Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: April 16th, 2013
A link between belief in an angry God and mental illness

It’s the type of study that fascinates me because it links two topics of personal interest: religion, or religious beliefs and mental health. Researchers at Marymount Manhattan College found, according to, how we view God has a huge impact on the level of stress and anxiety we experience throughout the day.

“The researchers found that belief in a punitive God was significantly associated with an increase in social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. Conversely, belief in a benevolent God was associated with reductions in those four symptoms.”

For the atheists among us, or those who don’t ascribe to a monotheistic look at the universe, just change the word “God” to “life” or “universe” and adjust the human characteristics to those more general, such as “harsh” for “punitive.” It makes sense. If you go through life thinking life is hard and cruel, then it would stand to reason that your life would be much more stressful.

This reminds me of Albert Einstein‘s quote, which is a personal favorite of mine.

“The most important question a person can ask is, “Is the Universe a friendly place?”



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