Psychopaths & Sociopaths
in Scripture, Psychology, & Real Life

 

Beloveds, holy kisses.
    Today's article delves into psychopathy and sociopathy, subjects unsettling and complex. A word of caution: some of the content in this article will be especially disturbing for some individuals. Please read with discretion and prayer.


Preface
 

Like narcissism, the terms psychopath and sociopath get overused and misused in Western pop culture. Much of the confusion is caused by armchair support groups colonizing large chunks of the internet. These well-meaning groups offer a mixture of accurate psychology, cherrypicked studies, rejiggered psychology, and personal opinion atop unhealed pain (caused by said psychopaths and sociopaths). If you spend significant time in one of these groups, hearing some of the excruciatingly sad stories, you will start to think your golden retriever is living a double life as Cujo.
    The terms psychopathy and sociopathy are not official terms. They are a type of professional vernacular, terms used in various professional settings, but not officially cataloged as such in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). To minimize confusion, let's begin by defining terms and referencing what the DSM-5 does catalog.


Defining Terms
 

What is often termed psychopathy or sociopathy the DSM-5 catalogs as antisocial personality disorder (APD). Here is their verbatim definition, shortened at certain points for brevity:
 

"A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
 

  • Failure to conform to social norms concerning lawful behaviors. (shortened)

  • Deceitfulness, repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others. (shortened)

  • Impulsivity or failure to plan.

  • Irritability and aggressiveness, often with physical fights or assaults.

  • Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others.

  • Consistent irresponsibility, failure to sustain consistent work behavior, or honor monetary obligations.

  • Lack of remorse, being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another person."
     

Psychopathy & Sociopathy
    The DSM-5 was released in 2013. A great amount of new research, however, has been conducted in the last decade. The research indicates there are two expressions of APD, and, indicates the DSM-5 describes sociopathy only, but not psychopathy.
     Sociopathy fits the DSM-5's full description. Psychopathy, however, diverges at multiple points. Psychopaths, research increasingly shows, are not impulsive or fail to plan. Rather, they are chillingly calculated, even ceremonial, in their antisocial projects (like a spider spinning a web). Two, psychopaths do not display hypersensitive irritability and kneejerk aggression, because, research indicates, their brains fail to scare and arouse them sufficiently or at all. They might not punch you in a fit of anger, but the brakes in your car, mysteriously, might not work. Three, psychopaths can be exceptionally responsible vocationally and financially, i.e., white collar psychopaths who run successful businesses, or stay in political office, or are successful lawyers, or are successful surgeons, or stay in religious leadership, for long periods of time. A significant percentage of individuals in these power professions fulfill psychopathic criteria (the percentages vary based on the study's design).

 

Same Tree, Different Branches
    
APD expresses as both psychopathy and sociopathy at the baseline level: "A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others..." This is where the two are essentially one and the same, and why many professionals use the terms interchangeably. Beyond the shared tree trunk, however, sociopathy branches into a chaotic and impulsive expression, while psychopathy branches into a calculating and more intelligent expression. Both dispense "a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others", however, one expresses like a horsefly and the other expresses like a spider.

 

Divergence of Causes Also?
    Psychopathy and sociopathy not only diverge in their expression, but, many researchers, clinicians, and criminologists believe, also diverge in their causes. Psychopathy, according to some professionals, is caused mainly by psychological, physiological, and genetic factors, while sociopathy is caused by micro and macro social forces around the individual. In psychopathy, the syndrome is in the psyche and/or physiology (hence the term psychopathy), in sociopathy, the syndrome is social, in the social pressures and coping behaviors (hence the term sociopathy). As we will see in a bit, Scripture vehemently disagrees with secular psychology's cause for psychopathy.


Psychopathy
 

From here forward we will focus exclusively on psychopathy. I feel sociopathy--and its antisocial, hyperdefensive, chaotic, impulsive, aggressive, lashing out behaviors--is more obvious, easier to understand, and easier to find in Scripture (diagnostic verses and remedial verses). Psychopathy, however, is far more enigmatic and far more sinister. And most importantly, God's Word addresses psychopathy very, very differently than sociopathy.


