• For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 2)

For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

A lot of Christians out there, especially hyper conservative ones who distrust secular (or even Christian) psychology or psychiatry, incorrectly want to attribute most mental health problems to personal sin only, and they will often prescribe ineffective means of solving mental health problems, such as, accepting Jesus as savior, Bible reading, church attendance, faith, prayer, volunteering at charities, etc.

I would add Christian apologist Ray Comfort to that list, at least somewhat. Comfort does not strike me as being as severe in those views as other Christians I’ve come across, though.

As I explained in Part 1, Comfort has recently released a film called “Exit: The Appeal of Suicide” that he was interviewed about on TBN the other night. He seems to feel that only Non-Christians, or Christians who lack a faith in God’s promises, will suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts. I disagree.

BIOLOGICAL CAUSES

I suspect that depression and anxiety may be partially based in biological causes in my own family, because it runs on both sides of my family.

My mother’s side had a lot of anxiety and depression, and there were a lot of suicides on my father’s side of the family tree.

CANNOT BE TREATED OR CURED BY WILL POWER ALONE

This brings me to another point: a lot of Christians shame people, especially other Christians, for having mental conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

Christians treat having a mental health problem as a spiritual failing (such as having a lack of faith), or as a matter of will power: if you just tough it out and pick yourself up by your bootstraps, you can halt the mental disorder. That is not how mental health works.

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• For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 1)

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.

The “Exit” movie has its own website. There is a trailer available for the Exit movie on You Tube.

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.

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• ‘Submit to Your Husbands’: Women Told To Endure Domestic Violence In The Name of God (via ABC Aussie news)

‘Submit to Your Husbands’: Women Told To Endure Domestic Violence In The Name of God (via ABC Aussie news)

The article in question:

‘Submit to your husbands’: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God by Julia Baird,  Hayley Gleeson, via Aussie ABC news

My introductory comments:

Complementarians like to insist that their gender theology has nothing to do with domestic violence, but funny, isn’t it, how so many Christian wives who divorced their abusive Christian husbands remark how their husband would sometimes cite male headship or “wife submit” type Bible verses or complementarian concepts to justify their abuse?

I think it’s very deceitful for complementarians, on the one hand, to prop up this view that says it’s God’s (God’s! – talk about taking God’s name in vein) design for a husband to be in a boss-like or deity-like position of authority over a wife, but then feign ignorance at being able to connect the dots at seeing how such a sexist view could of course be used and misused by a husband to abuse his wife physically, emotionally, financially, or by some other means.

Most of the complementarian husbands who are not abusing their wives are not living out complementarianism proper, or taking to its logical conclusions or abusing its inherent unfairness to women, but are living out egalitarian marriages in practice (their marriages are complementarian in name only, which even complementarian Russell Moore pretty much recognized).

For complementarians who like to proclaim the “no true complementarian” fallacy (“no true complementarian husband would ever abuse his wife”), especially in regards to the correlation between domestic violence and complementarianism, I point you to this page on another blog:

John Piper and the No True Complementarian Fallacy

For those complementarians who like to say complementarianism properly carried out and practiced is acceptable and not violent or sexist, I point you to this post on my blog:

Even Warm and Fuzzy, True, Correctly-Implemented Gender Complementarianism is Harmful to Women, and It’s Still Sexism – Yes All Comps (Refuting “Not All Comps”)

Here again is a link to the Aussie ABC news article, with portions of the article reproduced below (in my view, all of this, or about all of this, is applicable to American complementarianism and American Christianity):

‘Submit to your husbands’: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God by Julia Baird,  Hayley Gleeson

Snippets:

Research shows that the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically. Church leaders in Australia say they abhor abuse of any kind. But advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.

This is the second instalment of an ABC News and 7.30 investigation into domestic violence and religion. You can read part one in the series — on domestic violence and Islamhere.

….”Your problem is you won’t obey me. The Bible says you must obey me and you refuse,” he [Peter] yelled [at his wife Sally]. “You are a failure as a wife, as a Christian, as a mother. You are an insubordinate piece of s**t.”

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• Children Inherit Their Intelligence From Their Mother Not Their Father, Say Scientists 

Children Inherit Their Intelligence From Their Mother Not Their Father, Say Scientists 

This possibly has interesting implications for the sexist assumptions held by Christian gender complementarians:

Children Inherit Their Intelligence From Their Mother Not Their Father, Say Scientists 

Genes for cleverness are carried on the X chromosome and may be deactivated if they come from the father

by Charlotte England

A mother’s genetics determines how clever her children are, according to researchers, and the father makes no difference.

Women are more likely to transmit intelligence genes to their children because they are carried on the X chromosome and women have two of these, while men only have one.

But in addition to this, scientists now believe genes for advanced cognitive functions which are inherited from the father may be automatically deactivated.

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• So, You’re a Christian Perpetual Victim and Great Big Christian Loser? Regarding Worm Theology

So, You’re a Christian Perpetual Victim and Great Big Christian Loser? Regarding Worm Theology

(This post has been edited at the end)

A few years ago, I was listening to conservative Christian (and later to become a pastor) Chris Rosebrough on one of his podcasts.

