What Happens When an Atheist Psychiatrist Treats a Christian Believer?

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A self-proclaimed atheist psychiatrist for the US State Department wrote an article for The Washington Post stating that she felt she had enough understanding of religious beliefs to successfully treat a religious believer. An article on The Christian Post was not so quick to agree.

“My religious friend once asked me point-blank, ‘if you don’t believe in God, how can you see someone who does as anything but delusional? As a mental health professional, how do you counsel such a person?'” wrote Jean Kim in the Post. “It’s a tough question for me.”

“A self-described atheist psychiatrist has recently argued that being a nonbeliever does not hinder her ability to counsel Christian patients,” reported the Christian Post. After exploring the topic with another psychiatrist, the Post noted that a number of websites offer to help people find Christian mental health professionals. “For Christians, it is best to seek a professional who professes to be a believer, can express knowledge of Scripture, and exhibits godly character,” stated one website. “Any counsel we receive must be filtered through Scripture so that, as with everything in the world, we can discern what is true and what is false.”

I’m an atheist psychiatrist. Should I see patients who believe in God? (The Washington Post, January 26, 2015)

Atheist Psychiatrist Argues She Can Treat All Patients, Including Christians (The Christian Post, January 29, 2015)

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44 COMMENTS

  1. I agreed to go to a “Christian, holistic, dream specialist therapist” to try to overcome my denial that my small child had been abused. According to this therapist’s medical records, she got a list of lies and gossip from the alleged child abusers (including that my now ex-pastor, who’d denied my daughter a baptism at the exact moment the second plane hit the second World Trade Center building, “thought she was the second coming of Jesus”). And I was shipped into the massive drugging “system” based upon this lie within two appointments. According to this therapist’s medical records, I was drugged for belief in the Holy Spirit (I’d had a dream, and asked her about it. By the way, I think Jesus is a man, and always have.) Denial of the Holy Spirit is the one and only unforgivable sin in the Holy Bible, mind you.

    According to the medical records of the Jewish psychiatrist I was shipped to, my belief God was inspiring a story, “God is a teller,” was the proof I needed to be majorly tranquilized. This resulted in a confessed “Foul up.”

    The Jewish neurologist I was sent to next apparently ignored everything I said, and got all his information from the therapist, according to his medical records. He claimed, “voices of God talk through her to other people.” He’s still not explained to me what this means. I was eventually handed over my family’s medical records by some decent nurses and left this neurologist because I read his medical records and realized he was a delusional lunatic.

    A self proclaimed Catholic counsellor, according to my medical records and her website, claimed (after I was whacked out of my mind on a hypnotic drug, so I don’t remember this) Jesus is a man speaking through a woman, and He warned the counsellor that she was a bad person orchestrating the attempted murder of me. She then medically unnecessarily had me shipped a long distance to V R Kuchipudi, to cover up the prior easily recognized iatrogenesis by coworkers. Here’s Kuchipudi’s arrest warrant seven years later, providing evidence he was likely well known within the medical community for harming patients for profit:

    http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2013/pr0416_01a.pdf

    While “snowed” in Kuchipudi’s hospital, the only “delusion” they seemed to be able to find was that I believed in “God.”

    My subsequent pastor explained to me that claiming someone is Jesus to psychiatrists is the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” code for defame, discredit, and poison this person.

    Perhaps all within the psychiatric industry should learn to abide by the laws of our country instead, it is actually illegal try to murder people for belief in the Triune God in the USA. And I’m not certain why “the two original educated professions” (the religions and medical community) both want to murder Jesus anyway. It strikes me that’s a highly inappropriate goal, especially for the religions.

    I would not recommend speaking to any “mental health” professional about belief in God, the Holy Spirit, or Jesus. Even the ones who self profess to be Christian or Jewish want to railroad any Christian who believes in the Triune God into the “system,” at least according to my medical records. It’s all about the money.

  2. Her respect for one client’s religious believe didn’t stop her from inducing seizures through electric shocks. I’d rather have my psychiatrist pray with me by a long, long way.

