Elise Walters, a devout Christian, woke up every morning with one thought: "I want to die." Despite repeated prayers and counseling with standard spiritualizing remedies to "willpower" her way to wellness, Walters agonized every day with depression. (For reasons of confidentiality, the names of some people on antidepressants have been changed.)
Don Timons, a top executive in an evangelical organization, had a reputation for a bad temper that led to lashing out at coworkers. For Timons, a decade-long depression expressed itself in an anger he felt unable to control. Repeated confessions of repentance for his inappropriate outbursts accompanied repeated pleas to God for help with his rage-to no avail.
Three weeks after having been prescribed the antidepressant Prozac, Timons felt an underlying change that mushroomed into a transformation "akin to how I felt during my conversion experience." Not only did the depression lift, so did the uncontrollable anger.
Walters had a similar experience. A few weeks after taking Prozac, she says, "I felt like living again. And I began to experience God like I never had before."
Can it be that a pill can do what the Holy Spirit or human will could not? Why is it that a drug influencing the levels of a certain neurotransmitter can have such dramatic results in people when prayer and good intentions seem to have been inadequate?
These questions naturally lead to another: Can a pill bring us closer to God? Carlos Ramirez believes so. Diagnosed earlier this year with depression, Ramirez has been on Prozac for eight months. "It totally revolutionized my relationship with God. For years I had pleaded with God to change me. My depression was having a destructive effect on my marriage and ...