RSS

Tag Archives: religious

Beckie Francis Fired for Pushing Religion/Christianity? Probably Not.

Oakland University fired its women’s basketball coach, Beckie Francis, for allegedly abusing her players emotionally and mentally, obsessing over their weights and eating habits, with some players supposedly developing eating problems, and “pushing” Christianity upon them. Forget the first two reasons, it is the latter one which has raised the ire of liberals and atheists, and is the focal point of their “news” sources, like the Huffington Post and The Young Turks. This is also why these people are usually silent over alleged nonreligious abuses by coaches, like the serial physical and verbal abuse of Bobby Knight; they only care about “abuse” when it is linked with religion. Of course these liberals and atheists are so paranoid, sensitive and zealous that their claims of religion being “pushed” are meaningless.  To them, “pushing” religion can mean simply being Christian, wearing a crucifix or encouraging reading a wide range of material that includes religious texts, or perceived/alleged religious texts.

However, nothing in this case has yet been substantiated. We do not know exactly why Francis was fired. She was coach for over 13 years, never having received a negative comment, discipline or warning. If she had done any of this, especially bringing religion in the classroom, it is more likely than not that she would have at least been brought before a university disciplinary hearing and subsequently reprimanded. Oakland University apparently fears giving Francis & her legal team a confidential version of her termination report that is not redacted, claiming it would allow the complainants to be identified. Nonsense! If this is true, then the system is corrupt because it could allow for any unsubstantiated or manufactured claim  to become the basis for termination, with those terminated never having the opportunity to properly defend themselves or challenge their firing in court. The University is hiding something, & may actually be in contravention of the Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right-to-Know Act.

Regarding that alleged “pushing” of religion on her players, apparently she insisted they “attend church services on trips, showed “Christian-based videos on bus rides” and posted religiously-inspired tweets. Thus, “insisting” now becomes “pushing.” Whom was she “insisting?” Was it all players, or her Christian players, which probably comprise the vast majority of her team.

What are “Christian-based videos?” Movies? Televangelist programs? Sermons? What were the purposes of said videos? Entertainment? Proselytizing? “Christian-based videos” is not the same as “pushing” religion; for example, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a Christian-based movie but its wider, inspirational message about family, hope, life, overcoming struggles are not limited to religion. Had she shown atheist anti-religious videos, this would not be an issue. You may attack religion, but not defend it. This double standard liberals and atheists believe is enshrined in the First Amendment.

Francis allegedly posted religious tweets, including Isaiah 40:31. How this constitutes “pushing” religion or how this can be a basis for termination are unknown. I am unaware that quoting Scripture outside school on the internet is “pushing” religion or violating the First Amendment. “Pushing,” as used in this case, used to mean “forcing” or “coercion;” in other words, you would have no other choice but to adopt Christianity. Nobody in this case is being forced to believe anything and no law is being enacted by Congress establishing a religion or prohibiting the free expression of any religion. The latter, however, is stealthy being done atheists and activist judges corrupting and applying the First Amendment in their own, unconstitutional image.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Atheism and Worldwide Suicide

The suicide rate is a key indicator of not only a people’s health, but of their standards of morality and compassion, and how they value life. Research conducted in the US finds that depression and suicide (both attempted and completed), are significantly higher among the religiously unaffiliated than betwixt those with religious affiliation (see my previous posts here and here). However, are such findings consistent internationally? Yes. Sociologist Phil Zuckerman confirms the inverse relationship between religion and suicide repeats internationally, where suicide declines with greater religiosity. Concentrating on male suicide rates, Zuckerman finds that 9 of the top 10 countries with the highest suicide rate are highly irreligious, Sri Lanka being the exception.

It is now indesputable that religion is the basis of a happy, strong, rational, mentally well adjusted inidvidual. A 2006 Sao Paulo University meta-review of 850 studies on religion and mental health, for example, concluded “that higher levels of religious involvement are positively associated with indicators of psychological well-being (life satisfaction, happiness, positive affect, and higher morale) and with less depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, drug/alcohol use/abuse.”

