Spiritual source for Crime

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I recently read a blog from a dedicated Christian Ph. D. asserting that research points to the pursuit of the American Dream as a source of criminogenic behavior. In response, I penned this alternative theory:

Although scholars can contribute tremendous, nuanced insights to this important topic, perhaps a deeper, underlying issue is at work. People might commit crimes for reasons other than just psycho/social pressures stemming from the American culture. Perhaps they have a spiritual nature which suffers from an unredeemed imperfection called 'sin'.

Greed, lust, anger and power-addictions, and all their criminal manifestations, might be symptoms of man's desire to be God. If the real creator-God does not fill one's spiritual void because we've repelled Him through sin, we could then reasonably postulate a vacuum within that individual's spirit which hungers to be filled with all the toys and trappings of the American dream.

If I can't have the real thing, and the hunger just doesn't disappear, I'll be driven to accept a man-made substitute. Then, without a legitimate, socialized means to contain those powerful motivations, one might turn to anti-social, impulsive, even criminal behavior to either narcoticize the pain or to corruptly satisfy those illicit cravings. Admittedly, this is not an evidence-based theory, but human history provides powerful anecdotes as a witness to its legitimacy.

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Eric Samuelson

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