Christianity and Mental Health: Have We Lost Our Faith?

Continuing my recent theme of Christianity and therapy (Here, here and here) I noticed a relevant article the Christian Post entitled: Christianity and Mental Health: Have We Lost Our Faith?

Studies within the past eight years, have recorded an increase of Christians who are utilizing mental health services in lieu of religious tools to achieve mental stability and balance. Have Christians begun to jump ships on their faith for a quick fix?

The concern of mental health in the body of Christ has become a huge topic of discussion in churches. Many churches have recognized the need and have proceeded with calls of action to address mental illness by hosting health fairs and seminars facilitated by local and national psychologists and psychiatrists.

The article goes on to cite fundamentalist concerns:

Yet, not all parishioners are sold that therapy and pills are not just another gateway for the devils entry into a Christian lifestyle.

“Our faith is our connection to God. Once we break that connection, there is no faith,” says Alexis Ritvalski a mother of three from Texas. “Why do Christians feel a need to seek the advice or help of another person, when Christ should be all that we need? We don’t need psychiatrists to fix us or depression medication to relieve us. There is deliverance in the Word of God. There is breakthrough in the Word of God. There is healing in the Word of God. Every situation that we endure, there is a word for us. To seek out these other methods is to not trust God.”

Oh dear.

On aside, I wanted to make note of a strange phenomena that I have blogged about in the past, and to which nobody seems to able to offer an explanation:

I had occasion to be in a psychiatric ward not so long ago and there was a seating area for patients. I would say that there were 10-12 patients and roughly 7-8 of them were reading bibles. Now, I don’t mean the standard Gideon bibles that were in their rooms, but their own personal Bibles.

It transpired that 3/4 of the patients on that ward, at that time, were Christian.

I have asked many folk their opinion and have never received a satisfactory answer as to why the proportion of mental health patients on this unit were Christian.

A real strange one, which still perplexes me.

My protagonists have used this to assert that a person must be prone to mental illness to accept the Christian narrative. My response is:

It is either that Christianity is the religion of the mad, which I’m happy with, or Christians are for some reason more prone to mental problems. Or perhaps Christ came for the sick…..

1 Corinthians 1:27

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Since writing these words I have again witnessed an unusually large proportion of Christians on a Psychiatric ward.

Obviously my observations are anecdotal and not scientifically verifiable, but I’d love to hear you thoughts.

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