Still Don't Think that Theism is a Mental Disorder?

kellym78's picture

Wow. A whole barrage of nonsense came at us in the past two weeks or so. First off...a man cuts off his own hand after seeing the Mark of the Beast on it. With a circular saw. And then microwaves it. And then calls the authorities. A quote from one of the sherriff's deputies states, "That kind of mental illness is just sad." I couldn't agree more.

Now, I know what you guys are going to say--"It's not BECAUSE of religion." Actually, I don't think that a case could be made either way. Was he likely vulnerable to delusional behavior? Yeah, I'll concede that one. The fact that religion is unique in its ability to seep into the crevices of your mind so pervasively that this theme plays out in our society over and over again isn't addressed by that statement, though. How do the appeasers and framers answer that? Maybe it only manifests itself in those already prone to mental illness, but isn't that akin to excusing and perpetuating a belief system that preys on the weak? What exactly is it that causes atheists to feel this compulsion to cover for a malevolent, archaic belief that has caused mothers to kill their children, countless cases of child abuse, seemingly endless wars and violence, and self-mutilation and flagellation that can be traced back to the very foundation of the religion?

One doesn't need to delve too deeply to uncover the singular thread that has persisted throughout religious history--violence. Violence against others and oneself. Internally or externally expressed; it's there from day one. Ignatius of Loyola makes an interesting case study demonstrating the way in which religion exploits this predisposition to self-loathing and delusional disorders. The esteemed founder of the Jesuit's autobiography details graphically the man's obsession with self-harm, his hallucinations, and his severe depression which would at times lead him to drastic measures such as digging a hole in his room at college deep enough that he hoped to end his life by jumping into it. All that to escape the demons that he felt were tempting him with indecent, ungodly thoughts. Sometimes that would lead to an insatiable desire to harm himself in order to purge this evil from his body, simultaneously punishing himself for not having the strength to resist thoughts that were likely normal human doubts and concerns. His life as a beggar on the streets, living only off of the good-will (and pity) of others, as well as an extremely hazardous trek from his home in Italy to Jerusalem soon after his conversion on which he embarked with nothing more than the clothes on his back all coalesce to form an image of a man haunted by the great spectre in the sky and his impending wrath.

Augustine also suffered from some degree of guilt after his drastic conversion; either from his previously debacherous lifestyle, the fact that his father was never "saved", or the fact that he stole fruit from a tree as a young teen, the almighty, supposedly omnibenevolent, god has stricken people with fear, guilt, shame, and remorse severe enough to permanently alter their lives--and often those of the innocent people around them.

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Next up in "Nutter News from the RRS", we have the pope (yeah - Ratzi again) urging people to pray for clergy members who sexually abuse children. I assume he doesn't think that removing them from their posts is the most pragmatic solution and would rather leave it in the hands of god--or in other words, do nothing. He's actually ordered every parish and diocese to set up prayer teams for round-the-clock vigils to help support the pedophiles in their midst. The most disturbing quote, one that I'm hoping was merely a nuance of translation, was, "The pope asked Roman Catholics to pray for the 'mercy of God for the victims of the grave situations caused by the moral and sexual conduct' of clergy members in daily prayers of penance and purification, The Times of London said Monday." Hold on...could you run that by me one more time? He wants them to pray that god has mercy...on the victims?! I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto--we've been transported straight to bizarro world.

Let me give the church some advice since I still possess the faculty of reason: Stop covering up for these people!! Either they are mentally ill or just sociopathic and have no business in a congregation, school, or possibly even in public. The church's willingness to cover for them (note the use of the words "sexual conduct" instead of "misconduct" from the pope) obviously persists to this day and likely will never stop. Any person who willingly leaves their child in the care of these men of god is as delinquent and delusional as the pope apparently is. (On a side note, I find it especially ironic that the first empire in search of global domination was in fact the catholic church, and now Ratzinger issues an encyclical highlighting the dangers of globalization. Flip-flop much? When are you going to outlaw mass in the vernacular and start burning bibles in any language other than Latin? We all know how much more powerful the church was when nobody could understand that nonsense.)

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The third, and final, course of irrationality that I'm going to serve will be the petition floating around the interwebs demanding the removal of drawings depicting Mohammed from Wikipedia. The text states that, "In Islam pictures or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and other holly figures are not allowed, but on wikipedia they has published some pictures that are showing not only a body with white face but an image that has a complete face.. that is even not allowed by SHITAT fact of Islam.
i request all my brothers and sisters to sign this petition so we can tell wikipedia to remove them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad specially this image http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Maome.jpg ."

First of all, work on your spelling. It's hard enough to read this without having to cringe internally with every other word just from the grammatical errors. Secondly, Wikipedia is not run by Muslims, and therefore has no obligation to adhere to your silly laws. The rest of us are free to depict him however we choose. Just for good measure, I've included some pictures of Mohammed. Feel free to start a petition to have my blog removed from the internet, barbarians.

