Apparently good Christians can’t get PTSD. Kenneth Copeland, on his show, told anyone with PTSD to just “get rid of it,” claiming that psychology and drugs weren’t necessary because God’s promises in the Bible will fix it.
I don’t have words for how evil it is to tell people to go off their psych meds and God will heal them, and if you aren’t healed you’re just not a good enough Christian. The phrase “lie straight from hell” comes to mind, though.
I guess I can sort of wrap my head around with Evangelical Christianity is so hostile to the mental health field. They seem to view it as both blasphemy and competition, trying to accomplish with science what’s reserved for God. And they don’t view mental illnesses as real illnesses. It’s seen as a soul problem, not a brain chemistry problem.
But all you have to do is look around to see that being a Christian doesn’t protect you from mental illness. Mother Theresa apparently suffered from pretty horrific depression. Martin Luther dealt with intrusive thoughts, which are a symptom of OCD or anxiety disorder. And if you go into any church, anywhere, you will see the same number of people with depression, or schizophrenia, or OCD, or severe phobias, as you do out in the rest of the world. At least, if you count the ones who *used* to go to that church, but were shunned because of their illness:
A 2008 survey conducted by Baylor psychology professor Matthew Stanford showed that 36 percent of mentally ill church attendees (and former church attendees) were told their mental illness was a product of their own sin, while 34 percent were told their illness was caused by a demon. Forty-one percent were told they did not really have a mental illness, and 28 percent were instructed to stop taking psychiatric medication.
I’d like to tell Kenneth Copeland to read the book of Job again. The guys who told the suffering man that his torment was his fault, caused by his sin, were no true friends. And he’s doing the same thing to people struggling with mental health issues. At least Job’s friends didn’t tell him to do things that would actively harm him, like Copeland’s advice to quit taking psych meds, which is a good way to end up suicidal.
I would also like to ask if he’d say the same thing to someone with cancer, that if they’re still sick, they must not have prayed hard enough. (I know there are people who really do believe that, but they seem to be a fringe even among evangelicals, where “pray away the depression” is much more mainstream.)