Using Christ as the epitome of the martyr, some have attempted to define the Christian martyr as a first-class egotistical, fanatical narcissist for whom nothing else counts except the unbrokenness – the unfragmented purity and integrity, if you will – of the self-image. This attitude and disposition was termed “extraordinary.” The Christian martyr was also defined as starving of all natural desire, to attain this unattainable fantasy-based goal.
In the attempt, however, to explain the martyrdom of Christ’s human nature from within such a weak – starving – purported viewpoint of psychology, these writers failed, intentionally or otherwise, to consider five basic facts (four of them spiritual) that cannot be reduced to mere psychologizations. These facts are that
- Christ was the only-begotten Son of God (the Father);
- The difference between image and likeness in the nature of mankind;
- The ontology of the extraordinary;
- The natural desires experienced by Christ the Man; and
- The real reason He died on the Cross.
Specifically, Christ was not just a Man, but also the Son of God the Eternal Father. As such, unlike the rest of mankind (common man), Christ did not have just a human nature and a human will, but also a divine nature and the Divine Will. Although He deliberately divested Himself of His divine nature at the very instance of His human conception.
Christ the Man was conceived with the image of God intact within Him, as the said image is, indeed, similarly imprinted and retained intact within the immortal souls of all mankind – the only creatures who have been, are, and will keep on being thus created, from among all creatures, until the end of all time. However, because He was God in His own right and the Son of God, unlike common man, Christ the Man was also conceived with the fullness – the unbrokenness, the unfragmented purity and integrity – of the likeness after God. A fullness present, to date, in no other creature after Adam and Eve (first created man and first created woman) right from the very instance of conception, except for the Virgin Mary, the human mother of Christ.
It is precisely because Christ the Man was conceived with and retained within Him, throughout His entire life, the fullness of both the image and the likeness, that He in no way ever experienced what was termed a “starvation of desire.” On the contrary. Christ the Man experienced within Himself the very fullness of all the natural desires granted to common man by God, from the beginning of the creation of man. However, Christ deliberately, by His human will both fully immersed in the Divine Will and in accordance with the latter, did not act upon one of those desires even when tempted to do so, because He was fully cognizant of the real reason why He had been conceived as a Man in the first instance.
The Ontology of the Extraordinary, Narcissism, and the Christian Martyr
The attitude and the disposition of the Christian martyr were defined as characterized by “extraordinary concern” for the unattainable fantasy-based goal (narcissism). In other words, a pathological attitude and disposition, if the basis for such reasoning is assumed to be the modernist holdout of clinical wisdom in psychology, of the norm of the third standard deviation (3rd SD) on the standard normal (z) distribution scale of probabilities, for psychopathology to be present. But the uncritical acceptance of the 3rd SD norm as clinically significant, without further examination, begs the questions:
What is extraordinary? What is ordinary?
The ordinary in mainstream psychology has, for the larger part of the 19th and 20th centuries, generally been considered that which falls loosely under the wide middle of the Bell curve. Anything external to that particular delineation has generally been considered extraordinary. However, without even needing to turn a further eye to the underlying methodology and standardization populations of the z distribution scale itself, the former aforementioned considerations – in reality, considerations of probabilities – have failed to account for the fact that
- Psychology as a field is the creation of men;
- It has always been a field predominated by Anglo-Saxon ideology because of its roots, particularly as manifested through its Austrian, British, German, and White American (WASP) schools of thought and practice;
- Psychology has, to this day, largely failed to effectively account for the high prevalences of attitude and disposition variants (diversity of attitudes and dispositions) present among, for example, racial minorities (to mention just one significant group of non-WASPs), without not-so-infrequently stereotyping and pathologizing the said attitudes. This has resulted in a statistically significant number of false positives (Type I errors), particularly in Western countries;
- Psychology appropriated its pathophysiological notions of the ordinary and the extraordinary from the field of medicine, especially Western-based medicine, to become more acceptable to medical professionals; and
- Its current, mainstream notions of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the normal and the pathological, have, not infrequently, been derived not from empirical evidence – indeed, this has often been ridden roughshod over – but from politically and financially motivated committee selections and personally motivated voting. This particularly applies to the methodologies underlying the clinical taxonomies of the DSMs (and related ICDs) released after 1987, both at the Axis I and Axis II levels – the ‘bibles’ of psychology and psychiatry.
Furthermore, psychology, due to its man-made nature but not limited to this factor, has spectacularly failed to effectively account both for the true nature of man and the prevalences and diversity of spiritual experiences among mankind, without resorting to reductionistic pathologizations and practices in compensation for its structural, theoretical-conceptual, empirical, systemic, and practical inadequacies. A very significant lack and limitation, given both the nature of man and the stated aims of the field, which psychology itself, in this 21st century day and age, is just starting to publicly admit to and attempt to remediate – so far, without effect. Hence manifesting to what degree psychology, in reality, both was and still is a starving field, despite its accomplishments to date and the unceasing desire of many of its practitioners that it be all-encompassing and all-providing.
What is extraordinary, therefore? What is ordinary?
If the attitude of the Christian martyr is seen from the lens of spirituality instead of that of purported psychology, it is easy to recognize that the claimed “extraordinary” is not so extraordinary after all, in the pathological sense of the word, because man was, in reality, created by God, for God; to return to God (particularly the Father and Creator) and become god by grace – deified man, which he was always intended to be and, indeed, was. Hence the ordinary and the real in relation to the nature of common man, and the very reason for his existence – an ordinary and a real that was and always will be, until the end of all time. It is for that specific reason that Christ the Man died: to open up the pathway so that common man could, indeed, return to God and live in the fullness of both the image and the likeness – the ordinary and the real – in every dimension of his being, for eternity; not to selfishly and narcissistically restore His own self-image for His own self-gain. It is also a spiritual and physical reality seemingly far, at present, from the immediate horizon of considerations of these writers, but which exists nonetheless – and not just for the select few, but for the many. An attainable, reality-based goal, courtesy of the freely-available divine grace of God the All-Encompasser and the All-Provider.