Statistics & Figures
 

The following figures are according to Psychopathy Is, a professional, research, and clinical organization devoted to the subject. I have added interpretive notes here and there.
    Approximately 30% of the American population have low, medium, or high levels of psychopathy. That means roughly 100,441,580 people in our country behave psychopathically to some degree. Regarding high or severe psychopathy, the type most people are aware of and afraid of, the percentage is estimated at 1-4%. This percentage is variable depending on how full psychopathy is defined and nuanced.
    Studies indicate psychopathy is twice as common in males than females. I do not believe this figure is conclusive and here is why. Female psychopaths tend to use sexuality as the vector of their psychopathy, like the two Jezebels in Scripture, Judy Buenoano (known as "the black widow"), Jodi Arias, and Amy Dunne in the movie Gone Girl. Consequently, to avoid public exposure and fallout, or because of embarrassment at being gotten by a woman, many men simply do not report or acknowledge their experiences with a female psychopath. Additionally, behavioral differences between men and women also account for female psychopaths slipping under the radar. Men are more likely to kill while women are not. Additionally, there is far less research on female psychopathy versus male psychopathy.
    Studies indicate 16-25% of the male prison population satisfy the criteria for full psychopathy. 1% of non-institutionalized males (men still running loose in the population) are psychopaths. Psychopathic individuals are responsible for 30-40% of all violent crime in the United States, costing the criminal justice system $460 billion every year, making it the most expensive mental health condition in existence. Offenders with psychopathy are more than five times more likely to re-offend.
    Psychopathic minors are over four times more likely to use a gun during a crime than non-psychopathic minors.


Examples
 

Who are some real-life and cinema examples of full psychopathy?
 

Male Examples
    The first psychopath in human history was Cain. This is not simply because he killed Abel; people kill for a variety of reasons under a variety of mental states. Notice how Cain killed Abel and how he acted afterwards (Gen 4:8,9). In a distinctly psychopathic spidery fashion, he designed Abel's murder--out in a field distant from the house, where wild animals, and especially vultures, could obscure the evidence. When asked by God about Abel's whereabouts, Cain's response was chillingly ice cold, showing zero conscience, and glibly sassing back at God like today's psychopaths always do under formal police interrogation.
    In the modern world, Dennis Rader is an example. Rader was married, had two kids, served in the U.S. Air Force, graduated from Wichita State University, worked as a compliance officer, served as a boy scout leader, and was the president of Christ Lutheran Church. He murdered ten people and eluded authorities, astonishingly, for three decades.
    Rader was caught in 2005 when police tricked him into sending them a floppy disk, which they "assured" him could not be traced. Up until that time he had been taunting the public and law enforcement, sending anonymous messages to the media and leaving little clues. (The floppy disk would contain more mini-clues.) The floppy disk had old metadata from a Microsoft Word document Rader previously saved on it. He deleted the document, but the deeper disk still had the metadata. The disk traced back to the church, Christ Lutheran Church, where Rader was the president of the church council. Rader was shocked and angry the police lied to him.
    There are numerous depictions of psychopathy in film, from Wall Street psychopaths to corporate psychopaths to religious/ideological psychopaths to sexually predatory psychopaths to violent psychopaths. Many of these movies are unwatchable for Christians, but two are definitely worth watching: Mission Impossible 5 and 6, the character Solomon Lane. Both are rated PG-13 and are fantastically entertaining. Lane is an ideological psychopath, identical in kind to other ideological psychopaths in real life, like Charles Manson (Helter Skelter, social re-engineering), Osama bin Laden (Islamic hegemony), Adolf Hitler (Germanic hegemony), and as recent events have freshly revealed, Vladimir Putin (Russian hegemony).

