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Why Many Christians Suffer from a Poor Health

Updated on September 13, 2018
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

It Must Be Great to Feel Protected by an Imaginary Parent
It Must Be Great to Feel Protected by an Imaginary Parent

Just Empathizing

It must be truly enchanting to devotedly surrender to a faith, relieved from responsibility over ultimate outcomes of life, because "it's all in god's hands", as they say. Quite probably, it must feel like being an innocent baby all over again, cuddled in security of the parent's arms, protected, loved, and cared for.

I have always been a sucker for empathizing with others, so this is not an exception ---up to a point that is, because I don't derive all that bliss from a divine source, but from within the depths of my own being.

Needless to introduce, but I am a spiritual, not a religious dude, which is to say that I do believe in universal intelligence, but not in any of those gods from holy books. Addressing religious folks here, not to worry, I won't try to convert you---even if that was possible.

Sympathizing Too Deeply with Our Idol's Suffering May Be Harmful
Sympathizing Too Deeply with Our Idol's Suffering May Be Harmful

Sympathy or a Deep Self-Suggestion

I am not sure that last statement is going to be enough to make us friends, for here I go ascribing less than robust health to some elements of Christian faith. Namely, Christians may be unknowingly harming themselves, both physically and mentally by sympathizing too much with their idol's suffering on the cross, somehow interpreting it as their "eternal debt to him", and resolute to share some of that suffering with their soul's idol.

Now, not that every single believer is likely to go to those extremes as to become a candidate for developing stigmata wounds on their palms and ankles, but unfortunately there are so many other places in our body and brain that could be hurt by nothing more than persistent feelings of guilt, debt, and fear.

Believing in Our Basic Sinfulness Could End up Giving Us Much Less than Faith and Hope
Believing in Our Basic Sinfulness Could End up Giving Us Much Less than Faith and Hope

That Healing Love Needs a Potency

Now, that's where my friendship with religious folks may be compromised, or at least challenged, because I am saying how our bodies are not too crazy about that image of "born sinners" having to redeem themselves by a constant repentance.

You see, our body needs something better than a humble submission in order to operate at its normal level. A meek kind of love, seriously weakened by those negative emotions in some believers is not that energetic boost to our 50 billion cells which need some spiritual motivation to live, not to prepare themselves for that crossover to the eternal afterlife.

I hope you are not rejecting biology and medical science with their good natured warnings, for after all, it's more than likely that you do visit a doctor when sick, and his office is not exactly somewhere behind that confession booth.

Switched to Defensive Mode against "Evil Environment", Our Body Cells' Vitality Stagnates
Switched to Defensive Mode against "Evil Environment", Our Body Cells' Vitality Stagnates

Cells Chronically Switched to Defensive Mode

There is another strong point to be made in connection with cellular biology, and as it relates to Christians' acquired attitude to view the world as "sinful", and "filled with dangers of the Devil's temptations".

It has become an established fact that our cells are very concerned and watchful about "how friendly" is their environment. That concern is stemming from their two basic modes of functioning---growth or defense, with only one being active at a time while suppressing another.

I am going to leave it to your imagination how much of the time Christian's body cells are spending with a shut off growth activity, while being under those impressions of an unfriendly, sinful, and dangerous world around them, "with evil things going on everywhere"---while switched to a defensive mode of functioning.

Hating Our Own Impurity We also Project It Onto the World
Hating Our Own Impurity We also Project It Onto the World

Inward Hate Projected onto the World

Christian folks may not be quite ready and willing to accept this, but in many ways people are projecting onto the world those same feelings that they are harboring in their hearts about themselves.

It takes hating our own sinfulness so that we can hate it outwardly. When we hate our lustful and "impure" feelings in ourselves, we notice it everywhere around us and in the world. Hating anything in ourselves we are assaulting the biological balance in us, practically turning vitamins into crap or compromising their absorbability.

Let me remind you that self-hate in a believer is much stronger than that one in a nonbeliever, because it has that special reinforcement of fear of displeasing god. You know, we can afford to displease our wife by being overly nice to the neighbor's pretty wife, but we can't justify those sinful thoughts about her in front of the celestial boss.

Impressionable Children's Psyche Must Be Smothered by Pictures and Stories about Evil
Impressionable Children's Psyche Must Be Smothered by Pictures and Stories about Evil

Demons Doing a Number on Child's Psyche

I must admit to my Christian fellow-men, they have quite some scary and graphic illustrations of their symbols of evil, I mean Satan and his demonic assistants. I am wondering how exposure to that eternal threat from hell must affect their mentality.

