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Christianity & Mental Illness


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#21 oladotun

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 11:24 AM

So my question is: Does the religion attract people with mental illnesses, or does it cause them? (tongue-in-cheek....sorta...)


That's an excellent question!! I wish I knew the answer to that one. I realize now that one of the things that was making my depression worse was the constant striving to be "perfect" like Jesus was "perfect". constantly striving to be a better Christian who was living a "holy" life.
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#22 oladotun

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 11:26 AM

To be completely fair, I have noticed that this seems to be a US Protestant thing. I have been in and out of the Catholic & Orthodox churches as a lifelong chronic sufferer of severe OCD; and I was never once told that I was "possessed", or that my illness made me weak or sinful. I was encouraged to seek treatment. I have many, many other criticisms of both of these denominations; however, I have to admit that their pastoral response to psychiatric and neurological illness is many cuts above that of the Protestants.

oladotun, I hope that you are doing okay and that your depression is under good control! Best wishes for a good recovery.


I would agree and say that this is probably more of a US Protestant thing. I don't have much experience with the Catholic church, so I can't say that I know what their response would be, but with the Protestant church, in my experience, it has been really negative, to the point, where I just did not talk about it outside of my doctor's office.

Thanks for the best wishes...
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#23 oladotun

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 11:35 AM

I'm probably wrong here, but I think religion facilitates and perpetuates mental illness and attracts the mentally ill. I don't think it causes it though.


I believe you have a point here. I remember when I became a Christian by accepting Jesus as my "Lord and Savior." I was searching for something, for some sense of peace and tranquility. I was also somewhat scared into Christianity by the fear of going to hell after I died if I did not confess my sins, repent and accept Jesus. But I would say that the main factor that attracted me to the faith was a longing for peace, joy and all the other stuff that we are usually promised if we simply "accept Jesus into our heart." And then the cycle of madness started...trying to obey Biblical principles, which are not exactly free from contradiction, trying my best to live "holy" (which usually means, not sinning) and yet having to deal with my own fallibility and struggles with my own mental struggles and pain that was already there before I became a Christian. I can't tell you how frustrating this process is, and then to constantly be given more Bibical principles that would supposedly "free" you of all this bondage, only to be dissapointed in the end...

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that to successfully live what many people call the Christian life, one has to be delusional and have the uncanny ability to lie to oneself about the realities of life. I got sick and tired of doing that....
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