January 15, 2002 ARCHIVE
Vol:2 Issue:2

By Dr.Yakob Mar Irenaios 

H.G.Dr.Yakob Mar Irenaios Episcopos
Officiating Bishop of Madras Diocese of Indian Orthodox Church and the President of Orthodox Christian Youth movement. A Renowned writer, Poet and Orator.

Give us back the right to hope", thus, rang the emphatic appeal of Pope John Paul during the midnight mass on Christmas night at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. His Christmas Sermon was echoing and re-echoing the aspirations of millions of people on earth at the close of year 2001.

Despite holocaust; like disasters overtaking the serenity of this Lovely Planet - Earth, the Human heart hopes for the best in the coming days. Afghanistan, the scene of high-handedness of a smelly fundamental outlook outfit has undergone a Sea change; and there is now a responsible government; an interim one, though many states still face the brunt of terrorism. No wonder, some simple souls may gasp! 'lalhether humanity?' The scene in the US is no different. The trauma of Sep' 11th has left a permanent scar on the 'secure ever' psyche of the Human mind. The scare is felt!

However, mankind just cannot float sitting on heap of anxiety, insecurity for-ever. Humanity needs to get back its right to hope. Scenes of all-round devastation and holocaust will give way at the face of glimmer of hope; since, God is source of our Hope. He alone can open up the door of Hope before us: - 'a hope that never dies'

In Habakkuk 3: (17-19) Hope rides its divine way into our hearts with unparalleled glory

"Even though the fig-trees have no fruit and no grapes grow on the vines, even-though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no corn, even though the sheep all die and the cattle-stalls are empty, I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord gives me strength. He makes me sure-footed as deer, and keeps me safe on the mountains."

Our Lord is the Lord of Hope. In spite of all negative pointers, he will still make us joyful and glad. He is our Saviour.

He brings hopes to millions in the new millennium!.

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By P.N.Abraham - Banglore

"Remember your creator in the days of your youth" ( Ecl. 12:1). Why 'in the days of your youth', why not later? Many people ask this question. They may corroborate their question with reference to the 'thief on the right side' or the parable of the 'man who hired people to work in his vineyard'. In the first case the thief got a promise from Christ 'You will be with me today in the Paradise', at the last moment of his life. In the latter, it reveals that 'Those who came early and who came late got same reward.' Are these references really substantiating the above question? Hope Not!!

When a person repeatedly ignores or rejects the promptings of a loving God to obey Him and honour Him; his/her heart becomes colder and colder towards God. When the heart looses its sensitivity and becomes hard; seeking God at that point of time would be a stupendous exertion, which is unlikely. Hard mind is a curse due to sin. It is very difficult to melt a solidified heart. That is why the Bible urges us to remember and rejoice in our creator in the days of our youth.

Any one who seriously decides to seek after God must confront and overcome many obstacles in order to give first priority to God's will and favor every day. A few of the obstacles may be considered as examples: People, including most Christian parents believe that youth is a time to single-mindedly pursue avenues for study and training in order to be a success in profession or business in later life. Since the competition in the human rat-race for power and position is intense and corruption is rampant; sacrificing one's own scruples for the sake of success is often justified.

Many people also believe that a whole-hearted Christian commitment is an impediment to one's progress in profession and to the enjoyment of one's life. Even those, who have experienced the immense benefits of a healthy spiritual life; forget God in their prosperity and give a wrong message to the youth who observe them. The message that the youth get is that the affairs of this world is their first priority. Caring for their spiritual health can wait until one becomes older and well-settled.

Look what Wise Solomon said: 'The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction' (Proverb 1;7) 'The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.'

In addition to the wrong notions given by some parents and elders to our youth; the "world", the "flesh" and the Devil also set impediments in the path of spiritual growth and health of our youth.

It is not easy for many a youth to agree that the single-minded pursuit of success (neglecting one's care of spiritual health) will not be satisfying. It is true that hard work and zeal can bring in wealth and reputation. But peace of mind and joy in life can come only from God.

These, He gives to them who love and obey Him. On the other hand, we can see any number of "successful" ,"self-made" men and women around us who sorely lack peace of mind and are frustrated. It is only wise to allow ourselves to be controlled and guided by God who says : " I am the Lord thy God who teaches you to prosper and leads you in the way you should go" Is 48:17

After having had a glimpse of the frustrating outcome of a self-centered life; it is good to focus on the outcome of a God-centered life: Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob was tauntingly called the "dreamer" by his brothers. But Joseph believed in his dreams. He had a very clear vision as to who was in control of his destiny. To that Person, he gave his un-conditional obedience and utmost trust. When Potipher 's wife enticed him to commit fornication; he was able to obey God's laws rather than yield to his natural instincts. "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God ?" he said Gen. 39:9.