    It is actually very strange how psychiatrists in particular but also many therapist are so reluctant to explore spirituality with their clients. Do we really believe that a person’s mental conditions are NOT related to their spiritual belief system in any way? Never? I suppose that’s the result of the pure biological model – those who believe this would view one’s spiritual beliefs as accidents of neurology having no relevance to your “symptoms,” or perhaps being a “symptom” in themselves.

    Maybe they are asking the wrong question. Maybe it’s not what religion someone is, but whether they believe you are more than a collection of randomly interacting chemicals that needs to be asked. Of course, that last point is a religious belief as well, but is seldom recognized as such.

    —- Steve

    • Steve, I don’t think that is a fair statement. A Christian psychiatrist was brought in first. The full sentence was:
      “we even brought a psychiatrist of the same religion to speak to her to see if he could convince her that her fasting was toxic to her health and not what God would want. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Only electroconvulsive therapy snapped her out of it.”

  3. I suspect we may be seeing a false dichotomy in this question. We might equally ask “would you invest confidence in a Catholic priest to provide sex therapy or relationship counseling to two gay men?” There is a profound lack of common frames of reference in such a situation. And there are many cross-currents here that have little to do with whether (or not) belief in God is delusional or prayer is (or is not) effective as a healing influence.

    It seems to me as a person who has been in counseling and therapy successfully in the past, that any therapist must be able to ask the question “how’s that working for you?” And to benefit from counseling, the client must be able to examine their own outcomes critically and to consider alternate ways of acting and feeling in the world.

    We all grow up among multiple cultural mythologies, and outworn assumptions. At our best, we gradually work our way toward greater understanding and compassion. To survive its many critics, psychiatry must emulate that best. Professionals might begin by admitting to their lack of helpful answers for either atheists or believers alike. And both the religious and the irreligious might undertake to remove the beam from their own eyes before undertaking to take the splinter from their neighbors.

    • I am somewhat of a relativist at heart.

      In my opinion it’s clear that with psychiatry you’re dealing with beliefs, just like you are with Christianity and with these beliefs there are obvious points of contention,incompatibility etc.

      First thing that pops out to me is the word couseling, is that the prime directive of a psychiatrist ? Or is it diagnosing problems,disorders and assigning appropriate treatment ? For a priest counceling seems like a more appropriate term as to what they do. I guess the answer to your question might be, well a Christian might go to a priest for counseling, about anything, and my confidence in the matter I guess could be noted, heard (!?!?) but the final authority ?

      This issue of homosexuality is hard to even discuss in the current climate but really you get into a lot of issues like… what is marriage ? Why does it exist at all ? Should you be able to dictate what a church does and doesn’t do ? Is every church a business and can anyone demand service ? Is freedom an outworn concept ?

  4. IMHO, Jesus himself was the world’s greatest counselor…. and he reached out to all – with unconditional love. He counseled and comforted the sinner and the saint; the believer and the non-believer.

    I have no problem with any counselor or therapist who does the same. The problem is that there are not enough of them. Having said that, I have a real problem with a professional who ridicules somebody’s faith. For many people, their faith is much more than a “belief system” – it’s a way of life.

    Duane

      • Duane,

        I had lunch with a pastor from a local group calling itself “Pastoral Counseling.” It’s an ELCA, not Catholic organization. This particular group is the primary counseling service for the public school system in my area. I spoke with this pastor about my concern of the overmedication of children with the psychotropic drugs. I gave him Whitaker’s book ‘Anatomy.’ I’m pretty certain this organization medicates more children in my county than any other organization, but the pastor told me they medicated less than the national average.

        My conversation with this pastor left me feeling he (and his organization) have completely sold out to the medical model, however. My personal experience and research has led me to the conclusion that a primary function of the psychiatric industry in our society today is covering up “adverse childhood experiences” by way of stigmatizing and tranquilizing the victims. And this goes for the pastoral counseling services, as well as the secular.

