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EXPOSED: Atheist and Liberal Media Lies and Exploitation of Maria Kislo’s Suicide

Thanks to reader EH commenting on my first article on this story for updating me so I could provide this update.

Militant atheists assume religion is not only factually wrong but the root of all, or at least most, of whatever they define as harm and evil, and ergo crusade to rid it from humanity. These zealots will sacrifice anyone and anything, including those lofty intellectual and moral ideals on which they claim a monopoly, like evidentialism, reason, science, skepticism and truth, in favor of wholly and blindly accepting, exploiting, manipulating and reiterating anything they believe furthers their anti-religious worldview and jihad. This is why they instantly, without confirming their validity, and with lascivious joy, greeted and spun, as evidence of the menace that is religion, English media reports that 12-year old Polish girl Maria Kislo took her own life in late October 2013 so that, according to her alleged suicide note, she could be reunited with her father, which, because she was Christian, they manipulated as meaning she believed she would go to Heaven.

These media reports, however, are not only false but may have been fabricated by the English sources which published them, including Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. Most importantly, from the beginning, Polish media and police explicitly stated that:

“there was no suicide note. Maria’s motivations are a mystery. The police are investigating her computer and diaries, but refrain from commenting on any clues they may have found so far…Maria’s father didn’t die of a heart attack, but was brutally shot to death by his new girlfriend’s brother-in-law in 2009, about six months after Maria’s parents’ divorce (and) Maria’s mother wasn’t going to read a bedtime story to a 12-year-old, but just started wondering why the girl was staying so long alone in her room supposedly reading a book…”

I do not know Polish but I have researched numerous Polish media reports, translating them using Google translation, and have verified that the details in the above quote are true. I advise you to do the same, if you do not believe me and are interested in the truth. Google “Marysia Kislo” as that is her name in Polish. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any new details about this tragedy, with its last mention in any news source being early November, 2013.

Further (s)omeone called Grzegorz Kowalski commented on the (Mirror) article…introducing himself as Marysia’s uncle and accusing the author [at the Mirror] of lying.” As of this blog post, this comment appears on page 2 of the comments, use “find” feature of your browser and insert “Grzegorz Kowalski.” The comment has been reposted on Facebook, too.

Despite this, no English news source has acknowledged or rectified  these errors, accusations and possible fabrications, and few atheists have attempted to do so either; of the latter who did, only “The Friendly Atheist” can be considered a prominent/popular source. Misinformation and lies thus still stand as facts in these sources, ready to dupe people who read them. To most atheist zealots, it probably does not matter that what has been narrated is untrue and will continue exploiting it for the benefit of their anti-religious jihad, regardless. Many atheists I have confronted with the facts have actually had the audacity to say the objective truth is irrelevant here because she was Christian, thus things could have happened as reported and so it still stands as an indictment of the dangers of religion. What? No, it stands as a testament to your dishonesty and inability to accept any explanation for whatever upsets your subjective, hypocritical, ideologically-based moral indignation other than “religion did it.”

Let us be honest. Most of these atheists care very little for anything missing the elements manipulable and usable in advancing their ideological foundation and agenda. Only because they saw these factors present in Maria’s tragedy, did these fanatics take interest in her death, which they then cold-bloodily manipulated and exploited to further their irrational, dishonest, pseudo-intellectual, nonscientific campaign against religion and anyone else not holding to their anti religious prejudice and zealotry; otherwise, her death would have been inconsequential to them. Indeed, many of these atheists who blame or blamed religion for her death also blame religion for not allowing people to commit suicide.

Of course, atheists deny the charge of exploitation and some even take issue with it, like The Friendly Atheist. Exploitation, here, means to take advantage, usually unfairly, of someone or something for your own benefit, and of this, these ultraists are guilty. Even if the original reports were true, there is nothing implicating religion in Maria’s suicide. To use her religion to blame religion is mere question begging and a red herring; her faith is inconsequential to her self-murder. Christianity, in fact, forbids suicide. As Saint Augustine rightly states, “the law, rightly interpreted, even prohibits suicide, where it says, “Thou shalt not kill.” This is proved especially by the omission of the words “thy neighbor,” which are inserted when false witness is forbidden…”

