Comparative Religious Studies/Religions and Schizophrenia

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Question
Hello, I am not sure if your the one to have the answer to this question but I was wondering: What do you think about schizophrenia and spirituality or religious "delusions" Do you think that schizophrenia may be a form of spiritual oppression?

Answer
Hi Danne, when I was a lot younger I wrote a paper about that in a required Ph.D. seminar in Religious Studies. What I did was look at the DSM-IIIr (I think that's what psychiatry was using back then) and tried to provide counterexamples from the literature of world mysticism.

I remember citing mystics, mostly Christian and Hindu, who claimed to have had all sorts of unusual experiences, and who even behaved in unusual ways. I recall that a certain Hindu mystic sometimes even wondered, himself, if he was going mad. But then, so the story goes, the goddess Kali would come to reassure him that he wasn't.

Today, I just shake my head and have to say I really don't know. People called schizophrenic are probably, for the most part, not too happy in their culture. Whether or not the condition arises from nature, nurture, spiritual oppression, or all three--I can't say. I must admit that I have wondered if maybe some so-called schizophrenics could do better in a different cultural setting. But then again, even cultures that some believe are "more mystical" (e.g. India or South America) make the distinction between sanity and insanity. So in conclusion, I just really can't say anything definitive.

However, I suspect that feeling unwell could have something to do with a variety of causes: Genetics, biology, nutrition (or lack of), psychology, society and culture, along with negative spirituality. I suspect all these factors could come into play.

I hope this helps.

Comparative Religious Studies

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Michael Clark, Ph.D.

Expertise

If youd like to explore the psychology and philosophy of religion, talk to me. Im familiar with the main issues of most world scriptures and Im well versed in comparative mysticism.

Id be happy to answer questions about insight and the so-called "discernment of spirits" as expressed in the biographies and teachings of saints, gurus, seers, shamans, healers, etc.

I also enjoy commenting on theological issues as they relate to different religions.

Questions about Freud and Jung's views on religion would also be appropriate here.

If you just need simple facts about different religions, please see www.adherents.com and/or religioustolerance.org (I have no affiliation with these web sites).

Experience

I did my M.A. at Rabindranath Tagore's Visva-Bharati university (W. Bengal, India), a place that welcomed students from all around the world. A great chance to meet real people practicing different religions. I also run an educational website earthpages.org that touches on interfaith and related issues.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology

For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at michaelwclark.com.

Publications
Print Media:
My table from "Religions and Cults" at earthpages.org is reproduced with permission in L. Lindsey, S. Beach and B. Ravelli, Core Concepts in Sociology, 2nd ed., p. 157

World Wide Web:
My online article "Letter to God" coauthored with Buddhist monk, E. Raymond Rock, appears on several different spirituality-based websites, including http://tinyurl.com/db7a5o

I've interviewed, as a Christian, a self-proclaimed mystic: http://tinyurl.com/cawykr

My articles appeared at the former New View magazine nuvunow.ca and are published at earthpages.org.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology

For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at michaelwclark.com.

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