  5. If you’re saying that religion is a collective delusion, then psychiatry can be described just the same, and so can atheism. A “good” psychiatrist should be aware of this phenomenon and then ask himself “how do I treat this person if I deny his reality?” Then he should consider retiring because he’s been a terrible psychiatrist. And then ask himself “Am I the insane one?” The answer would be “yes”.

  6. Considering how little the basic values of Christianity have changed in the last hundred years and how completely the values of atheistic psychiatrist have, one wonders what the real definition of delusion is. I have an MA in psychology with a lot of doctoral courses and was once a counselor in a maximum security prison. Now I am retired, but for forty years did a lot of psychological counseling, mostly for Christians but often not. One of the basic requirements being left out here is that if you cannot both respect and do your work within the values parameters of your patient, you have no business being that person’s therapist. If you begin with the idea that your patient’s values system is a delusion, especially if you believe that delusion is unhealthy, you should resign from that relationship immediately.

  7. “to seek a professional who professes to be a believer, can express knowledge of Scripture…. “Any counsel we receive must be filtered through Scripture so that, as with everything in the world, we can discern what is true and what is false.”

    That is an absolutely terrifying statement. Believing in supernatural forces in one thing. Believing that an incomprehensible book full of jibberish that no two people interpret the same (hence the hundreds of denominations) and was originally written by illiterate goat herders who thought all the Earth and its creatures were right there in their neighborhood and venturing out would cause them to fall of the Earth… to turn to THAT book, to try to determine what is true or false, uses a paradoxical definition of the word true. I’m sure that if those ancient goat herders had it all figured out, and especially considering that the bible has been holding less weight over time even amongst christians, you’d expect that their society would had been much more advanced than ours and their lives so much better… Instead, they were the middle east in the history of christian civilization. Cutting peoples heads off. Killing their own children. Cruxification. Unending poverty and despair. War and genocide, etc. Look to the middle east today to see what happens when people decide that scripture is “true” and should be lived by. It’s not just islam, christianity once produced the same barbaric societies.

    • JefferyC,

      I personally agree with Duane’s statement, “Jesus himself was the world’s greatest counselor…. and he reached out to all – with unconditional love. He counseled and comforted the sinner and the saint; the believer and the non-believer.” And I believe wisdom can be found in the Holy Bible, but there is none in the DSM “bible” of stigmatizations.

      I don’t personally believe in the inerrancy of the Holy Bible, there are lots of contradictions (albeit for good reason), and largely because it was written by various men with conflicting personal motives. It is also an extremely paternalistic book, but it does provide much wisdom, and I believe in it’s totality it was inspired by God to direct society to a particular place and time.

      I will say, I too, am disgusted by the wars and violence perpetrated against humanity by men using the Holy Bible as their rationale. But the God of the Holy Bible clearly states He is against sacrificing children, as the pagan religions were doing. And Jesus’ primary message was, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

      I believe you are confusing crimes of hypocritical men within the religions with Jesus’ true message in the Holy Bible. The mainstream religions have warped the true message throughout history, largely for the personal financial and power gains of the Christian religions. It is men who have misused the bible. But Jesus’ actual theology is, in my opinion, the one that will hopefully eventually bring about peace on earth. The Holy Bible is a book of hope and wisdom, but it has historically been, and is still today, misinterpreted and misused, including by you, imo.

      Please don’t dismiss a brilliant theology of peace and mutual respect for all humans, merely because the men and women of the religions have historically, and are still today, behaving badly.

      • At the risk of dragging this discussion thread off topic, I must suggest, S.E., that modern believers have very little access to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. What we see instead are the teachings of the Apostle Paul, disseminated by his followers who wrote most of the New Testament beginning nearly a decade after Jesus death by crucifixion.

        A book worth reading on this issue is “Paul and Jesus — How the Apostle Transformed Christianity”, by historian James D. Tabor. Also of interest is “Misquoting Jesus — The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” by Bart. D. Ehrman (on the NYTimes Best Seller list for weeks in 2005).

