"The key to understanding the Bible is to look for Jesus in the Bible. Jesus is the hero of the Bible. If you read the Bible and don't find Jesus, re-read it! The Bible has one hero, His name is Jesus; one villain, that is Satan; one problem, that is sin; one solution, that is salvation. That is what the Bible is all about." -Dr. Adrian Rogers

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do Sociopaths Have a Conscience?

“What about sociopaths? These are people who have been clinically evaluated and have nothing of what and I would normally call a conscience. Did God overlook them when He was handing out our sense of right and wrong?” –JD

Absolutely not! I am not sure if you are thinking of anyone in particular, but I certainly do not know of anyone who started out as what people commonly call a sociopath. Most of these people—with some exceptions—were fairly normal growing up. Most of these people participated in extracurricular activities, they had normal relationships, etc. However, somewhere along the road, something happened that changed them completely.

Most people will disagree with me on this, but I believe that the majority of these people were simply just misguided children. The majority of these people are very brilliant people. It takes a lot of thought and planning to do the things that these people do. Therefore I feel that someone just failed to take that energy and enthusiasm and channel it into something good.

The people that I have talked about thus far do have a conscience. If you will look at the case of Andrea Yates, you will see that she was very methodical in what she did to her five children. People that legitimately do not know right from wrong are not methodical. On the day that Andrea Yates murdered her five children, she waited until her husband had left for work and then she drowned each of her five children—one by one—in the bath tub. After she had successfully drowned all five of her children, she called 911 and then she called her husband to come home from work. This woman clearly knew what she was doing, and had been planning it for some time.

Andrea Yates proves that sociopaths do indeed know right from wrong; therefore, they do have a conscience. People who do not know right from wrong do not think; they just act. If Andrea Yates had no perception of right and wrong, she would not have methodically drowned her five children; she would have spontaneously murdered them without any previous plan to do so.

There are only two types of people that legitimately do not know right from wrong. Those people are young children who have yet to develop a sense of right and wrong and people who have been born with a mental handicap that prevents them from having a sense of right and wrong. These are the only people who cannot face judgment in Hell. These are people that are mentally incapable of comprehending what they are doing.

I have a friend whose mother takes care of a teenage girl who was born with a mental handicap. She is also deaf and cannot speak. She is incapable of doing anything on her own. If someone were to give this girl a gun, I suppose she could shoot someone. However, she would have no sense of what she had just done; therefore, she could not be held accountable for her actions.

My overall point is this: if a person can comprehend what he is doing, he does indeed have a conscience. All such people will be held accountable for their actions on Judgment Day. Romans 2:15 says that God’s Law is written upon our hearts; therefore, we have no excuse for disobeying it.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting example that you raise. Without even going into the role that religious beliefs played in Andrea Yates' crime, she suffered from psychosis and schizophrenia and was not diagnosed as a sociopath. There are similarities, but that is a different form of mental illness. I'm not sure what point you are trying to make about her being methodical.

    Sociopaths often fully comprehend what they are doing, they just don't care because their lack of empathy has prevented development of what you refer to as a conscience. You even use the terms "young children who have yet to develop a sense of right and wrong" which implies that said sense is developed in one's upbringing (which is in fact the case) - not innate.


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