“You have fears, you have worries, you have doubts, you have compulsions, you have attractions…”
So said Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of the megachurch Saddleback Church and author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” in a sermon largely about his son’s mental illness and recent suicide.
Warren was clearly trying to help de-stigmatize mental illness, and I commend that. But this is not the way. We are not, in fact, all mentally ill. And saying that we are does not de-stigmatize mental illness. It trivializes it. It contributes to the stigma. And it makes it harder to recognize and treat.
Thus begins my new piece for Salon, God Won’t Cure Mental Illness. To read more about how Warren’s sermon trivializes mental illness, stigmatizes it, dismisses evidence-based treatment, and frames atheism and religious doubt as a mental disorder, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!