Under the onslaught of temptation, his vision did not blur. Then he took another wise step. He did not linger on in that sinful environment. He ran out risking the loss of everything he had gained in life. The worst of his fears came to be true. He was falsely accused of attempted rape and humiliated. He lost all the privileges and comforts as a trusted manager of a wealthy home. Being put into prison, he lost his freedom too. But the God whom he trusted, did not leave him there. He became the Prime Minister of Egypt and a source of comfort and shelter for his Father and other members of his family. God blessed him and he became a blessing to others.

King Darius wrote this letter to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout his vast empire: "I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures for ever. His kingdom will not be destroyed. His dominion will never end. He rescues and saves." Dan. 6: 26 - 27. This pagan king became a worshipper of the True God because there was a Daniel in his kingdom who obeyed and worshipped his God when his very life was in Great danger for doing that. But God intervened to save him from his enemies.

Mathew Arnold wrote: " Try all the ways to peace and welfare you can think of, you will find that there is no way that brings you to it except the way of Jesus". The Parents and the Church have a tremendous responsibility in leading our youth to this experience. If the youth, on their part would be diligent seekers of the kingdom of God and its righteousness; a foretaste of the joys of heaven will be their experience on earth. Such boys and girls would be blessed , they will be a blessing to their family and to the society too.

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by Bro. Paul Ciniraj Mohamed
Malankara Sabha Mssionary of Indian Orthodx Church

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends on whose hands it's in...

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Mark McGuire's hands is worth $19 million.
It depends on whose hands it's in...

A golf club is useless in my hands.
A golf club in Tiger Wood's hands is a 4 Major Golf Championships
It depends on whose hands it's in...

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses' hands parted the mighty sea.
It depends on whose hands it's in...

A sling shot in my hands is a toy.
A slingshot in David's hands is a mighty weapon.
It depends on whose hands it's in...

Two fish and five loaves in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and five loaves in Jesus' hands fed thousands.
It depends on whose hands they're in...

Nails in my hands might produce a bird house.
Nails in Christ Jesus' hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends on whose hands they're in...

As you see now it depends on whose hands it's in ~
So put your concerns, worries, fears, hopes, dreams, families
and relationships in God's Hands
because, It depends on whose hands they're in.

This message is now in your hands!!!
and it depends on ......

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By Fr.Varghese Thundil
Vice President, Catholicate Society & Author of many Malyalam Christian Books

Victorious life does not mean freedom from temptation. It is not even freedom from mistakes. Often we make mistakes. But these mistakes need not be sins. Our actions are the results of our intentions and intelligence. If our intentions and intelligence are wrong we commit mistakes. Sin comes out of this wrong intention and intelligence.

Victorious life does not mean the ability to get along with every body. Many of the thick fellowships come out even of vivid temperaments.

How is it? What is then, victorious life? It is the life of Christ reigning victoriously in our being and in all our relationships.

There are many Christians in whom Christ feebly functions or not even functions at all. So there are some areas where Christ acts and some areas does not. There are 'Diarchy'. It is like liquor bottles hidden in the shelves of a true Christian - Christian on behavior. There are then two compartments in many Christians inner life. Jesus- Holy spirit- abides in one and at the same time Satan abides in the other. Hence, a Christian cause a mental conflict of the good and evil. Here, such Christians will have to make their choice, either dismiss Christ entirely from your life , or make a complete surrender everything  with a full  control of given to God. Then you will escape from mental conflict and enjoy peace. Then you will be Christ controlled, and there fore unified.

There is no compromise between Christ and Satan. It won't work. Satan is always antagonistic. He is a quarry list. At baptism we have taken a promise, a promise of renunciation of Satan and complete acceptance of Jesus Christ. When times go on, we naturally come in to contact with Satan and grow with satanic desires. Some times we may not be aware of his presence in our heart. So at every evenings, when before you go to bed have a rethinking and find out the wrongs you were forced to do or speak on the day times. Confess and dismiss Satan and enjoy Jesus and be happy. Let Christ reign victoriously in every portion of our being.

Duality brings disaster in life. The faces of those who are governed by 'Diarchy' are found paining. Many Christians are found perfect inside church halls; but imperfect in this social and economic spheres.

