23 January 2008

The ONLY Name Given. . .

The Goddess Rosary

I'm willing to bet next month's stipend that if research like this were done on Catholics who practice various syncretistic forms of "Christian"/pagan spirituality (Gaia worship, Ennegram, Native American, ad nau) that we would discover similar kinds of emotional instability. . .

Do-It-Yourself Religions Cause More Harm Than Good

Meditation, crystal therapy, self-help books - think they’re making you happier? Think again. A Brisbane academic has found a strong link between new-age spirituality and poor mental health in young people.

Rosemary Aird examined a possible correlation between new forms of spirituality and mental health as part of her University of Queensland PhD studies.

After surveying more than 3700 Brisbane-based 21-year-olds, she found spirituality and self-focused religions may undermine a person’s mental health.

“I had a look at two different beliefs - one was a belief in God, associated with traditional religions, and the other was the newer belief in a spiritual or higher power other than God,” Dr Aird said.

The research found non-traditional belief was linked with higher rates of anxiety, depression, disturbed and suspicious ways of thinking and anti-social behaviour.

continue reading. . .


  1. I wonder what she would have found had she compared traditional believers with non-believers?

    I'm asking the question not because I think your bet is wrong, Fr. Philip, but rather because I view this kind of research with a certain amount of skepticism, which flows from two main sources.

    1. The very definitions of "stability" used in studies like these are going to be value-laden. Feeling better—even functioning better—in the terms of this world doesn't necessarily correlate very well with holiness. It might or it might not, and I don't immediately see how a practical study could address that question.

    That's not really a criticism of the research itself, only a warning that the questions the study is trying to answer may or may not be the same ones that tend to occupy us as Catholics.

    2. This study doesn't show (nor does the lead author claim it shows) that do-it-yourself/new-age spiritualities cause mental instability, only that the DIY crowd is more likely to be mentally unstable than traditional believers. Could be that DIY spiritualities are more attractive than traditional belief to people who are already unstable; you just can't tell from these data.

    Not that any of that invalidates your bet, Fr. Philip. I think you're quite right, largely because I see syncretic Christian practices as differing more in degree than in kind from full-on New Agery.


  2. Anonymous12:23 PM

    See, I think this is just your patriarchal values system flowing in. You're discriminating against those who look at the world through pea green glasses but really they just have a different perspective and if that leads us to find our own personal truths in seeking the goddess, who are you to judge us on our journey? See, you just can't understand where we're coming from because you have white male privilege. You should stop oppressing those of us who have chosen to follow where the vapors, er... whiskey? no, I meant SPIRITS lead us.


  3. Anonymous9:30 AM

    I guess there is some chicken vs. egg going on, but I also see from my own experience and within my circle of friends, that when you get going with spirituality without an anchor, then you get worship without the transformation of Eucharist, and an awareness of sin without sacramental confession and absolution. It opens a whole can of worms that we as humans are not equipped to deal with on our own. And the anxious, etc., tend to be worm-can-openers to begin with.