What is religion? Why is it neurotic? And as a neurosis distort the religion? About this reflects the psychologist, rector of the Institute of Christian psychology Archpriest Andrei Lorgus.
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What is religion?
Religion is an implementation of the same fundamental needs of the individual as security or self-realization, as love or freedom. Religion is a human need for Higher, spiritual, sacred, in this study, reinforcement and justification of life and values, without which a person loses the meaning of life.
Everyone is looking for Something or Someone or something standing over him and over the world of things and events, the suffering and happiness, of life and death. People looking for someone or Something that has a higher meaning, because the meaning we need for life, like air. As a Mature form of spirituality, not as a parent tradition or social setting, the religious answers to deep questions of man.
Another thing is that it can be in different ways: through the magic world, but the most common implementation is through religion. The majority of mankind (according to the UN about the prevalence of religion in the world, is from 85% to 92%) lives, choosing for themselves some form of religiosity.
However, religiosity can be both healthy and neurotic.
To look for in another person – God
Healthy religiosity is considered such an attitude to the Higher, to God, in which man himself has no other purposes, except for the actual relationship with God, but his faith and dedication of the highest values of his life. Man seeks in religion the Highest, to make life more meaningful.
Healthy religion is realized through faith belonging to the faith tradition and rituals. It requires exercises. And what doctrine is more developed and substantiated than more to do with the elements in all human culture, the easier, more stable, the more responsible religious needs. If the doctrine is in the nature of random, piecemeal, marginal, dark and tangled, meet religious needs, it brings much less.
Healthy religion always answers the question: in whom do I believe? how do I believe? imagine how a man’s relationship with God?
In a healthy religiosity, all aimed at understanding and meeting, because in each leaf, the word, the smile looking for of the Divine. In another person, he seeks the image of God, but never idealizes him because a carrier is only the Lord.
Healthy religion claims to be of maximum clarity, awareness of my own world. It tends in itself to contain the order. This metaphor is a good man who knows where he is in the house. He remembers what is stored in the basement, but that was removed in the attic. He is always clean and cleaned, Windows washed through them.
As a religion will help me to manipulate others?
But often religion is used for other purposes. A lot of them. They have nothing to do with religion, but rather play the role of psychological compensation for people with unstable mentality, which are hard to adapt to a rapidly changing world.
This religion is called neurotic. It satisfies the need for security and makes up for what it lacks. Moreover, this disadvantage may be both genuine and imaginary. Subjectively one experiences in himself a deficiency of the fundamental pillars of meanings, beliefs, rules and norms. Not being able to confront reality in a looking for outside support that would ensure stability and predictability of life that would replace the missing personal mechanisms. Such support can become an ideology, a worldview, stereotypes, scientific (and pseudoscientific) view of the world. Can be her religion.
In this case, religion “solves” is not peculiar to himself the task of psychological compensation or personal satisfaction. Religion is not a relationship with God, not Union of Heaven and man, not the erection itself, and peace (anaphora), and as the tool of adaptation to poor dispensation of reality.
Unhealthy religion responds to quite different questions: how can God help me? how can religion help me to get rid of fear? how it can help to manipulate other people and to have power over them? how it can help you better succeed in life, protect from aggression, get rid of depression?
And this is only some of the motifs that occur in unhealthy, neurotic religion.
Why do people need it? Surely the man himself does not see? On the basis of pastoral experience and practice of psychological counseling will answer this question in the negative. We often have to deal with the fact that religion leads people desire to use their faith as a way to Supplement the reality or stave off heartache.
Very often a person goes to Church to satisfy their selfish personal needs associated with fear and pain. It is assumed that religion corrects distortion of the personality, brings freedom from neurotic fears, invades people’s attitudes, umilostivit bosses and restore order in the world. But religion is a relationship with God, not a magician Goodwin. Religion elevates man to Heaven, not to restore order in a residential area or a totalitarian country.
Motives, or How to implement a neurotic religiosity
The first motive: fear
Whenever religion is used by the person as a psychological drug, there is a danger that people will be disappointed in religion and would be at the mercy of anxiety and fear. This is the religious neurosis – controversial wandering in nonexecutable hopes and aggressive attempts to adjust the religion under their own fears.
