Can psychopaths be saved?

Ghostoflight4637:

why would god make a human who cannot(scientifically) love or feel emotions ?? We know damn well no psychopath will be saved

David Wood was a self-described atheist and psychopath or sociopath, but he became a Christian, and is today a great Christian apologist. Just watch his testimony.

it is just that i have studied them for a long time, and 1 thing i know is every little action they do is in action of what they want out of someone. Pride is their blood and manipulation is their trade. They literally cannot feel empathy. They could shoot a baby in the face and feel no guilt.

1. I understand what you’re saying, but did you watch David Wood’s testimony? David Wood attempted to murder his own father by trying to crack or break his father’s skull. However, later, Wood became a Christian. Today Wood is a popular Christian apologist.

What’s more, Wood’s best friend was the late Nabeel Qureshi. Wood was instrumental in Nabeel becoming a Christian. Nabeel went on to impact thousands if not millions with his life, books, talks, etc. That was in part thanks to former psychopath David Wood who told Nabeel the gospel and didn’t give up on Nabeel. Nabeel writes about this in his autobiography Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. In short, it’s not only possible for a psychopath to be saved, but it’s also possible for the same psychopath to do a lot of good to others and to live for God.

2. David Wood isn’t the only example of a psychopath who became a Christian. The former serial killer David Berkowitz aka “the son of Sam” was arguably a psychopath. However, he became an evangelical Christian in prison after reading Psalm 34:6 from a Bible that another inmate gave him. Berkowitz has even started a prison ministry to help other inmates. He calls himself “the son of hope” now. I didn’t believe Berkowitz’s conversion was genuine at first, but after investigating and researching it, I’m persuaded otherwise. You could start by watching what Berkowitz has said about his conversion on YouTube.

Memories of the Socratic Club

From 1942 to 1955, C. S. Lewis was president of the Socratic Club at Oxford University. The Socratic Club was a student and faculty club dedicated to constructive debates between Christians and non-Christians. It was in this club that Lewis debated Elizabeth Anscombe in 1949. Stella Aldwinckle was the founder of the Socratic Club at Oxford University.


Memories of the Socratic Club
By Stella Aldwinckle

I. The Story of the Patched Shirt

St. Hilda’s has been reconstructed so I don’t suppose any of you know the old entrance to the main house with the enormous hall that ran from the front door and around the corner past a long staircase and ending in a double JCR.1 We were booked to have our Socratic meeting in that double JCR. I got there at about ten past eight for an eight-fifteen meeting. When I opened the door, there were so many people around the door you could hardly get in, and when you got inside, you couldn’t move at all. Someone asked the Bursar whether she could let us move into the dining room, because the double JCR had been full for a long time and the hall passage was absolutely packed with people. So all the paraphernalia were moved, and then the crowd surged into this dining room, and still there was standing room only. The only people who got seats were the two speakers and myself as chairman up on the dais. It was stiflingly hot, of course. And after about ten minutes Professor Joad2 peeled off his jacket (very sensibly), and looked much better. So I leant over to C. S. Lewis, who was the other speaker, and I said to him, ‘Why don’t you take off your jacket also?’ And he leant back to me and said in a whisper, ‘Because my shirt is patched.’

It’s a funny story, but I also felt very moved by it, because here was a man who must have been earning thousands of pounds a year, and yet he has his shirt patched so that he could give the money away.

II. The Socratic Club

The objective of the Socratic Club was to have an open forum for both atheists and Christians. It was a very lively club, and we used to go on talking under the street lamps until two or three in the morning.

Some people, of course, were much readier with their questions than others, and sometimes, I think, freshers would be a bit nervous about piping up. But I can remember as though it was yesterday, I was in the chair and people were sitting (as always) on the floor, and on my right, sprawled on the floor, was a young fresher. He joined in the discussion rather a lot, and I thought to myself: that young man is going far. His name was Bernard Williams.3

Over the years, the club became more technical. I suppose that was because we had so many dons: we hardly ever had a paper from someone who wasn’t a don or a professor. They got interested in strictly philosophical questions, and that’s how it started drifting. I think it’s a great pity myself; it might have been a good thing to ask some undergraduates who weren’t reading philosophy to present papers. But of course it was a pleasure to have such distinguished speakers. Austin Farrer was one of the outstanding ones. Mascall4 used to come a lot, and Dorothy Sayers, too, came and gave us a paper.5 Among Lewis’s fellow Inklings, Owen Barfield came and gave us a paper, just the one.6 And I think Charles Williams did, though I’m not absolutely certain of that.7 Our furthest traveller came from France: the philosopher Gabriel Marcel.8 He came and talked to us, but I must admit that we didn’t have to pay all his fare, because we were sharing him with someone else.