Here, now I remember a story of a seven-year boy who is a student in a primary class. He was reading his notes given by the class teacher on 'round earth'. His grandfather heard his reading and corrected him saying the earth is not round but flat. He commanded his grandson to tell this to his class teacher as his grand father told. Next day when the boy was asked to answer what he taught previous day the boy answered, as his grandfather had taught him. The teacher got angry and punished him. The boy went home and repeated what the class teacher had taught him. the grand father got angry and punished him. The boy was puzzles and was in a dilemma. He decided to escape from both parties punishment. In the class, when asked him to answer, the boy said "the earth ... the earth (puzzled) the earth is round when I am in school and is flat I am at home",. The teacher could not but laugh.

When compared to the life of a Christian it is very correct. In church life he is pious and devotional, but outside church very often he leads a pathetic and unchristian life. Think of how much your personal life is in Christ. Let Christ Jesus live in you always. Then only you will lead a peaceful and victorious life. It is the life in Christ and with Christ. Let every step of our Christian life be with Jesus and Jesus be with us.

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Kunjethy Puthenpura

St. George is the patron saint of England. His cross is one of three on the Jack. But the most common male Christian name in England is that of Apostle St. Thomas. How did this come about?

Of course we all know the importance of Thomas Becket and Thomas More and so on for Englishmen. But Apostle St. Thomas??  

King Alfred the Great - the only English King qualified with "the Great" - when he was "sitting before London" unable to win that war , made an offering to THOMAS IN INDIA and he won the war. Unlike most of us who do not often care to fulfill promises made to persons from the other world once the object of such promises are realized, King Alfred send valuable gifts to Thomas in India under the leadership of the Bishop of Sherborn - and what is more , the mission came back to England carrying with them many typical Indian goods. All this is recorded in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles.

In 1975 Prof. George Menachery during one of his stints in foreign libraries found out that the commonest name for men in England was not that of the Patron Saint St. George but that of Thomas - this was even more clear for him when he examined the British Museum records and census reports.

Paradoxically enough St. Thomas was the founder of Christianity in India - of the St. Thomas Christians of Kerala - Malabar India 1950 years ago in the year 52 AD. But in the land of St. Thomas the most common Christian name given to men is that of St. George - the patron saint of England - and its native versions like Gheevarghese, Varghese, Vareed, Varunny....But of course the name of St. George, the most popular of the three names given to men in Kerala, was popular in India many centuries before any western colonial power ever thought of going to India for trade!!!

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Trees to save the Ecology System

By Thomas Thomas

God Almighty created this universe not only for human being, but also for the creatures and plants, around us. Without this entire system of ecology Human Being can not survive in this world. Watch what is happening around us. The cruelty towards Plants and Animals is increasing day by day. To balance the ecology, trees are very essential factor and man does not care for it. Man destroy this system either for their own survival or for their economical benefits. Cutting trees and emptying the forest and jungles not only cause an ecological imbalance but also  killing of birds and animals who make their home in this jungles. Also it destroys  the natural sanctuary. Killing animals turned out to be a business nowadays.

Education in this regard is highly necessary and if we are not starting the same right now, it will be too late and eventually human survival even will be endangered. Greenery around the world is diminishing day by day. Beware of it and start planting  more trees wherever possible to balance the system and make our environment more beautiful. The jungles and forest are disappearing by  means animals, birds are loosing their house to live.  

Let us now think about to save the world, take an oath to plant one tree by each family near our house so that at least the one lost some where else can be replaced by our effort and feel the happiness out of it.

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Bible Word to by heart:

Lord is my strength and my shield
I trust Him as he always saves me.
So I will always rejoice in Him
and Sing for Him

Psalms 28:7)

Everyone  Needs a Friend

An Old Testament Story

When God first made the Earth, he saw that there was no one to take care of it. So God reached down into the ground. He took some dust  from the earth, and he made a man. But there was no life in him. So God bent down again, and breathed into the man - and the man became alive!

God called the man, 'Adam

Then God planted a garden in Eden for Adam to live in. And since God is God, he is a pretty good gardener. He planted all kinds of trees in his garden; apple trees, and pear trees, banana trees and mango trees, fig trees and who knows what other kinds of trees in his garden. God wanted to make sure there was plenty of good things to eat. (Don't ask me why he didn't plant any candy trees!).

In the middle of the garden God also planted two special trees. One was called the Tree of Life, and the other was called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

And God made a stream of clear, cool water to flow through the middle of the garden to water it and keep it green.