 

Muhammed was a pedophileallah is bullshitIslam is barbaric

 

 

Anybody who would like to donate to help us increase security due to the likelihood of psychopathic idiots coming to chop off our heads with rusty machetes may do so here. If they can get 34,000 signatures on their petition, we should be able to get a grand for some guard dogs, right? Smiling

 

 

 

Sapient's picture

Note to muslims: We are

Note to muslims: We are armed and have guard dogs that are trained to eat off your head while barking "RRS Akbar!"

 

P.S. Please donate for the guard dogs and guns.

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.

The Atheist Jew's picture

Maybe theism simply appeals

Maybe theism simply appeals to those with mental disorders or maybe theism validates those with mental disorders.

I do think that we have evolved the susceptibility to accept supernatural explanations for things we can't explain readily or with things where the natural answer isn't the one that gives us immortality.

Our ancestors couldn't even explain lightning let alone understand death, to keep from going crazy, they almost had to accept supernatural explanations so that they could make it to adulthood. 

kellym78's picture

I agree, and I address that

I agree, and I address that starting in the second paragraph. As I stated there, even if it is the case that it only affects those who are susceptible, isn't it still the case that the impetus for the worsening of their condition or their ultimate actions/delusional behaviors was religion? Not all people are equally susceptible to drug addiction, but that doesn't stop us as a society warning people of the dangers inherent in even casual drug use. How is religion different?

No atheism here.

Religion is different from illegal drugs because it is societally protected. Even if religion is destructive, it won't carry the same stigma as drugs because too many people support it. Your analogy is more effective with tobacco and alcohol, which are both traditionally accepted features of our culture despite the harms they can inflict. Because they are so ingrained in our culture, we won't get rid of them regardless the problems to which they contribute (though tobacco could be teetering on the brink of extinction).

Anyway, that was elucidating an analogy I don't agree with it at all. Pinning acts of the mentally deficient on their influences is spurious logic. It's the same as hysterical mothers blaming teen violence on D&D, then on movies, and now on video games, because a handful of mentally deficient kids are influenced by these things and commit acts of violence. And if you are sympathetic to that pile of crap about the link between violent media and violent kids, then how about taking the analogy to it's extreme with disgusting ideas like homosexuality spreads AIDS, or blacks cause crime. The demographic overlaps of homosexuality, race, and religion with AIDS, crime, and violence are coincidences of society, not causes and effects.

The majority of the world has always been and still is religious, and such cultural beliefs will always inform and color one's behavior. But to demonstrate that acts of religious people are because of their religion you must provide evidence that such acts would not have occurred without religion. Would 9/11 have happened without Islam? Quite possibly. It just would have been dressed up in political garb, Osama a political revolutionary fighting off political, social, and economic oppression by the West (which is what really motivates the jihad anyway). Is the world less war-like after throwing off the yolk of medieval religion that dominated the Crusades? Hell no. Two world wars, the most devastating conflicts the planet has ever seen, were completely secular.

The institutions of religion are bad, not because they are religious, but because they are corrupt and controlling. Protecting criminals in their organization? Stealing from their members? Denouncing opposed sects? This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the organization. Republicans and Democrats do the same things, and in less stable times Whigs and Torries killed each other over their institutional rivalries. The problems most atheists see and attack are not problems with theism, they are problems with religious institutions. The fallacy of these atheist areguments is that no attack on the corrupt practices of religious institutions touches theism itself. A Republican who defies the tenets of his party and supports socialism does nothing to denigrate Republicanism, he's just a poor Republican. A priest who defies the tenets of Catholicism and molests children does not denigrate Catholicism, he's just a crappy Catholic (and human). And when the Church protects the preist, it still does not impugn the ideas of Catholicism, just exposes the corruption of the organization.

Religion is a tool used by powerful people to exploit the weak, just one of many tools of exploitation like corrupt governments and corporations and other organizations around the world. Like those other corrupt institutions, we should attack them. But only the institutions are susceptible to attacks about causes and effects and real world implications, and attacking the corrupt religious cults is merely selective anarchism, decrying institutional organization itself, rather than atheism.

True atheism assaults the fundamental philosophy of belief in unseen powers, eroding the foundation upon which all the evils and corruption of worldly religious orgnizations stand. I don't see any real atheistic philosophy going on here.

Vessel's picture

Fenriz wrote: Religion is

Fenriz wrote:

Religion is different from illegal drugs because it is societally protected. Even if religion is destructive, it won't carry the same stigma as drugs because too many people support it. Your analogy is more effective with tobacco and alcohol, which are both traditionally accepted features of our culture despite the harms they can inflict. Because they are so ingrained in our culture, we won't get rid of them regardless the problems to which they contribute (though tobacco could be teetering on the brink of extinction).

