For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 1)
I recognize for many Christians, the title of my post may seem shocking.
Please bear in mind I did add a qualifier; I said “for most.” I concede there may be a tiny percentage of people out there who claim that Bible reading, or accepting Christ as Savior, or some other Christian-spiritually-related means, lifted their mental health problem.
What I say in this post can apply to any (to maybe all) mental health problems, but I mainly would like discuss these subjects with depression and suicidal ideation in mind.
I was undecided about writing a post about Christianity vis a vis mental health issues for this blog, until I saw Christian apologist Ray Comfort interviewed by Matt and Lori Crouch for a new movie about suicide he’s releasing (called “Exit: The Appeal of Suicide”) for a television program called “Praise” on TBN last night (July 24, 2017). Snippets from the film were shown during the “Praise” program.
Not only did Comfort discuss depression and suicide in this program in and of themselves, but he sort of veered off into the issue of how, supposedly, lacking faith in God and God’s promises, or holding on to disappointment or bitterness can eventually, several steps down the chain, lead to one dwelling on suicide as an option.
I find that to be a somewhat separate issue from depression or suicide proper, so I may return to that later on in this post – if at all.
In the majority of the interview I watched on TBN, the fact that many Christians suffer from depression was barely acknowledged, other than Matt Crouch mentioning that his mother, Jann Crouch (if one assumes she was a “true” Christian), struggled with depression for many years.
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS CAN AND DO ALSO STRIKE DEVOUT CHRISTIANS NOT ONLY NON-CHRISTIANS OR BACK-SLIDDEN CHRISTIANS
Other than that, I don’t recall any acknowledgement being made in this show that Christians can and do suffer from depression, as well as anxiety and other mental health disorders.
For most of the program, Comfort seemed to be assuming that only Non-Christians can be depressed or mull over suicide.
Comfort seemed to assume that the main reason, or only reason, why depression and suicide has increased in American culture (or world wide) is that many cultures have stripped God away from the public discourse, and secularism has made headway in most cultures.
Comfort may have briefly mentioned evolution as playing a role as well, in that he said something about how kids today in schools are taught they are nothing but clumps of dirt who are here by random chance (I forget the exact wording he used), and that teaching people this sort of thing leads them to believe they are worthless.
I won’t really dispute that removing God from public life or promoting evolution may or can cause some people to lose a sense of meaning or purpose, or play into a feeling of hopelessness. Comfort may be right in assuming or arguing all that.
What troubled me was the emphasis of Christian spirituality as a “cure” for suicide or depression, which was put forth by both Comfort and the host, Matt Crouch. Crouch, for one, kept saying on this television program, that Jesus was “the answer” for suicide.