In Taiwan, the only international news programs that are accessible are CNN and BBC. A popular commentator on CNN is Dr. Drew Pinsky. He is an attractive spokesman for the medical, psychiatric community. He offers some helpful insights into people's psychological condition and reveals properly that there are frequently medical, physiological reasons for psychotic behavior that led to Andreas Lubitz downing of the Germanwings flight. These conditions frequently require medications that can be helpful, but by themselves will not solve the deeper problems.
What will never be said in these programs is the role that human sin plays in these events. There are many unanswered questions about Lubitz’ motivation. Was it simply psychotic behavior? To what degree was he frustrated, angry with aspects of Germanwings corporate culture? Seemingly he was anxious that his psychological disorder would likely never permit him to be a senior pilot for an international airline. How much did anger, anxiety, self-pity nursed over many years exacerbate the medical condition for which he was being treated? Only the Lord knows and so restraint is needed when accessing the situation.
But there is a problem when a culture lacks a doctrine of sin. It can lead to a naive diagnosis of the problem of our humanity (“it’s simply a medical condition”), and leaves us without the Biblical resources to deal with the deepest cause of our problems which is our rebellion toward God and insistence on making life work on our own terms. Without the diagnosis and remedy for sin, things just happen. It also leaves people ultimately without hope. We wander through life aimlessly and blind. People need more than a medical diagnosis and a medication. They need a sense that life has meaning--now and forever, and a hope that we can be saved from the sins and weaknesses that all of us struggle with.
Two Sundays ago, Katrina Shen shared her testimony of how she came to Christ. She is a brilliant Taiwanese woman who graduated from a prestigious university in England. She grew up in a traditional religious home in Taiwan that offered her no meaning for life. She decided to go into psychology thinking that perhaps if she could understand human personality better it would provide insight into the meaning of life. It did not. She realized that while she better understood human personality, it did not answer the larger questions of who made us, and why are we here on this earth. She was in despair.
At the same time, she was meeting intelligent Christians who began to shatter her image of Christianity. And then she went to Nice, France and met a brilliant young woman who was a Christian. This young woman (as in Pascal's wager) said, "Why don't you try Jesus." So she did. She said immediately there came a new peace into her life. When she came to Taiwan she said nature itself seemed more beautiful and alive. She met Christians who grounded her in the faith both in England and Taiwan, and today she is a bright and shining witness of the power of the resurrection.
This is something that Dr. Drew will never be able to offer his patients and it saddens me. But on the last two Sundays, we were able to celebrate the resurrection which tells us that while we are sinners we have the hope of being rescued and healed through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. The famous painting above shows Peter and John rushing with anticipation to the tomb to see if the rumor that Jesus is alive is true. May all of us rush to the empty tomb to find real and lasting hope for our lives, and our culture.