Anyway, that was elucidating an analogy I don't agree with it at all. Pinning acts of the mentally deficient on their influences is spurious logic. It's the same as hysterical mothers blaming teen violence on D&D, then on movies, and now on video games, because a handful of mentally deficient kids are influenced by these things and commit acts of violence. And if you are sympathetic to that pile of crap about the link between violent media and violent kids, then how about taking the analogy to it's extreme with disgusting ideas like homosexuality spreads AIDS, or blacks cause crime. The demographic overlaps of homosexuality, race, and religion with AIDS, crime, and violence are coincidences of society, not causes and effects.

I disagree. A man who cuts of his hand because of a religious belief is not like a child who commits violence because of watching a movie. The child watching the movie is aping a behavior they have seen. The influence is passive. The man cutting of his hand is following a command. The influence is active. The movie never tells the kid to commit violent acts. The religion does tell the man to cut of his hand, or at the least that he is evil. 

Quote:
The majority of the world has always been and still is religious, and such cultural beliefs will always inform and color one's behavior. But to demonstrate that acts of religious people are because of their religion you must provide evidence that such acts would not have occurred without religion. Would 9/11 have happened without Islam? Quite possibly. It just would have been dressed up in political garb, Osama a political revolutionary fighting off political, social, and economic oppression by the West (which is what really motivates the jihad anyway). Is the world less war-like after throwing off the yolk of medieval religion that dominated the Crusades? Hell no. Two world wars, the most devastating conflicts the planet has ever seen, were completely secular.

Because the world is not less war like (which is disputable. We would need to look at tendeancy to resort to war and not casualities as technology is the cause of increased casualities. This says nothing about whether or not the world is more or less warlike) does not mean that religion is not the cause of  many undesirable behaviors. If one kills in the name of their god their religion is a cause of that behavior. To try and exclude it as such is simply apologetics. You could just as easily exclude political motivations and blame only religion for 9/11.  

Quote:
The institutions of religion are bad, not because they are religious, but because they are corrupt and controlling. Protecting criminals in their organization? Stealing from their members? Denouncing opposed sects? This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the organization. Republicans and Democrats do the same things, and in less stable times Whigs and Torries killed each other over their institutional rivalries. The problems most atheists see and attack are not problems with theism, they are problems with religious institutions. The fallacy of these atheist areguments is that no attack on the corrupt practices of religious institutions touches theism itself. A Republican who defies the tenets of his party and supports socialism does nothing to denigrate Republicanism, he's just a poor Republican. A priest who defies the tenets of Catholicism and molests children does not denigrate Catholicism, he's just a crappy Catholic (and human). And when the Church protects the preist, it still does not impugn the ideas of Catholicism, just exposes the corruption of the organization.

Religion is bad because it removes responsibility for humanity from humanity. It is not only corrupt religion that is bad. All religion is dogmatic by its nature and allows one to commit atrocious acts in the name of a greater good. It is true it is not the only ideology which allows this, but just because others do as well is no reason to excuse religion.

Quote:
Religion is a tool used by powerful people to exploit the weak, just one of many tools of exploitation like corrupt governments and corporations and other organizations around the world. Like those other corrupt institutions, we should attack them. But only the institutions are susceptible to attacks about causes and effects and real world implications, and attacking the corrupt religious cults is merely selective anarchism, decrying institutional organization itself, rather than atheism.

Religion is an unnecessary tool which places the responsibility for mankind in the hands of an imaginary entity who can be seen as condoning any desired behavior. I'm not interested in addressing your anarchist arguments.

Quote:
True atheism assaults the fundamental philosophy of belief in unseen powers, eroding the foundation upon which all the evils and corruption of worldly religious orgnizations stand. I don't see any real atheistic philosophy going on here.

Are you the bringer of the One True Atheism?  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins

nen's picture

Actually, religion in of

Actually, religion in of itself *can't* be a mental disorder, if some books are to be believed - the most pertinent is this one: 

 

http://godpart.com/

 

 If you have a quick read about this book, you will see that the author posits that religion originates from a specific part of the brain. I'm not sure if this is a proven theory, but from the evidence I've read about, it seems promising. 

 

Therefore, if religion is hard-wired into an average person's brain, how can it be considered a mental disorder? Rather, *atheism* might be considered a mental disorder from this perspective, as, despite atheists' superior rationality, it is not how our brains seem to have evolved to work.

 

Even if religion is not hard-coded in the brain, how do you define a mental disorder? The majority of the world's population are religious in some way or another, and shouldn't the majority be used as a comparison for what is "normal"? You're making the mistake that deviations from pure rationality constitute mental illness, when it is clear that the human mind did not evolve as a purely rational machine.

