A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression.
A recent article in the Washington Post said this:
Christianity is on the decline in America, not just among younger generations or in certain regions of the country but across race, gender, education and geographic barriers. The percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years to about 71 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
What? Christianity is dying? As I read through this article I was very disturbed. I couldn’t sleep that night. As an apologist, that is one who defends the truthfulness of the Christian faith, such a huge change in our national demographic deeply disturbs me. Why is this happening? What can I do about it? Am I failing in my “job” as a Christian?
After three days of hand wringing and lost sleep, I did something I always tell everyone to do. Stop. Think. Analyze. Draw conclusions on your own after looking at ALL of the available information.
So, here is the lesson I learned. A month ago, a series of articles hit the mainstream internet feeds basically saying that everything we know about depression is wrong. These articles quoted respectable medical studies that drew such troublesome conclusions as:
The “chemical imbalance” theory as the cause of depression is WRONG.
Serotonin depletion is NOT associated with depression.
Anti-depressants DON’T work any better than placebo (sugar pills).
ALL of depression comes from emotional childhood trauma.
The MOST important factor in defeating depression is in a long standing, strong relationship between the patient and the caregiver.
Wow! Mark and I might as well burn every copy of “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” is these things are true. So, I took my own advice and looked into these claims. As usual, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Why? Because EVERYONE has an agenda. And, ANYONE can take any facts and twist them around under the right circumstances and draw whatever conclusion they like.
What I have concluded after reading all of these “studies” is this:
We don’t completely understand every factor involved in producing depression. In some people, the cause is hereditary. If that is so, then the ONLY way inherited depression can work is by producing chemical imbalance in the brain since environmental and social causes of depression are not a factor is purely inherited depression. In some people, depression is caused by childhood trauma, parental influences, etc. This is well known. In some people, depression is bad enough to produce symptoms but is not severe enough to warrant using anti-depressants. In such a setting, psychological treatment works better. It is well known that in depression, once a patient identifies the problem and begins to seek professional help, they are already getting better! Deciding to do something about your depression and seeking professional help is a huge part of the solution. And yes, I would agree that the relationship between a patient and their caregiver, particularly a good counselor, is absolutely essential to overcome depression.
Mark and I have said nothing less in our book. Therefore, there is no cause for alarm! If you need medication according to your caregiver, then by all means give it a try. What I do not want anyone to take away from this information is the idea they can stop anti-depressant medication abruptly. NEVER do this! It could be deadly!
So, back to the Christianity article. Is our country going to hell? Are we becoming a nation hostile to Christianity? Well, when you drill down and look carefully at the actual data this is what you can believe according to Christianity Today:
Americans whose Christianity was nominal—in name only—are casting aside the name. They are now aligning publicly with what they’ve actually not believed all along.
The percentage of convictional Christians remains rather steady, but because the nominal Christians now are unaffiliated the overall percentage of self-identified Christians is decline.
Christianity isn’t dying and no research says it is; the statistics about Christians in America are simply starting to show a clearer picture of what American Christianity is becoming—less nominal, more defined, and more outside of the mainstream of American culture.
For example, the cultural cost of calling yourself “Christian” is starting to outweigh the cultural benefit, so those who do not identify as a “Christian” according to their convictions are starting to identify as “nones” because it’s more culturally savvy.
Because of this, the statistics show (on the surface) that Christianity in America is experiencing a sharp decline. However, that's the path of those who don't read beyond the surface. If there remains a relatively stable church-engaged, convictional minority, and there is a big movement on self-identification, that means that the middle is going away.
Don’t believe everything thing you read on the internet! Instead, take your time and read, analyze, think, pray, and look for the truth! The truth will always set you free!