Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health
Is faith delusion? Is religion bad for your health? How, in a scientifically and technologically advanced age, can people still believe in God/spirit/'other'? Clearly not all believers are primitive and ill-educated; an alternative explanation is that they must be mad, or at least severely neurotic (as suggested by Freud).
This book starts by looking at, and giving reasons for, the connection and the division between Christian faith and psychiatry. It asks whether science challenges Christians involved with psychiatry, as patients or professionals, and whether the spiritual needs of patients are recognised. The author examines the scope and use of the neuro-sciences and considers cause and effect, natural selection and determinism. He explores the overlap (and the difference) between psychiatric symptoms and religious belief, the possible association between demon possession and mental illness, and the idea that some people are intrinsically religious and some are not. The variations of personality are examined, with their implications for belief.
Posited as a statement, that faith is delusion is always hostile, but outcome studies (reviewed here) show that in general religious belief and practice convey good mental health. Religious faith and mental illness are different, and their concepts come from different world-views. A consideration of them in relation to each other is long overdue.
The author is a former Professor of Psychiatry and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and has also been Chairman of their Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group, so is exceptionally well qualified to address the subject. Although the book is technically proficient, it is aimed at the general reader and is illustrated with stories, brief case histories and anecdotes.
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2 What is Christian faith?
3 Why the warfare?
4 Psychiatry science and faith
5 Can religion damage your health?
6 Delusion is a psychiatric term
7 The Intersection of Psychiatry and Belief
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3rd edn abnormal alcohol antisocial anxiety aspects behaviour belief and practice brain C. S. Lewis cause cent century Chapter chiatrists chiatry Christ Christian belief Christian faith Christian Medical Fellowship church clinical cognitive concerned cultural delusion delusional demon possession depressive illness described descriptive psychopathology developed devil diagnosis doctor effect emotional example exorcism feel forgiveness guilt Handbook of Religion healing Hodder & Stoughton hospital human ideas implies important individual International Version Jesus journal of Psychiatry Koenig locus of control London meaning medicine mental illness mentally-ill mind ministers of religion natural selection neuroscience occult organization Oxford University Press patients personality disorder phenomenology physical pray prayer problems psychiatric disorder psychiatric treatment psychological psychotic relationship Religion Dangerous religious belief religious experience religious faith religious involvement schizophrenia scientific Sims social spiritual needs subjective experience suffering suicide symptoms thinking tion understanding World Health Organization