Chapter 3 contains “an eyewitness account of the disappearance of sin”.
Psychiatry is an art. An analyst can be both right and wrong at the same time. Menninger was correct in presenting an incorrect interpretation. He “heard” a pattern in popular and intellectual discourse and guessed what it indicated.
What was that pattern? The word “sin” had disappeared in current “prophetic” discourse (such as the editorial page of the New Yorker).
For example, Menninger described the horrible – over the top – village massacre by Lt. William Calley during the Vietnam War. None of the “prophetic” Progressives called it a “sin”, even though they dramatically condemned the massacre.
What did the disappearance indicate?
Perhaps, the “prophets” forgot or misplaced their definitions of “sin”.
Menninger offered this definition: Sin is a transgression of the law of God; disobedience of the divine will; moral failure. Withdrawal, supererogation, and self-absorption are characteristics of “sin”. Sin has many implications: guilt, answerability, responsibility, confession, attrition, reparation, repentance, forgiveness, atonement and many more.
Many psychological “scientists”, such as Behavioralists and Psychiatrists, rejected the concept of “sin”, plus all its implications, because the idea was not “scientific”.
Perhaps, they rejected it for other reasons.
“Sin” did not belong to the emerging symbolic order.