A group of researchers in England contacted over 7400 men and women at random for a survey asking them about whether or not they were “spiritual,” if they had regular religious practices, and what their mental state was. The researchers claim 86% identified themselves as Christian and 35% of them said they were religious in that they regularly went to church, mosque, synagogue, or another place of worship.
The researchers claimed they found no evidence that one’s faith is tied to happiness, but that those who claimed to be “spiritual” without any religious practices were more likely to have anxiety disorders, phobias, drug dependencies, neurotic disorders like obsessive compulsions and other things, and suffered from eating disorders.
The study makes an attempt to highlight the fact that those who consider themselves spiritual, but do not tie that spirituality to common practices such as prayer or reading the Bible or worshiping with other believers, are the ones who have the mental problems. Nevertheless, it raises a red flag in my mind about what their underlying message really is. As far as I’m concerned, this is just another ploy to make it seem that Christians are nut jobs so that haters who place their faith in pseudo-science will have more reasons to reject the one true God and his true children. It’s probably not worth the ink and paper used to publish it.
However, I can see two truths in this scenario:
- Unbelievers will always see genuine Christians as being crazy. When Paul gave his testimony to King Agrippa in Acts, Festus yelled at Paul and said, “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad,” [Acts 26:24]. Peter also said that when we give up doing the will of the heathen, “they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you…” [1 Peter 4:4].
- God did not give us spirituality to carry it out according to our own desires. He always ties the true spiritual life to a belief only in the Lord Jesus that leads to the Holy Spirit living in us who directs us to obey Christ’s commandments. Spirituality without this firm foundation is just like the foolish man Jesus spoke of in his parable who built his house on sand. Spirituality without Christ is also like the person who had an unclean spirit go out of him, but that spirit could not find rest. “Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first,” [Matthew 12:44-45].
But let the mockers mock and the scoffers scoff. We have the following promises in Christ:
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. Romans 16:20
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. Isaiah 41:10-12
Source: Huffington Post–UK. Spirituality Linked To Mental Health ‘Demons’ Like Eating Disorders… http://www.huffingtonpost.uk. 02/01/2013.
Harry A. Gaylord