Generally, the motive of fear is one of the most powerful engines. But when man seeks in religion, freedom from fear and anxiety, then he is looking for such a system, doctrine, and most importantly – a practice that will bring a feeling that he is safe, will not be punished, and God, the spirits will not hurt him and take revenge.
Typical fear of magic is, “if you will not please the evil spirit, it will be my revenge”.
From this arises the desire and the need to perform a rite of gratification that spirit. The amazing thing is that this archaic setup people bring to Christianity. “I can do this, to God I was not punished and didn’t hurt me in my life?” This is an example of neurotic religiosity, when it’s motivated by fear of punishment, not a desire of connection with God.
Motive two: power
The motive power is not less strong. Religion gives rules and canons. In the system of traditions, rituals, doctrine, people are looking for such rules and attitudes that will allow them to manipulate, control, to rise above others, that is looking for a way to protect themselves from the fear of what will manage them.
In the neurotic desire for power is fear to be conquered by the power of another.
So the man with an infantile personality, seeking in religion, the rules of his dominance in the family and society. Not being able to build relationships, not using the authority for fear of its insolvency, it comes to Christianity in order to gain where Patriarchal religious foundations, and to replace its complex uncertainty.
Or a woman experiencing childhood rejection of her own femininity and suffering from sexual attention of the husband seeking in religion a confirmation of your aversion to sex, justifying his monastic precepts and biblical quotations.
Thirst for predictability, stability in marriage, the man brings to confession his chosen. He warns the priest that he wants his future wife confessed all their vices, especially since she was engaged in intimate relations with other men. He wants to “marry in complete sincerity, to take her clean that without confession is impossible.”
In other words, a man trying to manipulate a priest, and a woman, and even rules, using them for yourself. But he was just afraid of being cheated and trying to get rid of their fears.
Exactly the same happens, if to the priest punctually goes the woman, the confession which is always evolving according to the same scheme – “I have sinned by resentment, malice, said, annoyed…”. From now on, always starts a story, usually written in advance on one or two pages, detailing an explanation of who and why she was annoyed.
Such stories end with the standard summary: “they are guilty, they made me a victim, unfortunate, and generally trying to humiliate me, and even to destroy, and all because I go to God”. In other words, in his neurotic religion, it uses religion to their unconscious and personal goals as a way to absolve themselves and shift responsibility on others.
Motive three: the weakness and anxiety
So the woman, who failed to find love and get married, seeking in religion a justification of grusinia marriage or the realization of their hope in community relations.
Even more striking version of religion is a neurotic self-flagellation and masochism. Why is this happening? Typically, this form of neurosis linked to experiences, maybe in childhood or adolescence psychological abuse in which the child was convinced that he is a terrible sinner, or the sinner, a punishment from God, he provided.
A man with such a powerful emotional shift penalty looking for in religion, as it is a punishment to remove how to rid yourself from it.
For example, one of my parishioners in my childhood I was afraid of mom. She told the girl, they say if you don’t share everything: apples, sweets, toys and so on – will be subjected to the ordeal, as the blessed Theodora. Mom read a book girl on air-blissful ordeal.
Precisely because this scared woman in the religion looking for a way to remove the threat of punishment. There are many ways, but masochism is the easiest. He is able to punish himself in this life to fully exhaust the sentence of God against himself in the afterlife.
The man unconsciously begins to self-harm. He announces a ban on happiness, you deny yourself the pleasure, but exhausts himself at work, threatening diseases (colds, cystitis, gastritis typical of such people) or small and engaged in unconscious self-mutilation (scratching hands, tearing her hair), that is causing harm to themselves directly. And this risky behavior has one goal – to be subjected to some suffering, which would be a deliverance from the coming punishment. Here to suffer, not to suffer in the afterlife.
Motive four: waiting for the miracle
Unfortunately, many of those women who come to Church hoping that God will make their happiness, marriage, relationships. This category of women can be classified into three groups.
In the first case, the woman is sure that God will send someone who will become her Prince. So she sees in front of him one simple task: to please God, to ask, to pray, to confess, expecting that a miracle will happen and happiness will one day fall on her.
