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Mental Health and the Gospel

Cook, Christopher C.H.

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Mental health has become a domain of professional and scientific endeavor, distinguished in the modern mind from spirituality, which is understood as a more subjective, transcendent, and private concern. This sharp separation has been challenged in recent decades by scientific research, which demonstrates the positive benefits of spirituality/religion (S/R) for mental health. Increasing scientific interest in the topic is to be welcomed, but the contribution of theology to the debate has been neglected. It is proposed here that Jesus’ life and teaching are presented in the synoptic Gospels as fundamentally concerned with what we now call mental health. Jesus’ teaching on worry, for example, offers various psychological strategies for dealing with anxiety. Moreover, it presents prayer as an effective and constructive response to worry, involving disciplined attention rather than avoidance. Critical interdisciplinary conversations between science and theology on matters such as worry offer a constructive approach to understanding the human condition in the context of adversity.


Cook, C. C. (2020). Mental Health and the Gospel. Zygon, 55(4), 1107-1123.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 17, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 1, 2020
Publication Date 2020-12
Deposit Date Apr 20, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 6, 2020
Journal Zygon
Print ISSN 0591-2385
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Issue 4
Pages 1107-1123


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (209 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 2020 The Authors. Zygon® published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Joint Publication Board of Zygon. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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