About the Post

Author Information

Don Ruhl: Born in Pasadena, California on December 1, 1957; Reared in Southern California until the 1970s; Born Again in Longmont, Colorado on November 2, 1976; Began preaching in 1980; Living life to its fullest in Oregon since December 8, 1983!

Christianity and Mental Health


By Don Ruhl

 

In the November/December 1987 issue of The Humanist magazine, a psychotherapist, Dr. Wendell Watters, explains how he believes Christianity may harm mental health. This is not a new charge. The followers of Christ have been accused of mental illness before (Acts 26:24; 2 Cor. 5:13), and even the founder of Christianity Himself was charged with being out of His mind (Mk. 3:21; Jn. 10:20). People tend to make this accusation when they find the doctrines of Christianity hard to accept. The following is a response to various views this humanist sets forth in his treatise on “Christianity and Mental Health.” (The page numbers refer to the article.)

Proselytization

Dr. Watters discusses what he says are two powerful manipulative tools of the church: proselytization and dualism. Concerning proselytization or evangelization, he states that the Great Commission (Mt. 28:19, 20) caused “… a frenzied commitment to spreading the good news and winning new converts—a commitment that was foreign to all other religions” (p. 6). He says that after Constantine’s conversion the church employed methods of torture to persuade people to be converted. Dr. Watters believes the impetus for torturous methods of persuasion were initiated by Paul:

The seeds of such inhuman behavior had been sown by Paul in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians when he wrote “To you who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with the mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7–9) (p. 6).

Dr. Watters follows with this comment, “in true ‘Godfather’ tradition, the early church made people an offer they could not refuse” (p. 6).

Perhaps someone in the past has used 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9 and twisted it to support torture, but this writer is unaware of it. Actually this passage does not authorize Christian action. Instead, it encourages the Christian to leave matters of vengeance in the hands of God and causes the disciple of Christ to do good to his enemies (compare Rom. 12:19–21). By so doing the enemy may be persuaded to consider Christianity and be converted. Christianity seeks to make friends out of its enemies.

Next, Dr. Watters explains what he believes is the true motive for missionary work or evangelism. He discounts the obligation Christians feel toward others about revealing the redemptive work of Christ and writes that he believes the deeper motive for evangelism is this:

The essential elements of Christian doctrine so violate human intelligence that a believer is internally pressured to convince others of the validity of that doctrine as a way of quieting the disturbing doubts (p. 6).

Do the principles of Christianity violate human intelligence? No. They are consistent with intelligence. For example, Christianity recognizes that something cannot come from nothing (Heb. 3:4). Therefore, something has always existed. The only two entities of existence are matter and mind. But the laws of science (thermodynamics) demonstrate that matter is temporal, leaving mind as the eternal reality. The eternal Mind is identified for us in Scriptures as God. Thus Christianity is consistent with intelligence and proper reasoning.

The question is, does humanistic psychology violate human intelligence? Yes. The roots of humanistic psychology are found in atheism and evolution. Atheism denies the clear evidence of God’s existence (Ps. 19:1, 2). Atheists deny God’s existence because His existence implies that humans must subject themselves to His will and atheists want their freedom, as Jean Paul Sartre wrote: “Everything is indeed permitted, if God does not exist …” Psalm 14:1 explains further: “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.”

The other root, evolution, violates human intelligence because it begins with a “miracle” which defies all reasoning. The miracle is that life created itself, that chaos produced order, that inanimate objects gave rise to animate beings, that lifeless materials led to self-maintaining systems, that mindless molecules designed self-improving systems! When hearts become senseless they will believe anything so long as it has no religious connotations or requirements (Rom. 1:21–23).

Dr. Watters contends that millions have been made proselytes through folie a millions, as Erich Fromm labeled it. This is a reference to a psychiatric term, folie a deux: one person becomes “crazy,” and another—in order to maintain the relationship with the “crazy” person—also becomes “crazy.” Dr. Watters contends that multitudes have become believers in Christ, not out of personal conviction, but in order to maintain a vital relationship with someone whom Dr. Watters believes has become mentally ill over Christianity. No doubt there are people who have “converted” in order to keep a relationship intact, but probably an equal number have rebelled against Christ in order to hurt a family member.

