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nigel99

Is religion a form of mental illness?

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My aunt has a theory or saying that religion is a mental illness.

I know that if a grown adult believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny etc there would be serious concerns or doubts over their sanity. Why then is belief in a mystical or magical being any different?

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(edited)

Cos it's in this book see. And the book says no-one's allowed to lie about the stuff in the book, so that makes it true. The books with Santa in them don't have that bit, so you can disregard them as fantasy. Plus bananas fit human hands, or something.

Edited by mistercwood
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22 hours ago, nigel99 said:

My aunt has a theory or saying that religion is a mental illness.

I know that if a grown adult believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny etc there would be serious concerns or doubts over their sanity. Why then is belief in a mystical or magical being any different?

Because many religious people have a perfectly functional view of God.

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1 minute ago, normiss said:

Just because some mentally ill people are functional, doesn't mean they aren't mentally ill.

It sorta does.  Look through the DSM, the manual of the American Psychiatric Association.  (The people who generally get to define what "crazy" is.)  They describe each condition, and in general, define it as a mental illness if it affects their lives negatively.

Take fetishistic disorder. They define it as:

=================

Over a six month period, the individual has experienced sexual urges focused on a non-genital body part, or inanimate object, or other stimulus, and has acted out urges, fantasies, or behaviors.

B. The fantasies, urges, or behaviors cause distress, or impairment in functioning.

C. The Fetishistic object is not an article of clothing employed in cross dressing, or a sexual stimulation device, such as a vibrator.

=================

You could say "if furry little stuffed animals turn you on, and little else does, then you are mentally ill."  But if you are a single woman, and just don't want to have sex with anyone, and it's not a problem for you, it would not be considered a disorder - because there's no impairment.  You may _think_ the person is crazy; that's fine.  But according to the experts, they are not.

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In order for it to be an illness it would need to be outside of what a normal and healthy individual would suffer from. I would not class it as an illness. Although some of the belief systems people have followed are truly sick.

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40 minutes ago, gowlerk said:

In order for it to be an illness it would need to be outside of what a normal and healthy individual would suffer from. I would not class it as an illness. Although some of the belief systems people have followed are truly sick.

So it is alright for me to believe in the God of Abraham because everyone else does, but because I believe in the tooth fairy I’ve got a problem?

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(edited)
1 hour ago, nigel99 said:

So it is alright for me to believe in the God of Abraham because everyone else does, but because I believe in the tooth fairy I’ve got a problem?

Correct. The tooth fairy thing can be easily disproved by testing and observation. There is room for a creator to exist within the bounds of the universe as we understand it. Believing in the OT god is in my view, deluded. But it is a purposeful chosen delusion. Mental illness is not believing in god, it is hearing god speak to you. 

Edited by gowlerk

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20 minutes ago, gowlerk said:

Correct. The tooth fairy think can be easily disproved by testing and observation. There is room for a creator to exist within the bounds of the universe as we understand it. Believing in the OT god is in my view, deluded. But it is a purposeful chosen delusion. Mental illness is not believing in god, it is hearing god speak to you. 

Ok, to a large part I agree with you and certainly see the distinction.

I also like ‘delusion’ over mental illness. 

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37 minutes ago, brenthutch said:

Two points, 

1. Climatism and atheism are no less of a religion than Islam 

2. No, it is my birthday and I am in no condition to discuss the role of religion in Neolithic human development.

Happy Birthday. Your obsession with denying climate change is a religion then. It is based in denying objective truths, just like that good old tyme religion.

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2 hours ago, billvon said:

It sorta does.  Look through the DSM, the manual of the American Psychiatric Association.  (The people who generally get to define what "crazy" is.)  They describe each condition, and in general, define it as a mental illness if it affects their lives negatively.

Take fetishistic disorder. They define it as:

=================

Over a six month period, the individual has experienced sexual urges focused on a non-genital body part, or inanimate object, or other stimulus, and has acted out urges, fantasies, or behaviors.

B. The fantasies, urges, or behaviors cause distress, or impairment in functioning.

C. The Fetishistic object is not an article of clothing employed in cross dressing, or a sexual stimulation device, such as a vibrator.

=================

You could say "if furry little stuffed animals turn you on, and little else does, then you are mentally ill."  But if you are a single woman, and just don't want to have sex with anyone, and it's not a problem for you, it would not be considered a disorder - because there's no impairment.  You may _think_ the person is crazy; that's fine.  But according to the experts, they are not.

That doesn't disprove that mentally ill people are not capable of being functional though.

Depression and bi-polar are some of the most common examples.

 

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6 minutes ago, normiss said:

That doesn't disprove that mentally ill people are not capable of being functional though.