 

Female Examples
    The preeminent female psychopath in the Word is Jezebel. This is not simply because she killed and killed a lot; people kill for a variety of reasons under a variety of mental states. It is how she killed and how she acted afterwards that reveal full psychopathy. Read 1Kings 21:1-16. Jezebel did not kill Naboth in the heat of passion, or in the fog of war, or under the momentary spell of sociopathic hysterical rage. Like a cold-blooded reptile, she methodically organized his murder, even doing it through intermediaries and not directly dirtying her hands (like Manson, bin Laden, Hitler, and Putin). When all was said and done, she robotically told her husband to confiscate Naboth's land.
    In the modern world, Judy Buenoano, nicknamed "the black widow", is an example. Buenoano methodically planned the killing of multiple men in her life--father in-law, husbands, lovers, even her own son--to collect life insurance money. She used poison, an "accidental" drowning, and even a car bomb. Buenoano was finally caught in 1983 after investigators had suspicions following the car bomb that sent her fiance, John, to the hospital. Buenoano was executed via electric chair in 1998, Florida's first execution of a woman since 1848. She denied everything to the very end.
    Numerous films also depict female psychopaths, two of the most memorable being "Annie Wilkes" in Misery and "Amy Dunne" in Gone Girl. If you are interested in watching these, do your own content research and pray for the Lord's illumination. I do not give legalistic "thou shalt nots" about the majority of movies, I simply urge you to do your own content research and ask the Spirit of wisdom to guide you at the level you are at.

 

Summary
    In all these examples, do not focus on the homicide, which a person can commit for a multitude of reasons. Observe, rather, the consistent attributional themes: the pathological calm, the reptilian coldness, the spidery calculation, the above average intelligence, and as the DSM-5 states, the pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights and well-being of others.


Psychopathy in Scripture
Description

 

The Word of God, also, details psychopathy. It describes the condition, almost word for word, the same way behavioral research does. However, Scripture and psychology give curiously different causes for the condition. Psychology points to a psychopath's genetics, physiology, and psychology as the main cause; Scripture presents a very, very, very different, and remarkably specific, cause. We'll get to that in a sec, but first, Paul's description.
 

Paul's Description of Psychopaths
    Romans 1 contains the most detailed and sequential description of psychopathy. Paul repeats himself in other passages, and the wider Scripture reiterates the same concepts. At the very end of Romans 1, in verses 29-31, Paul lists the symptoms of a person who has descended to a psychopathic or reprobate status (Young's Literal Translation, underline mine):

 

...having been filled with all unrighteousness, whoredom, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil dispositions; whisperers, evil-speakers, God-haters, insulting, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, unintelligent, faithless, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful...
 

    First, notice God says, two times, this kind of person is "filled with" and "full of" some of the most heinous forms of evil. When we say "filled with" and "full of" we tend to do so as hyperbole, as linguistic exaggeration for effect, not literally. When God says "filled with" and full of" He is being literal. These adjectives tell us a psychopath has reached a literal totality or uttermost or fullness of evil. God spoke identically about the sin of the Amorites in Genesis 15:16 (NIV): ...the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.
    Second, Paul says these kinds of individuals are "full of...murder". Full of murder? See the equivalence with "serial killer"? Not all psychopaths are serial killers in the sense of homicide, however, all psychopaths are conceptual serial killers in that they have a pervasive pattern of disregard for the well-being of others. They always bring some form of murder, literally or conceptually. They cannot help but kill, harm, take, and exploit. Paul used three other terms to scaffold this idea: covetousness, malice, envy. James ties all these words together into one straightforward explanation (Jas 4:1,2 ESV, underline mine): What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel... James is not referring to psychopaths specifically, but showing how covetousness, malice, and envy lead to strife, violence, and murder. Paul, though, is saying the psychopath will have all these traits to the fullest and grimmest, especially the end-trait: murder in some form.
    Third, Paul says these individuals are "full of...evil dispositions...inventors of evil things". It is relevant that this description parallels Genesis 6's description of pre-Flood humanity right before God's global judgment. Genesis 6:5 says (KJV): And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The perfect equivalence of Paul's description and Genesis 6:5's description indicates Romans 1:29-31 is not a general description of fallen humanity. Rather, the subcategory Paul is describing here profiles people who have devolved into a fullness of evil.
    Furthermore, not only are these individuals full of evil dispositions, they also invent new ways of doing evil, Paul says. Again this parallels Genesis 6, when the world of that time invented a shocking new way of doing evil: creating Nephilim. Paul's words describe psychopathy with anointed precision. If you read the stories of psychopaths, a consistent theme is their above average creativity in carrying out their psychopathic goals. It is bone-chilling how good they are at being "inventors of evil things".
    Fourth, Paul mentions a universally known attribute of psychopaths: the lack of conscience and normal human feeling. The YLT uses the terms "without natural affection" and "unmerciful". The ESV translates the Greek more strongly, as "heartless" and "ruthless". The behavioral sciences pinpoint this trait as one of the top three indicators of psychopathy. Paul ends his lengthy sermonette in Romans 1 with this very same trait. Psychopaths are heartless and ruthless. They have a cauterized, nonfunctioning, deadened conscience. 1Timothy 4:2 (NKJV) reiterates: ...having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.