Most of those folks started their faith with an early indoctrination by parents or other primary caregivers, so they started developing that fear inspired by those horrific illustrations and stories early in their formative years.

Like that Jesuit Ignatius Loyola said : "Give me a boy under seven of age, and I'll give you a man". In those most impressionable and vulnerable years it must have been quite a task for a child to outweigh that fear with something more positive, so that it doesn't leave a permanent scar in his heart---considering the fact that fear is biologically much stronger emotion than love, and so much easier to trigger.

Emotions of Guilt and Fear of Punishment Don't Make a Good Cocktail with Emotions of Love
Emotions of Guilt and Fear of Punishment Don't Make a Good Cocktail with Emotions of Love

Love and Hate Don't Mix

Love certainly heals, but only when it's pure. Not when it has to coexist in the same heart with fear, hate, accusation, and possibly disgust for seven deadly sins, notably for lust. We can't be inspired by love of our god and expect his healing, if at the same time we fear temptations from Satan. Those two opposites are bound to cross each other out---with that stronger one prevailing.

Which one will it be? The current state of health is the answer to this question to every Christian individual. Many of them are trying hard to convince themselves it's love by preaching a lot about love, while hoping that the repeated theme of it will somehow sink into their nature as their intimate reality. Many of them are not even trying, attributing their poor health to god's will.

Prayers May Not Be Leaving Our Personal Space at All
Prayers May Not Be Leaving Our Personal Space at All

Placebo/Nocebo Effect at Work in Prayer

There is no doubt in my mind that many Christian folks benefit by praying for a better health. However, it's also my conviction that it doesn't get any further than producing a placebo effect, which then, through the well identified channels of self-suggestion positively affects their health.

But then, there is also something known as "nocebo" effect, the counterpart of placebo, which gets triggered by concerns over the negative aspects of religion, notably the mentioned ones of evil, personal and world's sinfulness.

In other words, negative suggestions work just as well, if not more readily than those positive ones contained in a prayer. If you are familiar with the science behind suggestions, just think what we are affecting by having in our prayer anything referring to "saving us from evil...from temptation..."

The sole mention of anything negative is bound to manifest it in our lives, because our subconscious nature doesn't understand negation like "no"-evil, "no"-temptation, it only hears "evil" and "temptation".

So, without knowing it, our wishful praying may be turning a positive placebo into a negative nocebo, hurting us more than helping us.

The Hope of an Afterlife Is Not a Substitute for Living Healthy
The Hope of an Afterlife Is Not a Substitute for Living Healthy

Not to Turn Life into a "Mental Suicide in Installments"

That part of Christian teaching which talks about a soul's salvation and eternal life may work like a double edge sword. On one hand, it may help some folks to get rid of that fear of dying that's a normal part of our survival instinct---although not a pleasant one.

But on the other hand it may make some others neglectful about their health, "counting on" much better times on that other world, and almost harboring a death wish, especially at times when too much is on their plate to deal with in their lives.

Remember what I said---your body cells are always spying on your thoughts, emotions, and attitudes. Many folks take for granted that they will just "fall asleep and get there to the other side". Don't count on that too much though. Many years of suffering may precede, so your best bet is to keep yourself healthy, and then one day---die healthy.

If There Is a "Final Judgement", Our Appreciation of the Gift of Life May Be one of the Top Issues
If There Is a "Final Judgement", Our Appreciation of the Gift of Life May Be one of the Top Issues

Life Is a Gift - Let's Not Be Ungrateful by Ruining It

Am I saying that Christianity is bad for you? Of course not, by far it's much better to be in a less than robust health than blowing yourself up in the name of religion. I hope I have been clear enough with my intentions, as I was simply pointing out that there are certain aspects of Christianity that, when somatized may produce bad health.

That may, or may not give my Christian readers (if any) a bit of an inspiration to focus more on those positive and health promoting aspects of their belief. From what I understand, every Christian is interpreting the teachings in their own personalized way, so there is nothing like a rigid rule there, which would require that they hire a good exorcist once a month to un-demonize their souls and their homes.

Even if they may take their presence in their bodies as "temporary" before that long journey into eternity, believers could show appreciation for life as a gift, and modify their faith to protect what's housing that life---their body.

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    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      MizB - Actually, I did appreciate your unorthodox approach to "sin" and how it could be interpreted. And I totally agree with you that the Good Book often gives some very simplified definitions, left to individual imagination and interpretation.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      2 years ago from Beautiful South

      I was just explaining a different viewpoint of sin from the conventional religious. Simple minds want simple explanations, but there could be a more scientific interpretation that was misunderstood. Something could have been lost in language translation, too.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Val, no offense taken--none at all! "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness" are part of the Christian's fortification against mental and physical ill-health. Your articles affirm that. That's why I like to read you. Cheers!