 

 Of course, if you're willing to call *universal* emotions like love and jealousy mental disorders (which are also irrational, hardwired in our brains, and make us do stupid things like kill people) then yes, I suppose you could classify religion as a mental disorder.

 

But seriously, your argument is weak. Making inflammatory and incorrect soundbites like "religion is a mental disorder" hardly helps the rest of us atheists in arguments. Please think things through.

Sapient's picture

Fenriz wrote: True atheism

Fenriz wrote:

True atheism assaults the fundamental philosophy of belief in unseen powers, eroding the foundation upon which all the evils and corruption of worldly religious orgnizations stand.

True atheism is what you are born into.  True atheism is merely the absence of belief in a god.   (see the OED definition)

 

Quote:
I don't see any real atheistic philosophy going on here.

Ironically what I see here is exactly what you described as "true atheism."  Yet "true atheism" doesn't have any philosophy to it at all.  Just for kicks, could you explain in more detail what you mean when you say "atheistic philosophy?" 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.

dday76's picture

Atheist bombshell

Atheist bombshell kelly once again lays waste to theistic nonsense.

 There is a push for Muslim leaders, if Islam is such a peaceful religion, to openly denounce violence.  I think this article is a good argument for Christian leaders to openly denounce violence throughout history, both mass violence and self destructive "penance".

"pope (yeah - Ratzi)"... Pope Ratzi in English is Papa Ratzi in Italian, ya know, paparazzi, annoying person trying to get in your personal business... coincidence?  I think not...

 

Jason

 

ps. spector>specter

nen wrote: Actually,

nen wrote:

Actually, religion in of itself *can't* be a mental disorder, if some books are to be believed - the most pertinent is this one: 

 

http://godpart.com/

 

 If you have a quick read about this book, you will see that the author posits that religion originates from a specific part of the brain. I'm not sure if this is a proven theory, but from the evidence I've read about, it seems promising. 

 

Therefore, if religion is hard-wired into an average person's brain, how can it be considered a mental disorder? Rather, *atheism* might be considered a mental disorder from this perspective, as, despite atheists' superior rationality, it is not how our brains seem to have evolved to work.

 

Even if religion is not hard-coded in the brain, how do you define a mental disorder? The majority of the world's population are religious in some way or another, and shouldn't the majority be used as a comparison for what is "normal"? You're making the mistake that deviations from pure rationality constitute mental illness, when it is clear that the human mind did not evolve as a purely rational machine.

 

 Of course, if you're willing to call *universal* emotions like love and jealousy mental disorders (which are also irrational, hardwired in our brains, and make us do stupid things like kill people) then yes, I suppose you could classify religion as a mental disorder.

 

But seriously, your argument is weak. Making inflammatory and incorrect soundbites like "religion is a mental disorder" hardly helps the rest of us atheists in arguments. Please think things through.

Forgive me if I doubt your atheism on first blink. 

The "religion is hard-wired" doesn't really help the theistic cause all that much. For me, it means that man evolved a need for an invisible friend to help explain the world around him. Then he made one. Colossal lack of a divinity there.

You also go from not being sure the "religion is hardwired" theory has been proven to asserting that the assertion "religion is a mental disorder" is incorrect (asserting the correctness of the hard-wired theory). Damn, if only someone had actually made that assertion, you might have something. Way to knock down that strawman.  

Care to take on the right question this time?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin

nen's picture

jcgadfly wrote: Forgive me

jcgadfly wrote:

Forgive me if I doubt your atheism on first blink.

 

 Ad hominem. And frankly, why do you doubt it? Simply because I'm arguing that another atheist's point is weak? If being an atheist means that you have to agree with whatever else another atheist says on religion then I guess I'm not an atheist. Sticking out tongue

jcgadfly wrote:
The "religion is hard-wired" doesn't really help the theistic cause all that much. For me, it means that man evolved a need for an invisible friend to help explain the world around him. Then he made one. Colossal lack of a divinity there

Irrelevant. As I said, I'm atheist, and the "theistic cause" doesn't concern me one bit. What I'm arguing against is purely that religion is a mental disorder. Way to go with your own straw man.

jcgadfly wrote:
You also go from not being sure the "religion is hardwired" theory has been proven to asserting that the assertion "religion is a mental disorder" is incorrect (asserting the correctness of the hard-wired theory). Damn, if only someone had actually made that assertion, you might have something. Way to knock down that strawman.

Care to take on the right question this time?

 Ok, my argument was poorly formed here - I will concede that I should not have assumed the correctness of the "hard-wired theory" without evidence to back it up.

 However, the assertion that "religion is a mental disorder" was indeed *implied*, if not stated explicitly, in the title of this post. Unless I am very much mistaken, the author of the original post was indeed stating that that was her belief. Feel free to explain to me what I misunderstood here.

