Religion as socially-accepted mental illness

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Magical Realist, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    If we encountered someone who claimed to talk to an invisible magical friend all the time, who obsessively repeated certain magical rituals to insure his own future luck and protection, and who possessed delusions of an evil conspiracy of demonic monsters who were out to get him, how long would it take to get him institutionalized? Not long really, and yet such is the exact condition of the religious among us who not only claim what could only be diagnosed as psychotic delusions and beliefs but strut around bragging about them and even work to spread them to others. I guess it would be too impractical to institutionalize ALL religious people since they appear to be in majority. So we let them go off and build churches and temples for themselves, let them gather together every week to have pep rallies about their magical beings, and even grant them tax exemptions. We call it something fancy like "freedom of religion." But what's really going on here? Is the asylum being run by the inmates?
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    ?? He never would, unless it affected his ability to function. You can think any crazy thing you want, as long as you don't hurt anyone else, don't threaten people etc.
     
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Are we to hold our leaders to the same level of scrutiny, if they send people off to war due to the conviction of their belief?
     
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  7. arauca Banned Banned

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    I think you are the one mentally ill., because of your constant belligerency against what billion of people believe and for ages have believed, why don't you try bee humanitarian and respect the free choice of people to believe in what thy want.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It's a kind of mass delusion. But it's curable.
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Millions thus fall thru the cracks of the system never getting the treatment they need because society accomodates mental illness into its own functioning. How many OCD cases continuously make employee of the month? How many sociopaths rise quickly to the top of corporate management? How many megalomaniacs and narcissists become celebrities and politicians worshipped by the populace? Like I said the inmates are running the asylum. You practically HAVE to be mentally unbalanced to function well in THIS society.
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Sure, we hold everyone to that level of scrutiny. And people have been sent off to war for a variety of reasons, from belief in a deity to belief in a 200 year old piece of paper.
     
  11. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    There are some theories that elements of mental illness actually stimulate creativity, or leadership, or other valued qualities. That's why it evolved in the first place.
     
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    OCD of that sort isn't a bug, it's a feature. And if they like to live their lives that way, who are you to say they are wrong?

    If they manifest their social malfunctions as efficiency in business? Hopefully a lot.

    A lot!

    How many OCD people who wash their hands compulsively are surgeons? How many autistics are programmers who never have to interact with anyone? How many exhibitionists are singers or actors? How many recluses are telecommuters who just pound out web pages day after day?

    Few people are perfect. Most people have ailments of some sort, whether physical or mental. Fortunately we live in a society where such problems are, for the most part, both treatable and acceptable.
     
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    People happy to be mentally ill are not any less mentally ill. They still need treatment and part of THAT is acknowledging the problem. But in a society that not only condones but even at times encourages mass delusions called religions that's hard to do. And that's because the inmates are running the asylum.
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    You're confusing the definitions of mentally ill. If someone is perfectly happy as an adrenalin junkie, or a masochist, or a workaholic, or a devout Muslim, or an isolated nerd in a cubicle - they're not mentally ill.

    Now, if that abnormality leads to an actual disability or suffering - or if it leads them to actions that harm themselves or others - then they are mentally ill and would likely benefit from being treated by a doctor. Fortunately, most people are not like that - and no matter how much YOU might think they are mentally ill, they're not.

    Well, if people like you were in charge someone would say the same thing about you. But again, they don't get to decide that you have a mental illness just because you post on the web incessantly (or name your own peculiarity.)
     
  15. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

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    I understand where you're coming from. But I'm with billvon, so long as someone else's beliefs and actions don't impede on another's, then they can believe crazy things. For three reasons:

    1) if you begin to draw lines based just on the belief in question, then it gets easier to move that line, and suddenly other less crazy ideas are getting banned or "treated" as well. We're all familiar with the poem, "First they came..."

    2) Christians in the US already like to use the prosecuted card, even when they are the majority and protected and often times treated too lax in what they get involved in. To actually crack down on their religion in any manner of restriction would just give them more fire. Openness is often a better treatment than restrictiveness. So that leads to #3.

    3) Better education. The more the real world is learned about, and the more religion itself in the world is explored, the better to "fight this sickness". It's been said by some ex-believers that the best conversion tool for them was the Bible. Once they actually read it through instead of being spoon fed selections, they began to see it for what it was. A collection of stories.
     
  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with that. Education is the best way to reverse the viral meme epidemic of religion. It worked for me. Took me all of two years in college and hours in the library studying philosophy to undo 18 years of religious brainwashing. Totally pursued on my own without being forced to or argued with or anything. I feel like the gap between the religious worldview and the secular worldview is growing so wide now that it's becoming harder and harder for religious people to deny the reality that is right before them. That we are all just one species on our own in a godless universe pooling all our knowledge and resources to make the world a better place for everyone. Young people are increasingly aware of the obselesence of their parent's religious beliefs. The Internet is opening them up to the huge diversity of beliefs and values and lifestyles that exist thruout the world. To live and adapt to this expanding climate of ideas and information you HAVE to think on your feet and be skeptical, which means no longer living by faith in the false promises of religion.
     
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Strawman. So far I've listed traits that by any trained psychiatrist would be characterized as a disorder. OCD. Sociopathy. Megalomania. And delusional states of mind positing invisible magical beings behind everyday events. See list of mental disorders below. I'm simply applying the same criteria by which we determine psychopathology in individuals to groups of people in general. Delusions don't suddenly become ok just because society has enabled them. Complexes and disorders are not suddenly normal just because society has found a way to exploit them to its own advantage. I am firmly convinced that religion DOES cause suffering in people's lives and enslaves them in cycles of fear and guilt that they would not have were they not brainwashed to believe it. It makes people less than what they could have been and has a sordid history of inspiring hate bigotry and persecution of those on the outside of it. If you disagree that's fine. But that's what my own experience has shown me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mental_disorders
     
  18. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    oh please, spare us your strawman ...
     
  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    religion as an illness . . .

    can you define "religion" in this context please?
     
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Below is a list of symptoms of delusional disorder. See if it compares favorably with the religious frame of mind, particularly of one who has recently converted to a new religion or cult:


    "The following can indicate a delusion:

    1.The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.
    2.That idea appears to exert an undue influence on the patient's life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.
    3.Despite his/her profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.
    4.The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.
    5.There is a quality of centrality: no matter how unlikely it is that these strange things are happening to him, the patient accepts them relatively unquestioningly.
    6.An attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.
    7.The belief is, at the least, unlikely, and out of keeping with the patient's social, cultural and religious background.
    8.The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of their psyche.
    9.The delusion, if acted out, often leads to behaviors which are abnormal and/or out of character, although perhaps understandable in the light of the delusional beliefs.
    10.Individuals who know the patient observe that the belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusional_disorder
     
  21. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    if that was in reply to me then that isn't what i asked for.
    i asked you to define religion in the context of the OP.
     
  22. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    +1

    All MR is doing atm is saying "religion isn't real because it isn't real " ("... and therefore they are crazy")

    Many atheists simply don't have the mental stamina to elaborate on precisely what reality is, yet they can stream on for literally days on end about how religion isn't (which certainly fulfills more than one criteria on that list given for a mentally deranged person :scratchin

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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  23. Balerion Banned Banned

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    He is operating under the assumption that the audience reading this all agrees that religion isn't based on any spiritual reality. In other words, he's not talking to you.

    The irony of you complaining about another poster using circular logic is quite apparent, however.

    By "mental stamina," you of course mean "can't hit my moving target while using the imaginary tools I say are required for such an endeavor."
     

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