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The link between mental health, religion and why I am an atheist

Obsessive thoughts and tics have proved to be a hindrance within the past 72 hours, to the extend that I have been reviewing OCD and Tourettes on dedicated websites. My therapy ended a couple months back and although I have techniques to ride the waves, there are always ones that come crashing over me.

These include constantly regretting past mistakes, being over critical of previous decisions and worrying about potential events that haven’t taken place. They don’t come and go, they stay from morning to night. It is easy for me to understand that it is abnormal and that I shouldn’t overthink but this is ineffective. I guess it would be like someone knowing they will have a bad trip on LSD and still freaking out in the process.

I am on the website OCD UK, and it is interesting to read they have a portion of the page dedicated to religious beliefs and/or constantly needing answers for the universe. This has me written all over it.

Here is the information provided:

‘Rumination’ is a term often used to describe all obsessional intrusive thoughts, but this is misleading. In the context of OCD a rumination is actually a train of prolonged thinking about a question or theme that is undirected and unproductive. Unlike obsessional thoughts, ruminations are not objectionable and are indulged rather than resisted. Many ruminations dwell on religious, philosophical, or metaphysical topics, such as the origins of the universe, life after death, the nature of morality, and so on.

It also states further down that:

OCD often fixates on areas of great importance and sensitivity and religion and matters of religious practice are prime candidates for OCD obsessions. Sometimes referred to as scrupulosity, religious intrusive thoughts include:

-Sins committed will never be forgiven by God and one will go to hell.
-One will have bad thoughts in a religious building.

-One will scream blasphemous words loudly in a religious location.

-Prayers have been omitted or recited incorrectly.

-Certain prayers must be said over and over again.

-Religious objects need to be touched or kissed repeatedly.

-One is always doing something sinful.

-Repetitive blasphemous thoughts.

-That the person has lost touch with God or their beliefs in some way.

-Intrusive sexual thoughts about God, saints or, religious figures.

-That the person has broken religious laws concerning speech, or dress or modesty.

-Intrusive bad thoughts that occur during prayer will contaminate and ruin or cancel out the value of these activities.

The constant analysing and questioning of a person’s faith places immense strain on their beliefs and prevents the person deriving peace from their religion. As a result they will often avoid church and all religious practice out of fear of their thoughts.

I have suffered both aspects to a degree. The first aspect has really developed my open mindedness. I can no longer believe what I want to for comfort, as my comfort is not brought on what I want to be true. It is brought on by what evidence points to. The second aspect fuels it further, as I should not feel guilty for thoughts, especially as I cannot help them. 

Everyday I question reality, constantly analysing how we behave as a society. Mental illness certainly has its perks, at least that’s what my crazy mind has me believe.


3 replies »

  1. Atheism strikes me as a natural place to settle for an OCD sufferer.With so much thought, conclusions become elusive. I don’t consider myself an atheist, but more of a lazy agnostic who considers the mystical tenets of religion to be symbolic or analogous. Before meds, I spent (too) much time delving into the topic of religion. I’d like to share my holiday post with you (if you don’t want it here, please delete it)


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