 

Recap
    A quick recap of Romans 1:29-31. Paul tells us, one, psychopaths have devolved into a literal fullness of evil, telling us (twice) they are "filled with" and "full of" heinous forms of wickedness. Two, they are "full of murder", making some of them literal serial killers, and others, serial killers in the conceptual sense of pervasively exploiting others short of homicide. Three, they are "full of...evil dispositions...inventors of evil things", meaning, they have an above average shrewdness in carrying out evil ideas and impulses. Four, they are heartless and ruthless; their conscience is cauterized, deadened.

 

Reiteration in 2Timothy 3
    2Timothy 3:1-9 is a profile of both lifestyle narcissism (also called malignant narcissism and sociopathic narcissism) and psychopathy. Some terms refer to one or the other, while some terms overlap and refer to both. Regarding psychopathy, watch how Paul reiterates the profile from Romans 1:29-31. 2Timothy 3:2-7 (ESV, underline mine):
 

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
 

    The words "heartless, unappeasable" reiterate the nonfunctioning, cauterized conscience. The words "abusive...brutal" reiterate the trait "full of murder". The word "treacherous" reiterates the psychopath's duplicitous cunning and intelligence, as do the phrases "those who creep into households" and "always learning" (re: "inventors of evil things" from Romans 1:30).
    2Timothy 3:8 uses an important word that will segue us into the next section: reprobate. Here is the full verse in the KJV (underline mine): Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.


Psychopathy in Scripture
Cause
 

What psychology calls a psychopath (psychopathy), Scripture calls a reprobate (reprobation). If you do not understand this tremendously important doctrine, you will not see psychopathy the way the Lord does. The Word gives us a distinct cause for this condition, and it is a universe of difference from psychology's proposed cause. Back to Romans 1.
 

The Devolution Into Psychopathy/Reprobation
    Romans 1:18-32 describe, in surprising detail, the descent of a person into psychopathy. Paul uses the term reprobate to identify these individuals (verses below). Let's follow Paul's explanation.

 

(1) A person is exposed to the truth of God, but says No.
    The descent into psychopathy or reprobation begins with a person's exposure to God's truth, but rejects it. This is how it begins, the initial downturn. Here are the key phrases from Romans 1:18-23 (NKJV, underline mine): ...men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them...they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened...changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image...
    This passage does not refer to the primitive tribe in the Amazon who has never heard the gospel. Paul is careful to articulate these individuals deliberately "suppress the truth" and "knew God" (a basic awareness or theism, not the born-again knowing) and "exchanged the glory of God for idolatry". These phrases clarify that Paul is referring to individuals who had distinct opportunities to be born-again.
 

(2) The person continues to reject, but also subvert and pervert, the truth.
    Paul uses three phrases to describe how this person continues devolving into psychopathy: they (i) suppress the truth, (ii) knew God but did not glorify Him as God, and (iii) exchanged the glory of God for idolatry. They not only resist the truth over and over and over, they go further by fighting the truth and creating alternate truth. Paul reemphasizes this point in verses 25 and 28 (NKJV): Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator...they did not like to retain God in their knowledge...
    In 2Timothy 3:5,7,8, Paul reiterates how the person devolving towards reprobation keeps rejecting, subverting, and perverting the truth (NKJV, underline mine): Having a form of godliness, but denying the power...never able to come to the knowledge of the truth...these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

 

(3) God eventually stops pursuing the person and rejects them permanently. He gives them over to a reprobate condition.
   Do not believe the sloppy agape error that "God never gives up on anyone" or "No one is too far gone". I will show you definitive scriptures, starting in Genesis and ending late in the New Testament, that directly state God does not wrestle with a person forever. Eventually He stops pursuing them and gives them over permanently to reprobation, or psychopathy.
    Genesis 6:3 (NKJV): And the L
ORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever..."
    
