Science in Christian Perspective



From: JASA 15 (June 1963): 66.

In regard to Dr. Grounds' article on mental illness (Dec. 1962) and especially in regard to the question of the relationship of mental illness to sin and guilt, I wonder if statistics show less mental illness in "shame" cultures, such as exist in Japan, than in "guilt" cultures. (See Ruth Benedict, Chrysanthemum and the Sword, for a description of Japan's "shame culture.") I have been under the impression that mental illness is just as prevalent here as in the U.S.A. even though relatively speaking there is no adequate concept of sin here . . .

Here in Japan I have often heard that doctors in mental institutions try to keep their patients from all contact with any religion because they believe it causes or aggravates mental illness. Could it not be that the mentally ill tend to be insecure and in striving for security tend to turn to religion, and if so would not religion tend to help, not hinder, (recovery of) the mentally ill?

Frank Cole
Tshinomaki, Japan