Her purported note too cannot be used as evidence because it is completely non-religious; it is atheists who have manipulated religious allusions, language and reasons into the note, which they then finagled to indict, try and convict religion for her death. Read objectively, her alleged note reveal a secular, not religious, reason for her suicide; that being her father’s death.  If this is true, that she self-murdered four years after his murder should suggest to any objective, reasonable, logical, rational person, suicide note or not, that, as I have written, she “was emotionally and/or mentally damaged not by religion but by her loss, which she was unable to accept, with which she was unable to cope, which caused her to suffer extreme, perpetual, evermore depressing bereavement and grief (possibly prolonged grief disorder) and which finally prompted her suicide.” This happens with greater frequency than you may realize or care to know. Had Maria been atheist or agnostic, given these same circumstances, and especially without timely, adequate  intervention, “there is no plausible reason to…believe that the outcome would not have been the same…and contrary claims are just empty, agenda-oriented assertions made by callous, opportunistic militant atheists.” This is a textbook example of exploitation. Had Maria been atheist or agnostic, her death would not be news and, about it, atheists would not care.

As I discuss elsewhere on my blog, with plenty of references for you to peruse, contrary to the negative consequences atheists attach to religion, we have much scientific evidence proving that, generally, religion provides people with the means to better cope with mentally and emotionally damaging circumstances and there is “a proportional relationship between religiosity and mental health…as religiosity increases so does mental health, and as the former decreases so does the latter…Unsurprisingly…depression and suicide rates are significantly higher among the irreligious than the religious.” We have, for example, evidence, like this and this, that Jesse Kilgore’s 2008 suicide was prompted by his atheism which he adopted after reading Richard Dawkin’s pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-scientific fluff masquerading as scientific fact, “The God Delusion.”

Suicide in nations with higher atheist/irreligious populations is not only significantly more prevalent but, in many cases, is so approved of that it is politically, socially and culturally preferred, financed and encouraged over medical and palliative care. This applies to adults, children and infants and for any reason, including depression, loneliness, boredom and being old. Holland is a particularly disturbing case as its “right to die” program provides children with “self-help programs” on ending their lives and allows doctors to solely decide whether or not to put a child to death; yes, that means no input from the child himself or his parents. According to a recent survey by right to die organization Dignitas, an organization that argues even the healthy should have the “right to die,” atheists are among those most likely to choose suicide, with upwards of 20% citing no reason for it, which is interpreted as just being tired of life. In reality, like upwards of 90% of those committing suicide, these individuals probably suffer from some diagnosable mental illness or disorder. These facts prove atheism, not religion, is dangerous and harmful to mental health and raises questions about “the emotional/psychological status of atheists.”

If suicide honestly troubles these atheists then they would become involved in general suicide awareness and prevention without interjecting their anti-religious zealotry. They would, preferably, acknowledge and accept the benefits of religion on mental health and treatment programs incorporating a person’s faith as science has proven. Such a hybrid approach may have helped in Maria’s case. Being atheists, perhaps they would be especially concerned by its higher prevalence among those who share their own beliefs. However, these militants vehemently deny any link between atheism, mental issues and suicide as they endlessly reiterate as true what we know to be false, that atheism is the basis of sound mental well-being and religion is, causes and/or worsens mental health problems. So much for living according to the evidence. Truth is of no consequence to these self-professed bastions of science and reason; all these atheist jihadists care about is how something or someone may usefully serve their anti-religious crusade. This is why they have taken interest in Maria’s suicide and why, not only without any verification but even outright manipulation of the details, they have used it to attack religion.

Under any other circumstances, if they even hear about it, these zealots likely meet suicide with cheers, “an indifferent sigh, silence, a heartless “meh” or a Darwin award, as they would have done with Maria’s death had it not been ideologically viable.”  Zealot James Randi, a massively popular and influential leader of today’s Godless militants, actually proclaims “those who self-murder are obviously not fit enough to survive, so they deserve death, they would simply “mature into grown-up idiots, and Darwin would be appalled that his lessons were ignored;” their continued existence dilutes the gene pool, but their death contributes to its purification and thus to the strengthening of the human species. Because such crudeness emanates from the atheist camp with virtually no rebuke from atheists, thus suggesting it is normal and acceptable, it is reasonable, and probably correct, to believe this is how they truly feel about Maria’s death,” and it may be partly why suicide is welcomed, supported, normalized, facilitated, and, in some cases, even glorified and propagated, in countries with higher atheist populations.