Christianity’s power is not in some psychologically invented “shared craziness” phenomenon. The power to win adherents to Christ is found in the gospel message by which multitudes have been touched (Rom. 1:16). They were moved to obedience by learning that Jesus died for them.

Dualism

Dr. Watters accuses Christianity of promoting hostility and distrust within the divided self:

In the Christian version of dualism, each man and each woman consists of a “flesh” and a “spirit,” and the two are destined not only to never join together but to be at constant war with each other. Under the influence of a belief system that promotes hostility and distrust within the divided self, it requires almost superhuman effort for an individual to develop any sense of unity or wholeness. Without integration of the whole person, there can be no real self, no self-esteem, and no self-mastery. If one buys into the Christian belief system, such integration becomes impossible and the individual becomes forever dependent upon the authority of the church (p. 7).

The Bible acknowledges a reality that we all experience—that there is conflict between the flesh and the spirit. Jesus told His disciples, “… the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:41). In Romans 7:15, Paul described the conflict of practicing the thing he knew he should not do and of abstaining from the good he knew he should do. Paul wrote on another occasion: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Gal. 5:17). Thus the New Testament identifies a problem that a humanistic psychotherapist, like Dr. Watters, chooses to ignore.

The flesh seeks domination, but the spirit is the eternal and greater entity; therefore, it must rule. The Bible explains how the spiritual can come to reign in the very passages (quoted above) that identify the problem (Rom. 7:24–8:2; Gal. 5:19–23). These passages show that there can be harmony when the spirit of a person controls his flesh. In the above quotation from Dr. Watters, notice that he does agree that there is some kind of conflict within individuals. He believes in the integration of the whole person, which implies that there are parts! However, Dr. Watters dislikes the Bible’s cure to bring about harmony.

Dr. Watters further charges Christianity as being destructive in combining proselytization and dualism to manipulate greed and thus become powerful.

The belief that one can have more than one share of biological existence constitutes an irresistible sales pitch. By manipulating infantile greed in this way, the early Christians were able to gain the support of the poor and disenfranchised people throughout the Roman empire. And for many people today, this is still a strong selling point (p. 7).

The goal of the true church is not to extract money out of people, but to build people up and make them better people (2 Cor. 12:14–19). Certainly there have been those who have used religion to feed their greedy appetites (1 Tim. 6:5), and the Bible warns that there will continue to be those who do such (2 Pet. 2:3). Incidentally, how much does it cost to visit a humanistic psychotherapist per hour (actually fifty minutes)? In many places it is $80 or higher!

Self-Esteem and Self-Actualization

On this item Dr. Watters makes his own standard (or rather complies with a man-made standard) on mental health as it pertains to self-esteem, compares it with Christianity, and concludes that Christianity is deleterious to mental sanity.

The question is this: is the current standard of self-esteem acceptable? On this matter or any other matter of mental health Christians themselves do not determine what is acceptable. Instead, they listen to the One who knows them best. Therefore, when debating what is the measure of mental health, humanists and Christians in their conflict with each other are actually fighting the battle of subjectivism versus objectivism, that is, it is a matter of authority, man’s versus God’s. Subjectivism is what a man himself determines to be right, and objectivism is a standard outside of a man’s feelings—in this case the Bible. Is the current standard that is used by humanistic psychologists on self-esteem acceptable—namely, that high self-esteem is a sign of good mental health?

What is a better standard of a healthy character than the fruit of the Spirit—which includes love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control? (Gal. 5:22, 23). Is there a standard of intellectual health used by psychotherapists that is superior to the Christian graces: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love? (2 Pet. 1:5–7). These qualities are the zenith of mental and emotional soundness!

The preachers of self-image proclaim that instead of sin, low self-esteem is the cause of human problems. However, the problem is not low self-esteem but a preoccupation with self, which can be manifested in either high or low self-esteem. It is a fetish with self that makes people miserable.

