Psychopathy and the Southern Baptist theology of conversion



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Purpose: The purpose of this study has been to determine whether or not the psychopath is emotionally capable of the experience known in Southern Baptist theology as conversion. A secondary purpose has been to bring together in one study the related areas of religion and psychopathy. This has not been done in any previous studies. Method: The method used in the study was: (1) to review the literature which establishes the psychopathic syndrome, focusing on the work of the McCords reported in their book Psychopathy and Delinquency; (2) to review the literature published by Southern Baptist writers as it releases to the Southern Baptist understanding of religious conversion; (3) to present the case studies of four psychopaths who claim to have undergone a conversion experience of the nature described by Southern Baptists; and (4) to set out conclusions based upon the research represented in the literature and the behavior demonstrated in the case studies. Findings: From the material presented in this [illegible] 1. Because the psychopath feels little or no guilt, he cannot meet the first requirement for conversion as Southern Baptists view on it, namely, conviction for sin or feelings of guilt over the awareness that he is a sinner. 2. The psychopath finds faith or trust, as Southern Baptists speak of it, to be rather meaningless because he cannot form a relationship that demonstrates a relationship of depth. 3. Religious conversion implies a change in behavior. This study reveals that although the psychopath may speak of change and even use a religious language, there is no actual change in his behavior. 4. It was observed that the psychopath uses religion as a means to his own selfish ends. The church becomes a tool to be used in his purposeless and aggressive way. 5. The psychopath, in view of the above conclusions, is emotionally incapable of the religious conversion as it is expressed by Southern Baptists.



Conversion., Psychology, Pathological.