        To address the more central issues of the article: I believe from study and observation that it is legitimately contestable that any religion contributes to personal emotional healing in a therapy or counseling relationship. What is not contestable to anyone who reads history, is that ALL religion is prone to persecution of heretics and non-believers. Christianity and Islam are far from unique in this dynamic. By contrast, I don’t believe we’ll find a single instance in which the practice of humanistic ethics or the valuing of human beings for themselves apart from any belief in a supernatural being, has ever produced mass atrocity.

        Regards,

        • Thank you, Richard, for the suggested readings. I am aware of the fact that Paul’s teachings and letters largely comprise the New Testament. And I do find that problematic, especially since he was sexist, despite Jesus not being one. And as a woman the paternalistic nature of the religions, and even Holy Bible, are problematic to me. I’ve got a very large reading list, but will at your suggestions to my list.

          If you’re interested in the Old Testament, I do recommend a book called “Who Wrote the Bible” by Richard Friedman, it’s an interesting book.

          • Richard,

            I will read it, but forgive me, I don’t have time right now (I’m making an early Valentine’s dinner for someone so must get cooking soon). But my dad’s library is full of books that question belief in God – he was working on a book, prior to his death, about a theory he had related to physics and religion. I am working on my own book right now, but my research has often run into these fields of study, so I may research more and try to finish my dad’s book some day. I’m certain your perspective would be quite relevant, so thank you.

            It is a subject full of mystery, and which one could research forever, seemingly, and still not have all the answers. But for that very reason, it strikes me personally that trusting in the Creator is wise. And I find the order that exists within our universe to be so amazing and mathematically consistent, that I doubt anyone will ever convince me personally that an intelligent designer does not exist. But I, too, am trying to recover from the lack of ethics and greed of a mainstream religion.

  8. The US Constitution that would separate church from state unfortunately doesn’t yet separate psychiatry from state. I would suspect that, in a sense, this makes every religious psychiatrist guilty of a sinister form of conflict of interest. Does he or she, in other words, work for his or her supreme being, if there is one, his or her chief executive (the USA in the person of its government), or his or her client. To my way of thinking, the faith of the analyst doesn’t matter so much as the question of whether or not he or she is working in, that is, serving, the best interests of his or her client.

  9. Atheism is the denial that anything greater than our physical bodies and egos do exist. To me, that is such an extremely limited perspective, I don’t see how healing or personal growth could ever occur, especially the healing of heart wounding.

    I’m not ‘Christian,’ but I have an appreciation for Christ and his teachings. I also have an appreciation for the teachings of Buddhism. I’m Jewish, but I believe in an unconditionally loving God, not a punishing, dualistic one. I believe that, in the heart and mind of God, we are, each, exactly equal in our deservedness of love, joy, and abundance.

    I’ve studied a variety of spiritually-based perspectives. To me, atheism is cynicism, so I don’t see how this is helpful to people in mental distress. I think this perspective is laden with negativity and limitedness. This is the opposite of unconditional love. It is pure intellectualism, which I feel is not a safe space, as it denies heart consciousness.

    • Come to think about it, from my experience, people who deny the existence of anything greater than ourselves–that which connects us all to each other and to everything that exists through a unified field of energy in constant motion–tend to label anything that is not within their scope of reference or understanding as ‘delusional’ or ‘psychotic.’ To me, that’s the essence of what I think when I hear the term ‘narcissism.’

      Connection to some kind of authentic and personal spirituality is a feeling of safety and universal connection, so compassion and empathy tend to run higher. When we’re aware of this unifying spirit, we feel what we cause the other person feel during interactions, that’s pure empathy.

      For me, the most disturbing part of psychiatry as it exists at present is that thousands or millions of people are saying, “This is hurting me!” and the response is, “No it’s not, that’s a delusion. I’m actually helping you.” If that’s not crazy-making, I don’t know what is.

      Lack of connection to some kind of spirituality obstructs our empathy to such a degree that we create a cruel and unfeeling culture, which is going to make extreme mental distress chronic, severe, and epidemic, always around the corner or looming over us.

