Anyone who engages in the practice of psychotherapy confronts every day the devastation wrought by the teaching of religion. - Nathaniel Branden
It is the purpose of this letter to make the academic world and psychiatric profession realise that belief in God and religion are unhealthy and therefore must be categorised as abnormal.
What is normal? What is abnormal? The two questions go together. To ask one is to ask the other.
As nature has strange ways it would be a mistake to call something abnormal because it doesn’t look right or is rare. Being evil is the only true abnormality. We can only call what is meant to hurt innocent people or what is evidently harmful abnormal. To suggest any different has the question “What’s normal?” left largely unanswerable. Evil is when the not good presents itself as the good. Evil cannot exist without detachment from reality.

Take the case of when young children lose their mother in death. To tell them in their grief that she is in Heaven translates as, “You are being selfish for mourning her. You should be glad she is happy in Heaven.” To even suggest that some people die rejecting God and will inevitably burn in Hell forever is to add a new worry to the grief of the vulnerable. We would rather there was no survival of death for our loved ones than for it to be even slightly possible for them to end up in such a place. The vulnerable will be disturbed in case the dead person went to Hell even if that is not very likely. And the fact that they might read in their Bible that Jesus limited salvation only to a tiny minority (Matthew 7:13,14) makes it all the worse. We are surer we will live on if this body of ours is preserved than we are if it dies. This fact makes it obscene and offensive for any clergyman to come along and tell the bereaved to love God and praise him for all he does including taking the dead person from earth. It is condoning what has happened when it is actually better to see it for the totally abhorrent evil that it really is. Religion has no real and lasting role to play in consoling the bereaved. It forces sceptics to ask how it could really care about the dead when it has bothered them with its silly and hard rules not caring if this life was the only one they would have and harping on about the next life and giving no proof that it exists? There is also the fact that religion blames us and not God for the evil in the world. If God permits a fatal car accident to happen it is to help us be better people or at least not get any worse. Obviously, an all-powerful God could have no other excuse. Is this the kind of thing that anybody, especially a child, needs to hear? And don't say that you believe in God but wouldn't or shouldn't say that to the child. In fact religion claims to be about pleasing God and not people. God is defined as the source of all good and all things are to be used to lead us to him so by by definition God alone matters. The child will have to understand and if God exists he will help the child through the upset. So we see that even if religious people will not tell a child, "Stop crying and trust in God for he knows what he is doing" their faith tells them they should.
What if the young mother died because she was a drug user and took a dangerous cocktail? Society and the Church will say what a wonderful woman she was and how nice she was. There might be a warning from them about how dangerous drugs are and how it is better to keep away from them. But there will be no moralising about what the woman has done. Nobody will say she freely abused her free will and chose evil. Is it the case that because emotions are so raw among the bereaved that doing that would cause more pain? If morality is so offensive then what do we have it for? Is the moralising there but just not talked about? Or does the Church approve of her? Does it neither approve or disapprove? If the Church excludes the notion of a person freely doing evil then it is nonsense to warn people against abusing drugs. The Church will not then pretend that it condemns immoral acts not the people who commit the acts. It will prove that it does not really believe in hating the sin and loving the sinner.
Religion condones God allowing terrible evil to happen. The religious attitude is worsened by the fact that condoning what has happened is entirely unnecessary. First of all, we don’t need belief in God looking after us for it is no comfort anyway, After all, his idea of looking after us may include allowing something terrible to happen to us. Secondly, we can simply believe in an afterlife and derive comfort from that without God.
God religion in its ignorance and insensitivity demands that people suffering bereavement cope with the struggle to condone what they think God has done on top of their suffering. Intelligent believers will see that that is required of them.

The sympathy of the Church is useless because if there is a God that allows earthquakes and plagues to happen then to feel sorry for the victims is to say that God should not have done this to them or that the pain should not exist and that is blasphemy. It is selfish to feel sorry for people while feeling that God did right to allow the suffering to happen to them for that is doing what you think is wrong.

