What is Normal?


What's Normal?A random rant about what exactly normal is supposed to mean when applied to us humans!

This morning there was a big discussion as to whether ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) is genetic or environmental. Researchers had discovered that 10% of a scientific sample of 366 diagnosed with ADHD had an apparently genetic cause. (This means that 90% are a result of their environment!)

As with other ‘social diseases’ or personality disorders somebody, somewhere seems to be deciding what the definition of ‘normal’ is and therefore defining what is not.  Please challenge this in your mind next time you listen to these debates – who exactly is defining ‘normal‘ for us all? It is a sinister thought!

In 1973 David Rosenhan ran a study that involved putting 12 fake patients into psychiatric hospitals, behaving entirely normally and noting whether they were discovered. None were. The second stage asked the doctors to identify the fake patients. Many real patients were suggested, the report concluded “”It is clear that we cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals“!

On the radio a guy who has created a new website www.ashleymadison.com with the slogan “Life is short, have an affair” He said that “Monogamy places a serious stress on marriage” Now who is to say that monogamy is or isn’t normal?

So here are two points:

1. Many folk may wonder where the idea of morals came from if there is no God. Perhaps (they suggest) humankind created a set of morals in order to add authority to a set of arbitrary do’s and don’ts that kept everyone in order. For example marriage seems an effective way of keeping the genes going.  But if you stop for a moment you will realise that if we are made of the same stuff today but with greater intelligence, how come the moral ‘norm’ has developed into such an unuseful way of preserving our genes?  The only truth that fits the evidence is that far from a moral code inventing a god, it was God who invented a moral code. After all he should no better than anyone how we should run things?

2. Despite the common view that God is a pleasure-pincher and only stops us having fun, in reality he is the only person able to give us the secret of true joy and contentment.  You may well bleat that living without him is liberating but my experience of a secular society is the opposite, it erodes real pleasure and makes us chase after empty or shallow contentment. And here’s the thing, God loves people that aren’t normal!  You can choose to be locked into the straight-jacket of secular conformity or released into genuine freedom of spirit by someone who’s motivation is care rather than control.

Rant over!

About David Allsopp

Married, 4 children, Christian, Head of IT
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