      Connection to true spirituality brings kindness. We can still get angry from injustice, because it is so unkind, and truly harms people. How can one not be angry about that?

      Still, I like to envision a kinder culture than what we have going on now, one in which when we communicate that we feel we are being harmed, it will be heard, respected, and CHANGED.

      • Alex, I suggest that you over-generalize concerning skepticism. Some atheists are doubtless unfeeling or angry. But the religious are no less so. And many on both sides of that divide are essentially kind and generous people who would like to see a kinder world.

        Personal spirituality and religion can be seen as quite different things. Likewise, humanists have no less a sense of connection to other people than do religious believers. However humanists seem to understand something that the religious deny and rather too often actively persecute in nonbelieves: that the buck stops here in our own existence, our own actions; that we are the creators of our own meanings, whether for good or ill. That WE and not some distant, unseen and ethereal sky god are responsible for ourselves and our actions.

        Scriptural organized religion is an essentially closed and authoritarian system. Personal spirituality doesn’t have to be. And humanist ethics definitely isn’t. If there is a miracle in any of this, it may be in the epiphany that we really are worth preserving for ourselves; and we get pretty much what we put out or accept from life.

        Regards.

        • Richard, I specifically said ‘authentic and personal spirituality,’ meaning not organized religion.

          And again, from my experience in life and with people, when this is denied, reality is dangerously limited. When we confine ourselves to believing in only what can be proven, first, without the benefit of imagination, creativity, intuition, personal wisdom, and trust, then we limit ourselves tremendously. This limited perspective keeps us embroiled in old issues and patters, just like what is happening in mental health care these days.

      • I largely agree, Alex, those who do not believe in a higher power, a God or Spirit who unifies, justifies, provides wisdom, and loves all, tend to have an overinflated sense of self worth, thus lack empathy and common sense, and therefore the ability to truly help others.

        In my case I told many doctors, your drugs are making me psychotic and giving me voices. Every doctor incessantly insisted that was impossible. Let’s go to the description of anticholinergic intoxication, “(… neuroleptics …) may have additive effects when used in combination … Central symptoms may include memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures.” My doctors were all wrong.

        And one must wonder, given the similarity of the description of the central symptoms of anticholinergic intoxication with the definition of schizophrenia, how many patients given neuroleptics are actually just allergic to the neuroleptics. This was beyond the realm of comprehension of the medical community, I hope they’re able to garner some wisdom some day. I found the psychiatrists to be “crazy-making,” too.

          • AA,

            Actually, my psychiatric practitioners’ insensitivity had everything to do with my psychologist’s desire to cover up the abuse of my child for her pastor and friends. And my psychiatrists’ insensitivity had everything to do with getting misinformation from my psychologist instead of listening to me, and their ignorance of the drugs they prescribe, and / or desire to cover up adverse effects (a confessed “Foul up”) of their “new wonder drugs.” At least according to all my family’s medical records.

            But I agree, psychiatry is a “religion” based upon stigmatizing and disrespecting other human beings. I don’t believe psychiatry’s “religion” is one that is beneficial to the majority of society either.

        • SE, I think what gets overinflated, from this non-spiritual perspective, is their sense of power. That’s where the delusions begin.

          I found the clinicians I worked with to be completely without humility, as though it should be my goal to ascribe to their truth–not just about life in general, but about me! If I disagreed with their assessment of me, then I was delusional in my self-awareness, to their mind (I have my notes).

          Whereas, I measure myself as I’d feel myself assessed by an unconditionally loving God. That most certainly trumps anything a psychiatrist would tell me about how I don’t ‘measure up’ to society as ‘worthy,’ in their eyes.

          My psychiatrist also told me that my experiences while coming off meds was ‘impossible’ because “studies show…” blahblahblah. And they were wrong about everything else, too. What rubbish.

