This author posits that Atheism is a form of mental illness based on numerous studies which show the physical, mental, and emotional advantages 'believers' generally have over 'non-believers':
There are a few hints that this is not all the case: most of these studies center on Christian populations. So, I'm not sure this would transfer to all 'believers,' because there are, in fact, lots of gods to believe in.
Then you have Buddhism, one of the largest religions in the world, which has no god at all.
If you follow the experiences of many in AA and other 12 Step groups, you will find plenty of people who were miserable, addicted believers. Dr. Bob's devotion to Christianity and his Bible study (which developed into the first AA meeting) was not enough. It was not only what the first AA's believed in, but what they did with that belief.
'Belief' is important, but even more important is what you believe in. If your God is vengeful, judgmental, and condemning, this is just as bad (perhaps even worse) than no God at all. In fact, you could make the argument that not believing in God is better making Him into a monster.
Heresy and atheism are twins. Both deny the True God.
I think the average person a safe distance outside the Middle East can agree that radical Islam, with its anger and violence, is a form of mental illness. It certainly does not form the peace most healthy people have about there world. Atheists have made a lot of hay out of the insanity shown by religious people in large political groups. Of course, the problem is that organized atheism in the 20th century murdered more people than every religious war in history... combined.
My argument is that religious wars come from heresy of at least one side. After all, if you really believed in a Loving God, you would not need to invade your neighbor or force him to convert. Loving people don't force themselves or their beliefs on anyone else. Most healthy Christians quietly live out their faith without burning people at the stake. Were that not the case, we'd have exterminated ourselves a long time ago.
Even radical Islam has a high level of 'burn out'... just look at all of the people in the Middle East who aren't signing up for car bombings and suicide pilgrimages. While they tacitly approve of such self-immolation and pay lip service to it, few of them really get into it. Jihad becomes an alternative for those with identity crises and high levels of unhappiness. No, it isn't about poverty: jihad is its own kind of drug.
Happiness and mental health are intimately related. Therefore, the disquiet of the atheist and the anger of the heretic sprout from the same source: a conflict between man's natural desire for a loving God and a person's willful denial of such a God's existence.
So, I would refine such a statement: Not believing in the existence of a Loving God leads to mental illness.
Why? because that belief will guide your thoughts and actions. If you have a remote and ambivalent God, then little of what you do not will matter anyhow. Your actions are left to your whims. Of course, the trade-off for this freedom is that this heretical version of God won't come to your rescue when you are in trouble.
Whereas, the belief in a Loving God means that God responds to man, but this naturally requires of us a response as well. Love is never one-sided. This accounts for the curious stage where people believe in a Loving God, but then refuse that love because they are unwilling to respond to it. So, they assume that the love of God is 'off the table' and that they have, effectively, opted out of the package deal.
That's also heresy: the truth is that God's love for us endures our rejection of it. We can assume that because we have not reciprocated that God will not come, but the truth is that God's love is so infinite that we cannot respond to it in an appropriate way anyhow, so you might as well just accept it.
Once that happens, then the real changes and responses take place. This is how real Christianity works: virtue comes from transformation by God (read Galatians 5... 'Fruits of the Spirit' means God's spirit produces virtue within us rather than virtue being a work of self-will).
That's why the Steps assume that you surrender to God first before the burdens of addiction can be lifted. You don't work the Steps first, then come to believe in God's love. I think most of us forget this. Once you do, you become a legalistic heretic.
Then the mental illness, like addiction, sets in.
Why? Because once you believe there are limits to God's love, you will experience fear once you 'break the rules.' Now, I am not saying there are no rules, but what I am saying is that even breaking them does not impede God from loving us. It just requires a different response from us to prevent this love from harming us.
Yes, God's love can harm us if we resist it. It is called guilt. And, guilt will make you crazy if you let it.