7/26/2015 | Share this article: View Comments
Several scientiﬁc studies have linked severe adult depression to childhood trauma. One of them, the Dunedin cohort study, which continues to follow more than 1000 people born in 1973, ﬁnds that those who were abused or neglected as children tended to have higher levels of physical inﬂammatory responses on the brain than those who had had a stress-free childhood. (The inﬂammatory response has been implicated in a number of disorders, from depression to schizophrenia to Alzheimer’s disease.)
For those of us only too familiar with the mind-body, psychological selves we are, the connections between physical and mental abuse and depression are obvious. We do not interpret our depressions as being of the devil or as punishment for doubting God, nor as a consequence of our "sinful" nature. Our depressions aren't further depressing in having to carry that weight, also.
But what about those raised in fundamentalist religious households, where physical abuse is meted out in order to curb or eliminate those "sinful natures" children are born with? What about the effects of childhood psychological/emotional traumas begun and reinforced through the indoctrinations of parents and authority ﬁgures in order to "put the fear of God" a.k.a. "hell," into them? Wouldn't those messages create feelings of helplessness, while at the same time offering the "Hope of beliefs" as the only dependable way of freedom from the depressing helplessness?
What are the connections between religiously indoctrinated repression, depression, and the Supreme Court’s decision to make gay marriage the law of the land? Why are the fundamentalists and their political reps (even their presidential candidates) up in arms? Why are some calling for "civil disobedience," and claiming that their "religious rights" are being violated?
Go back to childhood indoctrination again. Consider a child, physically, psychologically, or both, abused. If that child very seriously takes the indoctrination to heart, and is sensitive, then that child also takes the effects of trauma and its depression into adulthood.
Why are the fundamentalists and their political reps (even their presidential candidates) up in arms? Why are some calling for "civil disobedience," and claiming that their "religious rights" are being violated?If an adult, still childlike, believes his country is "God's country," and that the United States is a "Christian nation," as an indoctrinated, unquestioning child, then the adult believes that being Christian is the same as being patriotic. Only a Christian is truly patriotic. Anyone who is a believer in God's word knows that God ﬁnds same-sex marriage abominable. God will punish the nation. America is becoming morally corrupt, and may thereby suffer the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah. Anxiety. Paranoia.
Is there a fear of losing control of self or others that drives the protesters who claim that equal rights laws violate their religious freedom to discriminate against persons or opinions they don't believe in? Is theirs a Christian social, and at ground, anxious instability that is so threatened by change that it practically shouts, "War on religion! "? Maybe it's based on fear of their God's disapproval, even wrath? We can sympathize with them, understanding where they're coming from.
When we consider the anxiety, stress, and fears resulting from such beliefs and depression, already present in the adult as a result of still believing such things, is it any wonder that the individual explodes under such stress? Gay marriage, the removal of the stabilizing symbol of the Confederate ﬂag, any refusal of law to make exceptions for "religious freedom," directly lead to frustration, sometimes erupting into terrible anger and violence. How many are there who see that the alternative to protesting is the wrath of God upon the person, the family, the nation?
All of this religious stress-making, conﬂict-creating, depression-making is toxic for the individual, the society, the nation. And yet people still think religious "education" is morally good.