The only thing proven by these atheists’ faux outrage and crocodilian tears is that they are callous, heartless, lying, manipulative and hypocritical opportunists using this child to pleasure their lecherous, fanatical anti-religious crusade.

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Atheists Exploit Maria Kislo for Their Anti-Religious Crusade

With unbridled and overwhelming lasciviousness that quickly exploded into an atheist necro-orgy, Godless militants rejoiced in the tragic October 25, 2013 news of the suicide of Maria Kislo, a 12 year old  Christian girl from Poland not solely because it means the world is left with one less theist, which is enough to make many of these zealots climax, but also her suicide was allegedly prompted by her longing for reunion, in Heaven, with her father, who passed away in 2009. Do not be fooled by their crocodilian tears, these atheists care not about Maria’s death but only in exploiting it to satisfy their anti-religious yearnings, fetishes and jihad.

These atheists self righteously rant ad nauseum that only what is scientifically supported is to be trusted, believed and accepted as true. Accordingly, there is no scientifically valid reason for atheists to oppose, prevent or mourn suicide. If we are to believe what the atheists tell us is scientifically true, after all, there is only the amoral natural world ruled by a blindly indifferent survival of the fittest. If this is scientifically true, we should welcome and celebrate suicide as a means to rid the world of the weak and riff raff, thereby strengthening the human species. As Godless militant James Randi says, those who self-murder are obviously not fit enough to survive, so they deserve death, they would simply “mature into grown-up idiots, and Darwin would be appalled that his lessons were ignored;” their continued existence dilutes the gene pool, but their death contributes to its purification and thus to the strengthening of the human species. Because such crudeness emanates from the atheist camp with virtually no rebuke from atheists, thus suggesting it is normal and acceptable, it is reasonable, and probably correct, to believe this is how they truly feel about Maria’s death.

Militant atheists, however, regularly betray the scientific standard they proselytize and by which they claim to abide, especially in gratifying their atheistic sense of superiority and anti-religious lusts and zealotry; in these cases, evidence and facts do not matter, anything and anyone can be exploited and the end justifies the means. To this end, to these Godless, sadistic sociopaths, Maria’s death is nothing more than a manipulatable and exploitable opportunity. These fiends, then, bolstered by reports of her alleged faith-inspired suicide, gang rape this child, her suffering, death and soul, howling with orgasmic delight, as they splatter blood-soaked hogwash unequivocally affirming religion not only caused Maria’s death but that it worsens depression, grief and generally “poisons everything.” Every one of their assertions, however, are proven false scientifically and theologically. There is no basis upon which to suggest or conclude Maria’s suicide would have been averted had she not been religious or not believed in Heaven. To believe otherwise is gross ignorance, to claim otherwise is mere propaganda.

Scientifically, a proportional relationship between religiosity and mental health has been proven; as religiosity increases so does mental health, and as the former decreases so does the latter, and this is true worldwide, not only in the US. (see my other posts here, here, and here). Unsurprisingly, then, depression and suicide rates are significantly higher among the irreligious than the religious.  This evidence highlights atheism’s dangers, raising uneasy questions about its potential mental health hazards and the emotional/psychological status of atheists for it proves atheism, not religion, is deleterious to mental health. Despite it being a great tragedy, any direct or indirect link that may exist between Maria’s suicide and her faith, indeed the failure of the latter to prevent the former, is an exception to the rule.

Theologically, most religions, especially the Abrahamic traditions, either prohibit suicide or portray it negatively. Christianity, for example, is a life-affirming faith with outright condemnation of self murder. As St. Augustine states, “God’s command ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ is to be taken as forbidding self-destruction, especially as it does not add ‘thy neighbor’, as it does when it forbids false witness…” (Augustine, book I, chapter 20). Simply put, suicide is a sin. Normally, a sinner who, in life, assuredly repents for his sins and accepts Christ may be forgiven by God and enter Heaven (1 John 1:7). This repentance is obviously impossible for those who self-murder. Accordingly, their ascension into Heaven, over which God has final judgement, is not guaranteed. All I will say here on the matter is that it comes down to what is truly in your heart; if you really repent and accept Christ, you may enter Heaven, but if you are merely paying lip service, then you will certainly be excluded. Ultimately, this will be God’s judgement, and He knows what is truly in your heart (Luke 16:15). However, suicide, in and of itself, will not exclude a true believer from Heaven. Nonetheless, suicide is not what God wants for it cuts short the good works He wants us to fulfill (Ephesians 2:10), and indeed He gives us hope and reason to struggle through our darkest times, from which we will emerge stronger and be able to help others in a similar position (Romans 5:2-5). This was not understood by Maria, if she truly, directly or indirectly, based her decision on her religion.

