful behavior – blatant disobedience to the ethical teachings of the Bible – is encouraged by this belief system. Neo-Freudian psychologist Erich Fromm glorifies the sin of pridefulness, arguing, “Man’s pride has been justified.”[13]  Psychologist and Fuller Theological Seminary dean Archibald D. Hart has borne witness to psychology using “psychotherapy as a cover for carnality… shows pornographic movies – under the guise of ‘sexual therapy.’”[14]  Thomas Szasz, professor of psychiatry at the University of New York, affirms the validity of Hart’s observations and worse (i.e. sex surrogate therapy, nude therapy, and stimulation therapy).[15]  Mainstream (pop) psychology and psychiatry are appendages of a pagan religion: humanistic solipsism (i.e. the worship of oneself).

Influences that direct us toward sin are certainly not in alliance with G-d, but rather with his adversary and the adversary’s demonic cohorts… with whom we are to have no concert (1 Corinthians 10:21).  Psychology also undermines personal responsibility by inventing the legal defense of “mental illness,” a term for which there is no universally accepted definition.[16]  Scripture, however, teaches that, excuses aside, “the soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4).

A number of trained and established doctorate-holding psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists have, after many years in practice, determined that these “soft sciences” are spiritually dangerous. Larry Crabb realized, “As a Christian committed to a biblical view of man, I could not make the psychological thinking in which I had been trained dovetail with basic biblical beliefs…. The truths of Christianity seemed to have little bearing on the activities of my counseling office and were at many points flatly contradicted by my professionally orthodox behavior.”[17]  Bernie Zilbergeld adds that professional therapy is “overpromoted, overused, and overvalued.”[18] The “childhood influence” fallacy, contrived by Freud and perpetuated to this day, is in direct contradiction to 1 Corinthians 13:11 – “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I put away childish ways.”[19]

It is wholly incompatible with Biblical faith to seek counsel from a contra-Scriptural foundation.  I do not worship the principal architects of psychology/psychiatry: Freud (whose life ended in suicide), Jung, Fromm, Maslow, May, et al.; I worship Adonai alone. Anything rooted in any Weltanschauung contrary to His Word (i.e. the pagan teachings of psychology and psychiatry) is forbidden by my G-d.  Biblical counseling does not rely on, nor even lean on, anything associated with the religion of humanistic solipsism, upon which psychology and psychiatry hinge.

End Notes

  1. The vowel-less spelling of G-d and L-rd herein is consistent with the early tradition of the Church (cf. early Church manuscripts in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Coptic; e.g. VKMsCopt9r) and with obedience to item 3rd (by Hebrew count) of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:7).
  2. Paul C. Vitz, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship (2nd edition; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1994).
  3. Bernie Zibergeld, The Shrinking of America: Myths of Psychological Change (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1983), 142.
  4. All Scripture verses used herein are translated by the present author from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia or the UBS4 Greek New Testament respectively.
  5. Gary R. Collins, Can You Trust Psychology? (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1988), 31; citing L. E. Beutler, “Values, Beliefs, Religion and the Persuasive Influence of Psychotherapy,” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice16 (1979):432-40; L. E. Beutler, S. Pollack, and A. M. Jobe, “Acceptance: Values and Therapeutic Change,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 46:198-99; and A. E. Bergin, “Psychotherapy and Religious Values,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 48 (1980):95-105.
  6. Richard Wollheim, Freud (Glasgow: Wm. Collins Sons and Co Ltd., 1971), 16-17; in Ed Bulkley, Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology (Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), 140.
  7. Collins, op cit., 83.
  8. Jolande Jacobi, The Psychology of C. G. Jung, 8th ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973), 60.
  9. Salvation is identified as the outcome of calling upon only two names: YHWH (Psalm 116:13; Romans 10:13; cf. Psalm 54:1; Isaiah 43:11; Hosea 13:4; Malachi 3:16-17;) and Yeshua (Acts 4:11-12) – both of which belong uniquely to the one true G-d, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the G-d of the Judaeo-Christian religion; cf. David Pollina, Reuniting the Covenant (Mosta, Republic of Malta: Tushiya Press, 2004).
  10. Carl G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul (New York: Harcourt-Brace, 1933), 278.
  11. Carl Rogers, On Being a Real Person (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1961), 122.
  12. Vitz, op cit., 17.
  13. Erich Fromm, Man for Himself (Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett, n.d.), 13-14.
  14. Archibald D. Hart, Me, Myself, & I (Ann Arbor: Servant Publications, 1992), 100.
  15. Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Psychotherapy (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987), 193-205.
  16. Garth Wood, The Myth of Neurosis: Overcoming the Illness Excuse (New York: Harper & Rowe, 1986).
  17. Larry Crabb, Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 11-12.
  18. Collins, op cit., 96-97.
  19. Lois Chan, Unholy Alliance: The Dangers of Mixing Pop Psychology with Christian Truth (Sisters, Ore.: VMI, 2005), 96.

Works Referenced

  • Bobgan, Martin and Deidre. Against Biblical Counseling; For the Bible. Santa Barbara: EastGate Publishers, 1994.
  • Bulkley, Ed. Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1993.
  • Chan, Lois. Unholy Alliance: The Dangers of Mixing Pop Psychology with Christian Faith. Sisters, Ore.: VMI Publishers, 2005.
  • Collins, Gary R. Can You Trust Psychology? Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1988.
  • Crabb, Larry. Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975.
  • Fromm, Erich. Man for Himself. Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett, n.d.
  • Ganz, Richard. PsychoBabble: The Failure of Modern Psychology–and the Biblical Alternative.  Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1993.
  • Jacobi, Jolande. The Psychology of C. G. Jung. 8th ed.; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973.
  • Jung, Carl G. Modern Man in Search of a Soul. New York: Harcourt-Brace, 1933.
  • Pollina, David. Reuniting the Covenant. Mosta, Republic of Malta: Tushiya Press, 2004.
  • Rogers, Carl. On Being a Real Person. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1961.
  • Rooker, Mark F. The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-first Century. NAC Studies in Bible and Theology; Nashville: Broadman & Holman Academic, 2010.
  • Szasz, Thomas. The Myth of Psychotherapy. New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1979.
  • Vitz, Paul C. Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1994.
  • Wood, Garth. The Myth of Neurosis: Overcoming the Illness Excuse. New York: Harper & Rowe, 1986.
  • Zilbergeld, Bernie. The Shrinking of America: Myths of Psychological Change. Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1983.

ברוך הבא בשם אדני

This site is intended to serve as a resource for students of the Bible and Biblical languages.  The page title – אמונה בישוע – is Hebrew for “faith in Yeshua,” and the url name adiakrisis is a transliteration of the Greek αδιακρισις, meaning “without discrimination.”  It is my intent that these two concepts may converge here making this site a refuge for serious students of the Biblical text who are committed to both faith in Yeshua and an expression of that faith which manifests itself without discrimination.