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Religion & Spirituality - General

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When Religion Is an Addiction

ISBN: 9780970958129
Binding: Paperback
Author: Robert N. Minor
Pages: 164
Trim: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Published: 08/01/2007

An eye-opening and hard-hitting work, When Religion Is an Addiction not only puts the political activities of the right-wing in a new perspective, but explains how liberal responses have often enabled religious addiction to thrive. Dr. Minor applies contemporary understandings of addictions to the extreme Christian right-wing in the United States and concludes that for them religion is functioning as a process addiction. Crucial to the addictiveness of such religion is its obsession with human depravity, the ultimate expression of low self-worth. Then the emotional "high" of feeling righteous functions to eliminate the religion addicts' sense of personal responsibility for their teachings, their actions, and their actions' painful toll on other human beings. Religious addiction, he observes, often and classically covers sexual addictions. And the current right-wing obsession with political campaigns and victories provides the user activities for the even stronger fix the addiction demands to cover growing fears of failure. Too often the responses of liberals have been like those of enablers in an addict's family who through their reactions prevent the addict from hitting bottom. Arguing about religion, for example, only promotes the addiction. In the final chapter Dr. Minor explains the difference between addictive and non-addictive religion and reveals a non-enabling way to respond to those people for whom religion functions as an addiction.



A national resource on gender issues and gay/straight relationships for organizations, businesses, educational and governmental institutions, and media outlets, Robert N. Minor, Ph.D. has been speaking, consulting, and leading workshops for thirty years.

He is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas where he taught for 33 years and was the chair of the Religious Studies Department for six. He received the Ph.D. in Religion from the University of Iowa and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity Divinity School in Chicago.

He is the author of eight books. His first five were scholarly writings on religious thought and practice in South Asia and their relationships to culture.

Popularly, he has authored Gay and Healthy in a Sick Society: The Minor Details, a Finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award, and named in national reviews as one of the best gay books of the year. His Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human was named a Finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award. Dr. Minor writes a column of analysis and opinion entitled "Minor Details" on current issues.

He was a member of the Values Panel for the Kansas City Star (the city's daily newspaper) for its award-winning "Raising Kansas City Project," a member of the Communities Against Hate Crimes Task Force of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, and the Diversity Advisory Committee of KCPT, the public television station for Kansas City, MO. He has served on other boards and task forces, such as the Advisory Board of the Center for Religious Experience and Study of Kansas City, the LGBT Task Force of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, and as founding Chair of the Kansas City Workers' Rights Board.

"Bob" leads workshops on gender roles, homophobia, and diversity for universities, colleges, churches, businesses, government organizations, and community and religious groups throughout the US. He is a conference presenter for PFLAG. In 1999 GLAAD awarded him its Leadership Award for Education; in 2012 the University of Kansas named him one of the University's Men of Merit; in 2015 the American Men's Studies Association presented him with its first Lifetime Membership Award; and in 2018 Missouri Jobs with with Justice presented him its Workers' Rights Board Leadership Award.


"This is strong and alarming stuff indeed, but Minor makes his case so cogently that it is hard to argue otherwise. Fortunately, he leaves us with some hope. There are 'interventions' he says that can be effective in overcoming religious addiction. But they are not for the faint of heart or peacemaking type. We can't just 'play nice and get along' with the addict. Addiction must be confronted and its control over our lives reversed." - Fred Schloemer. Ed.D. LCSW

"Written for both the left and the right, the book is a first step for both in naming the disease while demystifying its dynamics, providing hope, and allowing the non-addicted to act in ways that are more effective -- without liberal doses of guilt. For anyone trying to deal with the destructive powers of addictive religion in either American politics or on a personal level, with a family member, friend or co-worker, this is a clear, practical and 'how-to' book of immense value and usefulness." - Toby Grace

"We've all heard of people who are 'high on Jesus,' but what happens when a religious person can't get enough of that high feeling and will do anything in their power to keep that high going? That's called addiction and according to a new book from Dr. Robert N. Minor, religion can be a source of addiction for many people. In When Religion Is an Addiction, Minor outlines what constitutes religious addiction and most importantly, what we, who must deal with those addicts, can do to stop enabling them in their addiction....Disarming the addict is one of the best ways to stop enabling them. In this way, we deny them their high of righteousness and perhaps can help them to one day understand their addiction and seek recovery. The task, Minor said, is really ours. The addict is not going to change their ways until we stop allowing them to continue in their addiction. Minor's book is a great guide for those ready to begin the intervention." - Candace Chellew

"Many serious studies support Minor's analysis that religion can be addictive and destructive not only to the fanatic but also to those who fail to challenge toxic faith .On one hand, you often cannot reason with an addict or sustain a relationship of mutuality. Rather than feeding the addict with attention, your energy can be more constructive elsewhere. On the other hand, the goal is not just to win an argument but to win a friend and move civilization forward. Otherwise we become addicted ourselves. Minor's book prepares us to make the right interventions." - Rev. Vern Barnet, D. Min.

"There are many books on the topic of unhealthy faith and religious addictions. This reviewer's library has several other books on the same topic. Minor's book is one of the better books this reviewer has read. Minor is able to write in a very clear, concise manner. A person writing on religious addictions can easily come across as being anti-religious. Robert Minor takes a clear position early in the book. When Religion is an Addiction does not run down religion or Christianity. Minor does not feel blaming religion for personal or societal problems is appropriate." - Rev. Gary Simpson