Christianity and Self-Esteem

The abasement of self. Dr. Watters attempts to demonstrate how he believes Christianity harms mental health in the realm of self-esteem:

Christian doctrine affects the development of self-esteem, self-actualization, and related individuation in several important ways. According to Christian teachings, the self is to be abased, not esteemed. Paul’s letters contain many warnings against self-love or self-esteem: “Not that we are sufficient of our-selves to thinking anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5); “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3) (p. 7).

Is he implying that humanists are sufficient of themselves? Does he think humanists have all the answers? Surely he would answer no. If that be the case, the problem is not whether we are sufficient but rather who should make up for the deficiency. Christians affirm that it is Christ, while humanists would point to the human race.

Dr. Watters is indicating that Philippians 2:3 is the opposite of what should be the truth. Does he really believe that we should be belligerent, conceited and high-minded, considering self better than others? Will these attitudes encourage good mental health and peaceful relationships? This writer finds it difficult to believe that Dr. Watters would answer in the affirmative.

Humility and blackmail. Amazingly, Dr. Watters contends that humility is blackmail: “This breast-beating, self-flagellating behavior represents a form of good old-fashioned blackmail and, unfortunately, is a form that creeps into all too many interpersonal relationships” (p. 8).

Does humility harm interpersonal relationships as Dr. Watters contends? A person who makes constant reference to his self-worthlessness is irritating and will harm a relationship. Whether it is intentional, such a person is trying to bring all the attention to himself. But humility is not constantly reminding others of one’s worthlessness; it is taking the attention off of self and putting it on others. That kind of behavior builds relationships.

Biblical precepts do not add stress to relationships, but rather are the only true builders of friendship. Note the following passage from Dr. Watters, written to give guidance to relationships:

Let’s examine how Christian doctrine interferes with the process of related individuation. Jesus is reported to have preached that “whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). Whatever he meant by this statement, his followers took it literally, and, when it came time to develop strategies for founding a terrestrial institution, they developed a set of teachings that promote infantile dependency and discourage adult inter-dependency and mature self-reliance (p. 8).

Does Matthew 18:4 promote infantile dependency and discourage interdependency and mature self-reliance? No. Instead, it promotes peace. If Dr. Watters had begun reading from verse one, he would have discovered that there was conflict among the disciples of Christ because they had a high level of self-esteem and were thinking that each was better than the others, which is the very thing that Dr. Watters promotes (compare his use of Philippians 2:3). Jesus wanted peace in His kingdom so He gave them a much-needed lesson on humility by using a child as an example of humility. Unless they became like the humble child, they could not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Christianity and environmental contingencies. The last point that Dr. Watters attacks on Christianity and self-esteem is what he labels as environmental contingencies. He believes that Christianity is a strong environmental influence to interfere with the development of success in children.

He says that an environmental contingency occurs when a child has been persuaded either that he can make a difference in his world or that he is helpless. For example, a child may believe that he is a failure because of some environmental factor that influenced him to think that way, even though the child may have great talent. On the other hand, the child who has little talent can be successful, believing he can contribute something worthwhile to society because an environmental factor has influenced him to believe in himself.

The Dr. Watters makes this statement, “Christianity is one of the most powerful ‘environmental contingencies’ that contribute to a feeling of helplessness and worthlessness in children exposed to its doctrines” (p. 8). Quite the contrary is true. The Bible demonstrates that when a person works with God, world-changing events will occur. Jesus taught that His people are the salt of the earth and the light of the world! (Mt. 5:13–16). Read from the pen of the apostle John and see whether Christians are taught that they are helpless or valuable: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 Jn. 5:4). Paul wrote, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:31–37). The disciples of Christ are persuaded through the Scriptures that one can achieve difficult things with faith (Heb. 11).

Anxiety

Dr. Watters explains in his article that when the phenomenon of anxiety occurs in a person, that person will not develop skills to handle the anxiety, if he is a member of the church.

