When Religion is an Addiction

Title: When Religion is an Addiction
Author: Robert Minor
Publisher: Humanity Works!, St. Louis, Missouri
Year: 2007
Available: Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

There are many books on the topic of unhealthy faith and religious addictions. This reviewer’s library has several other books on the same topic. Minor’s book is one of the better books this reviewer has read. Minor is able to write in a very clear, concise manner.

A person writing on religious addictions can easily come across as being anti-religious. Robert Minor takes a clear position early in the book. When Religion is an Addiction does not run down religion or Christianity. Minor does not feel blaming religion for personal or societal problems is appropriate.

In addictive religion, there is a tendency for people to be so consumed by God, the Bible, and the church that personal issues are not addressed. Instead of religion being a positive healthy aspect of one’s life, religion is stands in the way of good health.

There are religious highs. An intense religious high can be compared to the high a person gets from a drug. The need to feel good, to get a religious high, is intense for many people, because they are struggling to feel good in the face of the condemnation of original sin, fear of abandonment by God, and the sense they deserve eternal damnation and punishment. Not being able to keep the religious high is seen as a personal fault.

Religion can be a way for people to avoid taking responsibility for their personal actions. Those who have religious addictions often blame God or the Bible for what they do. In a strange twist, people with religious addictions end up blaming God, not the devil, for some of their inappropriate behavior.

People have an addictive personality may have more than one addiction. Minor makes the point that religious and sexual addictions can go hand-in-hand. The number of clergy and media evangelists who are disgraced by inappropriate sexual conduct prove his point.

Minor believes religious addictions explain some of the political dynamics seen in the United States. He believes the constant search for a bigger spiritual high leads some Christian leaders to exert strong political pressure on elected officials. Political victories help the addictive spiritual personality feel safer, less threatened by secular society, and less deserving of eternal condemnation.

Robert Minor explains how he feels many liberal Christians have acted as enablers for conservative American Christians who have a religious addiction. According to Minor, liberal Christians need to offer a very public alternative vision of Christianity.

In the last chapter, Robert Minor explains some ways people can respond to people in their lives who have religious addictions. The strategies presented can help keep a person from hurt by other people’s spiritual addictions.