When all else fails, a strong belief in God brings solace to one’s mental health. Many polls affirm the Baylor survey on God and mental health. A strong belief in God assures the person that he or she has a place in the scheme of things. It may not make any sense but faith in God gives hopes and hope is a positive energy that restores one’s ability from tipping. One may be angry at God, may not understand or even wonder about God’s role in one’s life, but when they heal, or even see a slight improvement in their lives, there is someone to give credit to, and it is usually God. The relationship was always there unacknowledged.
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas
When all else fails, a strong belief in God brings solace to one’s mental health. Many polls affirm the Baylor survey.
A 2008 Gallup poll found that 78 percent of respondents expressed a belief in God, the numbers have declined from a 2003 Gallup polls which found that over 95% of Americans profess belief in God and 62% believed that religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. Even though the numbers are changing, belief in God holds out to 90% in2010 Polls. As a pluralist, I want to highlight another part of the same survey where 72% of Americans do not believe that their version of God is the only way – meaning all will achieve salvation regardless of their religion.
The focus of most surveys is belief in God and not which version of God or frequency of prayers. I am glad to read the Baylor findings, “Respondents who pray every day report statistically the same number of mental health issues as those who never pray or pray only on certain occasions.”
Murphy and Fitchett in their research paper Belief in a Caring God Improves Response to Medical Treatment for Depression write, "For people diagnosed with clinical depression, medication certainly plays an important role in reducing symptoms," Murphy said. "But when treating persons diagnosed with depression, clinicians need to be aware of the role of religion in their patients' lives. It is an important resource in planning their care."
Nancy Kehoe, a nun and a psychologist, writes in Wrestling With our Inner Angels that “respecting the spiritual and religious beliefs of those who suffer from mental illness actually opens the way to greater meaning, support, even healing.”
Mental health, as defined by the Surgeon General's report "refers to the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity."
Dr. Grace Tsai adds, “Imbalance or "disharmony" is the cause of illness and results from physical, psychological, nutritional, environmental or spiritual influences tipping that balance.”
A strong belief in God assures the person that he or she has a place in the scheme of things. It may not make any sense but faith in God gives hopes and hope is a positive energy that restores one’s ability from tipping. One may be angry at God, may not understand or even wonder about God’s role in one’s life, but when they heal, or even see a slight improvement in their lives, there is someone to give credit to, and it is usually God. The relationship was always there unacknowledged.
Many religions including Islam and Hinduism assert that even a blade of grass does not move without the divine plan and add that one has the freedom to choose and influence one’s destiny within the divine plan. Fate plays a key role in one’s ability to cope with the destitution, the moment one accepts it as a part of the divine plan, it mitigates one’s suffering.
Religion can be defined as a mechanism that gives hopes and restores one’s balance and harmony with what surrounds one people and the environment affecting that balance.
When reason fails, faith takes over. Indeed, God is the last resort to those who believe in him, her or it.
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity and Fox and a regular on nationally syndicated radio shows. His work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net