In the biblical story, God tests his faithful servant Job to see whether Job will stay devoted to God even if God takes everything away from him. Now you don’t lose your family, health and possessions, as Job did, without falling into a terrible funk. It’s possible, then, to understand Job’s story as being about remaining true to God through a devastating depression. Suppose that Job had had a prescription for Prozac to help lessen his pain. Would it have been cheating to take a couple of tablets a day while God was tossing all manner of pestilence at him?
I suspect that if Job were around today, he would be strongly advised to get himself to a mental health clinic for a prescription. After all, the most important thing is to keep following the Lord. If depression prompts you to turn off the road, and Prozac keeps you on it, then don’t think twice—take your pill.
Gordon Marino teaches philosophy and is curator of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. He is the author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age, editor of The Quotable Kierkegaard, and coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard.