Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Quotable Sippo #5


I have an occasional feature called, "The Quotable Sippo." It's very simple, I just let Catholic apologist Art Sippo speak for himself. Recently, Dr. Sippo provided some of his insights, and well... let's just let the good doctor speak for himself:

Luther's mental illness and its influence on his theology are beyond question. That is what we need to deal with.

Manic depression is characterized by periods of extreme hyperactivity sometimes bordering on psychotic behavior alternating with periods of deep despair and self loathing. Anyone who has read Luther's autobiographical material can clearly see this in his behavior. Honest Protestants are starting to finally admit that Luther was seriously disturbed. If he was and if his "religious breakthrough" was actually a psychotic break with reality (which I can prove it was) then your whole religion is founded on madness. it is a bitter pill to swallow but for the sake of your immortal soul, you need to deal with this.

Luther's doctrine of human depravity (made deeper and darker by Calvin's paranoid delusions) is clearly pathological. Luther described the human person as a horse with an empty saddle in which either God or the Devil would ride. This is the same kind of description we get from psychotics who tell us the voices are compelling them to do things and that they have no will of their own. Anyone who finds this picture to be descriptive of their own mind is seriously disturbed and needs psychiatric help and medications.

You forget, Algo, that unlike you and the sad and disreputable Mr. White I have a REAL doctorate from an ACCREDITED University and have board Certifications in two medical specialties. I have been trained to do psychiatric interviews and to recognize pathological mental processes in patients. I am sorry if UNEDUCATED people still harbor religious fantasies about certain historical lunatics. There are still folks who think Hitler, Mao, Saddam Hussein, and Stalin were "great men." Yet it is clear form the historical records that they were murderous psychopaths. I fear that a study of Luther and Calvin in context proves that they too were mentally unbalanced and morally degenerate.
It is time you grew up and faced reality.

source: Envoy Forums

19 comments:

Turretinfan said...

Wow. I don't seen that many ad hominem arguments in four paragraphs since ... well ... ever. To quote C. S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, "Logic! Why don't they teach logic at these schools?"

-TurretinFan

Ken said...

I wonder whether or not Mr. Sippo realizes that since Luther's doctrine of Total Depravity lines up with God's Holy Word, that in effect, he's saying that God's doctrine is "pathological", " actually a psychotic break with reality" and "is founded on madness".
I wonder what God thinks of Mr. Sippo's comments. Hmmm.

Dozie said...

"I wonder whether or not Mr. Sippo realizes that since Luther's doctrine of Total Depravity lines up with God's Holy Word..."

Who says that Luther's doctrine lines up with God's Holy Word?

Dr. Art Sippo is exactly right on Luther. No one can read Luther without concluding that the man had mental problem. Now, Protestants (RC Sproul, for example) downplay this problem and sometimes excuse the man by simply saying the man employed hyperbolic language in his communication.

Paul Hoffer said...
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David Ernst said...

Even a qualified psychiatrist could not make a clinical diagnosis of someone who died centuries ago because of the lack of opportunity for firsthand observation. In addition, a true manic-depressives mostly likely would not have been stable enough to produce the massive literary output and other work that Luther did.

Luther, by his own admission, did suffer bouts of severe depression nearly his entire life. The same could be said of other historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Alexander the Great. According to the recollections of those who knew him, Lincoln at times was in such a state that family and friends would remove all sharp objects from his immediate vicinity. Sympathizers with the Confederate cause may have considered Lincoln psychotic back in the 1860s, but most people nowadays would say history has proven otherwise.

But even if you grant that Luther did in fact suffer from manic-depressive disorder, that would have no bearing on his theological arguments. The claim that Scripture teaches total depravity of the human heart must be based on its own merits, not Luther's state of mind.

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Ernst: I had considered that. However, I do know that from an historical perspective, a diagnosis of sorts or case study could be made.

I also agree with you that even if Fr. Luther was mentally ill, it would not necessarily render his theological arguments untrue. However, such an illness would color his perspective and his judgment which do have a bearing on them. Additionally, I have seen Protestant apologists argue that St. Peter could not have been the first pope because Scripture portrays him as a weak and vacillating character. I thought it would be interesting to see how from an historical or medical perspective one would attempt to ascertain their opinions.

