Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Chicken soup for the Arminian soul

Steven Nemes, Paul Manata, and Steve Hays have already dispensed their sagacious advice to Arminian parents about how to cope with losing their child to Calvinism. Thanks, guys.

That said, and for what it's worth, I'd like to add my two cents'.

Understandably, it's hard for Arminian parents to deal with the overwhelming, undulating emotions from losing their child to Calvinism. So perhaps it might help if Arminian parents better understood some of the medical science behind their grief and depression.

Here is a PET scan comparing two brains - a normal brain and a brain of a grief-stricken Arminian parent:

As one can see, the grief-stricken Arminian parent's brain displays significantly reduced neural activity. Also, note the pattern diminishes in a classical "Calvinist-to-Wesleyan" (C2W) fashion: from a complex chain of Calvinistic cerebral conductive competency to only a few, less than perfect holy hypothalamic "hot spots" left.

Although neuroscientists and neurologists understand much about depression, they don't understand everything. In fact, they're still trying to piece together what precisely causes this sort of depression in Arminians. Broadly, the modern prevailing theory is depression is due to altered brain structure and certain chemical levels. For example, a neurotransmitter known as serotonin seems to be negatively imbalanced.

But serotonin levels aren't the sole problem. Sure, serotonin plays a major and arguably central role in grief and depression. But it's in fact part and parcel of a larger disease process called the Servetus Syndrome, which not only affects the central nervous system but likewise affects the peripheral nervous system as well.

For example, take a look at the following image:

Here we observe the failure of the action potential to properly propagate across the length of the neuron to the presynaptic nerve terminal, thus in turn disallowing key neurotransmitters from traveling across the synaptic cleft to the adjacent neuron. Scientists theorize this is due to an inhibitory chemical enzyme which blocks cell receptors known as the LFW factor. In fact, scientists speculate the LFW factor is genetically inherited. Hence, if we can find the gene(s) which codes for it and manipulate its synthesis, physicians might be able to medically treat the individual predisposed to the LFW factor.

What's more, individuals suffering from Servetus Syndrome have been prone to irrational behavior including concocting semi-fictitious stories about what actually happened to their children (e.g. they weren't so much lost as they were kidnapped by a dreadful Green Baggins monster; or an avaricious James White made mince meat out of them and ate them for dinner). Or having fits of anger to the point of calling their own beloved if lost children "diabolical" and "Satanic."

Of course, while it's been hypothesized there is a genetic component to depression, it's likely environmental triggers to genetically predisposed individuals are involved as well.

Many have undoubtedly heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which often has a gradual onset beginning in late autumn and early winter, though in minority cases onset can be acute.

Epidemiologists and other relevant experts suggest SAD is a necessary if not sufficient causative agent for as much as 75% of patients suffering from depression (based on tests which feature high sensitivity - 99.99%, albeit admittedly shockingly low specificity - 16.89%). With such a strong correlation, it'd be a good idea for distraught Arminian parents living in less sunny climes such as Nome, Alaska, Augusta, Maine, Wilmore, Kentucky, or Lynchburg, Virginia to be aware of this and take necessary steps and precautions to prevent or at least mitigate its affects. After all, to foreknow is to forearm oneself. For example, they might consider undertaking synergistic light therapy or resisting prevenient cloudy or rainy weather patterns. In any case, although it's not guaranteed, one hopes they will persevere through the autumn and winter seasons.

Arminians who are depressed are more likely to attempt suicide. Warning signs include talking about open theism or universal salvation. Or engaging in risky behavior such as threatening to attend Keswick conventions or start Higher Life movements. These are but precursory signals of the downward spiral toward oblivion. Friends of affected Arminians should urgently call a suicide hotline if they suspect let alone observe such symptoms (e.g. 1-800-Free-Will).

Now let's turn to treatment and management options.

There are three main lines of treatment and management which vary depending on the degree of depression: from mild to moderate to severe.

In mild cases, it'd be helpful to take an herbal remedy such as St. John Wesley's wort, pictured here:

However, St. John Wesley's wort is contraindicated with the use of other Johns including Calvin, Knox, Gill, Winthrop, Piper, MacArthur, Frame, etc. Likewise with regard to John-similars such as Jonathans (e.g. Edwards). Thus, the depressed Arminian should make sure to steer clear of using St. John Wesley's wort with the other Johns or Jonathans. Especially since most are derived from tulips which could provoke anaphylactic or anti-proginosko shock in susceptible Arminians.

In moderate cases, the Arminian might take an antidepressant such as Methodoxide or Norepinephremonstrants:

Adverse effects may include general malaise, headaches, nausea, upset stomach, water retention, weight gain, insomnia, and speech impediments including difficulty pronouncing words such as infralapsarianism or supralapsarianism.

Finally, in severe cases, the Arminian who has lost their child to Calvinism might consider the experimental Pelagian Nerve Stimulation (PNS) device:

Although PNS is still in clinical trials, it has proven highly effective in patients who otherwise show no improvement with medication. The PNS device is a surgically implanted micro machine which sends electrical pulses to the brain via the Pelagian nerve and causes significant improvement in the patient's ability to cope with traumatic emotions of depression and grief. In fact, Arminian patients can have full assurance of redemption and restoration of their mental health provided one condition: that they remain attached to the PNS device for life.

The author would like to thank Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones for contributing his medical expertise to the review of the pre-publication manuscript.


  1. *snicker* . . . .Bwah HAHAHA! Brilliant...

  2. Patrick,

    You must have had a good laugh throughout while you were writing up your marvelous piece of satire.

    This post needs to go into the Triablogue Hall of Fame.

  3. We were going to have a Hall of Fame, but halfway through construction someone (I am precluded from identifying said individual until the investigation is complete) decided to use the funds to buy a time machine built from an old kayak he had christened the SS Catherine Deneuve, and he fled with the cash to 1963.

    But I do believe we still have space in the Hall of Infamy.

  4. Whoa, Hall of Fame?! I think you've gotten me mixed up with someone like Steve or Peter or in fact any of the other Tbloggers.

    Instead I deserve something more like the Closet of Incompetence. Or the Nave of Knaves. Or the Doggie Door of Dullness.

  5. Actually, I'm a surfing museum to Patrick's Uffizi.

  6. At the risk of being un-PC and invoking "race" (quite unpopular among the hyper-liberals who post at this blog), I dare say Patrick has a sure spot at the Attic of Alliterating Asians.

  7. While I find it rather plausible, I am still confused!

    Was it the plausibility or the confusion that did it?

    It really isn't that hard to understand the lose of coping, but what's with this cope of losing?

    If you lose you lose so why the coping?

    Next I bet you will go ahead and try to prove Jesus walked on water?