Is it true that when an anxious person comes into contact with the church he will never develop the tools to take care of his anxiety? First of all, the church does attract people with problems, not because they are easy prey, but because they recognize the church is a hospital rather than a museum. Furthermore, the church has within its hands the greatest tool for solving problems: the Scriptures. The Scriptures, having been delivered by the Spirit of God—who knows us perfectly—has every principle needed for living a happy life, furnishing us completely with the precepts we need to do every good work (Prov. 3:5, 6; 2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17).

Dr. Watters further criticizes Christianity because he is under the false impression that it discourages its adherents from bearing burdens and from developing problem-solving skills. He says:

Christianity discourages development of adaptive mechanisms for dealing with anxiety. If denial or suppression is impossible, the anxious Christian is encouraged to regress to a dependent, symbiotic state with the great anthropomorphized unknowable (p.8).

In Matthew 6:24–34 Jesus gives a dissertation on handling anxiety with some logical reasons as to why we should not be anxious about acquiring the necessities of life. His point is that anxiety does not help; therefore, the Christian should trust God that daily needs will be met. Other scriptures also place us under obligation to do what we are able to do to meet our needs (compare 2 Thess 3:10), and thus we work with God.

Contrary to what Dr. Watters thinks, the Scriptures do encourage us to bear our burdens and to help others bear their burdens (Ga. 6:2, 5). Furthermore, we are to pray for skill:

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, full pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy (Col. 1:9–11; also Phil. 1:9–11; Jas. 1:2–5).

Simultaneously, we are to recognize that some problems are unchangeable (2 Cor. 12:7–10). Consequently, they are experiences that we should learn from to help us be better and stronger people.

Ambivalence

Dr. Watters argues that ambivalence and acceptance of the uncomfortable feelings a person will experience by being ambivalent is a sign of good mental health. Thus if a person both loves and hates his parents he is considered healthy! Would it then be true that he who only loves his parents is mentally ill? Concerning the place of anger in Christianity here is what Dr. Watters writes:

Christianity has some roots in Judaic law, where the prescription of feelings is very much an integral part of that law. Anger, for example, is described as “an extremely bad vice.” In Christianity, anger became one of the seven deadly sins. The impact of sixteen centuries of indoctrination to that effect has left many people in the Western world severely handicapped in their ability to deal with what is essentially a normal human emotion (p. 9).

No, Christianity redirects and trains our emotions and uses them for good. The Bible does instruct us to be angry, but to keep it controlled (Eph. 4:26), because there are some reasons to be angry (Mk. 3:5). Not to be angry shows a dangerous attitude of indifference.

As Dr. Watters gives further contemplation to the nature of Christianity and its relation to ambivalence he writes this critique:

It would be very difficult for a true Christian to come to terms with normal human ambivalence; in a number of scriptural passages they are warned explicitly not to attempt to do so. In James 1:8, one reads, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren these things ought not to be” (p. 10).

Since he believes these passages in James are warnings not to come to terms with ambivalence, then obviously he would say that the opposite of these Scriptures is what is indicative of good mental health! Thus we should be double-minded! Does blessing a person to their face and then cursing them behind their back promote peace of mind and harmonious interpersonal relationships? This writer finds it difficult to accept that Dr. Watters would really believe these things, yet this is what his objections to the Scriptures imply.

Communication

On this part of human behavior, Dr. Watters again fails to understand Christianity, for it is the greatest tool for promoting communication that has ever existed. First of all, Christianity is true to the definition of congruent (harmonious) communication that Dr. Watters gives:

Congruent communication occurs when an individual speaks thoughts freely, expresses feelings openly but discriminatingly, and behaves in accordance with stated beliefs, attitudes, and expressed feelings (p. 10).

Christianity does not conflict with this description; the Scriptures urge proper communication between people. “A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention” (Prov. 15:18). “He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends” (Prov. 17:9). “By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, And a gentle tongue breaks a bone” (Prov. 25:15). “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:24, 25).

Now observe why Dr. Watters believes Christianity is harmful to communication:

For one thing, Christian doctrine and teachings emphasize one-way, human-to-God communication and de-emphasize two-way, human-to-human communication. This is best illustrated in the vows of silence which were a feature of life in many early Christian religious orders and still persist even to this day (p. 9).