          • I largely agree, Alex, psychiatry is about mandating belief in the DSM bible’s “mental illnesses” onto unsuspecting people via fraudulent scientific theories, force and / or coercion. It basically functions as a compulsory and oppressive religion. I personally believe in freedom of religion and the importance of respecting all humans. And the DSM religion is the opposite of my personal belief system, it’s about defaming, discrediting, and torturing other human beings for the profit of a few.

    • Alex,

      As someone who is a non religious Jewish person, I take issue with your posts claiming that someone who is atheist can’t see beyond themselves. I have been accused of alot of things but definitely isn’t one of them.

      The issue with psychiatry has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with whether they can see something from another person’s perspective and not crush them because of their “MI”. All this other talk simply is not helpful to our cause.

      • I said that an atheist cannot see beyond the physical (ego) aspect of life. When we understand the spiritual nature of our reality (meaning, energy beyond that which we perceive on a purely physical level), then this open doors to entirely new vistas of perception, which include solutions to the issues at hand, here.

        I beg to differ–in that an understanding of the spiritual nature of life is inherently vital to our cause, and especially to healing. I think it’s also vital to how we treat each other. If we only knew how what we put out really does come back to us. These are all sound and well-regarded principles of energy–and everything is energy–which are taught in some spiritual disciplines. Not religions, but spiritual studies, those are two different things.

        I’m sure this sets me apart from a lot of people here, even people with whom I agree in perception of the mental health field. Where I find I’m at odds, mostly, however, is in the solutions. Which is fine, I apply my wisdom to my own life, as others do to theirs. But I’m definitely convinced that there is a core connection between spirituality and healing. AND, between spirituality and activism, without a doubt.

        • And btw, the spirituality to which I’m referring is completely practical and universal, not some esoteric and dogmatic framework for life that is impossible to achieve, and from which we are judged when we don’t; but simply a sense of ourselves on a level greater than our physical beings, for us to do what we wish with that awareness.

          So much power, wisdom, and assurance there, it brings inner peace.

          Now, if inner peace is not your goal, then the brand of spirituality to which I refer is not for you. Although I’m sure there is no way to achieve world peace without inner peace.

          So really, the idea of whether or not one wants to embrace the spiritual nature of life totally depends on one’s personal goals.

          • “not some esoteric and dogmatic framework for life that is impossible to achieve, and from which we are judged when we don’t…”

            Ha! I just realized I could be talking about the DSM, here. Yeah, they’re kinda like high priests, aren’t they? Interesting…

        • Alex, there are many different shades of atheism and agnosticism, just as there are of mainstream religion or the individual spiritual quest. I believe it is a profound mistake to assume on behalf of anyone who identifies themselves this way, a refusal to embrace mystery or trans-personal phenomena as elements in life.

          If anything, observation may show us that agnostics generally have a far greater tolerance for mystery and ambiguity than do religious believers. “The buck stops here — with me and my actions and consequences” is a vastly different world view than “I know that I am saved.”

          The way less traveled may require enough bravery to get past traditional labels and invest belief in our own capacity to see and embrace a large world, to choose and to integrate what it has to offer us on many levels. This is a bravery that I personally observe rather less often in the religious, whatever other virtues we may assign to them.
          Regards

          • Richard, I hesitate to continue debating this online, because my feeling is that we’re talking past each other a bit. Nature of the internet sometimes.

            From your response, I don’t feel you are hearing me as per what I am attempting to communicate about this, so perhaps I am not expressing myself as articulately as I wish. Given all we already bring to the table regarding spiritual matters, I find it a challenge to have a fruitful debate about it. My shortcoming, no doubt.

            Although I will say, “The buck stops here — with me and my actions and consequences” is something to which I totally subscribe, in terms of radical self-responsibility, which is something I. both, practice and teach as a profound healing tool.

            When we own our experiences, in totality, then we free ourselves from victimization. In order to do this with clarity, neutrality, and self-compassion, however, I feel this is where understanding the spiritual nature of things (which, to me, means the energetic nature, same thing), then we heal our victim identity, because we see the purpose and meaning to our trials. Otherwise, we just get stuck in our judgmental, dualistic ego, and we’re on a downward spiraling hamster wheel.