In fact religion’s positive contribution to mental health is so powerful it extends beyond the religious. In a study of 90,000 individuals over 26 countries in Europe in 2009,Professors Andrew E. Clark and  and Orsolya Lelkes found that “religious behaviour” is not only positively correlated with “life satisfaction” among religiously affiliated individuals by whom it is practiced but also often of the irreligious people around them. In other words, there is a “spinoff” effect whereby the positive mental health outcomes spawned by the religious practices of religiously-affiliated individuals frequently extends to non-religious individuals. This, however, is only true in regions of high religiosity. In regions of high irreligiosity or atheism, the opposite tends to occur, with the psychological misery of the non-religious often infecting the religious.

This is no surprise because not only does religion form the basis of an individual’s mental health but it also provides the individual with the ability to help those around him through valuing their lives and reinforcing their inherent worth through comfort and compassion.  As it states in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 God is “the Father of compassion and…of all comfort.” We who accept God are comforted by Him “in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God.”

This is not to state that atheism causes suicide and other mental health problems as there is insufficient evidence at this point to make such a definitive conclusion.  Atheism, however, provides life with no meaning, morality or value; it does not give life any sanctity, purpose, significance or inherent worth; it offers no rationale why life should be lived or propagated, and no reason to oppose suicide; it is, in its most extreme forms, nihilistic and, to quote Bertrand Russell, “the firm foundation of unyielding dispair.”

Life’s inherent and objective meaning, morality, purpose, value, substance and worth have been and shall remain gifts given to us by God, communicated to us through religion. To reject religion is to reject God and vice versa, and to do so means you are left to your own devices, and to ultimate failure. As it loses its religion, a nation becomes deprived of any objective moral and intellectual foundation for opposing not only suicide but any method of taking life, including murder;  indeed it loses any objective reason for opposing anything once thought of as morally reprehensible, as it descends into unending despair and “blind indifference.”

Suicide, here, becomes just another routine, ho-hum aspect of daily life; more than this, it becomes an essential part of the “survival of the fittest,” and thus something that must be allowed to play itself out, unhindered by unnatural barriers or irrational human emotions, because, as militant atheist James Randi proclaims, suicide is simply a way to weed out the weak, strengthen the human gene pool and “clear the air.” Perhaps, then, suicide should even be facilitated and celebrated, and indeed, in the most suicide-friendly countries, which are also the most atheist or irreligious, it does often morph into the cultural/social and often state approved panacea for any and every personal, mental and physical illness, irregularity, issue or problem afflicting an individual, including newborns. This includes anorexia, bulimia, blindness, depression, disability, economic distress, muffed operations, like gender reassignment surgery, and simply being elderly. This liberal approach is often called “dying with dignity,” “end of life care,” “euthanasia,” “right to die” or some other humane-sounding euphemism; in reality, it is probably just survival of the fittest being facilitated at the expense of human compassion, medical care and valuing life.

For example, in Holland, a nation so Godless that even 1 in 6 pastors is atheist, a country so liberal and irreligious that atheists often hold it up as a prime example of the wonders their rejection of religion can bring, since it legalized euthanasia in 2002,  “medical care for the terminally-ill” has declined,”  as one of the architects of  this legalization, Dr. Els Borst, admits. Dr. Anne-Marie The has further found “palliative care…so inadequate in Holland that patients ‘often ask for euthanasia out of fear’ of dying in agony because care and pain relief is so poor.” Even more, “there have been thousands of cases of involuntary euthanasia and dozens of killings of disabled newborns.” Holland now has a movement promoting assisted suicide for those over 70, including for no other reason than they are “tired” or their lives have supposedly been “completed” and serve no further purpose. In Japan, as The New Yorker’s Larissa MacFarquhar writes, “suicide can absolve guilt and cancel debt, can restore honor and prove loyalty…Suicide can be a gesture of moral integrity and freedom, or an act of beauty.”

While I do not say atheism causes suicide and other mental health problems, it does help create a culture of death that cheapens, wastes, destroys and discards life; one in which suicide becomes culturally, financially, medically, naturally, politically and socially justified and preferred over compassion, effective cures, palliative care and any other means that resolves, betters or manages that which encourages or results in suicide. The opposite is true with religion, especially high religiosity.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Atheism, Depression and Suicide

It is often claimed by militant atheists that religion is detrimental to the health of individuals, especially their mental well-being. These atheists are stupid, ignorant and/or dishonest. Truly, dishonesty is rife within the atheist community, particularly its militant factions, where it permeates even its highest intellectual order, which includes Godless superstars like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Bill Maher, PZ Myers, and so forth, who purposely neglect proof debunking their hypotheses and even manipulate evidence to advance their anti-religious position, agenda and prejudice; their books, papers and so-called documentaries make this abundantly clear.