Children can be traumatised by the idea of God and Jesus seeing them going to the toilet or being bathed. Some paedophiles have told children that God sees them naked so they must let them see them naked too! The possibility of damage done by belief in God is enough to condemn the belief. It is not right to expose our children to danger. If children are hurt by a belief they will feel that their parents and society and the church put belief before them and this will cause great harm. The Roman Catholic Church urges mothers to die and leave their children. An example of this is when a mother has to refuse her husband in bed if he wears a condom to avoid giving her a fatal sexual disease and accept him only if he takes it off.
We are traumatised and scarred by what people do to us. God if almighty must take ultimate responsibility for all that happens to his creation. It follows that a child could be traumatised for life by an accident for he or she thinks God did it. The biggest doubt in religion is doubting that God is loving or knows what he is doing so trauma should be common.
If there is a God of infinite perfection he cares only for himself for it would be unjust for him not to when he is so great. Jesus said the most important commandment was to love God with all your being.  He recognised that to say there is a God implies such a thing.  Jesus wants us to love God above all things and with all our strength and to love others just for him meaning that we don’t value them at all but him.  Jesus said that the command to love one's neighbour as oneself isn’t as important.   So clearly the only reason people are to be helped is not for themselves but for God.  This evil doctrine has a number of implications. God does not let people suffer so that we may help them and be compassionate and patient. He does not let it happen so that we might help him by helping them. God is able to help himself. The only reason then is to please God by obeying him. God and ourselves are to ultimately care only that he is obeyed – it is not about helping people. Then you are not thinking of the suffering so there cannot be compassion for the victim and why feel sorry for God when his happiness cannot be marred? You cannot. It is hard and cruel to turn your compassion off for a suffering person in order to put your concern in pleasing God. And that is what God religion wants you to do. You will be left a psychopath if you lose your faith in God or if it lessens.

Should children who escape while their mother dies in an accident be told that God protected them and his blessing saved them implying that God did not bless and protect her? The bereaved are invariably plagued by guilt much of which is irrational and this is what religion tells them. It can only make things worse. It does no good to look at the number of people who claim to have been consoled by religion. They have been consoled not by religion but in spite of it. The subconscious mind will make the logical connections that will enable a religious commitment to do interior damage to the victim of religion which will result in anti-social behaviour and attitudes.
To make sin the greatest evil is to command mothers to prefer to see their sons dead through a car accident lying in their coffins rather than see them drunk or having pre-marital sex (see page 217, Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Part 2). Belief in God requires a totally abnormal and unhealthy emotional set-up. It can only produce mental illness. It is psychopathic. Theism commands that you prefer that God takes your life which it says he has the right to do rather than let you sin. The instinct for self-preservation is meant to be the strongest in us so commitment to God in sincerity is a form of mental illness.

Those who say they believe in God for they prayed and feel that prayer and God got them through hard times are using God as a fair-weather friend for they do not think of the suffering that hits them as coming from God. More evil. This comfort is therefore caused by guilt and fear. They are afraid in case God helped them and are scared of what might happen or come from him if they offend him by becoming ingrates. The comfort is the prime argument for a fatherly God’s existence among ordinary believers and the Church fosters it. This insults the millions in the world who have rarely tasted happiness and health. It says that God will not give this assurance to them and praises him for doing his will and practicing discrimination. People have to be told gently why they feel grateful to God and why it is unhealthy. You can trick your psyche into feeling secure in the midst of a mad world without God when you can do it with him. What is the most normal? To find a way to do it without him.
Religion makes it a sin to desire your own safety or that of others for all you are to desire is the will of God. You are supposed to desire that only God’s will be done and if he wants to harm you or others you are supposed to accept it. Real prayer is the union of the heart and mind with God. Real prayer is not prayer or a sincere communion with God when it does not will only what God wills. It is just a pretence. All real prayer is, in essence, the petition, “Thy will be done.” It consists of confidence in divine power and submission to him. In other words, you do not ask God to keep you safe on the boat tomorrow. That is expressing a desire to be safe when what you should be desiring is that God do what he wants even if it means leaving you to drown in an accident. You are asking God to fulfil your desire instead of his own. God’s desire could be to send severe sickness or even death on you so he is terrifying even if he is love. If religion had the honesty to teach this more openly and forbid prayer as it is always done, people would see that it is only foolishness to expect anybody to gain comfort and psychological strength from prayer. Religion would lose its attraction so it keeps the sinister doctrine under wraps to deceive its followers. Prayer is dangerous for it makes people confident that however bad they become that they can fall back on God to help them change fast one day. That is fanaticism when one cannot be sure that God even exists.

