Tag: psychology

Religion, Justice and The Just World Hypothesis

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Can religious beliefs actually retard our intuitions for justice and fairness? Research seems to suggest it might well. The Christian religion has imbued Western thought with the fundamental belief that God presides over a just world – one where sin is punished and rightly-held beliefs and actions are rewarded. We see this attitude in every aspect of human interaction. Today, in some sparkling sports stadium an earnest athlete is bound to thank his deity of choice for the good fortunes that befell his team or his game changing performance. By extension, the loser ( a value loaded word if ever there was one) will decry his lack of luck. From the Book of Job to Pinocchio and Cinderella, this belief in what some psychologists call “immanent justice” or “The Just Word Hypothesis” seeks to explain our plight and our success. It also hardens our attitudes about the poor, victims of crimes and those folks either buoyed or sunk by pure chance.

The Book of Job gets us into the mindset. A saintly man if ever there was one as the Bible itself acknowledges, God allows Satan to test Job with all manner of suffering to determine his worthiness. Stripped of his wealth, prestige and power, Job then loses his children and ultimately his health and vigor. Still, Job endures and never ever curses his fate – or his God. He does consult his friends for some inkling as to the cause of his travails. Their answer, which comes like a thunderclap is: “Behold,” one of them declares, “God will not cast away an innocent man, neither will he uphold evildoers” (Job 8:20). Classic “Blame the Victim” mentality from this coterie of advisers.

Puzzled but resolute, Job however concludes that despite his worldly righteousness, he can never know divine justice and according to the story prostrates himself silent before his Master’s “Just World.’ For that, he is rewarded with the resumption of his wealth and status. He even replaces his children with seven new ones. The clear message to the world however is the same: God handles the world’s justice and we are powerless to exact our own except on only the most superficial level.

Jesus himself gets in on the act in the New Testament. Addressing the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount, he has two distinct things to say about justice and our expectations of it: Blessed are…..those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (Matt. 5:6) and Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10). In modern speak, “Don’t worry God will handle it in his own way and, if you let him do so, you’ll get the whole enchilada. The pearly gates, the mansions, those singing and harp-playing cherubim … you, my faithful believer, get it all.”

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Should Child Corporal Punishment Be Prohibited by Law? Psychological Research And Current US Policy

Submitted by Kimberly Dienes, guest blogger.

ss_101833846This week on Wednesday, the state Appellate Division of New York determined that open-hand spanking of an 8-year-old boy at a party was ‘a reasonable use of force.’ According to an article published on the case in the New York Daily News, the perspective that spanking does not constitute “excessive corporal punishment” is a common finding in courts across the country, regardless of the type of spanking (hand, spoon, or paddle), and the frequency and duration of spanking (several times a day, once a week, one spank, 37 spanks). After yet another case involving child corporal punishment has hit the courts, we must turn once again to the question of whether child corporal punishment should be regulated, or perhaps even prohibited, by law.

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Kentucky Psychology Board vs. the First Amendment. Oh My!

Submitted by Charlton Stanley (aka Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger

John Rosemond syndicated columnist psychologist
John Rosemond

Kentucky Psychology Board SealSixty-five year old North Carolina family therapist John Rosemond was having a day much like any other day last May, until he opened the certified letter from the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In a Cease and Desist letter, the Kentucky Attorney General advised him the Kentucky psychology licensing board had determined that by publishing an advice column in the Louisville Herald-Leader, he was practicing psychology without a license. The letter warned him that if he did not cease and desist, he faces criminal penalties which includes both fines and jail time. The Attorney General thoughtfully enclosed an affidavit which John was to sign and return, promising that he would forever give up his life of crime.

You read that right. John Rosemond, syndicated columnist, is being threatened by the Commonwealth of Kentucky that he might face stiff fines and jail unless he stopped writing his advice column in Kentucky newspapers. Naturally, John did what any self-respecting reporter or columnist would do. He got a lawyer. He contacted Jeff Rowes of the Institute for Justice who agreed to take the case, and last July 16, Mr. Rowes and local counsel, Richard Brueggeman, Esq., filed a 45-page lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

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What is mental illness? Where is the bright line drawn?

Submitted by Charlton Stanley, guest blogger
(Otteray Scribe)

Image What is mental illness?  It’s a hot topic in the news recently, because of proposed gun control legislation. I saw a photo yesterday of people holding up a huge sign saying, “Keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill.”

There is far more to the demonization of the mentally ill than just the firearms issue. It spills over into the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation. It is not just guns; it is airplanes and trucks as well. This brings us to the core question of, “What is mental illness?”  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) is the current handbook for classifying mental disorders.  DSM-V is in the final stages of development and will be published in May 2013. That is only next month.

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