Keeping Your Sanity and Maintaining Your Morality in a Crazy Corrupt University Setting

Posted by on Apr 5, 2017 in Philosophy, Uncategorized


Philip Ney MD 26/1/11


Sad Facts:

1)     Some Christians drop out of university from fatigue. They become tired from trying to fight off doubts and despair.

2)     Some Christians with impossibly bright hopes of changing the world can’t deal with the disillusionment.

3)     Some Christians dissociate. They split their religious from their academic life, studying and partying like everyone else, then attending church to “worship”: on Sunday.

4)     Some may become unnecessarily defensive and angry at the university world for all the disturbing information and temptations.

5)     Some may become so anxious and/depressed they consider suicide or going mad, only to draw back in fear lest they lose hold of reality.

6)     Some Christians may become rigidly religious and tenaciously cling to dogma lest they inadvertently question their beliefs, lose faith and go to hell.


If any of these apply to you or someone you know, listen to what I have learned.



Who are you? You may ask, to know enough about university life and have the audacity to advise anyone. Well, I walked the “hallowed halls” for 50 years, 14 as a student and 36 as a professor, struggling and being guided by God into insights that may be useful to you.  I studied at University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, McGill University, University of London, and University of Illinois. I have taught at McGill, UBC, University of Hong Kong, University of Otago, and University of Calgary. What to me is more remarkable is that although I had some world-class teachers, I had no models and I functioned in a most hostile anti-Christian environment.

I was told, when I first applied for residency training in psychiatry at my alma mater, “You’re paranoid. We don’t have a place for you.” I did obtain a post at McGill but tried to let my little light shine for Jesus. I wrote an article for Christianity Today that was given a lengthy review in New York Times. My very kindly Jewish mentor took me aside and said, “Philip, as your teacher, I must tell you if you do that again, you won’t graduate.”  Yet, by God’s good grace, I became chief resident and teaching fellow in that part of the largest training program in the world (McGill) and was offered a faculty position.

I have been full professor four times, once as tenured chairman. I have also lost 3 positions for being prolife and denied chairmanship in a major program because, “Although you are a well respected teacher, an excellent clinician, do commendable research, and good team player, you are too religious.”


Now I realize that God is always loving and faithful. He is constantly and amazingly friendly. Was it easy? Absolutely not easy but often gut wrenching and sometimes completely confusing. Have I learned anything by it all? As Paul writes, after all the stonings, beatings, ship wrecks, times of freezing and starvation, through it all, I got to know Jesus and that makes all the anguish worth it (paraphrase). Did it make me angry or bitter? Not at all. After 50 years in a well blessed academic and clinical medical practice I am quite fit and alert and haven’t lost my sense of humor. I had a great day on the slopes last week. I challenged Jesus to my sedate style giant slalom. He was laughing at me as I came chugging to finish. As a psychiatrist I can officially attest to my sanity. I’m just a little nutty, like to tease and all that good stuff.


Underlying problems for students and teachers


1)      Garbage in, garbage out

The human brain has immense storage capacity but it is limited. Much evidence shows that if you cram your mind with nonsense, you don’t learn the real stuff so easily.  Moreover, what you see and hear is what you think and say.  And not only is it stupid mostly irrelevant noise but it is usually made up of lies that determine, more than you think, your beliefs and attitudes. TV continually distorts reality but it forms many of your personal philosophies and life changing decisions. For example, you watch a “documentary” on some refugee camp and its success in educating young people.  But what you see is from one angle only, not from behind the scenes where many abuses are occurring. It fails to capture the thoughts of mothers pressured into having an abortion. It is carefully edited to give you the producers take. It does not give you the awful smells and the irritating flies that those people live with. It compresses time so that it (the awful parts) is over in less than ten minutes before you come to the good parts.


2)      Pair bonding

Most Christian students avoid having sex, at least vaginal intercourse because then they lose their “virginity.” As they say down under, “Give me a break mate.” What they don’t realize is that “heavy petty” (mutual masturbation) also results in pair bonding that will last all their lives. Plus it becomes the conditioned and thus preferred sexual behaviour even when they marry. They should also understand that oral and anal sex result in biochemical and immunological changes that may result in infections and cancers e.g. oral skin cancers from HPV from oral sex.  Once they become pair bonded, intense conflicts arise when they realize that what they really want is marriage and babies rather than sex for fun. Or they have become attracted to someone new. Students should realize that there is a strong attraction to the right or wrong person who will enable them to repetitively reenact, unresolved psychological conflicts. Thus, they should avoid marrying the person who “really understands me;” for that person usually is someone who has similar intrapsychic and interpersonal unsolved problems.


Students should not underrate the power of operant conditioning. By it they become conditioned to do, (addicted) whatever they are doing (oral, anal, vaginal, masturbation sex when they have an orgasm). They become conditioned onto (mated) whomever (male or female) or whatever (animal, magazine, internet, etc) they are having sex with when they have an orgasm (classical conditioning). Once conditioned, it becomes an intense struggle to stop. The failure to stop when they want to create psycho-dynamic issues that leave them with lowered self-esteem, anger and pessimism. These three factors (pair bonds to others, operant conditioning, classical conditioning) interfere with joyful, spontaneous sex with their mate, once they are “married.”


3)      Discrepancy between belief and behaviour

Most Christian students will staunchly affirm their belief that all men are equal. Yet they never question their materialistic life style. There is hardly a qualm when they don’t give of themselves and their possessions to others who they know are starving for food, clean water and an education.  They will excuse themselves with, “What do you expect me to do?”  I’m a starving student. Mind you, I am going to Mexico for 2 weeks at the reading break.”


Most Christian students believe “the pre-born baby is as much a person as I am,” but wouldn’t so much as join a Life Chain to mildly protest the murder of these beautiful, innocent, trusting little people.


Many Christian students believe Jesus is the only way, truth and life, but keep very quiet about their faith. “I’m waiting until I graduate and then I will certainly spread the good news.” And there are many more serious discrepancies all of which contribute to a growing imbalance that destroys your vitality, free thinking and joy. It is like trying to run with a full bucket of water in your right hand and an empty one in your left.


Since Rudolf Clausius (good Christian) all scientists, apart from those who cling to the theory of evolution, understand that throughout the universe, all systems are becoming more chaotic with less energy. To postpone their physical demise, humans must maintain a careful balance of physical and mental systems, homeostasis and conflict resolution. If you want more energy to study, run and think clearly, keep your beliefs and behaviors balanced.


4)     Reenacting unresolved conflicts

Why does tragic history repeat? Why are there such high rates of trans-generational child abuse and neglect? Why do women whose mothers have had an abortion, have one or more themselves, even when they have seen the suffering it caused? Is it folly or avariciousness or the Devil? Why are people who swear they will stop what happened to them, happening to others, unable to keep that commitment?


From my research and study, it seems humans are trying to resolve the conflict inside them by restaging it. Subconsciously, intuitively, they carefully pick others with similar problems, fall in love or take a course with an irritating prof (“but he is such a good teacher”) or choose a career that is totally unsuited to their temperament and blueprint. They soon feel uncomfortable. Then they feel trapped, then angry. Then they fight and make up and try again over and over till they quit and take off in disgust.


If you ever ask yourself, “Why do I keep doing this?” “Won’t I ever learn?” Or maybe you keep doing it and don’t ask these questions. Well you should. Because if you gained insight into why you do it, you could stop.


If you don’t you will drive yourself crazy, at least pretty tired, thinking in circles.  Or you could drive your friends crazy, at least tired of you, by incessantly talking about your problem relationship.  Worst of all you could keep repeating your painful past, you will eventually drag your children into your reenactments and “the sins of parents will be visited on their children.”




Almost nothing makes you tired as easily and as quickly as trying to make up your mind on some critical issue like what majors, which career, who to mate with etc.  You go back and forth in your mind, trying to make a rational choice but can’t. You end the day frustrated, tired, mad at yourself (“What is the matter with me?”) and angry at God, (“Why doesn’t He just show me in some definite, concrete and easy to understand manner?)


You resent having to make impossibly hard decisions all alone when it is clear (you think) that God gave all the people of the bible and your leaders “a divine call.” Actually, you are wrong.  God gave very few people a specific call but ordered almost everyone.


You may get a kindly even gentle invitation from the recruiting officer to join the army but once you’re in, its orders everyday for everything. You have to learn to obey before you get the opportunity to volunteer for a special assignment.


Don’t forget Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians who kept taking each other to court. “Hey you people, isn’t there someone among you who is wise enough to make a good judgment? Don’t you know you will judge the angels in heaven?” As a judge in training, you learn by making hard decisions while on earth.  And the crises of making hard decisions is often enough of a catalyst to make you grow up.



There are few times like intensive study to test your determination and courage.  The last thing you want is to be bitten by apathy.  Apathy is prevalent, pervasive and once it has a good hold on you it is hard to shuck.


There are two roots to apathy, which if you understand you can better avoid and beat into submission. Fear underlies the disinclination to forge ahead and “damn the torpedoes.” It is impossible to predict all the difficulties you will run into or even to know how well you will respond to really harsh challenges.  Those who don’t turn away when encountering smaller challenges to do your best when faced with failure at exams, an incurable illness, no source of future funding, family break-up or persecution.

Mountain climbers know that the object of an ascent is not to see an amazing view or to gain boasting rights or to learn new skills but to find out what kind of person you are when the going gets really tough. Whether it’s a new river, unexplored cave, trackless wilderness or trying to be helpful where people don’t understand anything you say, there is nothing like accepting a challenge you cannot fully anticipate in order to teach you endurance, courage and exercising good judgment. Yes what you learn by pushing yourself out of doors does generalize to urban and sedentary situations.