Depression and bi-polar are some of the most common examples.

 

Autism spectrum disorder is another.

I am positive that one of my of my most brilliant classmates in Electrical Engineering school was a textbook example.

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12 minutes ago, normiss said:

That doesn't disprove that mentally ill people are not capable of being functional though.

Right.  And if you take a mentally ill person, and treat them so their condition no longer causes distress or problems in their life, they are cured.  Even if they still believe in God.  (Or Santa, or climate change denial, or that Mexicans will pay for a wall to keep them out of the US, or whatever.)

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On 1/19/2020 at 8:12 PM, ryoder said:

I'm pretty sure I've seen Winsor declare it to be a communicable mental illness.

Ya, he repeats it over and over ad nauseam, yet he doesn't appear to be a singer/songwriter - so I'm not sure if it's just dementia or illusory truth.

The bottom line is that you have to define mental illness and present evidence of neurological abnormalities present among specific groups of religious populations, otherwise we can just question the sanity of any protected class.  For example - Are homosexuals mentally ill?  How about transsexuals, perhaps they're just delusional?  Are women that destroy their own progeny just bat shit crazy?

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28 minutes ago, Coreece said:

Ya, he repeats it over and over ad nauseam, yet he doesn't appear to be a singer/songwriter - so I'm not sure if it's just dementia or illusory truth.

The bottom line is that you have to define mental illness and present evidence of neurological abnormalities present among specific groups of religious populations, otherwise we can just question the sanity of any protected class.  For example - Are homosexuals mentally ill?  How about transsexuals, perhaps they're just delusional?  Are women that destroy their own progeny just bat shit crazy?

Coreece,

If I can offer you credible studies showing that certain types of brain damage correlate to religious beliefs would you find that persuasive?

How about something different but brain anatomy specific. That fellow who free soloed El Capitan was not only amazing but demonstrably fearless. Would you be dismissive of the possibility that his amygdala, the small almond shaped thing in all of our brains that plays a huge role in processing emotions and fear, which was determined by MRI scan to be smaller than most folks might have played a role in his feat?

How about intelligence, do you see that as a nurture only thing or are some of us just wired differently and simply smarter?

 

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55 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:

Coreece,

If I can offer you credible studies showing that certain types of brain damage correlate to religious beliefs would you find that persuasive?

Yes, it's only logical that God's good grace be extended to even the simplest of us all, even you.

 

55 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:

That fellow who free soloed El Capitan was not only amazing but demonstrably fearless. Would you be dismissive of the possibility that his amygdala, the small almond shaped thing in all of our brains that plays a huge role in processing emotions and fear, which was determined by MRI scan to be smaller than most folks might have played a role in his feat?

Remarkable.   I shit you not, I was hoping to use that as my next example of possible "mental illness."  - along with base jumping.

Some of us just need a bit more to get off on life.

 

55 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:

How about intelligence, do you see that as a nurture only thing or are some of us just wired differently and simply smarter?

Again, God's good grace is extended to us all, not just the intelligent.

 

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24 minutes ago, Coreece said:

Yes, it's only logical that God's good grace be extended to even the simplest of us all, even you.

 

Remarkable.   I shit you not, I was hoping to use that as my next example of possible "mental illness."  - along with base jumping.

Some of us just need a bit more to get off on life.

 

Again, God's good grace is extended to us all, not just the intelligent.

 

So then you are willing to concede that much about out individual perceptions, and consequently what we believe, are decided at the level of the brain?

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(edited)
27 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:
53 minutes ago, Coreece said:

Yes, it's only logical that God's good grace be extended to even the simplest of us all, even you.

 

Remarkable.   I shit you not, I was hoping to use that as my next example of possible "mental illness."  - along with base jumping.

Some of us just need a bit more to get off on life.

 

Again, God's good grace is extended to us all, not just the intelligent.

 

So then you are willing to concede that much about out individual perceptions, and consequently what we believe, are decided at the level of the brain?

How on God's green earth would that be a concedence?

I mean, you said "much."  What else is there?  Why would you say that? 

Edited by Coreece
concession, concedence, whatever. . .

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5 hours ago, Coreece said:

How on God's green earth would that be a concedence?

I mean, you said "much."  What else is there?  Why would you say that? 

Maybe some people are simply more predisposed to certain beliefs than others, right? Perhaps I'm not just another pansified left coast whiner who can't see the big picture. Maybe I'm simply wired to believe that gay's deserve every right and protection that you and I receive with no gray areas to be found. Maybe I want to save big, old trees and protect the last remaining fluffy bellied Danderhooie's not because of any inherent truth or rational basis but simply because I can not help myself? That sort of thing.

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