Religion as a mental disorder

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Religion as a mental disorder

Following on from Brian and Kellys video on this topic. I thought it might be worth a further discusion.

The wiki gives the following as signs of delusional disorder. 

  1. The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.

Hmmmm sound familiar people?

 2. That idea appears to exert an undue influence on his or her life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.

Oh really!

3. Despite his profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.

hmmmm anyone ever encountered a theist being evasive about their beliefs? Anyone ever found a thesist being suspicious of those who question their beliefs? 

4 The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.

Ahahhahahahah oh yes! Look at the recent terminal sense of humor failure over Kathy Griffin for concrete proof of this one.

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.

It just gets better and better really doesn't it.

6. Any attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.

Dude I would swear that this wiki entry was actually about religious beliefs

7.belief is, at the least, unlikely.

Its at least unlikley! Try down right impossible.

8.The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of his psyche (psychology).

Yep

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.

Oh yes.

10. Individuals who know the patient will observe that his belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.

Any one ever seen any changes in character in those that convert?

 

 

 


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What else does this show?

What else does this show? That the RELIGION of psychiatry has its own delusions about delusions.


magilum
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Wow, all-caps and

Wow, all-caps and everything.


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maxwellj wrote: What else

maxwellj wrote:
What else does this show? That the RELIGION of psychiatry has its own delusions about delusions.

 DING DING DING We have a winner!

- Brian Sapient


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Why would anyone diagnose a

Why would anyone diagnose a whole population by something they read on a wiki?  Are we into armchair psychology now?


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D-cubed wrote: Why would

D-cubed wrote:
Why would anyone diagnose a whole population by something they read on a wiki?

If they cross reference wiki with the DSM or other credible sources then the wiki factor is diminished.  In our particular discussion our counterpart started with the wiki definition, so we stayed with the credible portions.  

FYI: Nobody has attempted to diagnose whole populations of people throughout this entire process, from either side of the discussion.

 

Quote:
Are we into armchair psychology now?

I personally listen to the experts, and follow their lead (ie Todangst).  Kelly however is studying to be a psychologist half way through a 5 year masters program which she will resume a.s.a.p. at an (unnanmed for now) Ivy League school.

 

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I have a M.S. in

I have a M.S. in experimental psych with a year in clinical.


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D-cubed wrote: Why would

D-cubed wrote:
Why would anyone diagnose a whole population by something they read on a wiki? Are we into armchair psychology now?

Do you disagree with the list of traits of a delusion posted on the Wiki? If so, in your expert opinion, which of them is erronious and why? 


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evil religion wrote: Do

evil religion wrote:

Do you disagree with the list of traits of a delusion posted on the Wiki? If so, in your expert opinion, which of them is erronious and why?

I haven't bothered to verify since the entire subject is absurd.  There's a lot in the DSM that I can take out of context and apply it to over a billion people.  What does that prove? It would just prove that I'm taking something out of context and abusing psychology to promote a biased agenda. 


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D-cubed wrote:

D-cubed wrote:
evil religion wrote:

Do you disagree with the list of traits of a delusion posted on the Wiki? If so, in your expert opinion, which of them is erronious and why?

I haven't bothered to verify since the entire subject is absurd. There's a lot in the DSM that I can take out of context and apply it to over a billion people. What does that prove? It would just prove that I'm taking something out of context and abusing psychology to promote a biased agenda.

 

So you as a guy who calls people out left and right everyday for being completely fucked in the head, chooses not to draw correlations between those traits and traits of someone commonly holding a mental disorder.... Do you at least lend credence to "Religion is a virus" as Dawkins would say.

 

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Sapient wrote:   So you as

Sapient wrote:
 

So you as a guy who calls people out left and right everyday for being completely fucked in the head, chooses not to draw correlations between those traits and traits of someone commonly holding a mental disorder.... Do you at least lend credence to "Religion is a virus" as Dawkins would say.

Religion, as any other idea, is a virus. If you like I could apply the list equally to politicians, libertarians, or Marxists..  Mental disorder has to do with behavior that resides outside the norm.  Talking to an imaginary friend, as many children have done, is perfectly within the norm.  The imaginary friend talking back is outside the norm.  Rather than overgeneralize about all religion you could narrow your parameters to orthodoxy.


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D-cubed wrote: evil

D-cubed wrote:
evil religion wrote:

Do you disagree with the list of traits of a delusion posted on the Wiki? If so, in your expert opinion, which of them is erronious and why?

I haven't bothered to verify since the entire subject is absurd.

Ok then please explain why its absurd. Look at the list, if you have time that is, and explain why you think that this list is not applicable to religion. 

Quote:
There's a lot in the DSM that I can take out of context and apply it to over a billion people.

I'm sure there is. So please explain why the list above is taken out of context in the case of religion. 

Quote:
What does that prove? It would just prove that I'm taking something out of context and abusing psychology to promote a biased agenda.

If you can present an argument as to why this is teh case then please do so. My personal opinion on the matter is that religion is probably not a mental disorder per se but it certainly shares many of the the traits of one. The list above is so applicable to religion that there are clearly some similarities that are worthy of discusion. This discusion may yield useful information on how to "treat" people infected with religion. Your insights as a psychologist could be very useful here. If you can be bothered that is....

 


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evil religion wrote: Ok

evil religion wrote:
Ok then please explain why its absurd. Look at the list, if you have time that is, and explain why you think that this list is not applicable to religion.

Because you can't diagnose an entire population of people based merely on your bias and opinion.

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I'm sure there is. So please explain why the list above is taken out of context in the case of religion.

Because it doesn't fit into any of the subtypes and you have done absolutely no testing to give a diagnosis. 

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If you can present an argument as to why this is teh case then please do so. My personal opinion on the matter is that religion is probably not a mental disorder per se but it certainly shares many of the the traits of one. The list above is so applicable to religion that there are clearly some similarities that are worthy of discusion. This discusion may yield useful information on how to "treat" people infected with religion. Your insights as a psychologist could be very useful here. If you can be bothered that is....

 The list you provided can apply to numerous mundane issues like someone who thinks their girlfriend is cheating, someone is spreading rumors about you, your boss is going to give you a bad job evaluation, etc.  It's safe to say we could use a weak diagnosis and apply it to practically everyone on the planet.  So what does that do?  It means it isn't a mental illness since it applies to everyone.  However the listing of behavior is merely a jumping point to the actual concerns listed in the subtypes which distinguish the nonbizarre beliefs to bizarre ones.

You should keep in mind that listings in the DSM are not merely for mental illness but for classification of behaviors that imply no mental illness.  You happened to come across one and misapplied it.  If you like you could go into the DSM-IV and there's a category for people who are losing faith in their religion and expressing doubts about their religion.  If you use that you could categorize all Atheists who left religion as suffering from a mental disorder, or you could use it correctly as a classification of behavior.


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D-cubed wrote: evil

D-cubed wrote:
evil religion wrote:
Ok then please explain why its absurd. Look at the list, if you have time that is, and explain why you think that this list is not applicable to religion.

Because you can't diagnose an entire population of people based merely on your bias and opinion.

Quote:
I'm sure there is. So please explain why the list above is taken out of context in the case of religion.

Because it doesn't fit into any of the subtypes and you have done absolutely no testing to give a diagnosis.

Quote:
If you can present an argument as to why this is teh case then please do so. My personal opinion on the matter is that religion is probably not a mental disorder per se but it certainly shares many of the the traits of one. The list above is so applicable to religion that there are clearly some similarities that are worthy of discusion. This discusion may yield useful information on how to "treat" people infected with religion. Your insights as a psychologist could be very useful here. If you can be bothered that is....

The list you provided can apply to numerous mundane issues like someone who thinks their girlfriend is cheating, someone is spreading rumors about you, your boss is going to give you a bad job evaluation, etc.

So it has similarities with other insecure or irrational thoughts?

Ok well thats interesting in itself. 

Quote:
It's safe to say we could use a weak diagnosis and apply it to practically everyone on the planet. So what does that do? It means it isn't a mental illness since it applies to everyone.

No we are applying it to a sepcific type of thought. One which can lead to homicidal behaviour, psychosematic bleeding, can break up families, be a root cause in suicide and a whole host of other ratehr nasty results. Religion has a hand in many such cases. The other insecurities and thoughts you mention don't really cause these to the same extent. The effects of religion along with their smiliarities to other mental illnesses warrents further discusion I think.  

Quote:
However the listing of behavior is merely a jumping point to the actual concerns listed in the subtypes which distinguish the nonbizarre beliefs to bizarre ones.

Religious beliefs are bizaare. When one compares them to all the other beliefs that people hold they arfe really really strange. As a percentage of "all the beliefs held" they are a very tiny fraction. Its just that most of the population hold one of these really odd beliefs. This is itself worthy of investigation. Normally nonsensiacal beliefs like religion would be rejected by most people most of the time. They really should be the preserve of the complete nut job and yet they are common place. In other words we have set of beleifs that are so absurd that they should by all rights be very rare any rational and sane person should reject such absudities without a second thought and yet they don't this is fascenating.

