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Is speaking of addiction in terms of sin illuminating, dangerous, or both?
Religion and Theology
Pages 8 (2008 words)
Is Speaking of Addiction in Terms of Sin Illuminating, Dangerous, or Both? When Christians speak of sin, it is connected to a duty to obey God and is therefore different from secular moral reasoning (Delkeskamp-Hayes, 2007). Therefore secular moral reasoning on the subject of addiction is informed by science and the perception that addiction is a disease which is beyond the addict’s control.
For Christians, abstinence and “temperance” are the only acceptable types of behaviour with respect to the consumption of addictive substances (Cook, 2006). Applying this reasoning to addiction is illuminating because it establishes boundaries in which addiction can be judged. It is dangerous only because it does not recognize the scientific pathology of addiction. Scientifically, addiction is a disease and unless the addict seeks the appropriate therapeutic treatment, the addict has no control over his or her craving for the addictive substance (Cook, 2006). As such, the addict cannot control his or her consumption and cannot abstain. Moreover, an addict who has fully recovered from his or her addiction will be complying with Christian tenets if he/she practices temperance but would be acting in a manner inconsistent with Scientific standards. These scientific standards dictate that temperance would create the addiction all over again. Theological definitions of addiction place it squarely in the realm of sin. One such definition perceives addiction as “the inability to say no because of captivity to pathological desires” (Myers, 2001, p. 89). It can be assumed that the pathological desires as cravings and/or dependency. ...
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