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Are There Lost Souls From Birth?

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7/20/2015 2:15:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Two saturdays ago, I was listening to one of my favorite programs on the radio called "Snap Judgement". On this particular episode, they were telling the story of a researcher who did PET scans of the brains of psychopaths in the early nineties. Not long after that, he went on to scan the brains of people who suffered from Alzheimer's and used a copy of his own brain as the control. In reviewing the copies of the brains of people who had suffered from Alzheimer's, he came across a copy of that which appeared to be one of a psychopath. He peeled back the film to see the name hidden underneath only to realize it was a copy of his own brain.

Of course, he thought there was some mistake. He had never killed anyone. How could he be a psychopath? He sought the opinion of other professionals only to confirm his finding. On telling his wife and his brother, neither one of them was surprised; in fact, they suspected as much. His brother said he (the researcher) would make fun of other people even to the point of total humiliation. Once, while at a clinic in Africa, treating people with the Ebola virus, one of the researcher's brothers paid him a visit. He decided to take his brother to a cave in which many bats infected with the virus roosted; knowing their feces were contaminated, he told his brother not to come in contact with the feces but neglected to tell his brother the reason for his warning. His brother contracted the virus and hasn't spoken to him in years.

He said he knows he should feel empathy for other people but doesn't. He tries to pretend to care about others but feels miserable doing so. He compares his lack of empathy to someone who empathizes with others: Just as most people do not force themselves to empathize with those for whom they feel sorry (It simply comes naturally,) he cannot force himself to be empathetic; it's just not his nature.

In telling this story, it reminds me of "Frankenstein". No matter the extent of Dr. Frankenstein's desire to salvage his creation, it was still a monster. He started off with a damaged brain, and unless he could get his hands on a healthy, vibrant brain, his creation remained damaged goods.

As science uncovers the hidden workings of the mind and realizes we are merely genetically predisposed to behave the way we do, people instead of being more forgiving of one another's shortcomings, I believe will start to think there is no hope for those who are sick. Instead of seeing everyone through the eyes of redeeming grace, we will start to see those who are sick as damaged goods.

I know you may say, "Science is our redemption," "We can treat, therapeutically, that which is broken;" and, by all means, that may be true. But, can we treat people who refuse to realize they are sick? Can we treat people against their will?

The only alternative is to incarcerate the psychopath. However, if we have knowledge through genetic testing a particular fetus has the predisposition for psychopathy, are we morally obligated to abort the unborn child?