 

Quote:
You should keep in mind that listings in the DSM are not merely for mental illness but for classification of behaviors that imply no mental illness. You happened to come across one and misapplied it.

Actually I didn't. If you would care to read my post you will see the bit where I said that I don't actually agree that religion is a mental illness. But it does share many similarities with on. 

Quote:
If you like you could go into the DSM-IV and there's a category for people who are losing faith in their religion and expressing doubts about their religion. If you use that you could categorize all Atheists who left religion as suffering from a mental disorder, or you could use it correctly as a classification of behavior.

The difference of course being that atheism is an entirely rational position where as religion and belief in god is an absurd irrational belief. The fact that such an insane set of belief is so widespread is really strange. Normally insane beliefs are rejected, they tend not to work very well, they tend to yield no useful facts about the world, in fact when acted on they tend to lead to dangerous and harmful behaviour and hence are dropped. Yet religion remains despite of all this. Why is this the case  


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evil religion wrote: The

evil religion wrote:

The difference of course being that atheism is an entirely rational position where as religion and belief in god is an absurd irrational belief.

Is it correct to assume that irrationality is necessarily dysfunctional? 

 

Quote:

The fact that such an insane set of belief is so widespread is really strange. Normally insane beliefs are rejected, they tend not to work very well, they tend to yield no useful facts about the world, in fact when acted on they tend to lead to dangerous and harmful behaviour and hence are dropped. Yet religion remains despite of all this. Why is this the case

You admit that insane things are summarily rejected. Apparantly religious ideas do not meet what ever threshold of insanity is necessary for rejection.  Dawkins had to come up with some convoluted things about memes to explain the persistence of religion. Occams razor would suggest that theism is not a form of insanity as the simplest explanation for the persistence of religion is that beneath all the diversity of ideas there is actually something there. Our brains evolved to perceive light, sound, temperature, etc. Why is it so hard to think that our brains also evolved to perceive god?


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Quote:

Quote:
Our brains evolved to perceive light, sound, temperature, etc. Why is it so hard to think that our brains also evolved to perceive god?


Does language exist in a way like sound, light and heat?

If I have an afterlife it is only to turn in my grave at statements like that.

My brain does not perceive God.

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


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wavefreak wrote: evil

wavefreak wrote:
evil religion wrote:

The difference of course being that atheism is an entirely rational position where as religion and belief in god is an absurd irrational belief.

Is it correct to assume that irrationality is necessarily dysfunctional?

Its not necessarily so but its a fairly good indicator. Especailly if those irrational beliefs are held very strong and people refuse stubornly to give them up even in the face of contradictory evidence. 

Quote:
Quote:

The fact that such an insane set of belief is so widespread is really strange. Normally insane beliefs are rejected, they tend not to work very well, they tend to yield no useful facts about the world, in fact when acted on they tend to lead to dangerous and harmful behaviour and hence are dropped. Yet religion remains despite of all this. Why is this the case

You admit that insane things are summarily rejected.

For the most part yes they. 

Quote:
Apparantly religious ideas do not meet what ever threshold of insanity is necessary for rejection.

I think is reaches the threshold of absurdity or insanity quite easily. There are far less absurd beliefs that we all reject out of hand. For example beleif in unicorns is far far more likely to be true than belief in God and yet all sane and rational people reject unicorn belief without a second thought. Why God belief is imune from this is a very interested question. 

Quote:
Dawkins had to come up with some convoluted things about memes to explain the persistence of religion. Occams razor would suggest that theism is not a form of insanity as the simplest explanation for the persistence of religion is that beneath all the diversity of ideas there is actually something there.

No this is in fact not the simplest answer. Religion makes such big huge massive claims about there being a God entity that we would have to pretty much change all that we know about how the universe actually is. Religion proposes that an entity unlike any thing ever encountered by anyone ever, un totally unprecidented power, intellect and complexity actually exists and by some totally unexplained process made everything breaking every law of physics so far observed. That is in no way the simplest explanation.

The study of religion as a natural phenomona is an anthopological one. Its study of human psychology and culture. These are complex issue and the answer will not be a very simple one but it will be far simpler than the proposed God entity theory. Daniel Dennet does some good ground word in his book Breaking the Spell - religion as a natural phenomon. I suggest you give it a read its really very good.

Quote:
Our brains evolved to perceive light, sound, temperature, etc. Why is it so hard to think that our brains also evolved to perceive god?

Because God does not exist it would would be pointless to evolve to see something that does not exist. You could try to fromulate a Darwinian model that perhaps the illusion of God is somehow very important for human suvival and this is why we uninversally in all cultures delude ourselves in this way (all cultures develop religion). But I don't think we evolved religion in a biological evolutionary sense the time scales are not really long enough. I think perhaps cultural evolution is a more likely candidate. Those cultures that didn't evolve religion where out competed by those that did. In the competative past when different tribes where competing for resource perhaps religion was a useful survival trait that gave some tribe an edge in social cohesion which allowed that tribe to defeat or coquor its competitors. Thus the religious tribes tended to survive. But this is all discussed in far more detail in Dennets book.  Give it a read there are other options - one is that religion is just a side effect of a more useful evolved trait in our thinking.


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Cernunnos wrote: My brain

Cernunnos wrote:


My brain does not perceive God.

 

Then you are defective.Wink


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evil religion

evil religion wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

Our brains evolved to perceive light, sound, temperature, etc. Why is it so hard to think that our brains also evolved to perceive god?

Because God does not exist it would would be pointless to evolve to see something that does not exist.

 Here you make the mistake of assuming the conclusion and molding the evidence to it.  "God does not exist therefore the trait of theism is pointless" is bad science.

 Objectively, theism exists. Objectively, pointless adaptations are ruthlessly eliminated by natural selection. Conclusion? The evolution  of the human brain to allow the conceptualization of theism was not pointless. Theism is universal among all cultures that I know of. Natural selection, AFAIK, does not promote traits to universality without those traits having some survival advantage.  Evolutionary science would suggest that theism exists because it has some purpose. 


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Quote: Then you are

Quote:
Then you are defective.Wink

For that I have ample evidence Smiling 


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Evil religion   If what

Evil religion

 

If what you suppose is held true, most of Hindus and Muslims will be insane. I dont intend further to talk about Islam, since I dont belong in it. But as a Hindu (you must have an idea, since you have studied Hinduism), let me tell you as a community we are deeply religious but very tolerant.

 

The religion is expressed by common multitude of Hindu Humanity in devotion , prayers, hymns, rituals (Poojas we call them) , singing together songs praising the various lords.

 

As an example of devotion , let me quot an example. Justs today we have witnessed the last daye of the Hindu festival of Ganesha Chaturthi. All over India, 10 days ago , people buy a Ganesha Idol , keep in their house, decorate it , offer sweets to it ceremonially , do worship and then merge it in the sea or lakes on the last day . There is huge fanfare and colourful procession when the idols is talen to the sea. There is an explosion of  devotion. (This may be an example of say an irrational religious belief as per an atheist)

 

But Hindus are very tolerant , peaceful and happy people. The devotion is more among poor people. Lately devotion has increased dramatically among noveau rich also.

 

So if you are in any manner indicating that we are mostly collectively insane, is it not prepostorous. You may berate religion , if it does bad only continuously.  The mute point is a huge majority of people are religious in most countries (China could be an exception due to communism). Religion has its black sheep, but to taint most of the Humanity as insane is not correct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for Atheists to increase my belief in God


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Venkatrajan wrote: as a

Venkatrajan wrote:

as a Hindu

 

Poof!

 

With a wave of my wand, I will invoke a theist badge under your name. 


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wavefreak wrote: evil

wavefreak wrote:
evil religion wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

Our brains evolved to perceive light, sound, temperature, etc. Why is it so hard to think that our brains also evolved to perceive god?

Because God does not exist it would would be pointless to evolve to see something that does not exist.

 Here you make the mistake of assuming the conclusion and molding the evidence to it.  "God does not exist therefore the trait of theism is pointless" is bad science.

 Objectively, theism exists. Objectively, pointless adaptations are ruthlessly eliminated by natural selection. Conclusion? The evolution  of the human brain to allow the conceptualization of theism was not pointless. Theism is universal among all cultures that I know of. Natural selection, AFAIK, does not promote traits to universality without those traits having some survival advantage.  Evolutionary science would suggest that theism exists because it has some purpose. 


There are also religions like Buddhism and animism that are nontheistic. From there the argument could be made for a biological basis for belief (which says nothing about actual supernatural ideas, of course). However, before you applaud evolution for its efficiency, remember that we have vestigial organs and a tailbone. Maybe this debate, and the rise of secularism, indicates evolution bucking to shed a certain possible vestige.


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magilum wrote: There are

magilum wrote:

There are also religions like Buddhism and animism that are nontheistic. From there the argument could be made for a biological basis for belief (which says nothing about actual supernatural ideas, of course). However, before you applaud evolution for its efficiency, remember that we have vestigial organs and a tailbone. Maybe this debate, and the rise of secularism, indicates evolution bucking to shed a certain possible vestige.

 

Agreed. But I suppose it will be a multi-generational thing the end of which I will not see. 


