Yesterday, NY Times columnist David Brooks wrote an article, “Modern view prevents us from seeing evil in others,” about the slaughter of 16 Afghan women & children by a seemingly normal Sgt. Robert Bales. Attempting to answer how such a good guy could commit such evil, Brooks explains: “In centuries past, most people would have been less shocked by the homicidal eruptions of formerly good men because they grew up in a world view that put sinfulness at the center of human personality.” But today, no one believes in man's depravity thanks to the“man-is-good” ideals of Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers, and Mr. Rogers!
Many times in this blog I've expressed my concern about how this “therapeutic, person-centered” philosophy has affected our interpretation of the Bible—giving us the ‘forgive-yourself,’ ‘love-yourself’ version, where sinful behaviors are attributed to past hurts (we are victims, not sinners), and where freedom is measured by improvements in self-esteem.
Over three centuries ago, King David wrote, “There was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was. But it made me miserable and filled my days with frustration… My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I admitted all my sins [and when I did] He forgave me, and all my guilt was gone” (Ps 32:3-5). Two centuries ago, John wrote: “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9).