Then God brought Adam to the garden and he told him, "Take care of my garden. You may eat the fruit of any of the trees that I have made to grow there. But be careful. Do not eat any of the fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you eat any of that fruit, you will die."So Adam began to live and work in the garden God had made for him.

The garden was a wonderful, beautiful place.

But Adam was lonely.

Adam was sad. Even though the garden God had made for him was the most beautiful place there could ever be, Adam was lonely.

Adam needed some company. So God reached into the ground again and took some more stuff from the earth. This time he made every kind of animal and every kind of bird. He brought them all to Adam to see what he would call them.

It must have taken a long, long time to think up all those names!

 Luckily, he didn't call them things like 'hoo hoo' or 'Lala' or ' Baba' or anything like that. Instead. he called them 'Elephant' and 'Rabbit' and 'Tiger.' And he called the birds by name.

Well, actually, we don't know  what  Adam named them. He didn't speak English. But he named each kind, and that's important because people are the only ones that name things. Your puppy  knows what a squirrel is, but he doesn't call it a squirrel. He just barks at it! But naming things is one of the things that shows we are different from all the other creatures that God made.

But even with all the animals around to keep him company, God saw that Adam was still sad. Monkeys are fun to play with, but they don't have very much to say... and they have terrible table manners.

So God made Adam fall asleep (he must have conked him on the head or something), and while Adam was sleeping, God took one of his ribs.

God took Adam's rib and he made a woman from it. When Adam woke up, God brought Eve to him (that's what Adam named her later on), and Adam said, "At last! Here is someone like me! Her bones were made from my bones, and her body was made from my body. I will call her 'woman' because that means she was taken out of man."

At last Adam was happy.

And so Adam and Eve lived together in God's garden. And do you know what? They were naked and nobody cared... or thought it was funny!

Always remember:

The man's body was made from the earth, but his life came from the breath of God. . Your life is the breath of God. He is the your invisible father in Heaven.

Send Your Story

Send a story of your own, imagining the first day of Adam in Edenor the first day of Adam with Eve introducing his companions to her.The best 5 stories  will be published with photos. Send your story before January 20,2002.

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By Rengi Thomas, USA (15 year old)

Here are the 7 verses Jesus spoke before he died on the cross  . I would love to tell you what they are and a little bit about each of them as what I conceived .

In Mark 15:34, Jesus says, "Eloi, Eloi, Lama submachine?"

Which means, "My god, my god why have you forsaken me?" Even when He was in horrible pain He called out to His father to help Him and to give Him strength to stay strong. At many times when we are in trouble and toil we stay away from God. Jesus is showing us to come closer to the father when in trouble because only God can help us. When the whole world abandons us God our father will never let go of our hands.

In Luke 23:24, Jesus says, "father, Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Even in his last hours, he cared about us. He asked His father to forgive us. Just like Christ, we should forgive each other. The policy that I personally follow is "Forgive and Forget". When we forgive someone, we should forget what he or she did also, instead of remembering it for the rest of your lives.

In Luke 23:43 Jesus says, "I tell you the truth today you will be with me in paradise." this is the verse that Jesus says to the thief on the cross. This verse gives hope to the sinners of the world, that they will be saved and live in paradise with the king. 

In John 19:28 Jesus says, "I am thirsty."

Jesus had said this verse one other time when a  Samaritan  women was  drawing water and Jesus went  to her  and said "I am thirsty" . Just like that we should be thirsty to hear and follow Gods words.

In John 19:26-27 it says "Dear, Woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother". This verse means we should love one another as God loved us and cared for us. Love can conquer all.

These are the last two verses Jesus said before he took his last breath. In Luke 23:46 it says "Father into your hands I commit my spirit." The next verse says like this in John 19:30 "It is Finished." With that last breath he died for our sins so that we may be saved and delivered from condemnation. When Jesus said it is finished He meant that God's will is fulfilled. Just like that God has a plan for each and every one of us.

It is our choice to either follow in God's way or to fall in the Devil's way. Don't let Jesus' death be vain. By his blood, we have been delivered from death and destruction. By his boundless love for us, he was crucified. The cross has become a mighty fortress and a victorious weapon for us to use in this sinful world. Last but not least, I hope that every one of us will allow God to use us as an instrument to spread God's love.