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wavefreak wrote: evil

wavefreak wrote:
evil religion wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

Our brains evolved to perceive light, sound, temperature, etc. Why is it so hard to think that our brains also evolved to perceive god?

Because God does not exist it would would be pointless to evolve to see something that does not exist.

Here you make the mistake of assuming the conclusion and molding the evidence to it. "God does not exist therefore the trait of theism is pointless" is bad science.

Or perhaps saying "oh we have religion therefore God exists" could also be considered bad science. All the evidence that we have suggests that God is not real. All the scientific evidence points to, if not the impossability of God, then to the fact that such an entity is ver very very very unlikely to exist. Many cultures have legends of dragons, flying horses, sea monsters, fairies, ghosts and all sorts of other things. Is this taken as evidence that these things exist? No! Well not by rational people. They may have their root cause in some real phenomona but thats a different story.

Quote:
Objectively, theism exists. Objectively, pointless adaptations are ruthlessly eliminated by natural selection. Conclusion? The evolution of the human brain to allow the conceptualization of theism was not pointless. Theism is universal among all cultures that I know of. Natural selection, AFAIK, does not promote traits to universality without those traits having some survival advantage. Evolutionary science would suggest that theism exists because it has some purpose.

That is inded one idea explore in Daniel Dennets book. Theism may very well have or still doesserve a useful purpose in our social evolution. But I don't think there has been enough time for this to be hard wired into to our biology. Relgion is a phanomona perhaps on a few 10's of thousands of years old which is not really much time at all to have it bioloogically selected for. I would say that IF religion has been selected for then it will be in the selection of strong competing societies or tribes. But this idea does have its problems.

Another example explored is that relgiion is aby product of a fundamental adaptation. Its a by product of our ability to empathise with others and put ourselves in others shoes. This is necessary for the complex, co-operative human scoieties to exist which where in turn vital for our survival. This ability to think how other would act and how others may feel or think (whats going on in their heads) copmbined with an ability for abstract reasoning perhaps is thr root cause for religion. The tribal "religions" are basically anothropomorphic where we project our thinking (human traits) on to other phenomona. Its really blowing a terrible storm so the being that looks after thesky must be angry. That type of thing. Pehaps religion is an inevitable consiquence of this very useful ability to empathise.

Anyway if you are interested I would recomoned Dennets book. He does of course consider the possability that the reason why  religion is universal is that there is something to it. But he conlcudes that this is unlikely for a variety of reasons.


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Venkatrajan wrote: Evil

Venkatrajan wrote:

Evil religion

 

If what you suppose is held true

Ooops I'll stop you there and ask you to re read my post above this time I would be really greatful if you could pay atention to the bit where I say

 "My personal opinion on the matter is that religion is probably not a mental disorder per se but it certainly shares many of the the traits of one."

Quote:
, most of Hindus and Muslims will be insane. I dont intend further to talk about Islam, since I dont belong in it. But as a Hindu (you must have an idea, since you have studied Hinduism), let me tell you as a community we are deeply religious but very tolerant.

I will grant that Hinuism, due to its pluralistic nature, is somewhat more tollerant than the other majour religions. However it is still guilty of great intollerence.  The caste sysetm is a hugely intollerent system for example. The way women are treated in Hinduism is unacceptable to me as well. But you are right compared to Islam and Xtianity you guys are ok. Have a gold star from the atheists.


Quote:

So if you are in any manner indicating that we are mostly collectively insane, is it not prepostorous. You may berate religion , if it does bad only continuously. The mute point is a huge majority of people are religious in most countries (China could be an exception due to communism).

Well actually thats not strictly true I'm afraid. In Western Europe proably only 10-30% of the popluation are religious. Its similar in Japans. People may nominally identify themselves as Xtians in those countries but most of them are not in practice. They don't go to church say prayers or act in any way as if God is real. They are practicing atheists. Here in the UK recent studies show that only 35% of the population actually believe in God, this figure is even lower in some other European countries. What is interesting to note is that, with the exeption of the united states, those countries with lower religion tend to have higher: wealth, equality, racial harmony, literacy, educational standards, stanards of living and stadards of life quality. They also tend to have lower teen pregnacy, crime, poverty and general shittiness. Is this a conincidence? That as religion vanishes in  puff of logical rational thinking people tend to become more civilised? Who knows.

Quote:
Religion has its black sheep,

No religion is the black sheep of human thought its just that some sheep are blacker than others. 

Quote:
but to taint most of the Humanity as insane is not correct. 

I didn't I said it shared some interesting similarities with mental illness which I posit explains rather a lot. 


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evil religion wrote: Or

evil religion wrote:

Or perhaps saying "oh we have religion therefore God exists" could also be considered bad science.

Agreed.

Quote:

All the evidence that we have suggests that God is not real. All the scientific evidence points to, if not the impossability of God, then to the fact that such an entity is ver very very very unlikely to exist.

All the evidence suggests that a supernatural, omniscient, ompnipoent, omnibenevolent god does not exists. All I suggested is that the universality of theism suggests the possiblity of SOMETHING being "there". All the theological fluff does not negate the fact that theistic ideas exist in all cultures.

 

 

Quote:

Many cultures have legends of dragons, flying horses, sea monsters, fairies, ghosts and all sorts of other things.

But none of these beliefs are universal as is god thought.

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Is this taken as evidence that these things exist? No! Well not by rational people.

I didn't claim that the existence of theism was proof of god. I claimed that a possible explanation for the persistence of theism was that there was "something there" and that this was a simpler explanation than memes.

 

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That is inded one idea explore in Daniel Dennets book. Theism may very well have or still doesserve a useful purpose in our social evolution. But I don't think there has been enough time for this to be hard wired into to our biology. Relgion is a phanomona perhaps on a few 10's of thousands of years old which is not really much time at all to have it bioloogically selected for.

 

We don't know the age of theistic thought. Our species is muich older that the 10's of thousands of years where we are able to find evidence of cultural artifacts sufficient to understand the culture of people back then. You can't conclude either way whether thiesm existed before any known historical artifacts.

 

 

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Anyway if you are interested I would recomoned Dennets book. He does of course consider the possability that the reason why religion is universal is that there is something to it. But he conlcudes that this is unlikely for a variety of reasons.

What is the title? I'll add it to my list of things I should read. Unfortunatley, that list has things added much faster than I remove them.


Venkatrajan
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Ok so you say they exhibit

Ok so you say they exhibit insane like qualities, but they are not. So where do we go ahead from here

But if you agree  that huge bunch are not insane , then fine.

Regarding no. of people being religious, I read somewhere in one authoritative post that more than 90% are religious, what is your source. I am not saying I am right or you are wrong.

 

Regarding Hinduism, There were times when woman werent treated perfectly. Not so today. Hinduism thrives and many women rule the roost and inspire others. India's ruling party's chief is a woman and also acknowledged as one of the most powerful in the world . India has now its first woman president (we wish the USA also gets one) , India's biggest state (and possibly the most casteist) , Uttar Pradesh has now a woman chief minister who comes from the erstwhile untouchable caste , moreover she got overwhelming support from Brahimns the upper castes in the elections.

 

The caste system started off with good intentions , but got distorted over few centuries, but is now breaking up and losing relevance , though people are becoming more religious. We acknowledge caste system as a negative of the religion and the religion has reformed or reinvented itself in some manner by shedding baggage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for Atheists to increase my belief in God


evil religion
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Venkatrajan wrote: Ok so

Venkatrajan wrote:

Ok so you say they exhibit insane like qualities, but they are not. So where do we go ahead from here

Well thats an interesting question.  The similarities between mental delusion and religious thought perhaps give some clues as to how we might adminsister treatment to those inflicted with religon. How we can free people from religion, if that is our goal. If that is not our goal then perhaps it will offer some clues as to how we can make their religion more benign and prevent it from becoming a destructive force which quite clearly it can become with some people.

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But if you agree that huge bunch are not insane , then fine.

Regarding no. of people being religious, I read somewhere in one authoritative post that more than 90% are religious, what is your source. I am not saying I am right or you are wrong.

Well this all depends which country you look at and what you mean by "religious". World wide as a percentage of population and if you take religious to mean "says they believe in the existence of a god or say they belong to a religon" then your 90% figure is probably about right. But if we look a first world nations we will see that is figure is much lower. In the UK according to the national census about 70% of people, when asked what religion they where, put down Christian (there is a list to choose from) BUT this does not in any way mean that 70% of people are actuallu practicing Christians. Recent surveys indicate that in the UK only about 35% of people actualu believe in the existence of God and only about 10% of people actually atend church regularly (once a week)

http://www.vexen.co.uk/UK/religion.html

This tells me that whilst 70% of the population will say "oh I'm a christian" but in actual fact many of them don;t even believe in God! They are merely identifying themselves as culurally christian rather than actually following a relgion. So how many religious people are then in the UK? Well I would say between 10% and 30% my definition of religion here is people that actually act as if they believe in what they claim they believe i.e. they at least go to church or moque or temple from time to time. Many of the others may identify themselves as belonging to a religion but this is purely from a cultural prespective. They dont actually believe in or follow that religion, they probably won;t activly say they are non beliveres but the actions are the same as if they where an atheist, they are practicing atheists. The statistic presented show that majority of the 70% "christians" in the uk national census are in fact not religious and are in fact practicing atheists if not out and out atheists!