And of course, one of my arguments was made independently of the "hard-wired theory". If you read my original post carefully, you'll see that. And I notice you didn't make a rebuttal to that one. Care to try now?

islamic extremism and the pope

alot of religious people are insane.

and the pope and islamic extremists give religion a bad name.

most child molesters should get the death penalty.

depending on the degree and severity of the offense, looong prison terms, castration, lobotomies and ,`,`,arks on their faces might suffice in some cases, though.

spirituality is preferable to religion, imo.

are atheists ever wrong about anything?

yes.  they might be wrong about god, too.

i submit to you that atheists are really agnostics with closed minds.

no offense intended.

 

 

`,`,`

nen wrote:jcgadfly

nen wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Forgive me if I doubt your atheism on first blink.

 

 Ad hominem. And frankly, why do you doubt it? Simply because I'm arguing that another atheist's point is weak? If being an atheist means that you have to agree with whatever else another atheist says on religion then I guess I'm not an atheist. Sticking out tongue

jcgadfly wrote:
The "religion is hard-wired" doesn't really help the theistic cause all that much. For me, it means that man evolved a need for an invisible friend to help explain the world around him. Then he made one. Colossal lack of a divinity there

Irrelevant. As I said, I'm atheist, and the "theistic cause" doesn't concern me one bit. What I'm arguing against is purely that religion is a mental disorder. Way to go with your own straw man.

jcgadfly wrote:
You also go from not being sure the "religion is hardwired" theory has been proven to asserting that the assertion "religion is a mental disorder" is incorrect (asserting the correctness of the hard-wired theory). Damn, if only someone had actually made that assertion, you might have something. Way to knock down that strawman.

Care to take on the right question this time?

 Ok, my argument was poorly formed here - I will concede that I should not have assumed the correctness of the "hard-wired theory" without evidence to back it up.

 However, the assertion that "religion is a mental disorder" was indeed *implied*, if not stated explicitly, in the title of this post. Unless I am very much mistaken, the author of the original post was indeed stating that that was her belief. Feel free to explain to me what I misunderstood here.

And of course, one of my arguments was made independently of the "hard-wired theory". If you read my original post carefully, you'll see that. And I notice you didn't make a rebuttal to that one. Care to try now?

That's why I asked your forgiveness in advance. I've seen so many theists play the "I'm an atheist too" card that I'm suspicious of anyone.

Your "maybe atheism is the mental disorder" made me wonder. My apologies again for any offense. 

The "hardwired" theory helps neither cause. It destroys the theistic cause for the reasons I stated earlier. It doesn't do much for the atheist because it means that using logic and reason is irrational which makes no sense. 

Again, "religion is a mental disorder" is a strawman because religion is a man made construct with rational reasons for being (conning its followers out of money and power). They're not ethical but they are rational. If you mean religion is hard-wired in this instance I can agree with you because wanting to be in control could also be said to be hardwwired. 

The instinctual need to create a sky daddy and build a story around him is just too hard for me to see.  It's hard to see because every God requirers that the follower has faith. Faith is a belief without evidence which runs contrary to reason and logic.

Theism, the belief in a God, is a mental disorder according to the RRS. I am by no means an expert but much of theism follows the DSM-IV concerning delusional disorders. (thinking God talks to them, they're under spiritual attack/persecution, etc) 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin

nen's picture

jcgadfly wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
That's why I asked your forgiveness in advance. I've seen so many theists play the "I'm an atheist too" card that I'm suspicious of anyone.

Your "maybe atheism is the mental disorder" made me wonder. My apologies again for any offense.

Fair enough. After a brief foray on the forums, I think I can understand this. And no offense was taken.^^

On the other hand, one can kinda understand why theists sometimes try that trick. Despite the rules on the "Kill 'Em With Kindness" forum, I noticed Ad Hominem attacks in almost every thread I read. A lot of atheists here have their heads up their arses... I digress.

jcgadfly wrote:
The "hardwired" theory helps neither cause. It destroys the theistic cause for the reasons I stated earlier. It doesn't do much for the atheist because it means that using logic and reason is irrational which makes no sense.

Well, again, this is irrelevant to my point, but I can't resist commenting anyway. First off, it doesn't "destroy the theistic cause". There are theistic arguments around this discovery (as there are around any contradictory discovery) - mostly that "God put that part of the brain there so we could comprehend him". Then again, if it is true, it doesn't *help* the theistic cause either, so if that's what you meant, I agree.

As for how it affects the atheist, I think your last sentence reads like a non sequitur. Can you clarify what you mean here?

jcgadfly wrote:
Again, "religion is a mental disorder" is a strawman because religion is a man made construct with rational reasons for being (conning its followers out of money and power). They're not ethical but they are rational. If you mean religion is hard-wired in this instance I can agree with you because wanting to be in control could also be said to be hardwwired.

