by Terry 10 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry



    Posted on January 4, 2013 at 12:44pm by Billy Hallowell

    Could spirituality without organized religion actually be bad for your mental health? A new study indicates that individuals who claim to be “spiritual,” but who lack an allegiance to a specific religion, may, in fact, be more likely to suffer from mental health problems.

    The research shows that people who embrace spiritualism without religious constructs are at a potential mental-health disadvantage compared to those who are more traditionally religious (or even when compared to those who are atheists and agnostics). In addition to having greater mental health problems, these people are also more likely to take medication to deal with associated issues, the Telegraph reports.

    The research, which was conducted by Professor Michael King from the University College London, among others, was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The shocking study came to the following conclusion: “There is increasing evidence that people who profess spiritual beliefs in the absence of a religious framework are more vulnerable to mental disorder.”

    Of course, many would wonder what, exactly, this means. The Telegraph provides more information about the theological views of the subjects who were consulted for the study, offering up some clarity on the matter:

    Of the participants, 35 per cent described themselves as “religious”, meaning they attended a church, mosque, synagogue or temple. Five in six of this group were Christian.

    Almost half (46 per cent) described themselves as neither religious nor spiritual, while the 19 per cent remainder said they had spiritual beliefs but did not adhere to a particular religion.

    Members of this final group were 77 per cent more likely than the others to be dependent on drugs, 72 per cent more likely to suffer from a phobia, and 50 per cent more likely to have a generalised anxiety disorder.

    They were also 40 per cent more likely to be receiving treatment with psychotropic drugs, and at a 37 per cent higher risk of neurotic disorder.

    In an interview with the BBC, King noted that religious people are similar to their secular counterparts, but that they tend, at least to a degree, to fare better on some indicators.

    “They have less drug addiction, less alcohol problems, things like that,” the professor said of the faithful.

    The total sample for the study was 7,403 English men and women who were randomly-selected. Aside from their religious views, the participants were also asked about their mental health.

    King’s team noted that more research will need to be done before making definitive assessments and correlations between spirituality and mental health.



  • tec

    It is interesting. Do you have a link, Terry?

    There are some key points I would wonder about, that should be worked in to such a study.

    Is the connection (for drinking and such coping solutions) truly about spirituality, for instance? Or is it perhaps based in part on rejection, shunning, or mocking from those in religon, and even those who are not in religion, but who don't accept spirutality? (If one were to do a study on xjws compared to current jws and depression, suicide, alcohol, etc... would we find that those who leave and who turn to such things do so because of their new beliefs (or lack), or because of how they are treated by those who do not believe as they do?)

    As to mental health, I believe there are studies that show high intelligence among those with mental health disorders. So while they still seek out a creator, or experience one and are spiritual... they might also quickly see through some of the hypocrisy of religion; some of the teachings that are in contradiction with one another, or that have no firm foundation.

    Those are just a couple of points to consider. So I guess i would wonder more about the causes and connections, rather than what might appear to be, on the surface. As King noted, lots more research would need to be conducted.



  • sabastious

    It's not a very convincing argument. The brain still has a lot of uncharted territory. This means that what we call "mental disorder" is actually just a "mental mystery." Sense we do no not have all the information, we can only mark the mysteries and then observe whether the results from them are detrimental or not. When we HAVE all the information about the human mind, as in 100%, not anything less, we will see order in what we used to define as disorder. The problem has always been lack of understanding.


  • tec

    Agreed on that point as well, Sab. We diagnose based on our current understanding (or perhaps also our lack of understanding).



  • nuthouse escapee
    nuthouse escapee

    Interesting but I definitely think they need to do more research. The research doesn't seem to take into consideration which came first, the mental illness or the spirituality. A person can be mentally ill for many years before it becomes blatantly obvious that they are ill. Did they seek out spirituality because they are mentally ill or the other way around? We have all seen how the mentally ill have been treated by others and perhaps this is why they do not regularly attend a church or identify with a particular religion. I know from first hand experience how the JWs backed away and avoided me when my Bi-Polar caused me to act "strange". just my .02 cents. -Leslie

  • LV101

    What a shocking study. Do you think it's because individuals involved w/religion have a social environ. This socialization/communication is critical for humans. People are lonely and so busy earning a living often have a difficult time maintaining social connections. Personally, people I know who believe in God or a higher power (they'd consider themselves "spiritual') want nothing to do with organized religion and are the happiest, most well-adjusted, individuals I know. No alcohol or psychotropic drugs in their lives --- they're just too busy living and enjoying life to want to be bothered with religion or had their fill of it growing up and are fed up with all of them. They do have other social outlets and I think this is the key. The exception --- a couple of single, divorced, gals who attend religious services/churches for social interests and they seem unhappy --- but have a lot of economic, job-related, stress and really can't afford to belong to clubs, organizations. One or two of them was/is on anti-depressants. (looking for love in all the wrong places as in church -- not really/I don't know). I have older friends, more-like organization-type associates, and the ones who have others to associate/connect with are too busy to be bothered with religion --- even God. It amazes me they aren't searching or looking for answers when so many life-long friends in their social circles are dying off. I don't think they worry about it or just assume there's a heaven and that's all they need to know. They're also afraid of being fleeced by religion and this aspect alone should make anyone without a religious base rejoice.

  • LisaRose

    correlation does not prove causation

  • Finkelstein

    I wonder if this is because of the building confidence of a group of people, all believing in exactly the same thing which theoretically would

    inspire contentment, confidence and perhaps to certain degree happiness ?

    Spiritually on its own might not offer those components.

  • tec

    I think what Leslie said must be given consideration as well. If 'religion' throws out people due to a health issue (mental or otherwise), then those people still have Christ to turn to, and are spiritual... but not religious.

    I think many religions want conformity (we know that is true of the wts at the very least), and look with fear or wariness on someone who does not conform to their parameters.



  • Terry

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