Study: Belief in an angry God associated with variety of mental illnesses

Commentary By Gordon King

I ran across this article and found it to be quite interesting.  Not that I believe in what it says, I most assuredly do not!  But, this is how the secular world views bible believing, God loving Christians!  They are classifying us as mentally ill.  What’s next?  Forced psychotropic drugs?  Mental health facility incarceration?  FEMA camps for the mentally ill? 

An angry man holds a Bible and a crucifix. Photo: Shutterstock.com.

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 10:19 EDT

People who believe in an angry, punishing God are much more likely to suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, a scientific study published in the April edition of Journal of Religion & Health finds.

The study, conducted by Marymount Manhattan College Assistant Psychology Professor Nava Silton, used data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey of US Adults to examine the links between beliefs and anxiety disorders like social dysfunction, paranoia, obsession and compulsion.

To do this, Silton viewed the data through the lens of what’s called Evolutionary Threat Assessment System Theory, which posits that parts of the brain specifically evolved to detect threats, and suggests that many anxiety disorders may be a result of dysfunction in the brain’s perception of those threats.

In keeping with prior studies on this very subject, she queried the data on three types of believers: those who see God as angry, those who see God as neutral and those who see God as loving. Controlling specifically to weed out the non-believers, Silton found that a belief in a forgiving, loving God is associated with positive psychological traits, “almost protecting against psychopathology,” she told Raw Story.

But for those who think God is angry and preparing punishments for sinners, “that belief seems to be very much related to these negative symptoms,” Silton said.

“If you look at the previous research, they’ve connected it to depression and all sorts of other psychiatric disorders,” she said. “We were looking at social phobia, obsession, compulsion, paranoia and a lot of features of anxiety disorders.”

One thing Silton stressed is that her study should not be construed to have found a cause for such symptoms. “We are not looking at casual findings here,” she said. “We are looking at correlational findings. That means we’re not saying belief caused psychiatric symptoms, but we see relationships between beliefs and these psychiatric symptoms.”

Silton said that while her study was mostly quantitative in nature, she’s looking forward to “asking more qualitative questions” in future work, specifically “to look into what else belief systems might be related to.”

“We’d like to look more specifically at depression and eating disorders,” she said. “Do different beliefs in God relate to eating disorder symptoms? So, [we want to be] looking beyond just anxiety disorders.”

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Time: Your child’s religion may be ‘mental illness’

‘Overzealous practice of family faith may be a sign of an underlying issue’

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SOURCE

According to an article published this week on Time magazine’s website, your child’s “fastidiousness to religious practices” may be a sign of mental illness.

“Religion can be a source of comfort that improves well-being,” begins the article by author Francine Russo. “But some kinds of religiosity could be a sign of deeper mental health issues.”

In the article titled “Can Your Child Be Too Religious?” Russo continues, “If your child is immersed in scripture after school and prays regularly throughout the day, you may breathe a sigh of relief. She’s such a good girl. … Or maybe not. Your child’s devotion may be a great thing, but there are some kids whose religious observances require a deeper look. For these children, an overzealous practice of their family faith – or even another faith – may be a sign of an underlying mental health issue.”

The article explains therapists report seeing children and teens who dive into excessive religiosity as an unhealthy coping mechanism, a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, that’s “no more spiritual than fanatical hand washing.”

The article describes a type of OCD called scrupulosity, where children “obsessively worry that they have committed blasphemy, been impure or otherwise sinned” and warns against religious delusions or hallucinations that parents may be less attuned to “when it occurs under the guise of faith.”

Russo suggests parents evaluate whether faith is a “source of strength” in their children or whether “religious practices and rituals seem to be overtaking their daily lives and displacing their normal activities.”

If the latter, she lists a few guidelines recommended by “experts” for guiding your child through a discussion on faith and seeking counseling, if necessary.

Though the article affirms religion “can be a positive force in the lives of children, just as can be for adults,” Ken Shepherd of the media-bias watchdog organization Newsbusters argues Russo and her list of parental guidelines neglect the true place and power of faith.

“Oddly missing from that list of suggestions was attending religious services with your teen and/or talking to his/her pastor or rabbi to get his perspective on how your child is walking in his/her religious devotion,” Shepherd commented. “It’s also telling how religion is seen as primarily about what the practicing teen is ‘getting out of it’ or ‘makes him feel’ rather than an experience whereby the teenager is seeking to worship God and discover eternal truths about His character and will.”

Shepherd also criticized Time for running the article only a few days before the Easter holiday.

“On some level, this sort of foolishness is to be expected from liberal secular publications,” he continued, “but it’s rather telling that on the holiest week in the Christian calendar that Time magazine is trying to stoke fear in parents – and presumably a predominantly secular parenting demographic, given the magazine’s readership – that teens who are religious, particularly those in more conservative denominations, might not be so right in the head.”

WND Columnist Dr. Lee Hieb also has joined the conversation on the issue.

“I see this one coming. This is a one-two sucker punch let loose in the name of civil society and treatment of poor mentally ill people. The government lets us Second Amendment people keep guns, but only if we are not mentally ill – and it is the government which will define ‘mentally ill.’”

She continued, “Psychiatry is a dangerous weapon in the hands of the state. We cannot cede to the government authority to define mental health, nor allow mental health ‘experts’ to decide our fitness to exercise our constitutional rights.”

California Senate approves $24 million for gun confiscation program

Darrell Steinberg,
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) gestures at a pair of semi-automatic rifles as he discusses a package of proposed gun-control legislation last month. The first bill was approved Thursday. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press / February 7, 2013)

Patrick McGreevy

L.A. Times
March 8, 2013

The California Senate approved a $24-million expenditure on Thursday to speed the confiscation of guns from people who have been disqualified from owning firearms because of criminal convictions or serious mental illness.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said budget cuts to the Department of Justice have hampered a program that targets people who purchased firearms legally but were later disqualified because of a subsequent conviction or determination of mental illness.

As a result of the cuts, there is a backlog of 19,000 people who have improper possession of more than 40,000 guns, including 1,600 assault weapons, and the number is increasing faster than their firearms can be confiscated.

Read full article

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