This is again something that Dennet explores in "Breaking the spell- religion as a natural phenomona" he calls it Believing in Belief rather than actual belief. 

 

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Regarding Hinduism, There were times when woman werent treated perfectly.

Hmmm you will have to qualify that a bit  and back up the statement.

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Not so today. Hinduism thrives and many women rule the roost and inspire others. India's ruling party's chief is a woman and also acknowledged as one of the most powerful in the world . India has now its first woman president (we wish the USA also gets one) , India's biggest state (and possibly the most casteist) , Uttar Pradesh has now a woman chief minister who comes from the erstwhile untouchable caste , moreover she got overwhelming support from Brahimns the upper castes in the elections.

So what? The religion still treats women as second class citizens. Its a patriacal society with women being given away by their faimilies along with a load of other material possesions to form a contract with another family. The woman ministers are credable and are largely due to the seculaisation of India they are nothing to do with Hinduism which is a mysogonistic as Islam and Christianity, 

 

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The caste system started off with good intentions , but got distorted over few centuries, but is now breaking up and losing relevance , though people are becoming more religious.

No they are not becoming more religious. You will really need to check your facts here. India is becoming more and more secular. All of the progress towards equality have come as part of the secularisation of India rather than them becoming more religious! 

We acknowledge caste system as a negative of the religion and the religion has reformed or reinvented itself in some manner by shedding baggage 

Well thats good. This is why Hinduism has more respect from me than most religions as it is less stuck on its dogmas. 


drummermonkey
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evil religion

evil religion wrote:

Following on from Brian and Kellys video on this topic. I thought it might be worth a further discusion.

The wiki gives the following as signs of delusional disorder.

The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.

Hmmmm sound familiar people?

Sure, a lot of philosophers I know also express an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force, but I would be hesitant at proclaiming them deluded, or as having a mental disorder.

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2. That idea appears to exert an undue influence on his or her life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.

Oh really!

Still I know a lot of atheists and theists alike who's ideas appear to exert an influence on his or her life. I know a lot of philosophers, who also fall under this category.

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3. Despite his profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.

hmmmm anyone ever encountered a theist being evasive about their beliefs? Anyone ever found a thesist being suspicious of those who question their beliefs?

I don't know, a lot of theists also publish entire books about their beliefs, have blogs about their beliefs, become advocates because they believe. So, certainly all theists don't fall under this category. Further, a lot of people with mental disorders are not secrative about their beliefs. I know other theists who are philosophers who don't mind people questioning their beliefs, and give answers to those questions.

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4 The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.

Ahahhahahahah oh yes! Look at the recent terminal sense of humor failure over Kathy Griffin for concrete proof of this one.

I personally don't find Kathy Griffin funny, even before the huge scandel, she's loud and annoying. Russell Peters and Steven Colbert on the other hand are hilariouse. Further I am not that humorless about my beliefs, but I probably wouldn't make fun of people I disagree with; just because I usually disagree with most people and that would make me an ass. I'm not sure how exactly this point entails a mental disorder though.

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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.

It just gets better and better really doesn't it.

I'm not sure whether theists fall into this category, there are still huge debates about how unlikely or likely theism is. Further, I know a lot of people who claim they know some mundane proposition without questioning it. Further a lot of theists question their beliefs about whether God is hidden or not, etc etc.

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6. Any attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.

Dude I would swear that this wiki entry was actually about religious beliefs

I know a lot of atheists that have inappropriately strong emotional reactions often with irritibility and hostility as well. I remember having a discussion about the relationship between science and imagination; religion entered the convorsation, I mentioned Whiteheads stance on the position, and produced an argument that Whitehead gave. Immediately my introlocutor grew emotional and yelled "Don't preach to me!". Now, this is an emotional response that had no bearing on the truth or falsity of the argument in question. Does this mean the individual was mentally unstable? NO! The response was fallaciouse, and irrational, but that does not entail mental instability.

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7.belief is, at the least, unlikely.

Its at least unlikley! Try down right impossible.

Again there are large debates about the possibility of theism. But even if theists are wrong, that does not entail that they are mentally unstable....Just wrong.

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8.The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of his psyche (psychology).

Yep

I'm not entirely sure what this means. A lot of philosophers invest a lot of their time and energy on arguing that a particular position is true. Further, they get grants to investigate this claims, and become emotionally involved in their thesis'. But does this entail the philosopher is mentally unstable? No! It means the philosopher thinks they are right. Even if they were wrong I would not say that they are mentally unstable.

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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.

Oh yes.

Well this is a bit vague, what is an abnormal or out of character behavior? I think what the definition was trying to get at was unusual spikes in behavior. For example I knew a few schizofrenics (sp?) who are fine, and seem normal. But something triggers them off, and they go completely off threatening people having violent fits etc. Now all theists do not fall into this category (certainly some might, but others don't).

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10. Individuals who know the patient will observe that his belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.

Any one ever seen any changes in character in those that convert?

I also know a few converts to atheism that have observed differences in them; including individuals who join some internet group, and donate a bunch of money to that group who just happen to be outspoken athiests. So what?

In short, I think the effort to produce evidence that theists are delusional or suffer from mental disorders can be dangerous. In the past accusations of mental disorders were generally misdiagnosed, and the patients were victims of not only severe mistreatment, but also not allowed to participate in society like the regular population. I wonder what the point of trying to produce evidence that theists are delusional is? Could it have larger political goals? I think we should be more careful of diagnosing people with mental disorders, sometimes people can just be odd and different. Even so, a lot of mental disorders can be diagnosed with blood tests, and CAT scans, can we really say the same for theists? On the other hand if it is just to attach that stigma to others, just because you think they are wrong, then that’s just one big ad hominem, and irrational.


evil religion
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drummermonkey wrote: evil

drummermonkey wrote:

evil religion wrote:

Following on from Brian and Kellys video on this topic. I thought it might be worth a further discusion.

The wiki gives the following as signs of delusional disorder.

The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.

Hmmmm sound familiar people?

Sure, a lot of philosophers I know also express an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force, but I would be hesitant at proclaiming them deluded, or as having a mental disorder.

Well seeing as its their job to express ideas and beliefs then I really don't see this as "unusal" so philosiphers are a very bad example as their entire job IS to express their ideas and beleifs in as forceful a way as possible.  

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2. That idea appears to exert an undue influence on his or her life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.

Oh really!

Still I know a lot of atheists and theists alike who's ideas appear to exert an influence on his or her life.

I don't know any atheists like this. I really don't how can a lack of belief in something exert an undie influence. I know a lot of atheists who are pissed off about bullshit religion influencing their lives but thats not their ideas, thats other peoples delusions impinging on their lives. 

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I know a lot of philosophers, who also fall under this category.

Like I said thats their job. Its not unusal. 

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3. Despite his profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.

hmmmm anyone ever encountered a theist being evasive about their beliefs? Anyone ever found a thesist being suspicious of those who question their beliefs?

I don't know, a lot of theists also publish entire books about their beliefs, have blogs about their beliefs, become advocates because they believe. So, certainly all theists don't fall under this category. Further, a lot of people with mental disorders are not secrative about their beliefs. I know other theists who are philosophers who don't mind people questioning their beliefs, and give answers to those questions.

There are indeed counter examples. No one is suggesting that the description fits every single person with a mental disorder. 

 

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4 The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.

Ahahhahahahah oh yes! Look at the recent terminal sense of humor failure over Kathy Griffin for concrete proof of this one.

I personally don't find Kathy Griffin funny, even before the huge scandel, she's loud and annoying. Russell Peters and Steven Colbert on the other hand are hilariouse. Further I am not that humorless about my beliefs, but I probably wouldn't make fun of people I disagree with; just because I usually disagree with most people and that would make me an ass. I'm not sure how exactly this point entails a mental disorder though.

Because religion is different to all our other beliefs. People can take a joke far better about their politics or their music taste or whatever but in general people get overly sensetive about the beliefs labeled religion. We even have special laws protecting religious beliefs from attack and ridicule. This over senstivity is similar to a person suffering from delusion. 

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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.

It just gets better and better really doesn't it.

I'm not sure whether theists fall into this category, there are still huge debates about how unlikely or likely theism is.

No not really. Not to any one with an objective point of view. The only people that think there is a debate are those suffering from the delusion.  

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Further, I know a lot of people who claim they know some mundane proposition without questioning it. Further a lot of theists question their beliefs about whether God is hidden or not, etc etc.

Great a lot of insane people question their beliefs as well but they still end up holding them. 

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6. Any attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.

Dude I would swear that this wiki entry was actually about religious beliefs

I know a lot of atheists that have inappropriately strong emotional reactions often with irritibility and hostility as well.

I don't know any such atheists. Really I don't and I know a lot. I know a lot of atheists that are pissed of with religious people pushing religion on them though. There is a big difference. 