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      MizB - Undoubtedly, there are many harmful elements in this world, some originating from our animalistic craving for power, advantages, wealth, whatever, and others from natural disasters and unfavorable conditions.

      However, in my modest opinion, the ultimate question of some importance is - what are we going to do about all that? For, if it is beyond our power of controlling or changing any of it, then the only rational solution is to mobilize all positivity in our mindset to make ourselves as resilient and immune and safe as possible.

      Bitching about it, getting all information about "what they are doing to us" only weakens us. Going religious or philosophical about it and labeling it as "sin" or "glitches in brain's functioning" may be entertaining, but again, it's negative in nature and so potentially harmful.

      I am of a pragmatic orientation, and unless some information can be somehow used to improve life - it loses its significance for me. Just for the heck of it, yes, we really could view as "sin" all our deviations from harmonious, altruistic, and helpful behavior.

      I still prefer seeing it as a "glitch" in our mental computer mainly caused by mixing of signals between our new brain of homo sapiens and the old, animalistic lower parts of brain having to do with survival and its strategies. Well, that's me, I obviously won't take much of the "Good Book" seriously. Not only because it condones slavery in one of messages, not only because it condones stoning an unfaithful wife - but even that would be quite enough for a dude like me to get turned off and lose interest for all that positive stuff. Well, again, it's me, and I am very far from trying to be an example to others when it's about these things. To each their own.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      2 years ago from Beautiful South

      Vlad, my husband said something interesting to me recently (really!). He said that the interpretation of the "sins of the father" might have originally meant things like genetic abnormalities or diseases, whether intended or accidental. (For instance, cancer, diabetes, specific heart diseases, celiac, muscular dystrophy to name a few) Think of what is being done with experimental diseases intended to be used as genocide, and some of them, like AIDS and Zika, get out of the lab, .

      I think my husband's statement has some merit, and that simple minds interpret the "Good Book" simply and literally. In this instance "sin" would be what our ancestors did to us and what we ourselves are doing to generations forward.

      My generation were irradiated by the U.S. Government in radiation experiments back during the Cold War. That is one of the reasons we Americans have so much cancer. My ex husband, my present husband, and I have all suffered from radiation-induced conditions. The Cold War wasn't simply about "duck and cover."

      These would be considered sins because we are genetically passing these conditions down to generations after us.

      Food for thought?

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      MsDora - You are right, Christianity is "ALSO" about those good things, and my hub did not deny it. I actually suggested to believers to trim down all those negative parts and stay with those positive ones EXISTING in Christian teaching. Not in one place did I say that "ALL" of that teaching is negative.

      However, I did not make up those dark forces like Satan, evil, demons, didn't make up our "being sinful already at birth", and that was only a little detail of potentially harmful elements in Christianity, not to mention much contradiction there.

      Please, Ms Dora, don't take it personally, as I am very far from putting down your faith. My writing style tends to include some humor at times, but that doesn't mean disrespect.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Michael - I don't "live among those people", don't associate with them, don't even know any of them personally - and certainly don't "suffer" for their existence in this world.

      However, I did not "make up" that fact that a part of Christian teaching (I don't know which particular denomination or which parts of Bible)) is including dark forces like evil, Satan, demons, and humans being sinful already at their birth. I did not make it up, my friend. It's your personal choice not to include it in your faith, but you can't deny it as a part of the teaching. - Be well my friend - Val

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Val, I respect your opinion and I can follow your arguments. However, Christianity is also about victory, overcoming and joy. Then, there is that Scripture verse: "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 2. I can handle your views within my Christian lifestyle. They may not be as opposite as they appear.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 

      2 years ago

      ...what a miserable, sickly bunch of people are those christians you know. Where do they live, not seeking for help or at least obtaining informations reading let say the HP articles ?! I feel bad for you my friend that you have to suffer among imperfect individuals and I hope you won't be "affected" by their way of living/believing since it might be contagious...

      What else to say? Keep happy and healthy and live long.

      Peace with us.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      MizB - How relieving to know that some people of faith (except for Buddhists with their yoga, qigong, and tai'chi systems) are honoring their mind and body health. I am not familiar with Christian Science, so thank you for mentioning it, I am going to look it up on Google.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      2 years ago from Beautiful South

      So very well explained. One exception to the perils of the body in Christian religion is Christian Science, a religion that fundamentalists tend to call "a cult". I've known a bunch of these folks, all of whom are disgustingly healthy. They don't believe in a wrathful God or Hell either, so that would make them different.

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