Faith, Depression, and Abraham Lincoln

From Joshua Wolf Shenk’s, “Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness.”

William James (1842-1910) was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labelled him the “Father of American psychology”

The author, Joshua Wolf Shenk, writes, “William James (unlike his contemporaries, Kraepelin and Freud) objected to the separation of religion and psychology.  James believed that belief in God serves like a moat around a castle, providing order and protection.  When difficulties arise (troubling thoughts, painful events) rituals of prayer and repentance can help set the world right again.”

“Modern studies confirm the salutary effect of faith on depression.For example, one study of 271 religious and nonreligious adults in treatment for depression found that the former had an edge in recovery, largely because their beliefs gave them something that depression tends to strip away: hope.”

I certainly don’t mean to simplify the psychological illness known as Clinical Depression.  My own son, Jordan, had deep Christian faith yet lost his battle with depression.

The above excerpt (which i found interesting since I suffer from Clinical Depression) was taken from within the context of Shenk writing of Lincoln’s strong Christian faith, and how that faith helped sustain him during his turbulent presidency – specifically during the Civil War.