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Fr. Geo Kappalumakal

(Fr.Geo. Kappalumakal, now in his sixties, is a catholic priest from the Dioceses of  Palai, Kottayam Dst. Kerala, South India. He is running a counseling center for psycho religious therapy, a name coined by himself, a branch of psychiatry formed from his 45 years of research and experience. Has cured above fifty thousand mental patients who were sick by fright, during the period. But only thirty five thousand cases are documented. The cases cured while a parish priest in various churches were not documented. He took leave in1982 and started the counseling center with the blessings of the Bishop Mar Sebastian Vayalil, who ordained him priest) 

"Illusory personalities can exhibit symptoms of any physical disorders. Blindness, deafness, Bleeding, abortions, asthma and tendency to suicide and murder are only some of them!" Fr.Geo Kappalumakkal reveals.  

A Religio- Scientific approach to mental problems mainly caused by sentimental vibrations, esp. Fright. This treatment is based on the twin characteristics of the mind np. Religious and scientific.
A Necessitated Reunion - Psycho- religious Therapy, a necessitated reunion of science and religion , since "Agens agit secundum Naturuam Suam'' A Natural Approach for the rectification. The classification of mental sickness caused by fright - A major part of mental pts. belongs to this category, as per the documents preserved here!  

Psycho-religious therapy is a method of treatment, which dovetails these two very active influences on the human condition in their separate identity and finality. The religious horizon of the mind is the seat of faith and superstition. This emotion-packed area first becomes deranged when hit by fear and emotional bombardment. Therefore, in treating it, basically a religious approach is essential. Those who get sick on account of shocking fright come under this treatment. There is ample documentary evidence that a good or major percentage of the mentally sick comes under this category.

We can divide those who become ill as a result of fright-experience into three groups. Those who manifest only symptoms of psychic disorder; Those showing only symptoms of physical illness; one will not find in them the causes of disease whose symptoms are visible. Medical people call this phenomenon ``Idiopathic, symptomatic, pseudo seizure etc_." Those in whom a combination of both these symptoms are observed.

In all these three groups, illusory personality or turbulent darkness may be formed. Those who are subjected to intensively shocking fear experience the numbing of all five senses; their brain becomes inoperative and their individuality gets weakened. Eventually, their faculties of discernment are lost and the obsessive monstrous idea grips their subconscious. Through an unconscious process of association of ideas, coordination and assimilation personality formation takes place. Love, hatred, guilt-feeling etc.become the root cause of this personification process. As the illusory personality begins to establish itself over one's own true person, change of conduct and derangement of activities set in. Then on he is a different person, with a different set of modus operandi. For the average man this is demonic possession - pretha badha - from a scientific perspective this mental disorder is called illusory personality.

I therefore suggest the readers for further reading , the following article written by Dr.Kasier, Chicago Against Biologic Psychiatry by David Kaiser, M.D. December 1996 (abridged) (Dr. Kaiser is in private practice in Chicago and is affiliated with Northwestern University Hospital)

As a practicing psychiatrist, I have watched with growing dismay and outrage the rise and triumph of the hegemony known as biologic psychiatry. Within the general field of modern psychiatry, biologist now completely dominates the discourse on the causes and treatment of mental illness, and in my view this has been a catastrophe with far-reaching effects on individual patients and the cultural psyche at large. It has occurred to me with forcible irony that psychiatry has quite literally lost its mind, and along with it the minds of the patients they are presumably supposed to care for. Even a cursory glance at any major psychiatric journal is enough to convince me that the field has gone far down the road into a kind of delusion, whose main tenets consist of a particularly pernicious biologic determinism and a pseudo-scientific understanding of human nature and mental illness.

The purpose of this piece is not to attempt a full critique or history of this occurrence, but to merely present some of the glaring problems of this movement, as I believe significant harm is being done to patients under the guise of modern psychiatric treatment. I am a psychiatrist trained in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and I use both psychotherapy and medications in my approach to patients. I state these facts to make it clear that this is not an anti-psychiatry tract, and I am speaking from within the field of psychiatry, although I find it increasingly impossible to identify with this profession, for reasons which will become clear below.

Biologic psychiatrists as a whole are unapologetic in their view that they have found the road to the truth, namely that mental illnesses for the most part are genetic in origin and should be treated with biologic manipulations, i.e., psychoactive medications, electroconvulsive treatment (which has made an astounding comeback), and in some cases psychosurgery.

Although they admit a role for environmental and social factors, these are usually relegated to a secondary status. Their unquestioning confidence in their biologic paradigms of mental illness is truly staggering.

In my opinion, this modern version of the ideology of biologic/genetic determinism is a powerful force that demands a response. And when I use the word ideology here, I mean it in it's most pernicious form, i.e., as a discourse and practice of power whose true motivations and sources are hidden to the public and even to the practitioners themselves, and which causes real harm to the patients at the receiving end.

