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?