As I pointed in an earlier post, scientific inquiry has now proven a positive relationship between religion and mental health. While study upon study proves irreligious individuals, like atheists, are more likely to suffer depression and self destructive behavior, including suicide, the opposite has been found true of those with religious affiliation. In fact, the more religious one is the better mental health is usually exhibited. Religion has been proven particularly effective against depression and suicide.

Perhaps the most notable clinical study to date directly investigating suicide among religiously-affiliated and irreligious individuals was published in 2004 by the American Journal of Psychiatry. The Study focused on the suicide rate of religiously-affiliated and irreligious depressed in-patients and found, compared to the former, the latter have “significantly more lifetime suicide attempts…more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder” and perceive “fewer reasons for living” and “fewer moral objections to suicide.” Religion, the study finds, provides a protective, mitigating factor against suicide, particularly because it encourages lower levels of aggression and “greater moral objections to suicide.”

The study concludes by suggesting further examination of how religious affiliation mitigates against “aggressive behavior and how moral objections can reduce the probability of acting on suicidal thoughts may offer new therapeutic strategies in suicide prevention.” This is a rather striking conclusion as here is this prominent secular, scientific publication, the world’s most read and cited psychiatric journal, of a profession which is highly atheist, suggesting that religion not simply conventional treatment/medication may serve as at least part of a strategy for coping with mental issues which may otherwise lead to suicidal behavior.

A 2002 study by Sterling C. Hilton in the American Journal of Epidemiology may help answer these latter inquiries. In that study, Hilton focused on young male suicide in Utah, which, at that time, had the ninth highest self-murder rate in the United States. Utah has traditionally had the highest per capita concentration of Mormons in the US, thus many, particularly atheists, surmised a causal link between not only Mormonism, but also religion in general, and suicide. For this reason, Utah is even today sometimes used as evidence for the causal link between religion, depression and suicide. Those who do this, however, do so dishonestly, and simply to propagate their crusade against religion, for not only has there never been evidence in its favor, but it has effectively been debunked by Hilton’s research. The opposite, in fact, has been proven as suicide rates are lower among active participants of the Mormon faith than heir irreligious counterparts.

Hilton found a combination of religiosity, including belief “in a higher being, an afterlife…the sanctity of life” and that “life, in and of itself, is precious,” alongside a comprehensive social support system provided by the Church, were among the main factors leading to lower suicide rates. Hilton agrees that while this study focused on Utah Mormons, affiliation and participation with any religion has proven to yield similar results. Indeed studies continuously find religious involvement and/or affiliation predicts better mental health and stability. For example, a review of the research in this area by Duke Psychiatrist Harold Koenig in 2012, and an earlier one by Koenig, Almedia and Neto in 2006, which concluded “higher levels of religious involvement are positively associated with indicators of psychological well-being…and with less depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, drug/alcohol use/abuse.” Gallup as well found in 2012 that in the US, the “Very Religious Have Higher Wellbeing Across All Faiths.”

Thus, while Atheist extremists want to destroy religion claiming it does only harm and evil, the objective, scientific evidence proves the contrary; indeed religion saves lives by helping people live better, longer and stronger. It seems the medical establishment is slowly becoming aware of the importance of religion in healthcare for examinations of the potential clinical use of religion as part of mental health therapy are currently being undertaken. For example, by Koenig, Marylin Batez and John Toews.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Religion is NOT Mental Illness: The Positive Effects of Religion on Mental Health

(Sources used are listed at the bottom of the article; not all may be available online)

Militant atheists, like anti-theists, “new” atheists and state atheists assert that religion is, causes or worsens mental illness, and only by releasing oneself from its “shackles” can the potential for a rational, happy, emotionally and mentally healthy individual begin to be realized. Despite their popularity and resonance among the militant aspects of the irreligious community,  these claims are not only unfounded but continuously proven false by scientific inquiry, which finds the more religious one is the better mental health is exhibited. Religious involvement and/or affiliation is not only associated with but also predicts better mental health and stability, including lower rates of anxiety, delinquency, depression, substance abuse, suicide and suicide attempts, higher levels of rationality, satisfaction with life, self actualization, self esteem, well-being and more effective coping with pain (both physical and emotional), stress and suffering.