Biologic psychiatry as it exists today is a dogma that urgently needs to be unmasked. One of the surest signs that dogmatists are at work here is that they rarely question or attempt to problemitize their basic assumptions. In fact, they seem blissfully unaware that there is a problem here. They act in seeming unawareness that they are caught up in larger historical and cultural forces that underwrite their entire "scientific" edifice.

These forces include the medication of all public discourse on how to live our lives, a growing cultural denial of psychic pain as inherent in living as human beings, the well-known American mixture of a historicism and belief in limitless scientific progress, and the growing power of the pharmaceutical and managed care industries. These self-proclaimed visionaries, oblivious to all of this, boast of real scientific progress over what they consider to be the dogma of psychoanalysis, which had up until recently reigned as psychiatry's premier paradigm.

Now, it is not my intention to defend psychoanalysis, which had its own unfortunate excesses, although I do use psychoanalytic principles in the kind of psychotherapy I do. However, it is quite clear to me that the grandiose claims of biologic psychiatry are wildly overstated, unproved and essentially self-serving.... in reality, i.e., the reality of treating patients, medications have profound limitations. I know that if the only tool I had in treatment was a prescription pad, I would be a poor psychiatrist. .  

The center of treatment will always need to be listening to and speaking with the patients coming to me. This means listening seriously to what they say about their lives and history as a whole, not merely listening for which symptoms might respond to medications. Although it seems astounding that I would have to state this, biologic psychiatrists as a whole really only listen to that portion of the patient's discourse that corresponds to their biologic paradigms of mental illness. It is the nature of dogma that its practitioners hear only what they want to hear.  

So what are the limitations of biologic psychiatry? First of all, medications lessen symptoms, they do not treat mental illness per se. This distinction is crucial. Symptoms by definition are the surface resentation of a deeper process. This is self-evident. However, there has been a vast and largely unacknowledged effort on the part of modern (i.e., biologic) psychiatry to equate symptoms with mental illness.  

For example the illness major depression is defined by its set of specific symptoms. The underlying cause is presumed to be a biologic/genetic disturbance, even though this has never been proven in the case of depression. The errors in logic here are clear. A set of symptoms is given a name such as major depression, which defines it as an illness, which is then treated with a medication, despite the fact that the underlying cause of the symptoms remains completely unknown and essentially untreated.  

I have seen repeatedly that, for example, in the case of depression, once medications lessen the symptoms, I am still sitting across from a suffering patient who wants to talk about his unhappiness. This process of equating symptoms with illnesses has been repeated with every diagnostic category, culminating in perhaps one of the greatest sophistries psychiatry has pulled off in its illustrious history of sophistries, namely the creation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (currently in its fourth incarnation under the name DSM-IV), the bible of modern psychiatry.  

In it are listed all known mental disorders, defined individually by their respective symptom lists. Thus mental illnesses are equated with symptoms. The surface is all there is. The perverse beauty of this scheme is that if you take away a patient's symptoms, the disorder is gone. For those who do serious work with patients, this manual is useless, because for me it is simply irrelevant what name you give to a particular set of symptoms. It is an absolute myth created by modern psychiatry that these disorders actually exist as discrete entities that have a cause and treatment. This is essentially a pseudo-scientific enterprise that grew out of modern psychiatry's desire to emulate modern medical science, despite the very real possibility that psychic pain, because of its existential nature, may always elude the capture of modern medical discourse and practice.  

Despite its obvious limitations, the DSM-IV has become the basis for psychiatric training and research... Patients are suffering from far more than symptoms. Symptoms are the signs and clues to direct us to the real issues. If you take away the symptoms too quickly with medications or suggestion, you lose the opportunity to help a patient in a more profound way.... Modern psychiatry now foists on patients the view that their deepest and most private ills are now medical problems to be managed by physician-psychiatrists who will take away their symptoms and return them to normal functioning. This is more than a bit malignant.  

One of the dominant discourses that runs through the DSM-IV and modern psychiatry in general is the equating of mental health with normal functioning and adaptation. There is a barely concealed strain of a specific form of Utopianism here which blithely announces that our psychic ills are primarily biologic and can be removed from our lives without difficulty, leaving us better adapted and more productive. What is left completely out, of course, are any notions that our psychic ills are a reflection of cultural pathology. In fact, this new biologic psychiatry can only exist to the extent it can deny not only the truths of psychoanalysis, but also the truths of any serious cultural criticism. It is then no surprise that this psychiatry thrives in this country presently, where such denials are rampant and deeply embedded.