See that? God will not strive with, contend with, wrestle with, and pursue people forever. The result of this declaration was the wiping out of the pre-Flood world.
    Proverbs 29:1 (NIV): Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
    
Young's Literal Translation renders Proverbs 29:1 like this: A man often reproved, hardening the neck, is suddenly broken, and there is no healing. Same idea as Genesis 6:3. God will not keep rebuking and reproving and pursuing a stiff-necked person forever. Eventually they will be "destroyed" or "broken" with no turning back, no remedy, no healing possible.
    Jeremiah 6:30 (KJV, underline mine): Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the L
ORD hath rejected them.
    Because Judah persisted as "stubborn rebels" (v28 NKJV), because "the smelter [God] refines in vain" and "the wicked are not drawn off" (v29), God gave them up entirely as reprobate or rejected silver (v30). An identical passage is Jeremiah 7:27-29. Here God used the illustration of Jeremiah cutting off his hair and throwing it away permanently, in the same way "the L
ORD has rejected and forsaken the generation of His wrath" (v29). The Hebrew word for "rejected" here (maas) is the same as 6:30's "reprobate" (maas).
    Romans 1:24,26,28 (KJV, underline mine): Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness...For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections...as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind...
    
The Word says here, three times, God "gave up" those that kept saying No to Him over and over and over, and continued to subvert and pervert His truth. In the underlined phrase, Paul says God gave them over to a reprobate condition.
    2Timothy 3:8 (KJV, underline mine): Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
    See how Scripture repeats the same principle from beginning to end? A person who keeps resisting the truth eventually crosses God's red line, and as the underlined phrase says, becomes "reprobate concerning the faith".
    Titus 1:16 (KJV, underline added): They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
    Same principle. Unto every good work...reprobate.

 

Recap
    What psychology calls a psychopath Scripture calls a reprobate. Psychology and Scripture describe psychopathy in the exact same way behaviorally, with identical constructs and even identical terms. The doctrine of reprobation, however, gives us a very different cause for psychopathy than psychology's proposed cause. The descent into psychopathy or reprobation begins with (1) a person's exposure to God's truth, but rejects it. (2) The person continues to reject, but also subvert and pervert, the truth. (3) God does not wrestle with the person forever. Eventually He stops pursuing them and gives them over permanently to reprobation, or psychopathy. After they cross this red line they can no longer be saved, healed, remedied. Note this critical fact: this is why secular psychology says there is no treatment whatsoever for a psychopath.


Psychopathy a Central Feature of the Last Days
 

In 2Timothy 3:1-9 Paul profiles narcissism and psychopathy alternatingly, telling us both will crescendo and max out in the last days. Some terms refer to one or the other, while some terms overlap and refer to both. Here are verses 2-7 with my underlines (ESV):
 

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
 

    The words "heartless, unappeasable" describe the psychopaths cauterized and deadened conscience. The words "abusive...brutal" reiterate Romans 1:29's "full of murder". The word "treacherous" touches on the psychopath's duplicitous cunning and intelligence, as do the phrases "those who creep into households" and "always learning" (re: "inventors of evil things" from Romans 1:30).
    We do not know the day or the hour our King will come for us, but He commanded us to know when the final period of human history has arrived. 80% of Bible prophecy (2,000 of 2,500 prophecies) has been fulfilled, with another 5-10% in the process of being fulfilled. One of the clearest fulfillments of last-days prophecy is 2Timothy 3:1-9. Are Paul's words on increasing psychopathy being fulfilled in our day? In less than one hundred years the subject of psychopathy went from total nonexistence to constant research, endless numbers of books and movies, and insatiable private and public interest in the subject.