That the religion of Christ emphasizes communication with God cannot be denied, but it also emphasizes communication with our fellow humans. The two greatest commandments of Christianity put a heavy emphasis upon communication: love God with the totality of your being and love your neighbor as yourself (Mt. 22:34–40). Love occurs and grows in the soil of communication, and if there is communication with neither God nor man, then Christianity does not exist.

Furthermore, his illustration about vows of silence is not a criticism of New Testament Christianity but of Catholicism. The Bible never encouraged anyone to take a vow of silence.

As Dr. Watters continues, he gives attention to prayer since he believes prayer to God hinders communication. He writes:

The most destructive aspect of both prayer and meditation is that they discourage the development of human-to-human communication and the formation of human support groups to aid in solving those problems that can be solved and coping adaptively with those existential problems that cannot. If the true Christian obeys Paul’s instruction to carry on a monologue with God “without ceasing,” it is pretty difficult to learn how to make human relationships work (p. 10).

It would be interesting to see Dr. Watters’ definition of meditation, for in the simplest way, meditation is thinking. Does he repudiate thinking?

What did Paul mean when he said we should pray without ceasing? (1 Thess. 5:17). The statement does not mean to be in a “prayerful mood” (whatever that is), nor is the meaning that we should be in a constant prayer without stopping to do anything else (for obvious reasons). The meaning is that Christians are to pray at every opportunity. Prayer and meditation do not hinder communication, but help us to communicate with others. Who prayed more than Jesus, and who communicated better? No one!

Pleasure Versus Suffering

Dr. Watters began by stating that the church has manipulated people through guilt and has subsequently controlled their lives. There are some people who have done these things in the name of God, but as we shall see, manipulation through guilt is not inherent within the system of Christianity. Watters argues further that Christianity has sought to make its adherents feel guilty for experiencing pleasure, and yet its leaders practiced pleasure. He writes:

Christianity has been not only steadfastly anti-pleasure but pro-suffering throughout its history—notwithstanding the gluttonous, licentious, and libidinous behavior of many of its popes and other prelates (p. 11).

No one can deny the existence of hypocrites. But it should be noted that Dr. Watters is addressing Catholic hypocrisy, which was one of the prime motivations for the Reformation movement and the existence of the Protestant churches.

New Testament Christianity does not exalt suffering for suffering’s sake, but the Scriptures show us a worthy cause for which to die. The apostle Paul, when urged not to go to a potential hostile situation, responded, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). Moreover, there are beneficial character traits that are developed through suffering, including patience, hope and faith (Rom. 5:3, 4; Jas. 1:2–4; 1 Pet. 1:6, 7).

Dr. Watters contends that the pro-suffering mentality of Christianity comes from a preoccupation with Christ’s death on the cross: “As it says in Philippians 1:29, ‘For unto you it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for his sake’” (p. 11). The idea that Jesus Christ gained a victory through the excruciating pain of the cross is rejected by many (1 Cor. 1:21–24). Yes, the crucifixion of Jesus is a major concern of Christianity, not because of some sadistic pleasure, but because of the benefits that were produced, namely, the forgiveness of our sins, which brings us into the righteousness of God (Rom. 4:25; 2 Cor. 5:21).

Guilt and Martyrdom

In the final section of Dr. Watters’ article, “Guilt and Martyrdom,” he devotes most of his space to guilt. He reasons that guilt, especially in children, hinders the development of mental health. He says that “parents should try to discourage the child from feeling guilty” (p. 11). He continues to postulate that we should not make people feel guilty for wrong-doing because guilt, he says, reinforces what he calls “maladaptive behavior patterns.” He actually contends that it is society’s insistence on punishing criminals that causes the criminals to continue committing crimes! He argues that criminals reason that since they are bad they will continue in such behavior until someone finally punishes them, and so these people become addicted to punishment! One wonders what he thinks ought to be done with murderers and rapists.

