It is now universally accepted that we are experiencing a profound mental health epidemic, and too often Christians have struggled to know how to respond. The need for the church to take mental health issues more seriously is urgent, and this is perhaps especially true when it comes to understanding depression.
Offering a theological and biblical account of depression, Tasia Scrutton considers how depression has been understood and interpreted by Christians and how plausible and pastorally helpful these understandings are. It offers an important and well-informed resource for those with, or preparing for, positions of pastoral responsibility within the Christian Church.
With a foreword by John Swinton.
Foreword by John Swinton ix
1 Sin 29
2 Demons 56
3 Biology 89
4 The dark night of the soul 114
5 Can depression help us grow? 133
6 Can God suffer? 159
7 Would a suffering God help? 183
8 Towards a Christian response to depression 208
Further reading 229
Index of Names and Subjects 231
"Now that mental health has become a matter of public concern, with some high-profile personal testimony and increasing acknowledgement of the social costs, this book brings to bear the skills of an experienced philosopher to expose and combat the theological background of the most damaging assumptions of the causes of mental illness - such as the lurking fear that it is all your own fault, or that you are possessed by an evil spirit: in pellucid and accessible style this book is an illuminating and often moving contribution to liberating us from the secret grip of such irrational myths." -- Revd Dr Fergus Kerr, OP
"This is an exciting, erudite, and important book, one that exhibits deep philosophical and theological insight. The central theme is Christian interpretations of depression, but the relevant issues are linked more generally to philosophical problems of experience, interpretation, and explanation, and the theological reflections are fascinating and original. It is beautifully and sensitively written, accessible to the general reader, and a 'must' for mental health practitioners, philosophers, theologians, and all those who have struggled with depression and sought to make philosophical and theological sense of it." -- Fiona Ellis, Professor of Philosophy, University of Roehampton