Kepha said...

Even a qualified psychiatrist could not make a clinical diagnosis of someone who died centuries ago because of the lack of opportunity for firsthand observation.

The sad thing is, some Catholics don't realize that even Dr. Warren Carroll, an orthodox Catholic historian, has said this same thing.

VDMA said...

Interesting, Dr. Sippo says Luther was a lunatic and morally degnerate while the Vatican (Cardinal Kaspar) is now saying they "have much to learn from Luther." (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3492299.ece) The Vatican (Msgr. Aloys Klein) is also saying "Martin Luther's action was beneficial to the Catholic Church." (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,921381-4,00.html) A French Catholic expert in that article goes on to say "today many Catholic scholars think Luther was right and the 16th century Catholic polemicists did not understand what he meant."

So who is right, Dr. Sippo or the various experts on Luther at the Vatican and elsewhere?

Alberto said...

This is patetic...
I would like to see a refutation of Luther´s teachings by Sippo using exegetical arguments not foolish arguments.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Kepha, you commented on Mr. Ernst's statement: "Even a qualified psychiatrist could not make a clinical diagnosis of someone who died centuries ago because of the lack of opportunity for firsthand observation."

It is true that a psychiatrist could not make a climical diagnosis of mental illness of person who died centuries ago. However, historians and anthropologists do make use of psychological profiling to determine whether a person matches a psychological profile consistent with such diagnoses. They are able to do so because psychiatrists and psychologists have standardized objective criteria that aid them in making diagnoses of mental and emotional illness, even people they have never meet. Such criteria are used by professionals in juvenile and family law issues as well criminal detective or forensic work. I myself have accessed such works in the preparing for a number of different types of legal hearings over my 23+ years of practice. Thus, what Dr. Sippo has suggested he has done is possible; whether he has done so is a different story, and that is what I would like to see. I would very much like to see what he perceives to be the connection between Luther's mental state and his theology.

Mr. Swan has made a valuable point here-people should not claim that a person fits a certain psychological profile unless they can demonstrate at the very least how that person's behavior matches the objective criteria for that profile. I do not like it when Protestant apologists make similar arguments that saints must be suffering from delusional or superstitious states of mind when it comes to Marian apparitions or miraculous occurrences without supporting objective criteria. I similarly find such arguments used by Catholic apologists against figures such as Fr. Luther to be of little weight or even repugnant if the person is not able to provide the medical or psychological evidence to support his or her opinion.

God bless!

David Waltz said...

>> Even a qualified psychiatrist could not make a clinical diagnosis of someone who died centuries ago because of the lack of opportunity for firsthand observation.>>

I concur, yet it sure seems that psychoanalysis is a disturbing trend among the vast majority modern biographers (most [all?]of whom are not even psychiatrists) writing on religious figures. Recent biographies I have read on Augustine, Muhammad, and especially Joseph Smith Jr. are but a few examples that reflect this trend.


Grace and peace,

David

GeneMBridges said...

You forget, Algo, that unlike you and the sad and disreputable Mr. White I have a REAL doctorate from an ACCREDITED University and have board Certifications in two medical specialties. I have been trained to do psychiatric interviews and to recognize pathological mental processes in patients. I am sorry if UNEDUCATED people still harbor religious fantasies about certain historical lunatics. (snip)

Dear Dr. Sippo,

Pray tell, what Medical School did you attend that instructed you that you could make a medical diagnosis from merely reading autobiographical material that is centuries old? It is my understanding, my Mom being a Psych Nurse with about 40 years of experience in the field as an RN, Nursing Instructor, and the Director of Nursing Education, among other things, that it takes an actual series of personal interviews to do that. You have to actually see a patient in order to make these evaluations. If that's the sort of medicine you're practicing, sir, then I feel for your patients.

But, if you'd like to attack Dr. White's credentials, then I'd remind you that the work in theology and languages required to write books on the matter and exegete Scripture in the languages does not, unlike your MD, require a doctoral degree. That can be done with a BA and/or M.Div, and, if you'd care to look, I do believe Fuller Theological Seminary is fully accredited. Where, Dr. Sippo, did you receive your undergraduate and graduate level training in Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Church History, Christian Ethics, Greek and/or Hebrew, or any of the other subjects customarily required to complete the M.Div? You're the one framing your attacks that way, so it's time you produce your own credentials. What, you have none? Then why are you telling others to "grow up and face reality?" You're the one without any credentials in these areas, and you're the one that's making medical diagnoses from material that is centuries old - and reading figurative language as if its a literal description of the human mind.