I know that many people appreciated the Socratic very much. In fact, Professor Grensted,9 who was professor of Christian philosophy at Oriel, reckoned that the Socratic Club was the most important thing that had happened in Oxford during the war. He judged it was so important to have tackled the issues: to bring out agnosticism and atheism instead of having a rather hush-hush attitude to it, as it had been before the war. Between the wars, it was very much the case that people with an attitude of that sort hid it. But I think the climate is changing now, because of the threat of nuclear war. People changed rather from being cocky agnostics to being rather listless ones.

III. C. S. Lewis at the Socratic Club

C. S. Lewis himself always came. He came to every meeting, eight meetings a term, unless he was actually ill or had to attend something in London. His support was simply wonderful.

In meetings, he was never ever dogmatic or domineering. He would listen sympathetically to the other person’s point of view and would comment helpfully, not antagonistically. Because, you see, we weren’t debating. In a debating society you are out to score points and to win the votes. But we were Socratic, that is, we wanted to get to the truth of things, and to follow the argument in good faith and good temper wherever it went.

IV. The End of the Socratic Club

The Socratic Club lasted for more than twenty-five years. In fact, we had a sherry or claret party for our twenty-fifth anniversary, to which Elizabeth Anscombe came. But the intellectual climate changed very much over the years. Agnosticism grew a great deal, and people developed the habit of having very small little meetings in their rooms, simply inviting a few friends. So the club dwindled, and when Lewis got a professorship at Cambridge, it fell off, partly because he wasn’t there. Basil Mitchell, our second president, then still at Oriel, carried on very eloquently, but of course he had not exactly the gifts that C. S. Lewis had had that made such a difference to the meetings. At our last discussion about the club, he said, ‘Oh well, I don’t think the climate is any longer suitable or inviting to support such an endeavour. We’d do better to close it down.’ And I agreed with him. Then he murmured something about ‘perhaps in the future there might be a time when we could begin again.’

Notes

1 This is a condensed version of a Q&A given on 24 January 1984. A JCR or Junior Common Room is a campus space set aside for undergraduate socializing.
2 C. E. M. Joad (1891–1953), English philosopher and broadcaster.
3 Sir Bernard Williams (1929–2003) became one of the most significant English moral philosophers of the twentieth century. Williams began his career as a Prize Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and was later Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge, Provost of King’s College, Cambridge, Deutsch Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford, before returning to All Souls for his final years.
4 Eric Lionel Mascall (1905–1993), University Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at Christ Church, University of Oxford.
5 ‘Poetry, Language, and Ambiguity’ on 3 June 1954 (with Austin Farrer).
6 ‘The Nature of Meaning’ on 11 February 1952.
7 ‘Are there Any Valid Objections to Free-Love?’ on 2 March 1942.
8 ‘Theism and Personal Relationships’ on 16 February 1948 (with L. W. Grensted).
9 L. W. Grensted, D. D. (1884–1964), Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion at Oriel College, University of Oxford.

I met Messiah

Some interesting testimonies of Jews who believe Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah:

1. At about 5 mins 30 secs, he says he saw a vision of Jesus on the cross.

2. He has stories about the demonic and other “supernatural” events in his life.

3. At about 2 mins, he talks about how his ear-ache was healed after the sacrifice of a lamb. At about 6 mins 30 secs, he talks about how God healed his son.

4. She seems a bit flighty, but at 1 min she talks about how her mom prayed for her healing from spinal meningitis and she was healed.

5. At about 3 mins, he said he was going to kill himself, but when he arrived at his house, a Christian friend had somehow coincidentally arrived and shared the gospel with him. At about 5 mins, he talks about crying out to Jesus, then having (literal? metaphorical?) smoke disappear, and his room flooding with light.

6. At about 3 mins, he describes how he prayed for his son to be healed of a bone tumor, and his son was healed.

7. At about 1 min 45 secs, she describes a dream where she believes she saw God and heaven.

8. At about 2 min 15 secs, he describes how his brother was healed.

9. Famed scientist James Tour meets Jesus. At about 4 mins, he describes how he “sensed” Jesus was in his room as he prayed for forgiveness.

10. At about 5 mins, she talks about her experience “meeting” God as she read the Gospel of Matthew. She always wanted to be loved, and she finally found that love in turning to God through Jesus.

11. At about 4 mins, he talks about “encountering” God. Taste and see.

12. A Jewish physician always wanted to “know God”, but he felt he could never find God. He finally found God after reading Isa 53 and realizing it was talking about Jesus. What this physician couldn’t do to reach and know God with all his davening and mizvot, Jesus did for him so he could know God.

13. This is “just” Jews and Arabs worshiping Jesus together. As noted in the comments, too bad mainstream media outlet CNN doesn’t cover this!

Between two boundless oceans

argonath

I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of life, between two boundless oceans. (John Wesley)

Humanity stands between two infinite or near-infinite worlds at multiple points. As if occupying every center betwixt a star in orbit around a black hole.