These findings, unlike contrary affirmations put forth by militants, which are based on nothing more than unquestioned, idle, prejudiced, pseudo scientific research and theories, fallacious reasoning, bigotry and/or prior ideological commitment, are based on the objective application of the modern scientific method by independent, world renowned experts on mental health who hold no standing bias for or against religion but rather are only interested in following the evidence where it leads. These include professionals from the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association,  Association of American Medical Colleges, Center for Psychology of Religion, Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Mayo Clinic, Religious Research Association and Southern Medical Association. This research is readily available in books, peer review journals and often online and thus there is no legitimate excuse for continuing to believe and propagate antithetical assertions.

Research as to why precisely this is the case and what this means for the future clinical diagnosing and treatment of mental illnesses has only recently been undertaken with any diligence and thus answers are scarce. However, psychologist Stephen Joseph, whose own research supports the positive relationship between religion and mental health, argues that it is in part due to religion providing a purpose and meaning in life which is not offered by other belief systems or lifestyles, like atheism and materialism. What we currently know is that a worldview, philosophy, way of life centered around religion is capable of performing an unmatched, powerful and transforming role in one’s life by providing one’s life with eternal and immutable purpose, meaning and virtue, a system of rewards and punishments and a hope and vision for ever better things, embodied and experienced through both acceptance of an eternal, loving God-head and affiliation, association and participation with fellow believers. Religion provides people with unrivaled empowerment and togetherness, with God and the community of fellow believers, allowing them to cope, withstand and overcome negative experiences, like pain and suffering, which may otherwise lead to mental health degradation.

Therefore, rather than being, causing or worsening mental illness, religion is  the foundation of good mental health. William James once rebutted an atheist’s remark that one’s religion is the result of a sick mind by stating that perhaps one’s atheism is the result of a sick liver. The point of course is that instead of accusing religious people of being mentally ill, atheists should evalute themselves for it is perhaps they who are suffering from such illness, delusion, madness, and, in fact, recent research has shown atheism to be linked with mental illness, specifically autism and asperger’s syndrome. This may explain the extreme, irrational, unreasonable, and often violent, hostility towards religion and religious believers exhibited by many atheists, including their most well-known, outspoken leaders, like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, PZ Myers, etc. Regardless, equating religious belief with mental illness is simply a baseless, fallacious and desperate attempt to demean and demonize that and those with which these militant atheists do not agree and vehemently detest. What is proven by these militants’ continued acceptance and championing of this debunked premise, despite not only the lack of sound, supporting, scientific proof, but in the presence of contrary scientific evidence, is their dishonesty and hypocrisy because these same individuals simultaneously lecture, ad nauseum, that we should not only believe what is “scientifically” supported and verified, and shape our lives accordingly, but berate and mock those who deviate from this norm.

Sources:

Boundless. Social Correlates of Religion: There are correlations between the degree of religious belief in society and social factors like mortality rates, wealth and happiness.

Daily Mail. Is atheism linked to autism? Controversial study points to  relationship between the two. 20 September 2011.

Dervic, Kanita, et al. “Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, VOL. 161, No. 12.

French, Sarah and Joseph, Stephen. “Religiosity and its association with happiness, purpose in life, and self-actualisation,” Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Vol 2(2), Nov 1999, 117-120. doi: 10.1080/13674679908406340.

Gallups. “In U.S., Very Religious Have Higher Wellbeing Across All Faiths.” February 16, 2012.

Hackney, C. H. and Sanders, G. S.  “Religiosity and Mental Health: A Meta–Analysis of Recent Studies.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 42: 43–55. doi: 10.1111/1468-5906.t01-1-00160. 12 FEB 2003.

King, M. et al. “Religion, spirituality and mental health: results from a national study of English households.” British Journal of Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;202(1):68-73. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.112.112003. Epub 2012 Nov 22

Koenig, Harold G. “Religion, Spirituality, and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications”  Psychiatry. Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 278730, 33 pages.

Koenig, Harold G., Michael E. McCullough & David B. Larson. Handbook of Religion and Health.  Oxford Univ. Press, 2012.