In fact, you constantly go on about James White's credentials, and you seem to be expecting some result, a result that doesn't ever materialize. Sounds to me that fits a particular clinical definition, but then, I'm not trained to make that sort of diagnosis...

However, historians and anthropologists do make use of psychological profiling to determine whether a person matches a psychological profile consistent with such diagnoses. They are able to do so because psychiatrists and psychologists have standardized objective criteria that aid them in making diagnoses of mental and emotional illness, even people they have never meet. Such criteria are used by professionals in juvenile and family law issues as well criminal detective or forensic work. I myself have accessed such works in the preparing for a number of different types of legal hearings over my 23+ years of practice. Thus, what Dr. Sippo has suggested he has done is possible; whether he has done so is a different story, and that is what I would like to see. I would very much like to see what he perceives to be the connection between Luther's mental state and his theology.

Friend, then Dr. Sippo should not stake his evaluation on his MD, rather he should produce his credentials in history and anthropology. All that a psychological profile can do is give you a rough outline of a particular sort of person, not a particular individual. It reasons from the general to the specific - but if you're going to use that information at trial, you'd also have that person there. He wouldn't be long dead, and in all liklihood, once apprehended, a clinical psychologist would interview him extensively. So, your analogy simply falls apart on a number of different levels.

David Ernst said...

In law enforcement, psychological profiling is mainly useful in tracking down serial killers or other people with very private obsessions. Profiling is useless in solving a bank robbery, for instance, because there are far too many "normal" people who would rob a bank if they thought they could get away with it.

Likewise, Lutheran theology was, and is not Martin Luther's private obsession. To this day there are millions of people who agree with Luther about original sin and the bondage of the human will. In fact, we believe Luther did not invent these ideas, but rather stood shoulder to shoulder with the Apostle Paul, Augustine and others in affirming the Scriptural doctrine. This is the issue the Roman Catholic apologist must address, not pseudoscientific ideas about Luther's state of mind.

bkaycee said...

Guess, Dr. Sippo won't be leading this parade.

"That Martin Luther? He wasn’t so bad, says Pope

The Pope will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3492299.ece "

Maybe he should consider Sedavacantism?

Paul Hoffer said...
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GeneMBridges said...

All that being said, is there any difference between what Dr. Sippo has done and what certain apologists do when they claim that a person is delusional or were psychotic because they claimed to have a Marian vision or claimed to have heard the voices of angels or saints or attacked a person's mental state because that persons claimed to have bore the marks of Christ's crucifixion or stigmata on their body? How could the apologists make such a claim given the fact that they did not medically examine the person personally? How could they make such a diagnosis from only looking at historical documents? If Doctor Sippo is required to offer up qualifications and his evidence, should not others be held to the same standard and be required to similarly ante up when they critique Catholic saints on such grounds?

This analogy fails for the same reason that the analogy that atheologists try to draw between the Resurrection and Marian apparitions fails.

We conclude the falsity of Marian apparitions because Marian dogmas are false. So, if they are real, then they would be the product of (a) demonic activity, for the Bible has a doctrine of true and false miracles and/or (b) delusions. I mean, how, pray tell, would the percipient know it was Mary that appeared to them? Because the apparition said so? And how, pray tell, could that person verify the claim? Scripture doesn't tell us what she looked like, and neither does anything else. It's really quite simple.

We've addressed that objection more than once at Triablogue. I suggest you read our archives.

To quote from Steve Hays:

i) We put more credence in some miraculous reports than others for the same reason that we put more credence in some non-miraculous reports than others.

Is it arbitrary of me to admit that I don’t believe everything I read in the newspaper? Should I either believe everything or nothing at all?

Some reports are more credible than others because some reporters are more credible than others.

ii) What does it mean to say that we reject Marian sightings? This doesn’t mean that we necessarily reject the “sightings” of an individual whom the witnesses report to be Mary.

Are we talking about the experience of the percipient or the external stimulus?

