Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Is Religion Theraputic?

I want some opinions...

What would you say to the statemen: "Religion is the greatest form of therapy."

12 comments:

julesforstenholm said...

Hmmmm... very good question. Not sure I agree with the statement, but give me a little while to ponder my feelings. I'll get back to you! :)

FeedingYourMind said...

I don't know if this will make sense, but be sure that when you read the statement you are NOT interpreting it to say, "Religion is ONLY the greatest form of therapy," or "Religion is JUST the greatest form of therapy."

View it more as a statement being said as just one aspect of religion. Just as a person as a whole has many aspects, so might religion.

Now, share your opinions on the matter! ;)

Ellison said...

Like Jules, I'm going to have to think about it, and respond in a little bit. I've got some immediate thoughts, but I don't want to speak too soon. I'll write again later.

Linds said...

Oh I so very much agree with this.
Religion=hope in most cases, and it had been proven that when someone has hope, a reason to live, that they lead better and more benefitial lives.

HAha this is why I usually do not respond ;) I am by no means even close to being a... smarty pants ;)

julesforstenholm said...

I posted my response on my blog... it was too long for the comments section. :)

Holly said...

Everything we do is, in a way, therapy...

Amanda B. said...

Even though I don't know her, I agree with Holly. If it weren't somewhat therapuetic, then people wouldn't participate, at least I wouldn't think so. I suppose it also depends upon your personal view on the matter; it may be therapuetic to some and not so much to others.

Jennifer said...

Posted this on Julsie's blog...


Hmm...at first I completely agreed, thinking that it's the spirituality that's therapeutic, but now I'm not so sure. Christian spirituality- the sold out, radical for Jesus part- is way too crazy to be therapeutic. I can pretty much guarantee the radicals I know don't see their relationships with the Lord as therapy. Hmm.

Also, Religion for religion's sake...without spirituality...is worthless. Many who are very spiritual just get frustrated with religion. So basically, I definitely think that religion itself is either too frustrating or unfulfilling to be therapy.

That said, it seems as though I find neither religion nor spirituality therapeutic. I can see sides of each that could possibly be classified as therapeutic, but I don't think that either can completely fall into the category of therapy. Funny, because I didn't start this comment feeling that way. Must have been the Spirit's promptings. :)

GITCHA said...

I would say that YES religion is therapeutic. We don't call Jesus The Great Counselor for nothing. Christianity is based upon that which we call Cognitive Behavioral/Existential therapy. And yes my friends this is a very radical form of therapy so beware. In fact, I have many therapeutic and counseling sessions with this great counselor and feel that I can pour my heart out to him in crisis. When you look in the bible you will find many verses that talk about anxiety and even depression....how to guard ourselves against this and not worry or be fearful. Thus changing our thoughts may change our behavior. However, this therapy is tied into the hope we have (meaning of life)....this is where Existentialism comes in. In therapy as we know it we have to rely on ourselves to change us, in contrast when speaking about religion we look mostly to God to help change our bad habits and strengthen us. Either way though we are trying to change something within us. Christians constantly strive to help others, but we must help ourselves and change ourselves before we can think about helping others and this is where I believe that religion can be therapeutic. Also, as Christians we teach that we should model Christ. When I do counseling with children I do lots of modeling to get my point across. Jesus has modeled for me how to live and I try to do the same. Also, the great commission is based upon this model of Christ. Now Kim, to answer your questions.....Is religion the greatest form of therapy? Some would say yes and some would say no. I have to say that for me it has been in the past. As I have grown older I have started to rely on myself more and my own techniques, but I do believe he is very powerful and I stand in fear each time I decide to cross that holy realm and talk with him.

Try reading Mans' Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel. It mainly centers around Existential Psychology. Much of it can be generalized to religion. Frankel found that those who survived the Nazi death camps were those who had something to live for or go back to if they were freed. He professes that we must attach some meaning or hope to our lives in order to live. Some people find their meaning through religion and other people find meaning through others things.

Sarah P said...

I have to turn in articles for work concerning this topic once a month. Email me and I'll attach the articles I've got. They're usually medical journal articles - I don't write these ones.

Mark E. Lopez said...

I would say 'belief' in and of itself is theraputic. Be it in whatever, from religion to the idea that your car will run when you turn the key, or that people can be genuinely good, or really whatever.

It helps everybody get through life - helps you to avoid paralyzing worry they could. I think of people with a psychological fear of open spaces, and can hardly set foot out of their house, or the ones who are insanely worried about germs, everywhere. It's the belief, and sometimes based in a bit of apathy, but the feeling that it'll work out - that you won't get sick if you clean up to 'this' degree in your kitchen or that you can get from home to work without a problem that helps us move and interact in the world.

Religion is a kind of this belief - only it's more of an active belief in the things that aren't as concrete as the cleanliness of your kitchen counter. It lets a person move on towards the eventual end, in a world too big to actually comprehend, with a sense of security, or assuredness.

That's a bit long/rambly/something - I hope I've made my point, though.

A. Lo said...

Well, I'm a little late, but I wanted to put in my two cents (surprise, surprise).

My first, gut response to the question is, “No!” It seems to me that religion is annoying. I mean, this Jesus guy is always trying to get me to do stuff that’s hard like love my enemies or spend money on the poor instead of that new pair of shoes. What the crap is that all about?

I've also been burned too much by people who think they're following Christ, and that almost hurts worse than anything else, I think.

And no one annoys me more than Christians. No one. But no one amuses me in their stupidity more than Christians, either, so I owe them that at least.

And I hate the word “religion.” It’s too loaded, I think.
I would have to say, though, that belief in Jesus and his father, God, can be comforting in a way. It can be therapeutic in the fact that when I do something mean or stupid, I can blame it on my sinful nature (kind of like blaming all your screwed up-ness on your Mom).

But I think it might be therapeutic most of all because it allows us all a bit of hope. Hope that this isn’t it. Hope that something better is coming. We may be anguished that things are the way they are right now in our world, in our lives, but we know it’s like Good Friday: we wait in the dark and do what we can until the light of Easter comes. We stumble around as best as we know how and try to do the good stuff, to feed the poor, to love the unlovables, to dance, to throw parties for Jesus, to be good. And when that doesn’t work, we get up and dust ourselves off and try again. And then we learn that, in a way, we are the light-bearers, and it’s our job to bring “therapy” or “comfort” or “love” to others.