Grand Summary & Takeaways
 

One, what is often termed psychopathy or sociopathy the DSM-5 catalogs as antisocial personality disorder (APD). The DSM-5 was released in 2013, and since then, a great amount of new research has been conducted. This research indicates there are two expressions or branches of APD, and, suggests the DSM-5 describes sociopathy only, but not psychopathy.
    Two, APD expresses as both psychopathy and sociopathy at the baseline level: "A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others..." This is where the two are essentially one and the same, and why many professionals use the terms interchangeably. Beyond the shared tree trunk, however, sociopathy branches into a chaotic and impulsive expression, while psychopathy branches into a calculating and more intelligent expression. Both dispense "a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others", however, one expresses like a horsefly and the other like a spider.
    Three, the majority of psychopaths are not violent (homicide, sexual crimes, etc.), they are "white collar psychopaths". These men/women run successful businesses, or stay in political office, or are successful lawyers, or are successful surgeons, or stay in religious leadership, for long periods of time. A significant percentage of individuals in these power professions fulfill psychopathic criteria (the percentages vary based on the study's design).
    Four, the behavioral sciences and Scripture describe psychopathy with an almost word-for-word equivalence. Both describe psychopathy with identical behavioral terms and concepts. Scripture does not use the term psychopath, it uses the term reprobate.
    Five, psychopathy, according to some professionals, is caused mainly by psychological, physiological, and genetic factors. Scripture vehemently disagrees with secular psychology on this point. Scripture attributes psychopathy/reprobation to an obvious, observable sequence in a person's life: (1) They are exposed to God's truth, but reject it. (2) They continue to reject, but also subvert and pervert, the truth. (3) God does not wrestle with the person forever, but eventually stops pursuing them and gives them over permanently to reprobation/psychopathy. After crossing this divine red line they can no longer be saved, healed, remedied. This is why secular psychology says there is no treatment whatsoever for a psychopath.

 

Takeaways, Cautions, Responses
 

Resist casually flinging terms around from deeper pain or frustration. The terms psychopath and sociopath are flung around emotionally and unsmartly these days. It is easy to do when you have been hurt or consistently frustrated by someone selfish. Certainly there are full sociopaths and psychopaths among us, but we need to understand these terms more carefully, how the Word and research define them, and only use them when a person's comprehensive personality and behavior fulfill the entire criteria over time.
 

Differentiate full psychopathy from isolated psychopathic behaviors or moments. As I mentioned above in the Statistics & Figures section, approximately 30% of the American population have low, medium, or high levels of psychopathy. Regarding high or full psychopathy, the type most people are aware of, the percentage is estimated at 1-4%. This number is variable depending on exactly how full psychopathy is defined and nuanced.
    These numbers tell us a chunk of people, roughly one-third, might behave psychopathically in isolated contexts or isolated moments, but may not be full psychopaths God has given over to reprobation, or, who are imminently dangerous. Think of the apostle Paul who, before his born-again transformation, watched coldly and approvingly as an innocent man, Stephen, was being murdered (Ac 7:58, 8:1). In the context of his severely toxic religious obsessions, he continued to enable the murder of innocent Christians (22:4, 26:20). He later admitted he, too, was "a violent aggressor" (1Ti 1:13 NASB). Paul, however, was not a full psychopath or reprobate. His psychopathic behavior was isolated and contextual, it was not comprehensive to his entire personality and life. And when given the opportunity, he was born-again.
    Differentiate full psychopathy/reprobation from isolated psychopathic behaviors or moments. Romans 1:29 says full psychopathy is "being filled with all unrighteousness...full of"--not lower levels, not moderate levels, not isolated behaviors, not isolated moments--but filled with and full of the entire diagnostic description of psychopathy and reprobation.

 

Tremble at the terrifying seriousness of saying No to God. Like everyone else, psychopaths, too, were given a heart and conscience by the Maker. Scripture says, however, that conscience became "seared" or cauterized into total deadness (1Ti 4:2). This happens when a person repeatedly ignores their conscience's moral accusations, and, by repeatedly ignoring the drawings and speakings of the Holy Spirit in their life. Hebrews says sin tricks a person in this way. It is pleasurable or soothing for a time (Heb 11:25), but in the quiet subconscious background of the soul it is concurrently hardening (3:13), numbing, and ultimately, deadening the heart and conscience. When a person reaches this level of sinful fullness, Paul says they have "ceased to feel" (Eph 4:19 YLT) because of a cauterized conscience (1Ti 4:2). Whether you, the reader of this article, are born-again or not, tremble at the terrifying seriousness and dark butterfly effect of saying No to God's love and truth.