            When we own this, how we create our life experience, we can release resentment, which allows us to know and feel our true spirit nature, which is an incredibly healthy feeling of balance and well-being, that leads to clarity, and eventually, joy–something sorely lacking in a lot of peoples’ lives that would make a big difference in their health and well-being.

            I don’t know how any of what I say will sit with you. In some circles, it’s a given and would make perfect sense. But the perception and meaning of language here is a bit different, as in any culture or sub-culture, so I never know to whom I make sense and to whom I do not.

            Although this is all perfectly clear to a lot of people I know, that I’m not at all doubting my perspective, I’m just aware I don’t always communicate it in a way that some people can hear or understand.

            “is a vastly different world view than ‘I know that I am saved.'”

            I’m not sure what you mean by “I am saved,” although I imagine it to have kind of a zealous tone to it, from the context, here.

            Personally, to me, when we find inner peace, we are ‘saved,’ based on how I would define ‘saved.’ I do think there is a point in our evolution where we get a certain kind of clarity that remains long term, because we ‘get it.’ Doesn’t mean life’s problems and challenges go away, they’re just not nearly as dramatic and traumatizing from this perspective, which relieves distress. That’s the whole point of healing.

            Everyone would have a different interpretation of this, and some probably feel that there is no such thing to ‘get,’ but I feel differently about it, based on my life experience. Diversity is part of life, but if we are each responsible for ourselves, exclusively, which I feel we are, then we each live with the effect of our beliefs. That’s a personal choice.

            I only speak from my experience, Richard, it’s not my intention to dog anyone. And from my personal experience, there is a vast different in my interactions with people who deny spirituality altogether and those who are open to it. That’s the only discernment I make, in the broadest sense, and my reflections are based on how I feel in these interactions. I’m not casting stones upon people I’ve never met.

          • Alex, I suspect we agree on more than we contest. Especially these days, many people make a distinction between organized religion and individual spirituality — and westerners are increasingly coming to favor the latter over the former. This is perhaps progress.

            That said, I still caution against suggesting that agnostics or atheists are somehow cut off from an essential inner dimension of themselves. Spirituality may be one framework for exploring meaning in life. But it is not the only framework or even necessarily the best one for people who are highly trained in science or observation.

          • “I still caution against suggesting that agnostics or atheists are somehow cut off from an essential inner dimension of themselves. Spirituality may be one framework for exploring meaning in life. But it is not the only framework or even necessarily the best one for people who are highly trained in science or observation.”

            Richard, you are, indeed, accurately, reflecting my views. I’m always flexible, but as of now, I do stand by the idea that lack of spiritual grounding is a type of dissociation, so vital information does go missing. I think this is one reason for a lot of confusion and in-fighting in academia. There is no spirit, so there is not truth, nor is there justice, it’s just random at this point, dog-eat-dog, all personal self-interest, to my mind.

            I don’t at all feel that science and observation trumps spirit and feeling. When we observe, it is still OUR experience we’re observing. Too much projecting in observation. When we observe, we are only seeing our reality, each and every time, which is why it’s good to practice compassion, otherwise, when we judge others, it is our own judgment we feel in our bodies.

            And even huge numbers observing the same thing really amounts to ‘group think’ or ‘group perception.’ You can never nail down reality, it shifts all the time and each and every person has at least a slightly different perspective, also ever shifting and changing. Energy, thoughts, and reality are in perpetual motion, always.

            I totally appreciate your thoughts and respect your position, but like I said, as of now, until I’m shown otherwise, I don’t see at all how science could ever trump spirituality. When one is connected and in communication with his or her spirit (inner being, inner guidance, higher consciousness, et al), one is connected to their truth, unambiguously, so there’s no dependence on outside information. That can only validate or not the information we know intrinsically, when we’re tapped into this, which is a practice and discipline.

