Religion ranks about as high on the “Oh, You’re Looking for a Debate?” list as politics, abortion, gun control, racism, and gay marriage. Still, after running into a few articles over the past week dealing with celebrities and religion, spirituality, or lack thereof, I started thinking about the role religion plays in mental health.
Examiner posted a list of the Top 25 Religious Celebrities, and notes stars like Miley Cyrus, Angus T. Jones, Justin Bieber, Mel Gibson, and Tim Tebow in some way credit their successes and careers to their religious beliefs and practices. Other stars like Beyonce and Ashton Kutcher proclaim spirituality is a major part of their lives.
Another article, Famous Atheists and Their Beliefs from CNN, highlights quotes from celebrity atheists like Keira Knightley, Sir Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson about how atheism plays a role in their everyday lives, including how they view the world.
Probably most of us remember John Travolta’s statement that psychiatry and medicine are no good and Tom Cruise’s stance that psychiatry is a pseudo science and there’s no such thing as a chemical imbalance. Both actors seem to draw their conclusions based on their Scientology beliefs.
Of course, the religion of celebrities makes no real difference in our lives (unless hearing about their different religious beliefs sparks you to evaluate your own and maybe learn about others), but these articles did make me think about how religion and spirituality affects our day-to-day lives and overall moods, thought processes, and coping skills.
What does (or can) make a difference in our lives is how our own personal religious or spiritual (or non-existant) beliefs play a role in our mental health care.
So, I’m asking you, readers: Are you religious? Spiritual? Have your beliefs and practices helped you manage depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues? What about those of you who are atheists or agnostics? Have your beliefs helped with the quality of your mental health and overall life?
Take the poll, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.