I am constantly amazed by how many patients who come to see me believe or want to believe that their difficulties are biologic and can be relieved by a pill. This is despite the fact that modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness. However, this does not stop psychiatry from making essentially unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin, and that it is only a matter of time until all this is proven. This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naive and perhaps delusional.

As in any dogma, there is no perspective within biologic psychiatry that can effectively question its own motives, basic beliefs and potential blind spots. And thus, as in any dogma, there is no way for the field to curb its own excesses, or to see how it might be acting out certain specific cultural fantasies and wishes. The rise and fall of biologic determinism in a culture likely has complicated and interesting causes, which are beyond the scope of this paper.... I would be remiss if I left out the obvious economic factors in psychiatry's movement toward the biologic. Pharmaceutical corporations now contribute heavily to psychiatric research and are increasingly present and a part of psychiatric academic conferences. There has been little resistance in the field to this, with the exception of occasional token protest, despite its obvious corrosive and corrupting effects.

It is as if psychiatry, long marginalized by science and the rest of medicine because of its soft quality, is now rejoicing in its new found legitimacy, and thus does not have the will to resist its own degradation. The fact that drug companies embrace and fund this new psychiatry is cause enough for alarm. Equally telling is a similar embrace by the managed care industry, which obviously likes its quick-fix approach and simplistic approach to complicated clinical problems. When I talk to a managed care representative about the care of one of my patients, they invariably want to know what medications I am using and little else, and there is often an implication that I am not medicating aggressively enough. There is now a growing cottage industry within psychiatry in advocating ways to work with managed care, despite the obvious fact that managed care has little interest in quality care and realistic treatment approaches to real patients. This financial pressure by managed care contributes added pressure for psychiatry to go down a biologic road and to avoid more realistic treatment approaches.

What this means in real terms is that psychotherapy is left out. There has thus been a triple partnership created between this new psychiatry, drug companies and managed care, each part supporting and reinforcing the other in the pursuit of profits and legitimacy. What this means to the patients caught in this squeeze is that they are increasingly overmedicated, denied access to psychotherapy and diagnosed with fictitious disorders, leaving them probably worse off in the long run. It is quite depressing to listen to the discourse of modern psychiatry. In fact, it has become embarrassing to me. One gets the strong impression that patients have become abstractions, black boxes of biologic symptoms, disconnected from the narratives of their current and past lives. This pseudo-scientific discourse is shot through with insecurity and pretension, creating the illusion of objectivity, an inevitable march of progress beyond the hopeless subjectivity of psychoanalysis. Psychotherapy is dismissed and relegated to non medical therapists.

I actually have no objections to real science in the field, if, for example, it can help me make better medication decisions or develop newer and better medications. But in general biologic psychiatry has not delivered on its grandiose and utopian claims, as today's collection of medications are woefully inadequate to address the complicated clinical issues that come before me every day. This is all not terribly surprising given what I have outlined in this piece. There will be no substitute for the difficult work of engaging with patients at the level of their lived experience, of helping patients piece together meaning and understanding in the place of their pain, fragmentation and confusion.

Patients these days are not suffering from biologic illnesses. What I generally see is patients suffering from current or past violence, traumatic loss, loss of power or control over their lives and the effects of cultural fragmentation, isolation and impoverishment that are specific to this culture at this time. How this manifests in any individual is absolutely specific; therefore, one should resist any attempt to generalize or classify, as science forces us to do. Once you go down the route of generalization, you have ceased listening to the patient and the richness of their lived experience. Unfortunately what I also see these days are the casualties of this new biologic psychiatry, as patients often come to me with many years of past treatment. Patients having been diagnosed with chemical imbalances despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and that there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like. Patients with years of medication trials which have done nothing except reify in them an identity as a chronic patient with a bad brain. This identification as a biologically-impaired patient is one of the most destructive effects of biologic psychiatry.... At the level of individual patients this means a growing number of overdiagnosed, overmedicated and disarticulated people less able to define and control their own identities and lives. ... If psychiatry is to regain any semblance of legitimacy and integrity, it must strip itself of false and hubristic scientific claims and humbly submit itself to the urgent task of listening to individual patients with patience and intelligence. Only then can we have any real sense of what to say back to them....