            I went from the transition of having an academic mindset to opening up to a grounded spiritual perspective, and the difference is astonishing, remarkable, and for me, it was extremely desirable, in that I relaxed about a million fold, and this allowed me to enjoy life once again, in that I could feel joy and love. These had fallen to the wayside at one time, which is when things went dark for me.

            Spirit is heart consciousness, which is light energy. Academia and science is brain consciousness, which is dense energy. That’s how this is discerned in the field and study of energy frequency, which was part of my training.

            I always say that there is no feeling like being chronically oppressed and stigmatized, like no way out, so one has to experience to understand it. It is only describable as utter powerlessness and perpetual mental chaos–back and forth fear, rage, and grief–because it always lack just and reasonable resolution.

            And, it’s based on people observing me through a non-spiritual lens, because if they did have that perspective, which fuels integrity, this would never have occurred. Again, I’m not talking about simply knowing spirituality, but actually embodying and grounding it, there’s a difference here. The latter takes practice, focus, and discipline. Authentic spirituality needs to be applied to have any practical value. Otherwise, indeed, we can run into the same hypocrisies as anywhere.

            But when a person is spiritual evolved and grounded, that’s where we find safety. It’s an intuitive sense, like all else.

            Same thing for body-spirit connection and communication–until you feel it, it’s impossible to describe. It is multi-dimensional and pure creativity. It is emotional freedom. It is resolution.

            What can I say, Richard, I took my dark-night-of-the-soul through the system, feeling powerless, alone, and in chronic fear, panic and dread, and my healing was a combo of energy work, Chinese Medicine, and a variety of spiritual studies, various perspectives. I did my work and found my truth, voice, heart, grounding, balance, health, and power.

            The journey, itself, is incredibly humbling, and my humility is always knowing that I am not the last word in anything. Still, I’m allowed my opinion and certainty, nothing unsound about that.

            I really believe science is the one to catch up with the spiritual teachings being offered en masse these days, by light workers and energy healers (like me) based on ancient wisdom.

            I got a lot of clarity about myself and my life, leading to inner peace, learning chakras, law of attraction, and kabbalah, from which I synthesized a lot of really great information relevant to healing emotional distress, including those caused by physical issues, as well as social issues. I learned things that medical science has yet to even consider, perhaps, or at best, doesn’t know how to observe yet.

            They’ll catch up, I imagine, but for now, there is viable truth out there that could be effectively applied to healing, but it is not because of personal biases and stigma about spirituality. I think it’s way more powerful than science. Again, that’s just me. I know with certainty I’m quite in the minority around here, but that’s been my experience, through and through.

            I appreciate the engagement, very much.

    • “Atheism is the denial that anything greater than our physical bodies and egos do exist. ”

      Denying and not believing are two complete opposites. To deny something, it must first be proven to be true. To simply not believe in something is to simply just not believe in something.

      I don’t deny that there is nothing supernatural about our world. I just don’t believe in it. There is no denial in not beleiving. Do you deny the existence of pink unicorns that fly through outer space, who will one day come to Earth to rescue us all by flying us to live in another galaxy? If I believed in such a thing, and you refused to believe it, then by your definition of the word denial, you would be in denial.

      • To me, this is a matter of semantics, so I’m fine with saying, “Atheism is not believing that anything greater than our physical bodies and egos exist.” At least, that’s my understanding of it, that to an atheist, we live in a purely physical world with no other reality than what we perceive before us with our five physical senses.

        I didn’t mean as in, being ‘in denial,’ to deny “the truth,” because our truths are subjective. I apologize for any confusion. I do try my best with discussing interesting and complex topics via internet, but this problem of language and semantics do arise quite a bit, especially on this website.

        I hope this clarifies my position a bit, regarding my main point, for what it’s worth–that there is more to life than meets the eye, and if we could stretch ourselves here, a bit, we’d find some relief, collectively. That’s all I’m proposing, for healing purposes. Certainly ok to hit the ‘ignore’ button (metaphorically speaking), if you prefer.

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