The potential relationship a woman is not, and can not be, because she runs away from them, afraid, sure that God and so will send her relationship by calling it love.
A woman wants the relationship was from God. From God it will take all. But usually it happens that on the horizon appears a man posing as a “messenger from God”, and actually detect in this woman a potential victim.
Women are easily deceived, believe in the myth of suffering, as a man not only lives on her account, but humiliates, beats, often asks the impossible. A man she tolerates, believing that she was sent by the Lord, what He gave her.
For the second group of women is characterized by lack of trust in God. A woman of no requests to It, but there is a desire to meet in the Church the believer man. Once a believer, therefore, follows the rules. Times comply with the rules, so good and will be right to raise children, to love and care for his wife. A believing man as a guarantee of security. But this is again a trap.
Such men are pious pious, pray a lot, standing grandly, going to confession regularly, even crying, overwhelmed with feeling. They diligently help the Church, pleasing to everyone. And when, finally, some woman was deeply moved Orthodox virtues, is beyond such a person is married, the pattern is repeated. Starts exploitation, manipulation, tyranny, humiliation, and dependency.
The woman again suffering, convinced that it must be so, because the husband is Orthodox. Such men need support from priests, monks, canons. And so it will always have the ability to manipulate a woman with neurotic religiosity, appealing to rules and canons.
Trap neurotic expectations is a condition when man does not trust his mind and sense. Seeing someone in front of him, the man has more confidence in traditional forms of conduct than their own feelings.
The third type of neurotic religiosity may rare, but quite dangerous. For women this type is characterized by coming to the temple to see the priests, the clergy, all the other men in the temple – ideal: strong, strong-willed, not drinking, not Smoking, not fornication, men, ascetics and workers.
Idealization Orthodox employees of the temples leads to the fact that women fall in love, are trying to build novels, intrigue with other women. As a rule, they themselves in the temple for free being exploited, they are forced to sacrifice money and even flats. Inside their lives neurotic hope, and absolutely unconscious, conscious here and there can not be that the Church of God (and actually men) is the implementation of women’s vocation.
In Catholic literature, and other neurotic religiosity, more precisely, its extreme form, is associated with love in priests, monks and God. These texts are, alas, few are translated into Russian language, although the subject is developed in the Catholic pastoral practice in Germany and Austria.
However, I myself have seen such examples in Laurel, as a seminarian. There are many women that revolve around the monks, sew, cook, knit, play the role of mothers, sisters and nurses. This women with great thirst for service, which is not always, but very often a variant of neurotic religiosity.
Their need for a Higher being implemented in this Ministry.
How many neurotics in the Church?
Such estimates do not exist. No one believed, and it is impossible to do it. Each priest has their own idea about it, so these may vary. People with OCD choose a kind of priests. Especially those who are willing to listen, to accompany, to provide extra attention and devote time. In other words, “Asked for it”, “like priest, like parish”.
Since the beginning of my Ministry so it was with me. I myself am a neurotic, I know the neurotic motives and I constantly find them. People with neurotic religiosity have dragged me.
At least half those who come to the temple, all the same people with a healthy religious. Among the second half of the part – neurotics, another part – just mentally ill people. And even this quarter is divided into two halves. Those of us who really hard and seriously ill, and those who are borderline, as they say psychiatrists. That is, there is no obvious psychiatry, but there is fluctuation on the verge of a tendency. In other words, in the temple about a quarter of the members are neurotic, but I hope that still less.
Someone is looking for in the religion of suffering, confirming his masochism, someone finds the strength and confidence, becoming a fanatic, someone finds a fantastic mythology. In any case, neuroticism is manifested in the perversion of the religion of his soul.
Neurotic neurotic makes a religion for himself, and not Vice versa.
Religion can bring people the meaning and the healing of the soul, if it is a valid religion, i.e. the relationship with God. If the person in religion is looking for healing of their traumas and complexes, you will find only your neurosis.
For modern Orthodoxy neurosis threat mythology and psychologizing. Neurosis is always a source of lies. And he needs a lie. Neurosis always dive into the maze of emotional turmoil and personal self-deception. Neurosis distort the religion and brings the pain. But sooner or later neurosis expels people from the religion, and he leaves the community and the Church. And it’s really sad.