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Ask the Patriarch 142
On Testimony

from: Joules

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About halfway through reading Testimony 1 I formed two conclusions:  the author has mental/emotional health issues and was possibly over-involved in church activities. I discovered at the end of the testimony that I was on the right track. Which brings me to why I'm here: I was looking for sites which discuss these topics for evangelicals in a way that supports staying in the church. I can relate to the ideas that came out in Testimony 1.

I sympathize with these thoughts and feelings and have spent some of my adulthood sorting through them, looking for a healthy way to live and practice the Christian faith. I think our culture and our human nature tend to stir up an awful lot of unnecessary expectations about the belief and practice of Christianity. I also think certain genetically driven personality traits will assist in making Christianity--or just about any other experience--a misery. Our family has a history of depression so I've personally experienced some pretty serious biologically-based misery that colored how I saw everything, including Christianity. I've learned to get help for physical conditions that affect how I perceive the world and acknowledge my limitations when it comes to faith but I don't think I have to choose agnosticism and apathy.

The Patriarch replies:


Yes, the author of Testimony 1 openly admitted to having emotional problems. For him, at least part of the solution was breaking away from religion. That may not be the answer for everyone, particularly if there is no loss of faith.

I do feel that for at least some individuals who have both mental health issues and an excess of religiosity (or an excess of anti-religiosity for that matter, or any other "cause") a feedback loop gets established leading both conditions to amplify each other. The loop has to be broken if normality is to be re-established. However, that does not necessitate an abandonment of your beliefs.

You are not going to find the answers you want on an agnostic site. If you think reading the testimonies of others might assist you, I would recommend you look at the links in the Open Directory for Christian Testimonies. Two such pages are:

There's a good chance you will find something you can relate to in the couple of hundred links there, some of which contain multiple testimonies.

I will make one other suggestion; if you are not getting the support you need from the church you are now involved with, then consider changing congregations, or even denominations. It is not a rejection of Christianity to seek out another church which better meets your needs.

Finally, this site does not promote agnosticism and apathy. It promotes apathetic agnosticism. There is a difference. (See the FAQ sidebar on the main page.)