When guilt is used properly it brings people to a realization of their behavior, and then they are motivated to change. Acts chapter two furnishes an excellent example of guilt reforming people’s behavior. The Jews that Peter spoke to, as recorded in that chapter, had by the hand of the Romans killed Jesus Christ, and Peter brought them to a realization of what they had done. After their heart had been pricked with guilt they cried out, “What shall we do?” (v. 37). Quickly, as instructed by Peter, they did what was necessary to be forgiven and began to live new lives. Dr. Watters claims that guilt-inducing tactics promote “anti-social” behavior, but notice what happened to the people whom Peter made feel guilty for murder; subsequent to being forgiven the record states:

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simpli- city of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:44–47).

No one has a more pro-social behavior than the individuals who realizes his wrong and makes the necessary corrections, like these people did.

The next point in Dr. Watters article is an attempt to prove that expressions of guilt are merely attempts to avoid responsibility and pacify others. He writes: “Breast-beating becomes an end in itself, a strategy designed to avoid responsibility while placating the rage of those most affected by the destructive behavior” (p. 32).

In truth, it is the individual who does not feel guilty for his sinful behavior that is avoiding responsibility for his actions. While there are some who use sorrow to their own advantage—and the Bible warns us about such people (Mt. 7:15; Col. 2:23)—genuine sorrow is the way toward reforming harmful behavior. The Bible distinguishes between genuine sorrow and sorrow for personal gain (2 Cor. 7:8–12).

Dr. Watters is under the impression that guilt is the main emotion of Christianity. He quotes George H. Smith as follows: “Guilt, not love, is the fundamental emotion that Christianity seeks to induce …” (p. 32). Guilt certainly plays a part, but it is not the main emotion. Guilt awakens our heart to how we have contradicted another’s love for us. Seeing this, we then love (1 Jn. 4:19). Jesus reasoned that guilt, when realized and then forgiven, promotes love. Jesus said:

“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to Simon (about a sinful woman) … “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Lk. 7:41–43, 47).

Now observe how Dr. Watters claims the church used guilt:

The Christian Church, the house that guilt built, behaves very much the way Dietrich Bonhoeffer described it: “a spiritual pharmacist working hard to produce guilt, then offering people a ‘remedy’” (p. 32).

When a person murders, we have not simply invented terminology, such as “murderer,” to make that person feel bad for what he has done; it is a description of the truly heinous nature of that person’s actions. Does a doctor invent high blood pressure in his patient so he may thereby offer a remedy and get rich? Or does the doctor make his patient aware of a potentially dangerous problem? It is the latter, and we are generally thankful that the doctor discovered the problem before it got worse.

Dr. Watters thinks that the cross of Christ is used as a manipulative tool to get people to feel indebted to the church. Referring to the crucifixion, he says:

If you believe that someone actually did you a favor of this incredible magnitude—notwithstanding the fact that you didn’t ask the person to do it—your guilt at pushing someone to take such an extreme step would be likely to make you feel forever in that person’s debt (p. 32).

Dr. Watters opines further about the death of Christ, charging Jesus with suicide:

Christian teaching has always held that Jesus could have saved himself but chose to die on the cross. If anyone chooses to take steps that will knowingly result in his or her death when he or she could have saved him- or herself, we would call that suicide and not murder. And if Jesus deliberately chose death over life, why did the Jews get blamed for it? One cannot commit suicide and be murdered at the same time (p. 32).

Apparently Dr. Watters would have a difficult time understanding concepts such as the following: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). If someone died saving Dr. Watters from a speeding car, or when soldiers have died preserving his freedom of speech, he would apparently label it suicide. Does he think they should have asked him first? It seems he would answer yes.

It has been shown here that there is no better system of developing sound mental health than Christianity. It is logical and practical in meeting both our spiritual and mental needs and aspirations. It deals with humanity on a level of reality by pointing out what is real within us, such as sin, and showing the way of freedom.

Tags: , , , ,

2 Comments on “Christianity and Mental Health”

  1. Bus Driver March 8, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Don,

    You know I am a walking dead man, reciting daily Galatians 2: 20 KJV. “I am crucified with Christ (that means dead), nevertheless I live, etc. etc.”

    Now how can a dead man be mentally ill?

    Jim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 706 other followers

%d bloggers like this: