The Morality Pill

“I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

I know that today it seems like there’s a pill that will fix most anything, but I must admit, I didn’t see this one coming. Molly Crockett, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, is proposing a series of drugs that could become what journalists are calling a “morality pill.”

Crockett says, “Recent studies have shown that by shifting people’s brain chemistry you can change people’s personalities.” One of the chemical candidates for the “morality pill”, that Crockett suggests is a hormone that actually increases a person’s levels of trust, empathy, and cooperation. However, other research suggests the hormone also boosts envy and gloating. Oooops! Almost perfect, I hate those pesky side effects. They can just put that in the reeeeally small print that nobody reads!

All this sounds eerily close to the mind-numbing drug “soma” in Huxley’s “Brave New World,” Soma made everyone relaxed and happy, whether they wanted to be or not. Huxley said soma provided “All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; [and] none of their defects.”

Well there you go. Who knew? We can solve the problems of selfishness, sin, and sanctification all with a pill. And, you don’t even have to believe in Jesus. What could possibly go wrong?

Four decades ago C.S. Lewis addressed this issue; “Free will,” Lewis said, “though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” Lewis goes on: “A world… of creatures that worked like machines—would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight… compared with which… the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water.”

What Crockett and other behaviorists offer is a false morality, a robot-like love that is worthless. Pills cannot fix the human condition. We need transformed hearts that will lead us to transformed lives.

Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”