Worshipping Prozac

Worshipping Prozac

A guest post written by Robert B. Clark, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Florida

“Over the past quarter of a century, Americans have been gobbling up antidepressants like M&Ms. Now there are scientists claiming that these same antidepressants are about as effective as M&Ms. Oddly enough, the argument has all the zeal of a religious debate”.

So begins an article in the August 7, 2011, St. Petersburg Times, titled “Not so sure when there’s a pill, there’s a way”.

It turns out that in 1993 Dr. Peter Kramer published a blockbuster bestseller called Listening to Prozac. Kramer claimed in the book that Prozac and other SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake inhibitors) provided a near miraculous cure for depression. For those whose faith in the power of drugs may have reached an almost religious zeal, the reality has turned out to be more nightmare than miracle. Listening to Prozac, or to Dr. Kramer for that matter, was maybe not such a great idea.

Gordon Marino, author of the Times article quoted above, is a professor of philosophy, director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College and ethics fellow at the Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuropharmacology at the /University of Minnesota. Marino refers to Dr. Kramer as the “John the Baptist of the new anti-depressants” (new in 1993).

By 2008, Marino tells us, 8.9 percent of Americans were on anti-depressants, and now Dr. Kramer is on the defensive. A few weeks ago, he published an article in the New York Times called, “In Defense of Antidepressants”. He claimed that “…it is dangerous for the press to hammer away at the theme that antidepressants are placebos. They’re not. To give the impression that they are is to cause needless suffering.”

A new book by Irving Kirsch called, The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth reveals that a number of recent studies show that the supposed powers of these Prozac type drugs are apparently nothing more than a placebo effect since the placebos given were 82 percent as effective as the drugs.

Later in his St. Pete Times article, Marino makes this interesting comment: “For many, belief in the possibility of divine assistance has been replaced by a blind faith in the idea that where there is a pill there’s a way. That this kind of trust in pharmaceuticals has become an important article of secular faith is echoed in the fact that seriously questioning their usefulness and value can, a la Kramer, trigger a response that is not far from the charge of heresy.”

Marino’s religious phrasing is interesting. Perhaps he sees what many others have seen; that we worship at the altar of pharmacology at our own peril.

As our nation recovers from its drug worshipping phase, which it must and will do, religion will continue to offer permanent and transformational answers to depression. No pharmaceutical giants, doctor’s prescriptions, or government assistance is needed, just an open mind and the willingness to explore spiritual solutions.

Below are several examples of open minds finding freedom from depression through religious faith.

Clinical depression healed
“Drug free answers to treating depression”

There are many thousands more where these come from.

Link to Bob Clark’s blog

About the author

Guest We are pleased to present Notes from the Field authors, who are assistant committees and church members in the Southern California region; and Notes from The Mother Church authors, who are Committees from the United States and around the world, as well as the Federal Committee on Publication office.


  1. Will Heining says

    Thanks, Don, for re-posting Bob’s thoughtful blog.

    I have long held that the Official State Religion of the US of A is Medicine, whose high priests are the producers and distributors (Big Pharma and Doctors acting in concert) of dependence on inferior, material means of healing.

    The Medical Industrial Complex needs to be recognized as the Marketing System it is – rather than a source of benevolence in time of need.

    About the time Someone lobbied for the “right” to advertise drugs directly to consumers on the public’s airways we all supposedly “got” such money-making (for Big Pharma) ailments as “restless leg syndrome” and “chronic daily heartburn” for which there was, surprize, a manufactured “remedy” that one – apparently – is supposed to Buy for the rest of one’s life. If you don’t buy the ailment – you don’t need the cure!!

  2. Anne says

    Will’s answer to “Worshipping Prozac” is excellent. It reminded me of the time I served as a Christian Science chaplain for several penal institutions, one of which was for older teenagers.

    All the kids had to line up and take their meds. One young man I was working with was given Prozac and was having negative reactions. He asked me if I’d talk to the authorities, saying he didn’t want to take drugs anymore.

    I said I couldn’t do that, but we could pray about it. The following week he told me that the person giving the drugs by passed him and didn’t give him anything. I remember him saying that he felt invisible. And he was very happy because now he felt fine.

    It is encouraging to learn that people are beginning to realize that all this drug taking is not beneficial to their physical or mental well-being.

  3. says

    Thank you for this one. We keep our remote handy and when watching the TV, mute the commercials, which are practically all for drugs. I declare aloud, ” We’re not interested in what you say, we want to hear what God has to say.”

  4. Leanne says

    2 Tim 1:7
    For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
    Always a blessing to be reminded of this eternal truth, particularly when it doesn’t seem like it.