Are we on the same page as to what a straw man is? I was under the impression that a straw man is a misrepresentation of the opponents' position to make it easier to refute. So, in that case, unless "religion is a mental disorder" isn't really a belief that anyone holds, then it isn't a straw man. Of course, maybe people here are being ironic, sarcastic or metaphorical, but I didn't really get that impression.

jcgadfly wrote:
The instinctual need to create a sky daddy and build a story around him is just too hard for me to see. It's hard to see because every God requirers that the follower has faith. Faith is a belief without evidence which runs contrary to reason and logic.

The first two sentences here merely state your opinion, so I'm going to leave them. The last one - I agree, but once again, why is it relevant?

jcgadfly wrote:
Theism, the belief in a God, is a mental disorder according to the RRS. I am by no means an expert but much of theism follows the DSM-IV concerning delusional disorders. (thinking God talks to them, they're under spiritual attack/persecution, etc)

Ok, I think this basically boils down to semantics then. If you define a mental disorder purely by the DSM-IV, which seems reasonable, you can call it a mental disorder. But let's take a look at what it thinks is a mental disorder. According to Wikipedia, mental conditions were added to the DSM-IV if they caused the following:

“clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning”. (Take note: it doesn't say anything about rationality.)

Well, due to the status of religion in the world, I don't think religion actually meets this criteria. Going to church can be social. You are generally not restricted from holding jobs based on your religious beliefs (though it might conflict with an evolutionary biologist's duties^^). In fact, religious people can, from a clinical point of view, operate completely normally in the world (unless they have other, independent issues).

Once again, because religion is so ubiquitous, it seems like a misnomer to be calling it a "disorder", when the word is usually applied to something that is irregular.

I agree totally that religion is irrational and harmful, but I see no reason to call it a disorder, apart from being arrogant and inflammatory. Which I suppose was my original point. Stop being arrogant and inflammatory.

nen wrote: jcgadfly

nen wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:
That's why I asked your forgiveness in advance. I've seen so many theists play the "I'm an atheist too" card that I'm suspicious of anyone.

Your "maybe atheism is the mental disorder" made me wonder. My apologies again for any offense.

Fair enough. After a brief foray on the forums, I think I can understand this. And no offense was taken.^^

On the other hand, one can kinda understand why theists sometimes try that trick. Despite the rules on the "Kill 'Em With Kindness" forum, I noticed Ad Hominem attacks in almost every thread I read. A lot of atheists here have their heads up their arses... I digress.

jcgadfly wrote:
The "hardwired" theory helps neither cause. It destroys the theistic cause for the reasons I stated earlier. It doesn't do much for the atheist because it means that using logic and reason is irrational which makes no sense.

Well, again, this is irrelevant to my point, but I can't resist commenting anyway. First off, it doesn't "destroy the theistic cause". There are theistic arguments around this discovery (as there are around any contradictory discovery) - mostly that "God put that part of the brain there so we could comprehend him". Then again, if it is true, it doesn't *help* the theistic cause either, so if that's what you meant, I agree.

As for how it affects the atheist, I think your last sentence reads like a non sequitur. Can you clarify what you mean here?

jcgadfly wrote:
Again, "religion is a mental disorder" is a strawman because religion is a man made construct with rational reasons for being (conning its followers out of money and power). They're not ethical but they are rational. If you mean religion is hard-wired in this instance I can agree with you because wanting to be in control could also be said to be hardwwired.

Are we on the same page as to what a straw man is? I was under the impression that a straw man is a misrepresentation of the opponents' position to make it easier to refute. So, in that case, unless "religion is a mental disorder" isn't really a belief that anyone holds, then it isn't a straw man. Of course, maybe people here are being ironic, sarcastic or metaphorical, but I didn't really get that impression.

jcgadfly wrote:
The instinctual need to create a sky daddy and build a story around him is just too hard for me to see. It's hard to see because every God requirers that the follower has faith. Faith is a belief without evidence which runs contrary to reason and logic.

The first two sentences here merely state your opinion, so I'm going to leave them. The last one - I agree, but once again, why is it relevant?

jcgadfly wrote:
Theism, the belief in a God, is a mental disorder according to the RRS. I am by no means an expert but much of theism follows the DSM-IV concerning delusional disorders. (thinking God talks to them, they're under spiritual attack/persecution, etc)

Ok, I think this basically boils down to semantics then. If you define a mental disorder purely by the DSM-IV, which seems reasonable, you can call it a mental disorder. But let's take a look at what it thinks is a mental disorder. According to Wikipedia, mental conditions were added to the DSM-IV if they caused the following:

“clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning”. (Take note: it doesn't say anything about rationality.)