Anyone who dissents by choice or nature slips into the realm of the disordered or pathologic, is then located as such by medical science and is then subject to social management and control. Now, psychiatry has always provided this social function, as admirably shown by Foucault and others. I would submit, however, that modern psychiatry, under the guise of medical and scientific authority and legitimacy, has surpassed all past attempts by psychiatry to identify and control dissent and individual difference. It has done this by infiltrating the cultural psyche, a psyche already vulnerable to any kind of medical discourse, to the point where it is a generally accepted cultural notion now that, say, depression is an illness caused by a chemical imbalance.

Now when a person becomes depressed, for example, they are less able to read it or interpret it as a sign that there may be a problem in their life that needs to be looked at or addressed. They are less able to question their life choices, or question for example the institutions that surround them. They are less able to fashion their own personal or cultural critique which could potentially lead them to more fruitful directions. Instead they identify themselves as ill and submit to the correction of a psychiatrist, who promises to take away the depression so they can get back to their lives as they are. In short, the very meanings of unhappiness are being redefined as illness. In my view this is a dismaying cultural catastrophe. I do not mean to suggest that psychiatry is solely to blame for this, given how wide a cultural shift this is. However, I do think that psychiatry has not only not resisted its role here, but actually has fulfilled it with considerable hubris....

I am increasingly astonished about how unable the average patient is now to articulate reasons for their unhappiness, and how readily they will accept a medical diagnosis and solution if given one by a narrow-minded psychiatrist. This is a cultural pathologic dependence on medical authority. Granted, there are patients who do fight this kind of definition and continue to search for better explanations for themselves which are less infantilizing, but in my experience this is not common. There is a frightening choking off of the possibility for dissent and creative questioning here, a silencing of very basic questions such as what is this pain? or what is my purpose? Modern psychiatry has unconscionably participated in this pathology for its own gain and power. It is a moral, not scientific issue at stake here, and in my view this is why many astute Americans rightfully distrust this new psychiatry and its Utopian claims about happiness through medical progress. ... When one reads psychiatric journals now, one senses a dangerous giddiness about the field's discoveries and progress, which in my view are wildly and irresponsibly overstated....

Having said this, what I am advocating is a psychiatry which devotes itself humbly to the task of listening to patients in a way that other medical practitioners cannot. This means paying close attention to a patient's current and past narrative without attempting to control, manipulate or define it. From this position a psychiatrist can then assist the patient in raising relevant questions about their lives and pain ... Diagnosis should play a secondary and small role here, given that little is known about what these diagnoses actually mean....

A more humane psychiatry, if it is even possible in today's cultural climate, must recognize the powerful potential of the uses and abuses of power if it is not to become a tool of social control and normalization. As I have outlined in this piece, these abuses of power are by no means always obvious and self-evident, and their recognition requires rigorous thought and self-examination.

The psychiatrist plays a particular role in cultural and individual fantasies, and an intelligent psychiatrist must be aware of the complexity of these fantasies if he is to act in a position outside these projections and fantasies. This requires real moral awareness on the part of a psychiatrist who wishes to act intelligently. What I am advocating for in outline form as stated previously are the minimal requirements necessary for the field of psychiatry to reverse its current degradation. What is essential at this time is for psychiatrists and other clinicians to speak out against the ideology known as biologic psychiatry.


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Dearly Beloved,

Greetings in the name of our  heavenly Father the wonderful God of all.

The caption I put here may sounds like a  familiar scenario in our days-a worried parent and a troubled child.

Bible says that,  it  is not a new issue at all. The very same problem had existed  right from  the  beginning or as we call it "In the time of Genesis "it existed . Then  it was between God and Adam. As the story develops ,children have been getting into trouble and anguished parents have been dealing with it , since the beginning of time.

Now we know that Adam never realized the fact  that he was wrong at any point of his life in Eden .But later on in his life,  Adam  felt the agony  of a father when he confronts with  his own troubled son Cain. Repetition of history we see  with many families, in the course of time,  in the pages of Bible. What for it is written in the pages of the Bible, unless we learn a lesson out of it?

For all of our efforts ,some time our children may reach the point where they are in serious trouble. If  hope seems to be far away then, the parents walk through fire with them. None other than that,  what else can we do beyond this, to build a hopeful future for our troubled children?

God also did the same thing as we the parents do. He came in search of the lost and troubled one, but with a difference.  Took the troubles upon  Him and made the troubled one (us )free. It is something marvelous  and unique. Love of God our unseen father, is unconditional. It is more than our  love towards our children. He is full of love and His love  never gives up until we learn to love Him and our fellowmen. As per the unfolding mystery of the Bible, it  is the ultimate destiny of a man.

Fr. Shebaly

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