If this was the case, it is, at most, a warning against misunderstanding, misinterpreting and misapplying religion, and not an argument against religion, itself. It is evidence that we need more, but properly appreciated, religion, not less or none, especially since science shows a positive relationship between mental health and religiosity. All that may be most certainly concluded, then, is although the religious are not immune to it, self-murder is generally mitigated against by religion and cannot be justified on religious grounds, particularly as it concerns Christianity.

We cannot definitively say, however, that if Maria based her decision on her understanding of Christianity then she would not have committed suicide had she properly understood and applied her faith; neither can it be said the suffering and longing she endured, as revealed in her suicide note, was made worse by her faith. While militant atheists, for obvious ideological reasons, focus on the “Heaven” aspect of Maria’s suicide note as proof that her religion made things worse and caused her suicide, they ignore or lessen her desire for reunion with her father, who passed away about 4 years earlier. Had her religious beliefs inspired Maria’s suicide, she probably would have done it earlier to be with her father sooner. Actually, if we go by the scientific evidence, it is plausible to believe religion’s absence probably would have made her pain worse and self-murder sooner; perhaps she struggled between the hopeful, life-affirming, anti-suicide message of her faith and her increasingly devastating pain and suffering, and this is what kept her going until the latter became too much and she committed suicide.

Regardless, that her suicide took place so long after his passing suggests Maria was emotionally and/or mentally damaged not by religion but by her loss, which she was unable to accept, with which she was unable to cope, which caused her to suffer extreme, perpetual, evermore depressing bereavement and grief and which finally prompted her suicide. According to her family, Maria displayed no signs of such internal turmoil; such signs are indeed not always evident, especially if you do not know for which to look and/or if they remain hidden within the individual. There is no indication her family would not have sought the proper medical help for her had they known anything was wrong. Perhaps had she properly understood and lived her religion and/or obtained the appropriate medical treatment, especially one that incorporated her faith, Maria would not have self-murdered. Under these same conditions but minus the religious dynamic, had Maria been atheist or agnostic, there is no plausible reason to suggest or believe that the outcome would not have been the same. Her religious beliefs were incidental to her pain, suffering and suicide, and contrary claims are just empty, agenda-oriented assertions made by callous, opportunistic militant atheists.

While I am no medical professional, it is likely this child suffered prolonged grief disorder (PGD), an extreme, often debilitating, form of grief, which, if left untreated, can have any number of dire consequences, including suicide. In the US, PGD annually affects over a million people, or about 15% of those suffering bereavement. With the currently available evidence, though, all that can be adequately surmised is that extreme, depressing bereavement and grief, possibly PGD, induced by her father’s death, caused Maria’s suicide. If any positivity is to be gleaned from this tragedy, it must begin with more awareness being raised about this kind of tribulation, especially when it is suffered by those most vulnerable.

If atheists really care about Maria’s fate, they would, at the very least, involve themselves in raising this awareness, leaving their anti religious zealotry aside; ideally, they would accept the science proving not only the benefits of religion on mental health but also of treatment programs that  incorporate one’s faith. Instead, these militants are only interested in her tragedy in order to manipulate and exploit it for anti religious purposes. If suicide was really an issue for which these atheists cared, they would not limit their concern to supposedly religion-inspired self-murder; they would be burdened by suicide generally, and especially by its prevalence among those who share their own beliefs. However, when it cannot serve their agenda, these zealots meet news of suicide with an indifferent sigh, silence, a heartless “meh” or a Darwin award, as they would have done with Maria’s death had it not been ideologically viable. Indeed, without the religious reference, her death likely would not have made the news, especially outside Poland. It is the rarity and the controversy that can be spun from this tragedy which makes it international news.

You atheist monsters, cannibals, necro-rapists, blood lust fiends only care to exploit Maria’s suffering and death to further your irrational, dishonest, pseudo intellectual, non scientific campaign against religion and anyone else not holding to your anti religious prejudice and zealotry. The only thing proven by your faux outrage and crocodilian tears is that you are callous, heartless, lying, manipulative and hypocritical opportunists pleasuring your lecherous, fanatical anti-religious crusade.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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