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I remember having a discussion about the relationship between science and imagination; religion entered the convorsation, I mentioned Whiteheads stance on the position, and produced an argument that Whitehead gave. Immediately my introlocutor grew emotional and yelled "Don't preach to me!". Now, this is an emotional response that had no bearing on the truth or falsity of the argument in question. Does this mean the individual was mentally unstable? NO! The response was fallaciouse, and irrational, but that does not entail mental instability.

From what you say I agree with you the reaction was stupid. But I have never met atheist like this. I think its very rare. One the other hand the number of people that I have "offended" by merely daring to question their religion is quite stagering. 

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7.belief is, at the least, unlikely.

Its at least unlikley! Try down right impossible.

Again there are large debates about the possibility of theism. But even if theists are wrong, that does not entail that they are mentally unstable....Just wrong.

Its ok to be wrong. Really it is. Just because you are wrong does not make you mentally unstable. But when the belief you have is so out of this world, so utterly preposeterous then one does need to question ones sanity. God beleif is far far less likely to be true than belief that fire breathing dragons exist on earth right now. Really its is. Fire breathing dragons are far more likely to exist than God, at least they are logically possible for starters. I would quite happily label someone who actually believes in fire breathing dragons as deluded as would you. Why is God any different? 

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8.The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of his psyche (psychology).

Yep

I'm not entirely sure what this means. A lot of philosophers invest a lot of their time and energy on arguing that a particular position is true.

As I said before thats their job. So it is not unusal behaviour. Its is not the day to day job of your average theist to spread the word of god.

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Further, they get grants to investigate this claims, and become emotionally involved in their thesis'. But does this entail the philosopher is mentally unstable? No! It means the philosopher thinks they are right. Even if they were wrong I would not say that they are mentally unstable.

It means they are doing their job. This philosipher example is a really bad one.

 

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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.

Oh yes.

Well this is a bit vague, what is an abnormal or out of character behavior?

Talking to imaginary friends (praying)

Giving away money for no reason (tithing)

Wasting free time (church)

to give a few examples 

Quote:
I think what the definition was trying to get at was unusual spikes in behavior. For example I knew a few schizofrenics (sp?) who are fine, and seem normal. But something triggers them off, and they go completely off threatening people having violent fits etc. Now all theists do not fall into this category (certainly some might, but others don't).

My brother is an example. Since being indoctrated into the JW's he now has

Changed to way he dresses.

Refused to go to events he used to enjoy (birthdays christmas)

Wastes time knocking on doors

Frowns on activities he used to enjoy and partake in.

Looks down on others not of his beleif which is totally unlike him.

In short his personality has been changed. He has changed into a newly modled JW version of my brother. This happens to a larger or lesser extent in all religions. 

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10. Individuals who know the patient will observe that his belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.

Any one ever seen any changes in character in those that convert?

I also know a few converts to atheism that have observed differences in them; including individuals who join some internet group, and donate a bunch of money to that group who just happen to be outspoken athiests. So what?

Again I think the phemona is far greater in theism. I really don't know any atheists that have changed their behaviour in any significant way. 

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In short, I think the effort to produce evidence that theists are delusional or suffer from mental disorders can be dangerous. In the past accusations of mental disorders were generally misdiagnosed, and the patients were victims of not only severe mistreatment, but also not allowed to participate in society like the regular population. I wonder what the point of trying to produce evidence that theists are delusional is? Could it have larger political goals? I think we should be more careful of diagnosing people with mental disorders, sometimes people can just be odd and different.

 I think its interesting to note the remarkable similarities between delusion disorders and theism.

 
[qquote]Even so, a lot of mental disorders can be diagnosed with blood tests,

Really?  And most cant

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and CAT scans,

But most cant 

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can we really say the same for theists?

I don't know. Perhaps they fall into the same category as the vast majority of mental disorders which simply cant be diagnosed with your blood tests and cat scans. 

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On the other hand if it is just to attach that stigma to others, just because you think they are wrong, then that’s just one big ad hominem, and irrational.

I, and kellyy and brian, merely point out the similarities. I draw no firm conclsions. Its just interesting to note how closely the definition fits. 

 


AngelEngine
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Religion is a mental

Religion is a mental disorder. Thats completely true. Although some are better than others, frankly, the ones were talking about are compeltely mental.

If you talk to god, youve got a problem. Youre talking to nothing. If god talks to you, again, youve got a problem. Youre hearing voices. Now, the worst part about this, is that those voices compel you to do something. And yes, this can either be

A). Informing your neighbor of how glorious god is, or

B). Blowing up the nearby abortion clinic, doctor and all.

Now, either is bad, for different reasons. A is extremely bothersome to people who never even asked your opinion of god, nor do they really want to be bothered by your bullshittery of how glorious god is. And B is just plain insane. I mean, its one thing to push your beliefs onto others. But killing them if they dont agree with you? Seriously, grow up. This isnt the medeival ages, where the pope sends an army to your house if you dont follow god.

 All in all, if religion had the power, it would regulate every action, word, and thought that ever crossed your mind. And, if christians were given the choice, 90% would choose to legalize murder for atheists and other theists alike, to send them faster to hell, and therefore create a more christian friendly world for future generations. So, you ask if Religion is a mental disorder? Perhaps. I mean, World domination is certainly a mental disorder, and so is regulation of thought. 

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


drummermonkey
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evil religion wrote:The

evil religion wrote:

The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.

Well seeing as its their job to express ideas and beliefs then I really don't see this as "unusal" so philosophers are a very bad example as their entire job IS to express their ideas and beliefs in as forceful a way as possible.

Philosophers are a counter example to the claim that this point is sufficient for diagnosing a mental disorder. Let me spell it out for you. If philosophers express their ideas with persistent and force (yes even sometimes unusually), then according to this point this somehow adds to the probability that they are delusional or suffer from a mental disorder. But a lot of philosophers are not delusional or suffer from mental disorders. Thus it is not entirely clear how this point adds to the probability of someone being mentally deluded and it is up to you to show that it does.

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2. That idea appears to exert an undue influence on his or her life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.

I don't know any atheists like this. I really don't how can a lack of belief in something exert an undie influence. I know a lot of atheists who are pissed off about bullshit religion influencing their lives but thats not their ideas, thats other peoples delusions impinging on their lives.

Sure "lack of belief" in something can influence one's life. People write books on it, order "Darwin" fish and put it on their car, become advocates, Buy t-shirts, form groups, attend conferences expressing their lack of belief. But you may argue that these are not "undue" influences; in which case you would have to specify what you mean by "undue" influence is. Again I raised the issue that philosophers also have this trait. You say it's not unusual, I agree, but if it's not unusual then why even have this point as a trait that people with mental disorders have?

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3. Despite his profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.

hmmmm anyone ever encountered a theist being evasive about their beliefs? Anyone ever found a theist being suspicious of those who question their beliefs?

There are indeed counter examples. No one is suggesting that the description fits every single person with a mental disorder.

Of course there are counter examples, my argument is simple: If a person with a mental disorder does not fit this description, then this point is not necessary for diagnosing a mental disorder. If there is an example of a person that fits this point and does not have a mental disorder, then this point is not sufficient for diagnosing a mental disorder. Thus if some theists fit this point, then it's really not that big of deal, since this point is neither sufficient nor necessary for individuals with mental disorders.

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4 The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.

Ahahhahahahah oh yes! Look at the recent terminal sense of humor failure over Kathy Griffin for concrete proof of this one.

Because religion is different to all our other beliefs. People can take a joke far better about their politics or their music taste or whatever but in general people get overly sensetive about the beliefs labeled religion. We even have special laws protecting religious beliefs from attack and ridicule. This over senstivity is similar to a person suffering from delusion.

There's a few things said here I agree with. In a way religious beliefs are different from other beliefs; and sometimes people do get offended when you insult these beliefs. But then again there are beliefs that aren't religious that people get offended by. For example, some people get extremely offended at nudity, others not so much. There are laws that prevent discrimination on a person if they are religious, and I think there should be. European and US history is littered with examples of people being killed, and mistreated because they have different religious beliefs (A good example is the first nations people and Jewish people). I still don't see how people having a strong opinion about something adds to the probability of someone having a mental disorder.

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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.

No not really. Not to any one with an objective point of view. The only people that think there is a debate are those suffering from the delusion.

I don't think so! James F Harris thinks debates about these are raging within analytic philosophy. The only people who think that there is no debate are hypocrits. It certainly seems that these debates are going on, in universities, in philosophy of religion classes, in religious studies classes; most atheists are more than willing to argue against theist, and certainly act as if their is a debate going on, yet they don't believe their is a debate going on? Is this the intuitive reaction everyone gets? I really don't see how there's not a debate going on.

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Great a lot of insane people question their beliefs as well but they still end up holding them.

No it's not great for the position that you hold. I again produced a counter example to your point. Theists are willing to question their beliefs. The point was that insane people do not questions their beliefs. All theists do not fit this paradigm, thus the probability is decreased that theists are insane. Unless of course you sacrifice this point, and insane people do question their beliefs; But then the question arises, why this point?

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6. Any attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.

Dude I would swear that this wiki entry was actually about religious beliefs

I don't know any such atheists. Really I don't and I know a lot. I know a lot of atheists that are pissed of with religious people pushing religion on them though. There is a big difference.