Well, due to the status of religion in the world, I don't think religion actually meets this criteria. Going to church can be social. You are generally not restricted from holding jobs based on your religious beliefs (though it might conflict with an evolutionary biologist's duties^^). In fact, religious people can, from a clinical point of view, operate completely normally in the world (unless they have other, independent issues).

Once again, because religion is so ubiquitous, it seems like a misnomer to be calling it a "disorder", when the word is usually applied to something that is irregular.

I agree totally that religion is irrational and harmful, but I see no reason to call it a disorder, apart from being arrogant and inflammatory. Which I suppose was my original point. Stop being arrogant and inflammatory.

Thanks for your responses. You've given me much to think on so I won't respond to all of this post yet. On the strawman, Kelly in her OP, talked about "theism as a mental disorder" You equated "theism" with "religion" and shot that down. I tend to give Kelly enough credit that she knows how to choose her words.

On the "arrogant and inflammatory" closing. I chalk it up to human nature. If you get arrogant and inflammatory it's really hard to return sweetness and light. Some Christians (particularly those in America) have been really arrogant and inflammatory lately in their attempts to make their Bible the law of the land. Meekness doesn't work with them - they interpret it as acquiescence. You defend yourself with what tools you have

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin

  john allan tate

 

john allan tate iii wrote:

i submit to you that atheists are really agnostics with closed minds.]

 

My $0.02: Really? I admit that I'm new to atheism, but my early impression is that as an atheist, I don't have to have an ideology.  I get to go where the information leads.  Getting an education can be tiring, to say the least, when you take merely learning the information (which is what education should be about,) and add to that a process of doctrinally filtering said information, (for "errors," of course,) then trying to decide what can be kept, what has to be cast aside, and fill in the gaps on your own (read: re-inventing the wheel, to doctrinal specifications,) and top it all off with worrying about whether or not you will end up in Hell anyway, because the case for whatever-it-was sure sounded convincing.  (Heresy, of course, is a major sin in any religion that I know of.)

 

How much easier it is just to deal with the information by itself.

Conor

_______________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII]

"But it should!"--Me

Luigi Novi's picture

Is "Mental Disorder" just used pejoratively?

Theism is not a mental disorder. It is something that is derived by how we're hardwired. Human beings are pattern-seeking individuals, and as such, we sometimes, when searching for a pattern, have a hit ("Those are MOONS circuling Jupiter!" ), and sometimes have a miss ("This phenomena was caused by a GOD!" ). That's just in our nature. A person who holds a religious belief is not mentally ill.

The yokel who cut his hand off may very well be mentally ill, but that act is not necessarily derived from religion, or even necessarily expedited by it; It is just as well possible that he would've done that had he been an atheist.

Does religion expedite violence in people in such a way that it would not do with the same people were they atheists? Arguably. But I think I better example would be the Crusades, the Inquisition, witchhunts, jihads, fatwas, circumcision, etc. because these people who commit those acts are not mentally ill, and this is why religion's power is so disturbing: It is disturbing precisely because it can get people who are not mentally ill to do things that would otherwise seem to be the domain of the mentally ill. That religion provides a prism for illogical behavior that secular ideas cannot is a valid criticism of it. But one is traipsing onto the realm of pseudoscience when one argues, without citing peer-reviewed scientific evidence, that it can objectively be labeled a sign of mental illness. Doing this is little different than when homophobes refer to homosexuals as mentally ill, or when anti-atheist theists claim that atheists are immoral.

But if these acts were born out of mental illness, then you would expect a drastic drop in mentall illness demographically if theism decreased and atheism increased. I'm skeptical that this would be the case, but it makes an interesting question. Do countries with higher levels of atheism than the U.S., like Sweden, for example, have a lower per capita rate of mental illness? Well, we know from the 2005 study "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies" published the Journal of Religion and Society (http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html) that there appears to be a positive correlation (though not necessarily causation) between religiosity and higher rates of abortion, teenage pregnancy and murder, but I know of no information offhand that establishes the same correlation for mental illness.

Can you supply such information, Kelly? If not, then I'd say that no, I still do not think that theism is a mental disorder. It's just an unfortunate by-product of what makes us uniquely human.

-----------

Btw, has anyone else read Tom Neven's silly little essay in which he argues that pro-choicers use the term "pro-choice" as a euphemistic dodge because they can't win the debate on intellectual grounds? If you wanna read it, it's at: http://www.boundlessline.org/2008/01/abortion-and-th.html. My response to it is in that thread, near the bottom (Just do a search for my name). It's also my latest MySpace blog entry, at www.myspace.com/luiginovi.

babblero's picture

I Signed the petition to remove Mohammed

But I signed it with the following:

"I am against the petition. No censorship for any reason! No religion is more sacred than human life! The islamists have no authority for people outside of their religion. No theocratic rules! Individual liberty and first amendment freedom of speech. No religion before the constitution!"

