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Mental disorders

Anxiety Disorders

The “God” of Apple and His Disciples

People who do not live according to the precepts of a religion are either atheists or agnostics. An atheist is someone who does not believe in God and actually rejects the belief that God exists. An agnostic simply contends that we cannot know whether God exists. This is a form of skepticism regarding any supernatural phenomenon, based on the idea that only the natural world is accessible to human knowledge.


There is one major potential source of anxiety for all human beings, and that is the certainty that we are going to die. There are many reasons that we may fear death—for example, because it goes against our survival instincts, or because of the physical or psychological suffering that may precede it, or because we don't know what comes after it.


Throughout history, human cultures have tried to find some way to deal with this mixed blessing of the awareness of our own mortality, to exorcise it, to give it some meaning in order to make life more bearable.

In ancient Greece, various philosophers ascribed very different meanings to the fact of death. Plato firmly believed that when the body perished, the soul survived. In contrast, Epicurus held that there was no reason to fear death, because so long as we exist, death does not, and once death comes, we exist no longer. With death, all things cease, and hence there is no point in being afraid.

Seneca and the Stoics regarded life as a preparation for the hereafter. A good many religions subsequently adopted this view, according to which, after death, an infinitely good God awaits us in eternal joy.

In the 19th century, this vision of life was harshly criticized by Karl Marx, who described religion as the “opiate of the people”. In other words, he believed that all religions put people's minds to sleep by hypnotizing them with the illusion of a future paradise, thereby preventing the oppressed social classes from uniting to struggle against those who keep them in misery.

Even today, religions still play a significant role in maintaining social cohesion—indeed, the word “religion” probably comes from one of two Latin words: relegere (to bring together) or religare (to bind together again). But this does not mean that religions are no longer divided by the sectarianism and disputes over dogma that have marked them throughout history.  

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