Right, but if atheists are pissed off with religious people, whom they think are wrong. Then there is a strong emotional reaction to someone contradicting their belief, or lack there of. Thus my point remains, atheists also have strong emotional reactions, I don't see the huge difference. I then presented an example of a strong emotional reaction that an atheist had to me contradicting their belief and your reaction was as follows:

Quote:
From what you say I agree with you the reaction was stupid. But I have never met atheist like this. I think its very rare. One the other hand the number of people that I have "offended" by merely daring to question their religion is quite stagering.

But before you stated that you know a lot of atheist people that are downright "pissed off with religious people pushing their beliefs on them." But if that's true then you know a lot of atheists with reactions like that. And I can grant that theists can get offended, but so can atheists. It does nothing to your argument to suggest that theists outnumber atheists at being offended. My point was that atheists get offended. And if your willing to concede that those atheists are not mentally deranged nor does that point add to the probability that they are deranged, then obviously pointing out that a theist being offended could be the same.

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7.belief is, at the least, unlikely.

Its at least unlikely! Try down right impossible.

Its ok to be wrong. Really it is. Just because you are wrong does not make you mentally unstable. But when the belief you have is so out of this world, so utterly preposterous then one does need to question ones sanity. God belief is far far less likely to be true than belief that fire breathing dragons exist on earth right now. Really its is. Fire breathing dragons are far more likely to exist than God, at least they are logically possible for starters. I would quite happily label someone who actually believes in fire breathing dragons as deluded as would you. Why is God any different?

I'm not sure what the probability that dragons existing are, nor am I thoroughly convinced that the probability of fire breathing dragons existing outweighs the probability of God existing. Considering the analogy of belief in Dragons is quite different than belief in God (you suggested yourself the probability is quite different) I'm not sure what your suggesting. I'm also unaware of any cosmological argument for Dragon's existing; Thus I'm inclined to think the reasons for believing in God and Dragons differ considerably as well. Thus the analogy fails.

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8.The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of his psyche (psychology).

Yep

As I said before thats their job. So it is not unusal behaviour. Its is not the day to day job of your average theist to spread the word of god.

I think you failed to grasp my counter example. Becoming emotionally involved in an idea is not sufficient for saying someone mentally unstable. And it's arguable whether it is the day to day job of the average theist to spread the word of God. I personally get paid to do both; but I also think being compassionate to the ill because you believe in god, giving to the poor because you believe in god is also spreading the word of God.

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It means they are doing their job. This philosipher example is a really bad one.

The philosopher example is doing well to point out that a lot of these points are not sufficient, for being mentally unstable. There could be a lot of other reasons for people having these properties other than being mentally unstable. Perhaps they are just interested in philosophy.

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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.

Talking to imaginary friends (praying)

Giving away money for no reason (tithing)

Wasting free time (church)

to give a few examples

Praying is not analogous to talking to imaginary friends for several reasons. Some philosophers (anselm for example) think prayer is merely thinking about God. Some think merely appreciating your own existence, and others existence is prayer. Some think caring for others is prayer. Some do indeed talk out loud to God, but this is not necessarily the same as talking to an imaginary gnome that lives in your ear. God, if he exists, is responsible for everything that is and ever will be, prayer is often the thanking of something that is; you can extend your analogy of a talking gnome to all the properties that God is asserted to have, but then your just using a different name to refer to the same referent. The analogy still fails.

Theists, as I understand them, give money to keep the church going, to pay the pastor, to maintain the building, and to give to the poor and unfortunate. It is not often for no-reason.

Last Theists go to church to be around others. But certainly not all theists go to church.

Irregardless it is not entirely abnormal for a human to be religious. In fact most cultural anthropologists, religious or not, see religion as part of a defining aspect of a culture; not necessarily as someone being mentally unstable. They would charge anyone who thinks another individual within a different culture or religious persuasion as mentally unstable(specifically because they are of a different culture or religious persuasion) with ethnocentricity. I am inclined to agree.

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My brother is an example. Since being indoctrated into the JW's he now has

Changed to way he dresses.

Refused to go to events he used to enjoy (birthdays christmas)

Wastes time knocking on doors

Frowns on activities he used to enjoy and partake in.

Looks down on others not of his beleif which is totally unlike him.

In short his personality has been changed. He has changed into a newly modled JW version of my brother. This happens to a larger or lesser extent in all religions.

It is unfortunate that your brother does all those. But that doesn't mean every religious person falls under that category. Suppose a religious person was just born into a religion, it would not be "abnormal" for them to be religious; And this is certainly not rare among religious people.

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10. Individuals who know the patient will observe that his belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.

Any one ever seen any changes in character in those that convert?

Again I think the phemona is far greater in theism. I really don't know any atheists that have changed their behaviour in any significant way.

Irregardless of whether it's greater in theism or atheism; this does nothing to prove your point. If atheists fall into this category and you are willing to accept that they are not insane, then we can admit the same for theists. Further there are theists who do not fall into this paradigm as suggested by those who are just born into a religion.

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I think its interesting to note the remarkable similarities between delusion disorders and theism.

I don't think that the "remarkable similarities" are really that evident; some theists fit into a few of these points, some don't. Some atheists even fit into these points, some don't. It is even the case that some theists don't fit into any of these points. Some of these points are oddly vague and thus too broad.


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Even so, a lot of mental disorders can be diagnosed with blood tests,

Really? And most cant

Sure, there are biological, chemical reactions that are signs of schizophrenia; further some genetic theorists even say that schizophrenia can be genetic. Of course these are debatable, but I think science is progressing rapidly in this area; can we really say the same for theism? Of course Dawkins and Dennette present the mysterious meme, but I find the evidence for it extremely lacking. Depression can be diagnosed medically, further their are treatments available in pill form for these mental conditions. I find it highly unlikely that we can say the same for theism (imagine that a pill for theism! How implausible does that sound?)

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I don't know. Perhaps they fall into the same category as the vast majority of mental disorders which simply cant be diagnosed with your blood tests and cat scans.

Right, but even if they can't be diagnosed through blood tests or cat scans, the debate rages on as to whether these "mental disorders" are really mental disorders at all.

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I, and kellyy and brian, merely point out the similarities. I draw no firm conclsions. Its just interesting to note how closely the definition fits.

But my point is that the definition doesn't really fit comfortably at all, and even if it does fit, there are cases where those who are not mentally delusional fit this definition. Further, there are cases where theist's fall into none of these properties.

I also wonder the implications of your view for justice, and ethics. Suppose a theist breaks the law. According to your view theists are mentally delusional and insane. If the theist is insane, then there is always the insanity defence. Should theists be able to make this defence and thus be able to be excluded from the judicial system in significant ways? Of course not. Why? Because the theist doesn't fit into the category of mentally insane. I still think you, brian, and kelly are wrong. (But please note, i don't think they are insane).


kellym78
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The more that this issue

The more that this issue gets brought up, the more I think that not only is everybody misinterpreting our position, but that they have all carried their own stigmas associated with "disorder" into the fray.

First of all, I'm surprised that so many people who are active members of our site seem shocked by this. Is it not written right on our banner? It's been there for 18+ months!

More importantly, people need to understand that this is a multi-faceted attack on religion. As evil_religion said, we are merely pointing out the similarities between a delusional disorder, particularly grandiose delusional disorder, and the mindset of a typical theist. Obviously, Brian and I both understand that psychology is based on societal norms and therefore, religion couldn't technically be classified as a disorder because it is prevalent in our society. It is our goal, though, to make religion less prevalent; to make belief in bronze-age mythology so absolutely ridiculous that admitting that you have conversations with a deity would be embarrassing. That is the impetus behind our usage of that argument--to plant the seed in the heads of believers that they are deluding themselves (funny how nobody objects when you say that, but call it a disorder and all of a sudden people are throwing stones).

We purposely make controversial statements and do things like the blasphemy challenge to get people talking!! Sitting around being quiet and respectful has gotten us where in 2000 years? Sam Harris used the argument that the best way to take the power away from any social group is to ridicule it. "Theism is a mind disorder" IS ridicule. Now, don't try to twist my words and think that I don't stand behind the analysis--I do. I think that there is enough evidence out there that theism is mentally damaging to support it as well, but I am saying that this is also a strategic maneuver. Think of it as a counter-meme. We want this idea to spread to enough people that consulting your sky-daddy before bed IS recognized as a disorder. The only criterium that isn't met is in fact not a criterium, but a disclaimer that religion doesn't count. Is it possible that the APA and the editors of the DSM are being just a little politically correct here? Just the fact that this disclaimer was necessary is proof that the similarities are already there! Please take note that since we've started this meme it appears Dan Barker has taken it and run with it as well. Now he calls religion a mental illness. The meme is spreading, and atheists who want to see religious belief dissipate would be wise to not hinder our advancement in this area.

