Atheism And Depression.

Religion is something that is sort of a mixed bag in my opinion. It has brought a lot of harm to people as they use it as a means to spread violence and terror, thinking that their ideology or religion is supreme and anyone who does not follow it shall be killed. On the other hand, the number of people who do not commit crimes out of fear of divine retribution or the fear that they would not be allowed to enter “heaven” and be disposed to the mythical hell, the resting place of all evil is huge in itself. Religion also acts as a defensive mechanism as people seek solace in their own beliefs, even though they don’t make any sense, beliefs are defended and guarded at a psychological level and hence it becomes difficult for anyone to change them from the outside.

Dealing with mental health issues like depression and anxiety is a challenge in itself, having to do it without any divine or all knowing power to fall back on presents a new challenge in itself. I see a lot of people turn to spirituality or religion or the “cosmic force” when the going gets tough. We like to believe there is a balance, that there is a plan or at the least, someone who is in control of life. We believe in karma, the universe, god or something of our own choosing but the thing is that is not necessarily a very sustainable plan.

As an atheist and moreover, a nihilist, it became difficult for me to deal with my thoughts, keep in mind, when I am talking about difficult, I mean that it was more difficult compared to an average religious person. When the only thing you believe in is scientific evidence and not stories or fairytales, it is certainly a new task in its own self. I have written at an extent about how to be considered normal you have to be a certain level of fake dramatic person. I have also realized that it is easier to convince yourself of lies and live a beautiful lie rather than search for truth or more knowledge. (Something which makes the job of a researcher even more difficult.)

Although atheists may find it hard to come up with coping techniques, we are more likely to accept the science of psychology and take medication. It happens too often that patients refuse to take their medicines on schedule because they are waiting for a divine intervention from the clouds or choose to heal themselves with faith rather than with medicines. Allopathy is unfortunately demonized in current times and hence it becomes difficult for every psychiatrist to help their patients get better. I remember the time when I was so scared of anti-psychotics that sometimes I would skip taking them because I didn’t want to get fat or lose my motor skills, (myths that are perpetuated on social media.). Hence it is clear that atheism and the scietific inclination that comes with it drives people more towards doctors and psychologists than faith healers and in the long run, that is what is going to drive our quest for more knowledge.

I would like to leave you with a question here, if times were bad, would you rely on an intervention from your belief system or would you look for more grounded solutions?

30 Replies to “Atheism And Depression.”

  1. Another atheist and skeptic over here. It’s always a tug of war for me between knowing the truth versus believing that something is “just going to be all right” and it will all be taken care of by some cosmic force, because often times the truth is not all rainbows when things are tough. If I want to keep my integrity as a scientific person, I have to choose truth, as difficult as it might be to swallow. I don’t think me having bipolar disorder is something some entity had intended, and it’s all part of some greater good. If my objective is happiness and comfort, I sometimes feel like I go against my values to achieve that level of relief and comfort. So either way, I’m usually uncomfortable with what I choose, which makes me think that maybe I should just go easy on myself and pick the easy path. I wish I could be religious, but it’s not what I grew up with, so it’s a bit too late for that, I guess.

    1. True. I couldn’t have put it better myself. The thirst for knowing more and being critical analyst of every single thing has a charm of its own. If you live a normal life you are unlikely to understand what that is like. I just ended up not thinking about the scientific method or some religious beliefs and hence ended up somewhere in the middle.

      1. It does make me wary of the middle ground fallacy though. Where in order to appear neutral, I choose to take no sides rather than a firm position for one.

  2. In my own case it was religion that caused my anxiety. After my deconversion I don’t expect anything supernatural and just live my life very happily. Don’t know if there are stats about atheist depression, but it would surprise me if it was higher than Christians. The most pious group I know, the Mormons, lead with 66% of Utah adults on antidepressants. Epidemic for a faith that promotes so much happiness and eternal love. And their teen suicide rate in Utah is fifth in the nation. I just did a post about this a moth ago. Abrahamic religions lead all other religions in suicide. Monotheism is the problem that causes division and anxiety in our culture. How many gay men would commit suicide if we had no Abrahamic divisions and hate for anyone different?

    1. That’s an interesting point you give their. The rules and restraints associated with abrahamic religions leading to anxiety of being condemned to hell. I think a religion that provides least room for personal choices would be the one that gives people more anxiety

    1. Yes I do. I was talking about how abrahamic religions compared to maybe hinduism or Buddhism provide little choice to the followers on how to live their lives which may have a less negative effect on their mental health compared to islam or christianity

      1. I got it. Hey in my own case is where I found the most understanding. It wasn’t so much the rules but divisive nature and ultimate hate for non believers. It wasn’t me talking, but repeating what we’re supposed to. In the end they’re all praying for Jesus to come wipe us all out. Shouting from the clouds in glee as their family and friends are consumed in fire. See, see, I told you so! Thank you Jesus for the retribution on those!! people. It’s really quite sick. They pray for the end. They treat the earth like trash because god is coming to fix it. It’s very disturbing as you can tell from my tone. Glad I got out. I’m. It a hateful person but I sure said a lot of shitty things because of religion.

      2. Yes. I really like WP people here. I have a couple apologist hecklers but I deal humor in droves. I’ll sent you a quick link

  3. I read many posts about people that rely on their belief system for help and healing with mental health. I had the opposite effect where once I realized my religion/faith was false, it lead to worse mental health issues. Transitioning from religious to atheist caused severe depression. Primarily because I had to turn my back on my culture and background and became alienated by loved ones leaving a big hole. The flip side of all of this is that many of the troubling and problematic aspects of religion that were causing cognitive dissonance and depression have now dispersed. I now feel I am living a more authentic life. I feel many aspects of my religion were exacerbating my mental health issues.

    1. I understand what it must have been like. It’s like you are in a vacuum of loneliness and it seems hopeless. The stigma against turning atheist in some countries is too high for the 21st century. Religion plays a key role in many people’s mental health. Some are helped by it, some ailed.

  4. I agree with a lot of what you say. I’m an atheist too, and I get so angry with religion and the things it perpetuates. In answer to your question, I would like to say that I wouldn’t fall back on religion if something terrible were to happen in my life. But thinking about something like that is hard in and of itself, and unless it does happen, there’s no way for me to know how I would react. I really hope that I would try to get through it without lying to myself about a god. If that did happen, I might feel a little bit better for a time, but I would ultimately have to go through the entire process of becoming an unbeliever again.

    1. And when I really thought about it, I didn’t find a lot bad with that. It actually helped me understand why people even believe in a god even though the belief doesn’t make any logical sense. It does become harder to sympathise though when religious people try and make the non believers believe. Something that will not happen by outer stimulation.

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