Apathy also is spawned in and grows from conditioned passivity. Whether it is a good sermon, interesting documentary or murder mystery, your enjoyment is reinforcing your passivity. It matters little whether or not it is a good cause, you are less likely to do anything about it because you just sat and watched or listened. Did you ever catch yourself saying, “I’m convinced?” No more sitting on this. I’m really going to do something about this injustice to children in India,” and then find yourself making wonderfully convincing excuses, at least to yourself, why you don’t. Having started (by God’s grace) many non- profit organizations which depend on volunteers, I think I’ve heard them all:


“I’m too busy” (I never met anyone who wasn’t);

“Exams are coming up” (it’s remarkable how they are hovering in the background all year round except during the NHL playoffs);

“The wife and kids come first” (That isn’t what Jesus said);

“It isn’t my passion” (try saying that to all the people who are drowning for any number of reasons then listen to what they are saying to themselves as you walk away);

“You don’t expect me to tackle all the world’s problems” (Don’t worry about my expectations. Just take on one of the world’s problems and go at it as if your life depended on it.  More than you may realize, your life does depend on your loving your neighbors as yourself.);

“God hasn’t called me, at least not yet.” This one always puts a stop to the would-be volunteer recruiter. Check your bible concordance and count the number of times the word ‘call’ occurs compared to ‘command.’ It is about 1 to 100. Yes you are invited (called) by the recruiter to join but once in the army you are commanded to perform your level best.


Later, Later Never Comes


Kids chant this phrase to mildly mock anyone who did not live up to their word.  You may tend to use it to explain to yourself and your friends why you don’t stick your neck out on critical issues like abortion.  It is very prevalent among doctors.  It starts in high school with, “I know its wrong and I should say something about it and I will as soon as I:

… get into a good university” or

… get into med school, or

… get into a good residency program (post graduate specialty training), or

… get my fellowship in surgery, or

… obtain a research grant, or

… get a faculty appointment, or

… become teaching fellow, assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, chairman of dept, and for the very ambitious, dean;

… then I surely will let them all know my true feelings about abortion.”  Only by the time you get to the top where you feel secure enough to speak out, you have made so many compromises and excuses; you have forgotten your essential prolife message.


There is never a good time to say something controversial or awkward, except close to the moment you think of it.  There is no time when it’s safe or when you will feel well accepted. Remember Joseph.  He went from top to bottom and then up to become governor of the land by staying true to his God. From rejected application to prof and chairman, this happened to me.


Summary: Advice from the Old Professor


  1. Know Jesus and maintain your fellowship with Him in the warmth of His Spirit all day long. He yearns to chat with you. If necessary He will make it tough so you will turn to Him.
  2. Count on Him. You have the peace that passes all understanding by knowing He will never let you down. Once His you are always a valued member of His family. “No one can pluck you out of my hand.” (Not even yourself).
  3. Learn the scriptures. They will guide and comfort you when you have no access to any reading material and when you are alone, far from home.
  4. Know good science and how it supports your faith in God. Although things you may be taught seem to contradict God’s Word, take it from this old scientist there isn’t any good science that goes against the good book.
  5. Keep you mind open to what is lovely, especially in Creation. Form and test your own hypotheses. Remember God wants to reveal Himself, especially to those who are truly seeking. There is much about our universe and mankind yet to be discovered.
  6. Be critical of ideas. I know it is hard when you are trying to remember them for exams and your mind tends to automatically reject things that don’t make sense.
  7. Rejoice in how well your faith in God is supported by science. You can even tease your colleagues with, “Now days it takes more faith to be an atheist than to be a theist.”
  8. Learn to observe, make quick decisions, deal with loneliness and enjoy quietness by hiking thru the trackless wilderness.
  9. Dare to be a Daniel. Learn how God uses and protects those who dare to be different.
  10. Gain insight. The quickest and least expensive method is to analyze the roots and reasons for your triggers, excuses and dreams. If you can look into your mind with courage, you have little to fear.
  11. Turn off T.V. etc. Don’t put garbage in your mind. It soaks up curiosity, plugs your circuits, crams your imagination and fuels your avariciousness.
  12. Kick your habits. There are some that are very hard to beat and you may need help. You can start by being brutally honest eg. Count your smokes by the ½ cigarette and plot it daily on a graph.
  13. Avoid narcissism. Advertising based on “Be kind to yourself and buy…” promotes what is not good for you. Your blood pressure etc goes down when you are most involved with someone else. It goes up when you perpetually think about yourself.
  14. Learn to Love a person by meeting his or her needs regardless of how you feel.
  15. Find a good mate by using your head. Don’t go by your emotions. With a good friend you can always fall in love later.
  16. Marry young and go through the tough times together.
  17. Use natural planning methods like “Billings Ovulation Method” (BOM).
  18. Welcome every child you conceive. Don’t even think of aborting him or her.
  19. Avoid kinky sex. The “missionary position” is the best for intimacy and bonding.
  20. Do not compromise on the essentials. God will forgive everything we repent of but He seldom withholds the natural, painful consequences.
  21. Don’t resent struggles and trials. God wants you to be His mature friends.
  22. Get as much input as you can and make a rational decision; always committing your way to the Lord and saying aloud to anyone nearby, “If God wills” or Deo Volente.
  23. Share your faith and joy of our Lord. It is the good, best news there ever was and you will shrivel if you hide it.


And there is much more but I can tell you’ve had enough for today. Don’t hesitate to write, comment and ask questions.


God bless you well … Philip Ney