To be or not to be: Explorations in Madness and Faith
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By: Steven-John Harris
Psychologically speaking, madness keeps a person from thriving in life, relationships, and reality. Theologically speaking, separation from God is an illusion that causes needless suffering. While suffering is difficult, the author argues that it is the inability to suffer that contributes significantly to the development of madness. Madness, in its various forms, also owes itself to the human difficulty of coming to terms with reality. Further, the author examines the problem of madness both in its everyday and more disturbing forms. He illustrates how attitudes such as the tendency to separate people into “us and them” further contributes to alienation and madness. Notably, Dr Harris develops a phenomenological view of disturbing behavior before linking them to both psychological and dissociative models of the mind. The enormous costs of not addressing the seriousness of mental illness includes various degrees of non-existence (unlived parts of the mind). Later chapters review psychoses, dissociative disorders, personality disorders, mania, suicide, and moral madness (religious fundamentalism) to illustrate how the phenomenology of madness has important implications for the hermeneutics of psychology and theology. These considerations are illustrated to demonstrate the potential for healing and for one’s participation in religious faith through descriptions, case material and the challenges that each brings.
Number of pages: 332, softbound