  1. The macroscopic and the microscopic. On the one hand exists the macroscopic world of stars and planets, black holes and wormholes, constellations and galaxies. On the other hand exists the microscopic world of cells and molecules, atoms and quarks, particles and waves. Worlds ruled by general relativity, worlds ruled by quantum mechanics, and an endless expedition to discover the theory of everything.
  2. One two three…infinity. Along similar lines, mathematics seem to extend forever in “both” directions. Positive and negative integers. Rational and irrational numbers (real numbers). Transcendental numbers, imaginary numbers, and complex numbers. Zero and infinity.
  3. Past and future. What stretches past the beginning of time? What will happen at the end of time?
  4. Light and darkness. The one bleeds into the other in a line with no beginning nor end. Take night and day waxing and waning into one another. Week after week, season after season, year after year. Dawn and dusk, twilight and daybreak, sunrise and sunset.
  5. Before and after life. We were born. We will die. Both life prior to birth and the afterlife are shrouded in mysteries. Every once in a while we catch a glimpse of eternity (e.g. NDEs), but the ghostly veil never fully lifts to reveal what lies behind.
  6. Good and evil. We are not pure goodness; we are more adept at plumbing the depths of evil. What lies in each human heart is Eden invaded, paradise overrun, a once glorious land in ruins as orcs and trolls feast on its spoils. We are in need of help, for we cannot help ourselves to reach the good. We are in constant danger of forever falling into evil, the yawning mouth of the abyss opening wide beneath us, but from where will our help come? Not from ourselves, for we are a lost race. Decades of empirical evidence on the news alone bears that out.

I’m sure examples could be multiplied.

In short, we are fragile and finite creatures whose hearts could stop, whose breaths could expire, who could be forever snatched away from life at any moment. We are utterly dependent creatures; our creatureliness is inescapable.

Yet, here we stand, a little sod of mud or clay between infinities. Should not this humble us? Should not this awe us? Should not this induce us to wonder? Should not this inspire us creatures to inquire about our Creator?

We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. (Acts 14:15-17)

Evangelism

I’m not sure if this is a true story or apocryphal, but it makes a valid point:

One day a lady criticized D.L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody’s reply was “I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?”

The lady replied, “I don’t do it.”

Moody retorted, “Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”

Adventure is out there

adventure

Some people attempt to paint John Chau as an “adventure junkie” and “thrill seeker”.

1. As far as that goes, aren’t most young men quite “adventurous”? Maybe not to Chau’s extent, but I suspect inside most young men is the same drive or impetus to adventure, exploration, doing something “great”. It’s a difference of degree rather than kind.

If so, the criticism really amounts to “take your zeal down a notch or two”, doesn’t it? However, is it even possible to rein in such zeal?

Rather than attempting to rein in such zest for life, why not redirect it? Instead of criticizing Chau for being an “adventure junkie”, why not use that “adventurous” spirit to good ends?

If self is the end, that’s such a small goal to live for. It’s so mundane to live for oneself. That’s what everyone else does. So many people drive fast cars, travel around the world, hook up with girls, collect seashells. Don’t waste your life!

Aim for something higher and greater than what’s on the horizon in front of you. Aim for the highest and greatest good of all, God himself.

As John Piper has said: Risk is right. If it comes down to it, it’s better to lose your life for God than to waste it on yourself.

2. Here’s Elon Musk talking about going to Mars:

Musk says there’s little chance of success and a high chance of death in attempting to travel to Mars, but there will still be people who will want to go, because these are the same sorts of people who want to climb Mt. Everest or plant a flag at the South Pole. Such people, Musk concludes, “like doing it for the challenge”.

It’s the same spirit of adventure and exploration that inspired Europeans to travel to the New World or Americans to go westward ho! What pushed David Livingstone into the heart of Africa and Neil Armstrong to the moon.

In that respect, there might have been no stopping Chau. He was going to venture forth on some risky or crazy endeavor regardless. That was his personality. If he wasn’t a Christian, perhaps he would have died high-lining, wing-boarding, space-diving à la Felix Baumgartner, rock-climbing Half Dome in Yosemite, or volunteering to go to Mars.

3. I think there are at least two types of men. I suspect most men have the impetus “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, but men differ in their approach.

On the one hand, there are men like Chau. Trailblazers, pioneers, pushing the boundaries, stepping into the unknown, with little regard for their safety, improvising as they go along.

On the other hand, there are men who prefer to play it safer, use tried and true methods, roll their sleeves up and do the hard grunt work, establish a secure base of operations, plan and plod resolutely toward a singular goal or vision.

Neither is better than the other. Both are needed in missions work. In fact, both often complement one another in missions work.

However, I wonder if part of the problem isn’t that the “planners” are judging the “pioneers” using their own standards or expectations? That is, some people who are planners in mentality are criticizing Chau because they would prefer if Chau had done things their way. For example, to them, Chau seems “reckless” even though Chau took many precautions. They see things from their vantage point, not Chau’s.