I had an epiphany when I was posting on this topic in another thread, but I'll recap here. Every person who finds the "disorder" thing offensive obviously has their own baggage related to mental disorders in mind and then want to project that onto us. I bear no such prejudice. I'm sure that I have multiple disorders, but the difference between me and them is that if somebody tells me that I have a disorder and wants to help me, I don't just say "UNH UH!! NOT ME!! I'm perfectly normal!!!" I seek to improve those errors in my thought processes. I strive to live without cognitive dissonance. Sorry that I don't want everybody else to continue living in denial while they destroy the world that I live in. At any rate, I stated in the other thread that the very reason that we can say that "theism is a mind disorder" is because all theists ARE NOT completely stupid, irrational in every way, or absolutely insane. (Although some may be) It is precisely because they operate rationally and logically in most other areas of their lives that their god-belief stands out so glaringly as an aberration.

So, I really want to convey here the level of frustration I have at being forced to constantly reiterate what our position is here. It is pretty clear in the three videos we made on the topic, so please just watch the damn things and actually listen before you attack us on this one. Especially from people who I would think understand us better than that. And who also understand that having a degree means you should be smart, but doesn't make you so, nor does it do the opposite.

I'm sick of typing. I think I'm developing a carpal tunnel disorder. (Disparaging wrists everywhere!!!)

 

 

P.S. I reviewed this post, agree, and added a line or two. - Sapient

 


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Begging your pardon, madam,

Begging your pardon, madam, but I believe that this phrase: 

kellym78 wrote:

We purposely make controversial statements

 

and this one:

kellym78 wrote:

 STOP FLAMEWARS!!!

Seem to run in contradiction to one another.


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Yeah, except for one is

Yeah, except for one is satirical and one isn't. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.


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kellym78 wrote: Yeah,

kellym78 wrote:
Yeah, except for one is satirical and one isn't. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

I believe that "burlesque" would be a more apt descriptor.


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drummermonkey wrote: evil

drummermonkey wrote:

evil religion wrote:

The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.

Well seeing as its their job to express ideas and beliefs then I really don't see this as "unusal" so philosophers are a very bad example as their entire job IS to express their ideas and beliefs in as forceful a way as possible.

Philosophers are a counter example to the claim that this point is sufficient for diagnosing a mental disorder. Let me spell it out for you. If philosophers express their ideas with persistent and force (yes even sometimes unusually), then according to this point this somehow adds to the probability that they are delusional or suffer from a mental disorder. But a lot of philosophers are not delusional or suffer from mental disorders. Thus it is not entirely clear how this point adds to the probability of someone being mentally deluded and it is up to you to show that it does.

Philosiphers are not a counter example becasue the strength with which they express thei views is not unusal given that it is their job to do so. It is not a Christians job to be christian or to spout christian nonsense but it is a philosiphers job to do talk about their ideas.

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2. That idea appears to exert an undue influence on his or her life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.

I don't know any atheists like this. I really don't how can a lack of belief in something exert an undie influence. I know a lot of atheists who are pissed off about bullshit religion influencing their lives but thats not their ideas, thats other peoples delusions impinging on their lives.

Sure "lack of belief" in something can influence one's life. People write books on it, order "Darwin" fish and put it on their car, become advocates, Buy t-shirts, form groups, attend conferences expressing their lack of belief.

They only do this as a reaction to the belief indemic in their culture.

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But you may argue that these are not "undue" influences; in which case you would have to specify what you mean by "undue" influence is.

Undue would be affecting ones life disproportionalty to the supporting evidence for the idea. I can't think of a single incident of undue influcence of atheism. Car stickers and writing books about it is not undue influence. Bombing abortion clinics, spending hours of your life praying, tithing 10% of your hard earned cash, voting against your normal morality, voting for a fucking moron president becasue your religion tells you too are all very real examples of undue influcence.

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Again I raised the issue that philosophers also have this trait. You say it's not unusual, I agree, but if it's not unusual then why even have this point as a trait that people with mental disorders have?

See above.

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3. Despite his profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.

hmmmm anyone ever encountered a theist being evasive about their beliefs? Anyone ever found a theist being suspicious of those who question their beliefs?

There are indeed counter examples. No one is suggesting that the description fits every single person with a mental disorder.

Of course there are counter examples, my argument is simple: If a person with a mental disorder does not fit this description, then this point is not necessary for diagnosing a mental disorder. If there is an example of a person that fits this point and does not have a mental disorder, then this point is not sufficient for diagnosing a mental disorder. Thus if some theists fit this point, then it's really not that big of deal, since this point is neither sufficient nor necessary for individuals with mental disorders.

But they seem to fit all of the points and hecne it is a big deal. Its at least worth looking into. There are clear similarities between the list of mental disorder traits and theist traits.

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4 The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.

Ahahhahahahah oh yes! Look at the recent terminal sense of humor failure over Kathy Griffin for concrete proof of this one.

Because religion is different to all our other beliefs. People can take a joke far better about their politics or their music taste or whatever but in general people get overly sensetive about the beliefs labeled religion. We even have special laws protecting religious beliefs from attack and ridicule. This over senstivity is similar to a person suffering from delusion.

There's a few things said here I agree with. In a way religious beliefs are different from other beliefs; and sometimes people do get offended when you insult these beliefs. But then again there are beliefs that aren't religious that people get offended by. For example, some people get extremely offended at nudity, others not so much.

Since when was "nudity" a belief?

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There are laws that prevent discrimination on a person if they are religious, and I think there should be. European and US history is littered with examples of people being killed, and mistreated because they have different religious beliefs (A good example is the first nations people and Jewish people). I still don't see how people having a strong opinion about something adds to the probability of someone having a mental disorder.

Having a stong opinnion on a matter is obviously not a sign of mental illness on its own. Its only a sign of one when one gets overly and disproportionatly offended when that belief is criticised.

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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.

No not really. Not to any one with an objective point of view. The only people that think there is a debate are those suffering from the delusion.

I don't think so! James F Harris thinks debates about these are raging within analytic philosophy. The only people who think that there is no debate are hypocrits. It certainly seems that these debates are going on, in universities, in philosophy of religion classes, in religious studies classes; most atheists are more than willing to argue against theist, and certainly act as if their is a debate going on, yet they don't believe their is a debate going on? Is this the intuitive reaction everyone gets? I really don't see how there's not a debate going on.

There is a debate going on. But its between those who have a subjective view and those that have an objective point of view. Those people who look at the phenomona of religion objectivly almost universally are atheists. There is very little debate within this community. It is only those that subscribe to purely subjective fantasies like religion that actually think there is anything to debate.

A point to note that within most philosophy departments in unversities the "Philosophy of religion" is really something of a nonsubject. There is little interesting work going on in this area of philosophy. Most profesional philsophers are atheist in my experiance.

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Great a lot of insane people question their beliefs as well but they still end up holding them.

No it's not great for the position that you hold. I again produced a counter example to your point.

But there are plenty of positive examples as well. Some counter examples do not disprove the point.

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Theists are willing to question their beliefs. The point was that insane people do not questions their beliefs.

Some theists question their beliefs

Some insane people question their beliefs

But on the whole both groups are very reluctant to. More so than "normal" people with "normal" beleifs. This reluctance, whilst not universal, is a similiarity worthy of study.

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All theists do not fit this paradigm, thus the probability is decreased that theists are insane. Unless of course you sacrifice this point, and insane people do question their beliefs; But then the question arises, why this point?

Indeed not all theists fit this neither do all insane people.

But there is a string correlation in both groups. This similarity is interesting.

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6. Any attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.

Dude I would swear that this wiki entry was actually about religious beliefs

I don't know any such atheists. Really I don't and I know a lot. I know a lot of atheists that are pissed of with religious people pushing religion on them though. There is a big difference.

Right, but if atheists are pissed off with religious people, whom they think are wrong. Then there is a strong emotional reaction to someone contradicting their belief, or lack there of. Thus my point remains, atheists also have strong emotional reactions, I don't see the huge difference.

The difference is that atheists do not have a strong emotional reaction to people criticising their belief. They have a string emotional reaction to other imposing their beliefs on them. That is and entirely sensibel and normal reaction.

Reacting emotionally and strongly against theists trying to bann abortion is perfectly reasonable.

Reacting emotionally and stringly becasue a theist says that you are wrong to not believe in God is not reasonable. I don;t really know any atheists that do this. There might be some I guess but not many.

Reaction emotionally and strongly because someone tells you that your God does not exsit is also not reasonable. Theists do this all time.

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I then presented an example of a strong emotional reaction that an atheist had to me contradicting their belief and your reaction was as follows:

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From what you say I agree with you the reaction was stupid. But I have never met atheist like this. I think its very rare. One the other hand the number of people that I have "offended" by merely daring to question their religion is quite stagering.

But before you stated that you know a lot of atheist people that are downright "pissed off with religious people pushing their beliefs on them." But if that's true then you know a lot of atheists with reactions like that.

No they are pissed off with theists shoving their beliefs on them they are not pissed off because people critcise their lack of belief.

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And I can grant that theists can get offended, but so can atheists.

Not for the same reasons and no where near on the same scale. Can you give me a single example on anyone murdered because thet cricticised atheism? I can give you countless thousands of people killed becasue they cricicised some religion.

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It does nothing to your argument to suggest that theists outnumber atheists at being offended.

Yes it does. It shows that there is a far stronger correlation between theists and this behaviour this matches a similar corrleation between insane people and this type of behaviour.

