Life and Human Dignity

The Point: Diagnosing Fallen Humanity


John Stonestreet

Sickness or sin?

According to USA Today, the World Health Organization now classifies “sex addiction” as a mental health disorder. Experts applaud the change, saying that the reclassification removes the stigma around sex addiction. Instead of being thought of as a matter of morality, it’ll be a purely medical issue, one expert noted.

Addictions, like mental illnesses, are among the consequences of the fall, but it’s not accurate to say that our addictive tendencies are without moral guilt. As C .S. Lewis notes in his essay “The Humanitarian View of Punishment,” attempts to remove moral culpability are actually dehumanizing.

After all, if a person’s problem is sickness, not sin, that means he needs treatment, not forgiveness and restoration. It’s salvation, not treatment, that ultimately fixes bad moral choices. A person addicted to pornography didn’t catch it like the measles. They clicked. Addiction is the product of moral choices.

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