On one podcast (sorry I cannot recall the specific one, or I would link you right to it), he was critiquing mega-church preacher Joel Osteen – or, one of Osteen’s sermons, I should say. (Though Rosebrough did sometimes make fun of Osteen’s big teeth on his program.)

I need to qualify a few things up front.

I do not believe in or agree with prosperity Gospel teachings.

Osteen is seemingly a “prosperity Gospel” believer, much of his theology is shallow, and he’s so keen to be well-liked by everyone, he is hesitant to tell national television journalists that Christianity is, in one way, an exclusive belief set (that is, belief in Christ, and only Christ, is necessary for salvation, and there is no other way – not Christ plus someone or something else).

During the podcast I listened to, Rosebrough played audio of a sermon by Osteen, complete with Osteen’s old opening theme song, which had a woman singing, “Bring out the Champion in you!,” if I remember the lyrics correctly (it had lyrics with something to do with being a champion).

During TV shows, Osteen usually tells his viewers, “You are a victor, not a victim!”

I would assume that this phrase (or the one in his old TV show theme song) is based upon the following verse:

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (source)

During play back of this audio, Rosebrough would pause, after phrases such as “you’re a champion,” to say, “No, you’re not,” or after, “You’re a victor…” to say, “No you’re not.”

My memory is hazy here (and I am in no mood to re-listen to any and all Rosebrough programs to double check this), but I believe he also may have added the comment, “You’re a sinner.”

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• The Psychology of Victim-Blaming by K. Roberts

The Psychology of Victim-Blaming by K. Roberts

In my view, this article (see farther below) is applicable to a lot of the spiritual abuse or domestic violence stories we see on spiritual abuse blogs, and how so many churches mishandle them.

I have a few victim-blamers in my own family, including a sister and a brother – my brother’s victim-blaming tendencies seem to start after he joined Alcoholics Anonymous. 

I’d like to say, though, I don’t know if I agree with the author’s view that asking what a victim could’ve possibly done to prevent their victimization is blaming or not. I think it would depend on the tone, motivation, timing, etc, behind why one is asking.

For example, if someone comes up to you who was just mugged minutes before,  I do think that it is not the time to ask the person, “what could you have done differently to have reduced your chances of having been mugged.”

I personally have never been mugged, but I am very interested in reading articles by law enforcement that would give me tips so as to lessen my chances of being mugged. I don’t view such practical advice as always or necessarily being “victim blaming.” I think the timing and context of such advice matters.

The Psychology of Victim-Blaming (on The Atlantic) by K. Roberts

Excerpts:

October 2016

When people want to believe that the world is just, and that bad things won’t happen to them, empathy can suffer.

…Victim-blaming comes in many forms, and is oftentimes more subtle, and unconscious than Metzger’s tirade. It can apply to cases of rape and sexual assault, but also to more mundane crimes, like a person who gets pickpocketed and is then chided for his decision to carry his wallet in his back pocket.

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• Velour Apparently (Was) Posting as Anonymous At Wartburg Whiners Blog – Also: Megs48 Posting to My Blog Same Person as Buzz English

Velour Apparently (Was) Posting as Anonymous At Wartburg Whiners Blog – Also: Megs48 Posting to My Blog Same Person as Buzz English

(this post has been updated below, July 15 and July 20)

In the midst of researching information for this post, I discovered that a suspicious poster on my blog here, Megs48, is linked to the Whiner blog.

If you are not familiar with the fall-out with a Wartburg Watch member named Velour, please see this post on this blog for background.

The WW blog (Wartburg Whiner) (link to that blog’s home page) is by a person (some  of whom feel is by an individual who goes by the names “Seneca Griggs”) who is obsessed with Deb, Dee, and the TWW (Wartburg Watch blog), but I am unsure who the author of the blog is.

The person who owns WW (“Whiner”) blog has posted to my blog before, under one of the earliest posts here (I am at least assuming this guy, “Buzz English” is the Whiner blog owner).

He showed up here on a much older post and was asking me what I “really” felt or believed about TWW, and her referred me to the Whiner blog. He seemed to be fishing for controversy.

And why would a random person online want my opinion on the Whiner blog, or on if TWW are “bullies,” unless said poster is also the owner who really, really hates Deb and Dee of TWW?

Someone whom I suspect is the WW guy – or a friend of his – who goes by the name “Megs48” – has posted to this Daisy blog a few times and refuses to clarify if she (or he) is in any way affiliated with WW blog; I have asked Megs about three times so far to please clarify her relationship with WW blog and she has not done so.

(Megs is very close to being blocked on this blog, by the way. Edit: well, keep reading. Yes, Megs has been banned, as has Buzz English.)

Oh, interesting. I just checked my blog’s membership information page to research who that earlier commentator was, and I see that the commentator, a “Buzz English,” and Megs48 are the same person.

Megs48 e-mail address contains the phrase “Buzz English” in it. Both screen names are using the same e-mail address to post to this blog, and they have one I.P.# in common. It’s the same person posting under two names. Deceitful stuff!

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