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My point was that atheists get offended. And if your willing to concede that those atheists are not mentally deranged nor does that point add to the probability that they are deranged, then obviously pointing out that a theist being offended could be the same.

To repeat. Atheists, in general, do not get offended when their beliefs about God (or lack there of" are criticised. They only get offended when other peoples beliefs are forced on them. Theists, on the otherhand, often get offended when someone criticises their beliefs on God.

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7.belief is, at the least, unlikely.

Its at least unlikely! Try down right impossible.

Its ok to be wrong. Really it is. Just because you are wrong does not make you mentally unstable. But when the belief you have is so out of this world, so utterly preposterous then one does need to question ones sanity. God belief is far far less likely to be true than belief that fire breathing dragons exist on earth right now. Really its is. Fire breathing dragons are far more likely to exist than God, at least they are logically possible for starters. I would quite happily label someone who actually believes in fire breathing dragons as deluded as would you. Why is God any different?

I'm not sure what the probability that dragons existing are, nor am I thoroughly convinced that the probability of fire breathing dragons existing outweighs the probability of God existing.

At least they could possibly exist. There is nothing logically contradictory about them (unlike many definitions of God). Fire breathing dragons don't break any of the laws of physics (unlike God) which makes them more likely than God. At least we know that there where and are some at least vaguely similar creatures dinosaurs, large lizarda etc. There is nothing remotely smiliar to God.

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Considering the analogy of belief in Dragons is quite different than belief in God (you suggested yourself the probability is quite different) I'm not sure what your suggesting. I'm also unaware of any cosmological argument for Dragon's existing; Thus I'm inclined to think the reasons for believing in God and Dragons differ considerably as well. Thus the analogy fails.

No the analogy works. The cosomological argument simply does not work for a varity of reasons. The more unlikely an idea the more insane it is the believe it. My point is that belief in dragons is more likely to be true than belief in God. We have no problem saying that anyone who truely believes in dragons has a screw loose so why do we have a problem in saying this about people who truely hold a God belief. It is a far more rediculous belief to hold than dragon belief.

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8.The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of his psyche (psychology).

Yep

As I said before thats their job. So it is not unusal behaviour. Its is not the day to day job of your average theist to spread the word of god.

I think you failed to grasp my counter example. Becoming emotionally involved in an idea is not sufficient for saying someone mentally unstable.

No one said it was.

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And it's arguable whether it is the day to day job of the average theist to spread the word of God.

Really? Are most theists profesional pastors and preachers then? I think not.

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I personally get paid to do both;

But most theists dont

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but I also think being compassionate to the ill because you believe in god, giving to the poor because you believe in god is also spreading the word of God.

No it isn't spreading the word of God. Its a different action all together.

 

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It means they are doing their job. This philosipher example is a really bad one.

The philosopher example is doing well to point out that a lot of these points are not sufficient, for being mentally unstable. There could be a lot of other reasons for people having these properties other than being mentally unstable. Perhaps they are just interested in philosophy.

Many of the points do not pertain to philosiphers. Some might possibly in a few cases. There may very well be some cases of sane people having some of the properties listed. Just as there may be some cases of insane people lacking some of the properties listed. The point is one of correlations. There is a strong correlation to all the points given amongst the insane there is a matching correlation in the religious. This similarity is interesting. There is no such stong correlation across all the points for philosiphers.

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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.

Talking to imaginary friends (praying)

Giving away money for no reason (tithing)

Wasting free time (church)

to give a few examples

Praying is not analogous to talking to imaginary friends for several reasons. Some philosophers (anselm for example) think prayer is merely thinking about God. Some think merely appreciating your own existence, and others existence is prayer.

But most people dont. Most theists actually think they are speaking with God when they pray.

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Some think caring for others is prayer. Some do indeed talk out loud to God, but this is not necessarily the same as talking to an imaginary gnome that lives in your ear.

Yes it is. Its exactly the same.

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God, if he exists, is responsible for everything that is and ever will be, prayer is often the thanking of something that is; you can extend your analogy of a talking gnome to all the properties that God is asserted to have, but then your just using a different name to refer to the same referent. The analogy still fails.

Theists, as I understand them, give money to keep the church going, to pay the pastor, to maintain the building,

If God does not exist then its is for no reason. There is no reason to supose that God does exist so the point stands. They willing give money to suport an idea they have no evidence is true. This is like throwing 10% of your wages into a wishing well every month.

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and to give to the poor and unfortunate. It is not often for no-reason.

That is a decent reason to give money but its not the main reaosn people tithe is it?

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Last Theists go to church to be around others. But certainly not all theists go to church.

Irregardless it is not entirely abnormal for a human to be religious. In fact most cultural anthropologists, religious or not, see religion as part of a defining aspect of a culture; not necessarily as someone being mentally unstable. They would charge anyone who thinks another individual within a different culture or religious persuasion as mentally unstable(specifically because they are of a different culture or religious persuasion) with ethnocentricity. I am inclined to agree.

In the past there may have been many good reasons to be religious. There was little evidence against religion in the past. But today with a modern education I maintain that it is just plain silly to hold religious beliefs. We should know better. In fact we do know better its just that many of us are still gripped by this mass insanity.

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My brother is an example. Since being indoctrated into the JW's he now has

Changed to way he dresses.

Refused to go to events he used to enjoy (birthdays christmas)

Wastes time knocking on doors

Frowns on activities he used to enjoy and partake in.

Looks down on others not of his beleif which is totally unlike him.

In short his personality has been changed. He has changed into a newly modled JW version of my brother. This happens to a larger or lesser extent in all religions.

It is unfortunate that your brother does all those. But that doesn't mean every religious person falls under that category. Suppose a religious person was just born into a religion, it would not be "abnormal" for them to be religious; And this is certainly not rare among religious people.

Indeed. But where its normal or abnormal the fact still remains that there strong correlations between the two groups (theist and insane) and the points given are there to be seen. These similarities are interesting and worthy of note. Religious thought and religious people do display many of the same behaviours as insane people. Why is this?

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10. Individuals who know the patient will observe that his belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.

Any one ever seen any changes in character in those that convert?

Again I think the phemona is far greater in theism. I really don't know any atheists that have changed their behaviour in any significant way.

Irregardless of whether it's greater in theism or atheism; this does nothing to prove your point. If atheists fall into this category and you are willing to accept that they are not insane, then we can admit the same for theists. Further there are theists who do not fall into this paradigm as suggested by those who are just born into a religion.

Like I have said its about correlations so it does matter if atheists display this behaviour less.

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I think its interesting to note the remarkable similarities between delusion disorders and theism.

I don't think that the "remarkable similarities" are really that evident; some theists fit into a few of these points, some don't. Some atheists even fit into these points, some don't. It is even the case that some theists don't fit into any of these points. Some of these points are oddly vague and thus too broad.

Ok do you think that there is a stronger corelation in the theist or the atheist group with these properties? Honestly? What do you think?


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Even so, a lot of mental disorders can be diagnosed with blood tests,

Really? And most cant

Sure, there are biological, chemical reactions that are signs of schizophrenia; further some genetic theorists even say that schizophrenia can be genetic. Of course these are debatable, but I think science is progressing rapidly in this area; can we really say the same for theism? Of course Dawkins and Dennette present the mysterious meme, but I find the evidence for it extremely lacking. Depression can be diagnosed medically, further their are treatments available in pill form for these mental conditions. I find it highly unlikely that we can say the same for theism (imagine that a pill for theism! How implausible does that sound?)

But like I said most mental illnesses cant be diagnosed chemically or biologically. Most cant be diagnosed with a blood test. If you think that they can then you are just wrong.

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I don't know. Perhaps they fall into the same category as the vast majority of mental disorders which simply cant be diagnosed with your blood tests and cat scans.

Right, but even if they can't be diagnosed through blood tests or cat scans, the debate rages on as to whether these "mental disorders" are really mental disorders at all.

Really? Are you actually suggesting that people who suffer from depression (the vast majority of whom cant be tested for with blood test) are not actually suffering from a mental illness? I'm sorry but I find this idea laughable. That "if you cant test for it with cat scan or blood test then its not a real mental disorder" - thats really is an insane idea and one that is thankfully in direct contrast to the general consensus of medical opinion.

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I, and kellyy and brian, merely point out the similarities. I draw no firm conclsions. Its just interesting to note how closely the definition fits.

But my point is that the definition doesn't really fit comfortably at all, and even if it does fit, there are cases where those who are not mentally delusional fit this definition. Further, there are cases where theist's fall into none of these properties.

I also wonder the implications of your view for justice, and ethics. Suppose a theist breaks the law. According to your view theists are mentally delusional and insane. If the theist is insane, then there is always the insanity defence. Should theists be able to make this defence and thus be able to be excluded from the judicial system in significant ways? Of course not. Why? Because the theist doesn't fit into the category of mentally insane.

Bad example. In order to plead insanity one must be able to show dimished responsablity or serious imparement of judgement. No one is suggesting that theists are that insane (well not all of them). You dont; get off murder because you have anger issues or suffer from depression. So, like your philosiphers, its a really bad example.