Mental illness in religion

Jun 2011
1,439
#1
I am curious how religion has viewed mental illness historically and presently.

I would venture a guess that Catholicism has had a harsh view and used asylums. However, that's just my guess and I also wonder about other Christian faiths. What about the Anabaptists? Ect.

I'd also like to hear about Muslim and Buddhist opinions on mental illness, historically and presently.
 
Mar 2012
3,389
USA
#2
I would venture a guess that Catholicism has had a harsh view and used asylums.
What a bizarrely weird thing to "guess." It's sometimes bewildering to me that a person can live in the United States and somehow remain ignorant of the legions of Catholic hospitals, universities, and schools.

Here's a quote from an article about St Francis Hospital in my hometown of Pittsburgh. The professional who wrote it was the son of a rabbi:

"At that time, one of our rotations was to serve two months at the Psychiatric Division of St. Francis General Hospital in Pittsburgh. St. Francis was an unusual hospital. It had 750 beds, of which 300 were psychiatric. And it was the only emergency-receiving center for the whole tri-state area....One of the things that characterized St. Francis was that it had a large alcoholic service. Why? Pittsburgh, by city charter, couldn't have a public hospital, like Bellevue or Philadelphia General. And that's still true today. In larger communities, undesirable patients were not accepted into private hospitals. They were sent “to the county.” In virtually every other city, the “drunk tank” was the county hospital. But in Pittsburgh, alcoholics were picked up and put into jail. The sisters thought this was terrible, which it was, so they opened an alcoholism unit...."

Abraham J. Twerski | What Do I Know? | PEOPLE
 
Dec 2010
2,379
Plymouth,UK
#4
My guess is that historical accounts of figures being influenced by religious visions or messages, eg Joan of Arc, are really examples of them experiencing a kind of "religious mania" that would be recognised as mental illness today. This is why no sane person is inspired by such visions or messages today. The inherent "insanity" of such visions and messages was simply not recognised in past centuries. The mentally ill were simply considered to be controlled by demons or, if they were lucky, inspired by direct communication with God. Those were simply less knowledgeable, more credulous, times.
 
Apr 2012
121
Jerk Store
#6
My guess is that historical accounts of figures being influenced by religious visions or messages, eg Joan of Arc, are really examples of them experiencing a kind of "religious mania" that would be recognised as mental illness today. This is why no sane person is inspired by such visions or messages today. The inherent "insanity" of such visions and messages was simply not recognised in past centuries. The mentally ill were simply considered to be controlled by demons or, if they were lucky, inspired by direct communication with God. Those were simply less knowledgeable, more credulous, times.
I totally agree with you but isn't the inevitable conclusion from these facts rather unnerving and extremely offensive to religious people? Mind-altering substances and shcizhoprenia etc. + holy prophets + centuries of interpretion of their real or supposed teachings = ? :eek:

"We do not stand on the shoulders of giants but on those of insightful lunatics."
-Omar Giggle, tyool 2012
 
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Jun 2011
1,439
#8
What a bizarrely weird thing to "guess." It's sometimes bewildering to me that a person can live in the United States and somehow remain ignorant of the legions of Catholic hospitals, universities, and schools.
I'm not at all ignorant of Catholic hospitals in the U.S. I used to live near Mayo Clinic, which is probably the most well known Catholic hospital in the world.

I was speaking in terms of history. How did the Catholic Church treat mental illness in the 1700s?
 
Feb 2011
2,264
.
#9
I thought this was about mental illness caused by religion, that might be a better path of discussion, tbh rob im not sure religion plays a big part in dealing with this i'd say back in the 1700's it was a case of sticking them away from society, under carper swept kind of thing, its only quite recently these people are getting the proper care they need..