The clergy pontificate about homosexuality being a disorder. Nobody is more disordered than their God because of whom they condemn homosexuals. If homosexuality were unnatural there would be no homosexual desires. Nature allows us to be irrational therefore it is not nature we should care about but rationality for it is best for us to be reasonable. If it does no harm then do not condemn it. Belief in God is evil because it implies that God designed men and women to sleep only with the opposite sex while without God we can forget about what God would want. The God belief is homophobic.

My basic mental component is consciousness. It works by being aware that it exists and that it can learn things through the five senses. What kind of machine is it? Nobody knows. A computer is sane not only when it does what it is supposed to do but when it is set up right to do that. A computer is insane even when it gives the right results if it is not right inside. The machine giving correct results does not prove that the machine is sane. When insanity can be obvious insanity when cannot insanity masquerade as sanity so that even the insane person is fooled? Remember we do not see the mechanics but the results so we don’t know and the person only sees the results as well. Thus you don’t know if your consciousness is sane or not or if it is the same make-up as that other people have. You don’t have a clue. If it is insane then it follows that attempts to prove free will and stuff like God is a waste of time because anybody insane cannot have real free will anyway but only something that mimics it.
Evangelicals claim that they teach humility by making each person realise that he is just as sinful as everybody else. There are people kinder than others. The Evangelicals are disrespecting those people by tarring everybody with the brush.
Evangelicals boast that their gospel prevents the anxiety of having to work for one's salvation for Jesus does it all. But many feel awful that they are unable to do as much good as Jesus deserves in return for his kindness.
Evangelicals and Christians have to believe that God helps them to live a holier life than is normal. Imagine how disappointed they will be when they find out that Christians are no better or no worse than anybody else.
The vast majority of believers would be annoyed terribly when they experience some huge test and fail it. They would argue that God knew beforehand that this would happen and still sent the test. This might be incorrect logic but it is understandable. It is understandable enough to blame belief in God for the hurt and anger that has taken place.
Depression is an epidemic in these modern times. It is anger turned inwards or against yourself. People need to recognise the anger in them and admit it. But if there is a God, anger is a sin. If God makes all things and holds them in existence, then nothing really happens in spite of God but because of him. Anger would amount to being angry at the way God has planned things. So it is a sin. But it has to go somewhere. God in principle and in practice, leads to people getting depressed or more depressed.


Valerie Tarico points out in the book, Christianity is Not Great that Christians blame those who suffer psychologically from their Christian belief for their problems. They blame the victims. They say that the victims already had these problems in the first place or is not practicing the faith properly and that is why he or she is suffering. Or perhaps he or she is a counterfeit Christian.


Christianity can victimise and still blame the victim. As it uses circular reasoning and anybody can use circular reasoning, it follows that if you don't believe in Christianity then it is your own fault. It is a sin if you don't believe because God wants you to believe.

Tarico tells us that "Religious Trauma Syndrome as a diagnosis is in early stages of investigation". RTS often goes unrecognised. One reason is that the victim has been conditioned to self-blame. Another is how society is culturally Christian which lends credence to the faith and makes people reluctant to blame it. The victims will not be listened to as Christianity is too respected in society. The practice of suffering Christians going to pastors for counselling and not recognised mental health therapists shields the problem from the psychiatric profession.

People incorrectly assume that anybody with a mental illness could be dangerous. In fact that person is no more likely to hurt you than anybody else would even if the mental illness is serious and severe. It does not follow then that you have to do bad to be mad. Thus there is nothing insane about thinking that a religious person has a mental problem. Usually, the person might be considered ill if she or he is very devoted and prays a lot.
Religion and belief in God need to be attacked by mental health professionals. People who claim these beliefs have helped them are using a crutch for they are blinding themselves to the dark side of their faith.
APOLOGETICS AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Most Rev M Sheehan DD, MH Gill, & Son, Dublin, 1954

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