MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 38
Article views: 1287
Latest Badges:

View all Alfster's badges.

Religion vs mental illness

20 December 2012, 13:44

Religion vs mental illness

I understand religion and faith bring comfort to many people and the purpose of this article is not to diminish that in any way, but rather to highlight what I feel to be fairly elementary observations about the comparison between faith based religion and a variety of mental illnesses.

Think of the man who wakes up every day, opens his bible, reads a few passages then gets down on his knees to pray.   This same man makes his weekly trip to church, says a pray of thanks before each meal and conducts countless other rituals in order to conform to his particular religion.   This man is following a routine.  A routine which he believes will keep him safe and in good stead with whichever god he may have faith in.  

Now think of the man with obsessive compulsive disorder.   He wakes up, switches his light on and off a certain number of times, walks to the bathroom, being certain not to step on the spaces between the tiles.    He may then brush his teeth counting exactly how much time he attends to each tooth and so on.    Much like above mentioned religious man, he too is conducting small rituals and following a routine which relieve his anxiety.

Now let us compare the two.   Both men are dealing with fear by conducting rituals they believe to have an effect.    On the other hand if one was to question each man as to whether he felt his actions and beliefs to be rational, a greatly contrasting answer would be given by both.   The religious man would answer (if he were able to get past what he would undoubtedly deem an insulting question) that he believes his actions to be rational, but the OCD sufferer on the other hand would agree without any hesitations that his behaviour is indeed irrational.

Comparing the two cases further, we will see that each is, in a sense, somewhat hereditary in nature.   The religious man was more than likely raised in a household were religion played a large role in the family’s daily activities, through the insistence of either one or both of his parents.   By the same token OCD sufferers more often than not have an antecedent who may have suffered from the illness to some degree.   As similar as I may have made these two cases seem regarding this point, I must point out that the OCD sufferer would never willingly pass his affliction onto his children, but the religious man will, without offering them a choice.   Now I understand most religious people reading this will take umbrage to such a statement, but, think hard, and you will see that raising a child within a faith based religion is simply passing one’s own inability to deal with fear, onto an impressionable child.

The idea of mental illness being closely related to religion is even less foreign when one considers the stories found within such holy texts as the bible.   Stories such as Abrahams trip up the mountain to kill his son “under god’s instruction”.   If such a storey had to surface in this day and age, even the religious man would have to concede that mental illness, specifically schizophrenia, must have played a major role.   The same can be said for virgin births and resurrections, let someone claim either of these occurrences in modern times and they would be thought mentally ill.   But let it be written in a two thousand year old book by a people with half the intelligence of modern man, and it must be true.

My point being, religion is riddled with rituals and beliefs which are comparable to those exhibited by sufferers of mental illness.   The only difference being, religious beliefs gain pseudo credence from the fact that millions of people accept and partake in them.  

Consider a world where the majority of people are schizophrenic, does this mean that because they are in the majority their actions and decisions must be accepted and adhered to by the minority sane.   No, of course not.

There is an old saying.   When a man talks to god it’s called prayer, when god talks back it’s called schizophrenia.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Joshua Glenny
Ballito Drought Solution

I live in Ballito and I have "made a plan" to reduce my water bill. I have installed 3 x 2200l rain water harvesting tanks. Read more...

0 comments 947 views
Submitted by
Shelly Bowling
The Oscar Pitorius through the ey...

The fact forensics determined OP was on his stumps rather than his prosthetics when he fired the gun is the most significant finding. Read more...

0 comments 404 views
Submitted by
Eric de Castro
Post Office clowns

Do we still have a Post Office? If so, what are they doing? When last have you used the Post Office’s postal service, or been inside a post office building? Read more...

0 comments 386 views
Submitted by
Stu Cen
Affordable Student Housing

If you’ve just been accepted a place at university, you’ll need to find somewhere to live – quite possibly in a place you know very little about.  Read more...

0 comments 308 views
Submitted by
Zara Khan
7 Tips For Becoming A Better Pilo...

The aviation industry is amongst the most lucrative ones to work for, no doubts whatsoever about that.  Read more...

0 comments 181 views
Submitted by
Ananias Ndlovu
Big win for Makgoba family

The community of Mamphoku Makgoba reacted with jubilant after a judge ruled in their favour in the Northern Gauteng High Court Tuesday, Queen Mother Mantsha Makgoba jumped with excitement when Justice Mabuse ruled that current members of Mamphoku Makgoba Community Trust must resign with immidiate effect and elections of new members be conducted within 30 days. Read more...

0 comments 129 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2015 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.