Moreira-Almeida A., et al. “Religiousness and mental health: a review.” Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria. 2006 Sep;28(3):242-50. Epub 2006 Aug 15.

Shastri, Keyur Vasantlal “Religious Involvement, Spirituality and Medicine : Subject Review and Implications for Clinical Practice”

Smith, Timothy B., et al. “Religiousness and depression: Evidence for a main effect and the moderating influence of stressful life events.” Psychological Bulletin, Vol 129(4), Jul 2003, 614-636.

University of Warwick. “Psychology Researcher Says Spiritual Meaning Of Christmas Brings More Happiness Than Materialism,” Science Blog. 8 December 2003.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Mental Health/Illness

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Navy Vet, Dad Craig Scarberry Lost Custody of Kids for Being Agnostic? Probably Not.

Craig Scarberry, 29, of Indiana maintains he lost joint custody of his 3 children because of his agnosticism. As evidence, he cites statements alluding to his irreligious views written by presiding Judge George Pancol which state Scarberry “did not participate in the same religious training as the mother…the father was agnostic…when the father considered himself a Christian, the parties were able to communicate relatively effectively.” Following Scarberry, liberals, atheists and agnostics have quote mined Pancol’s comments, spinning them for their political and what can be seen as nothing short of a fear mongering agenda, insisting not only this man lost custody due to his agnosticism but that this represents religion encroaching upon the fundamental rights and freedoms as established by the First Amendment. These people have used Pancol’s words, in a sense, as a call to arms for all irreligious to unite to fight this supposed encroachment before we become a full-blown theocracy. This is perfectly exemplified by the reaction of the The Young Turks.

Pancol’s statements, however, merely relay the fact of how the couple’s relationship operated cohesively when both shared the same religious perspective. Scarberry claims he and his lawyer have gone through the decision, concluding it was based on religious considerations. Of course his irreligious brethren agree. No where in Pancol’s comments does it state, or even imply, religious considerations are a part of the court’s ruling, and Pancol maintains his decision is based on the children’s best interests. Unless irrefutable contrary evidence surfaces, it is irrational and illogical to assume otherwise.

What those who are assume otherwise, and the irresponsible media which is refusing to clarify the matter, are ignoring is the evidence presented in court pointing to the more probable reason his joint custody has been revoked. As reported by the Herald Bulletin, this evidence, which was used by Judge Pancol in his decision, shows Scarberry to have anger management issues, used “profanity in front of the children” and harassed his ex wife with excessive amounts of text messages. Further, in April, 2010, his ex wife had gotten a restraining order against Scarberry for trying to beset and frighten her at her workplace “with abusive language and profanity” and random and unexpected stops by her home “at different hours of the day and night.” Scarberry claims that evidence has been presented in court which purport to refute these latter allegations; as far as I know, as of now, no evidence of such refutation is available to the public and thus I do not know if his claims are true.

Theoretically, though, even if religious considerations had played a part in this decision, it must be determined whether or not they were the sole or dominant criteria on which the decision is based. So long as they do not dominate the decision making process, religious considerations are allowed in custody cases where contesting parties have competing religious interests, and are a normal part of such cases. If Scarberry had been denied custody due to his agnosticism, the judge would have certainly further denied him the right to teach or expose his children to other religious or irreligious perspectives, as happened in MacLagan v. Klein in North Carolina in 1996. In that case, the father, Klein, a Jew, was awarded full religious authority over the couple’s daughter. The court reasoned that since the child had been raised Jewish from the time she was born, it would cause her harm if she was to be introduced into another religion, that being her mother’s Methodism. Scarberry, though, has no such limitations and is free to teach and expose his children to other religions or philosophies, like agnosticism.

Thus, there is more to the court’s decision than these atheists, agnostics, liberals and the media are admitting, considering, investigating or of which they are even aware; it seems these people are motivated by demagoguery and/or paranoid delusions of encroaching theocracy and thus are solely able to focus on the judge’s comments about Scarberry’s irreligious views, spinning them to fit these motivations by ignoring or rewriting the reality and wider context behind the court’s decision. They are further side stepping the reality of custody battles in America where, for perfectly legitimate reasons, it is normal for religious considerations to be a part of a court’s decision.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,