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 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