A “sighting” can either have reference to the subject of the sighting—the perception of the observer, or the object of the sighting—what was seen.

We might credit their subjective experience. We might admit that they saw something. What they saw is a matter of interpretation.

After all, how do they know what Mary looks like? Jesus was seen by his contemporaries. But no one today is a contemporary of the Virgin Mary. No one knows what she used to look like when she was walking the earth two thousand years ago.

Any “recognition” of Mary would be based, not on a knowledge of the historical individual, but on Catholic art and iconography. Mary a la Raphael.

iii) Given the OT prohibitions against necromancy, why would we expect the Virgin Mary to be popping up all over the place? Why would Mary do what is forbidden in Scripture? Why would she entice the faithful to traffic with the dead? Seems out of character.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/03/double-burden.html


So, yet, again, you analogy misses the mark.

The Protestant version of Christianity does not stand or fall on extrabiblical miracles. However, because of Roman Catholic dogmas, the claims of Rome do stand or fall on such things, for its Rome that stakes the claims as verfication of its authenticity.

Marian appartions are not, and never will be, on a par with what is recorded in Scripture, particularly with the Resurrection. Seeing Mary in a puddle or at Lourdes just doesn't cut it.

But its nice to see, yet again, how Roman Catholics are reduced to the arguments used by atheists themselves when making a point.

Dr. Sippo, of course, never said that he was going to attempt to treat Fr. Luther or Mr. Calvin posthumously.

Pardon?

What he did was make a medical evaluation regarding Luther's mental health. He wrote, "Luther's mental illness and its influence on his theology are beyond question. That is what we need to deal with." He's the one that then ran to his medical credentials to do so.

But the only way he could do that is via an posthumous evaluation.

Furthermore, as a medical doctor board certified in several areas of speciality including aerospace medicine, public health and occupational medicine, Dr. Sippo certainly has the ability to render a medical opinion, which is what his statements amount to.

You realize that the above statement logically pulls in the opposite direction of the previous statement, don't you?

Sorry, but he's not a Clinical Psychologist by any stretch. If he was, that may be a different story, but I grew up around the Medical Profession and I've done my time at the graduate level in Public Health myself. Occupational medicine and aerospace medicine does not a clinical psychologist make. He may be able to tell us whether a pilot is psychologically fit to fly, because he's able to examine the pilot and read his medical/psychological history, but not whether Martin Luther was mentally unstable using, by his own admission, language that is clearly figurative and not literal. Remember, he chose to frame his argument using a particular statement.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Mr. Bridges: Again, I appreciate your comments, however, knowing a number of doctors with MDs, they would probably disagree with your viewpoint that only a clinical psychologist is qualified to make diagnoses of a person's mental condition.

I am fascinated about your statements about Marian apparitions, "We conclude the falsity of Marian apparitions because Marian dogmas are false." this of course is based on your particular viewpoint which I would humbly disagree with. If I understand your opinion, your assertion of delusion is out of charity, not based on psychology.

Thank you for your explanation. God bless!

Algo said...

paul hoffer said:
"While Dr. Sippo's comments appear on their face to be over the top, controversalism as opposed to apologetics it would have been nice to know what Algo had written so we would know for sure the context in which these remarks were made."

Mr Hoffer, since Dr. Sippo has made over 4,000 posts at Envoy (many of them "over the top") you would have to be specific. As of this posting I have not seen any of my "recent" posts at Envoy either edited or removed the entire context is there. There was one portion of Dr. Sippo's removed where he claimed. "Sadly, Algo, you are only looking for ways of insulting me instead of dealing with the issues.

There were problems with the recording at our debate so only part of it was usable. What you have is all there is.

As to my sounding like Grandpa Munster, I actually have a low tenor voice which carries well. The fact that I sounded like I was speaking fast is the dead giveaway. Pseudopodeo has doctored the recording. I have come to expect such tactics from him and other anti-Catholic Protestants. It is more about egoism than about the truth. Sorry. That is the way it is."
The rest is all there. (at this time). If you have more specific questions I will try to provide the info.

Algo

bkaycee said...

Paul Hoffer said...
"Hi Bkaycee, the statements in that article has been refuted a long time ago."

Yeah, I kind of thought it sounded out of character for this German Shepherd and the ever/never changing church of Rome.