Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sinful or just sick?

The following quote is from Hobart Mowrer, "Sin, the Lesser of Two Evils," American Psychologist, 15 (1960): 301-304. Mowrer was an atheist, and he committed suicide in 1982 at the age of 75. He was a professor at Yale, Harvard, and president of the American Psychological Association.

"For several decades, we psychologists have looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus, and acclaimed our liberation from it as epic-making. But at length we have discovered that to be free, in this sense to have the excuse to being sick rather than being sinful, is to court the danger of also becoming lost.


This danger, I believe, is betokened by the widespread interest in existentialism which we are presently witnessing. In becoming a-moral, ethically neutral, and free we have cut the very roots of our being, lost our deepest sense of selfhood, and identity. And with neurotics themselves, we find ourselves asking, who am I, what is my deepest destiny, and what does living really mean?"

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