Psychological explanations

RationalSchema
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Psychological explanations

The leading therapeutic intervention for mental disorders in Clinical Psychology is Cognitive Therapy. In CT the therapist gets the client to look at their distorted thinking and views of themselves and the world. One of the two inter-related techniques are examining the evidence and behavioral experiments. In examining the evidence the therapist teaches the client to look at their initial thoughts in situations that cause them distress (i.e., depression, anxiety, and maladaptive behaviors). The client is asked to look for evidence for and evidence against their thought, much like a scientific experiment. The difficulties in treatment and in the individuals life w/o treatment is that they continue to look for evidence that supports their initial thought, which is termed selective attention. At times the information is even distorted to fit with their pre-existing world-view. For more neurotic and less sever client's they are able to make quick changes in their life, emotions, behaviors, and worldview. However, for more severe psychopathology, such as personality disorders, the individual goes through extreme emotional turmoil as if their entire world has been shattered. The goal of the therapist is to help the client re-develop a knew way of looking at themselves and the world. 

I find that this is a good analogy for what happens with hardcore theists. The trouble is their worldviews are so hard to break. They look at the smallest oppportunity to confirm thier belief and will distort it to fit their world view. They are not willing to examine the evidence and conduct those scientific experiments, much like the severe personality disordered patient.

I would like to discuss further and have more to offer on this topic, but I need to go to bed.

I am so glad I found this site.

 

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


todangst
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 You'd love Albert Ellis.

 You'd love Albert Ellis. Look him up if you don't know him already.


RationalSchema
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Ellis

I love Ellis. I hear he is not doing very well these days. Fundamentalists fit nicely into the irrational beliefs and thoughts category.

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


Vastet
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I'm not sure it is accurate

I'm not sure it is accurate to describe it as an analogy, as I see religion as largely a psychological failing in the first place. Theists just have additional problems to deal with that the average patient does not. Brainwashing and peer pressure. I've observed that many theists who's beliefs are challenged with any measure of success will retreat back into a defensive position surrounded by other theists who reinforce the beliefs originally held. And, of course, they wouldn't hold the beliefs in the first place if they hadn't been told to believe them while growing up.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


RationalSchema
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Your exactly right

You just explained the basis and theory behind CT. Individuals with psychological disorders learn their belief systems as they grow up through parents, school, society, and modeled behaviors. This is similar to how religious beliefs are instilled in people.

What you described as them being defensive and going back to being around those who believe what they do, is similar to those with more severe psychopathology. They get defensive, they look for any information that confirms their beliefs and disotort that information to fit into their pre-existing model of the world. This is called confirmation bias. This is what I believe the theists are doing when they go back to those who believe what they do. There is nothing to challenge their way of thinking and they feel more comfortable. To begin to think differently means to feel differently. They do not examine the evidence and distort and twist any evidence that is presented to them.

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


An_Atheist
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I agree, religion is a

I agree, religion is a psychological thing.  Our level of conscience allows for us to imagine things.   We find it difficult to imagine that there is nothing after death.   So they make up stories to make that fear bearable.  Not only do they make up the stories, but often, they will simply accept a story rather than admit that they do not know, the idea of god and heaven is much easier than questioning it.  
We are psychologically programmed to have 'faith', to worship and idolise.  We are also social animals, we feel comfort in social circles, in belonging to something.  In my opinion, a mixture of the psychological need to be part of something, as well as the fact that our mind is programmed the way it is, has meant that religion has been inevitable.  
Religion has a power over one's mind, so strong, that psychologically, when we believe something so strongly, it has dramatic effects on our lives.  An example being, the witch doctors, many people believe 100% in their power, after visiting a witch doctor with an ailment, the psychological effect is so strong that many of these people actually feel better!!   It is similar with the whole fear of death, the unknown in general, the psychological comfort of religion is just so powerful.

Your mind will take you far, the rest is just your heart, you'l find that fate is all your own creation.