Amazingly my grammar was better than most other signators.

 What we really need is a petition to remove Mohammed from Islam.

Thanks Rational Response Squad!

To Hell with God and Religion. Except for Kali, she's hot.

PhillyChief's picture

You know the drill

Religionists can always come back with the same replies to those examples of craziness - they're not "real" practitioners of (insert religion of choice) or they're simply crazy. The clear flaws of this are, of course, that there's no definitive and accepted definition for what a "real" practitioner of (insert religion of choice) is and that (insert religion of choice) can do nothing to help someone who is crazy. 

gwenny's picture

Jesus and Mo

Great comic that looks at the silliness and irrationality of the religions that sprang out of the teachings of Jesus and Mo They throw Moses in every once in awhile.

nen's picture

jcgadfly wrote: Thanks for

jcgadfly wrote:

Thanks for your responses. You've given me much to think on so I won't respond to all of this post yet.

No problem. It was an interesting debate. Smiling

jcgadfly wrote:
On the strawman, Kelly in her OP, talked about "theism as a mental disorder" You equated "theism" with "religion" and shot that down. I tend to give Kelly enough credit that she knows how to choose her words.

Point. 

But, which of my arguments don't apply when you replace the word "religion" with "theism"? This was just me being lax - I wasn't deliberately trying to modify her POV.

 

jcgadfly wrote:
On the "arrogant and inflammatory" closing. I chalk it up to human nature. If you get arrogant and inflammatory it's really hard to return sweetness and light. Some Christians (particularly those in America) have been really arrogant and inflammatory lately in their attempts to make their Bible the law of the land. Meekness doesn't work with them - they interpret it as acquiescence. You defend yourself with what tools you have

I agree that it is human nature to respond in kind, but the efficacy of this method depends on your agenda.

From what I gather on this site, the intent of the RRS seems to be to:

  • Raise awareness of atheism.
  • Appeal to those on the fence about religion.
  • Stop marginalisation of atheists.

    They have little interest (or hope) in converting die-hard theists, because this is a lost cause. (Of course, this may once again be a straw man, so someone please correct me if you think this is a misrepresentation!)

 

While making the "theism is a mental disorder" statement, you certainly accomplish the first of these. By being controversial, one can certainly gain attention. But, I would suggest it is counter-productive on the other two points.

Firstly, those on the fence, however irrationally, will judge an idea (or lack therefore Sticking out tongue) by the people that adhere to it. If all atheists come off as arrogant, and make false statements about theism, it'll hardly entice anyone to seriously think about atheism, even if otherwise one might have eventually come round to the idea. And too, I have several nontheist friends who refuse to be labelled atheist simply because of the negative connotation. 

Anyway, how does pissing people off stop them from hassling us? It just gives the theist more ammo against us: "Hate the atheist, for he calls you insane for your beliefs!"

The ironic thing here is, that atheists generally value reason over petty urges (such as the urge to believe in a divine being). And yet, it seems that we're giving in to petty anger here, without really thinking it through. 

  Anyway, those're my thoughts. Anyone want to disagree? Smiling

ksskidude's picture

Great work as always

Great work as always Kelly!!

 

 

Sapient's picture

nen wrote: jcgadfly

nen wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Forgive me if I doubt your atheism on first blink.

 

 Ad hominem.

No.  Do us a favor and argue for your postion without pretending to know your logical fallacies.  It'll make the experience more beneficial for all of us. 

I'll give you this... it could appear like an ad hom, but it wasn't. 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.

Charles Evolution's picture

Kelly's post on religion and mental illness

I'm an atheist, but it seems to me that dragging this apparently schizophrenic guy who cut his hand off as a springboard for this argument is simply opportunism, pure and simple.

If you can't discern between real psychosis on the one hand, and religious fervor and its various neuroses on the other, then there's a problem here.

Schizophrenic people often can't navigate between imagination and reality. It's like living in a dream, often a scary dream where voices are commanding you to do things, and for some reason it's hard to resist those voices. That is a function of chemical imbalances in the brain that probably have a biological basis. But to link schizophrenia, however indirectly, to religion as a mental illness is irresponsible.

I like Kelly's posts, and I like the remainder of this particular post of hers, but I found that using a genuinely psychotic individual as a springboard for this post just creates confusion about what mental illness really is.

It's not uncommon for schizophrenics to have "religious" delusions, but they can also have non-religious delusions involving extreterrestrials, the CIA, the FBI, the KKK, Nazis, their neighbors, family, and friends.

Is religion a form of mental illness? Maybe, but it's not the same as schizophrenia. Even in cultures full of religious, superstitious beliefs, schizophrenics still stand out as psychotics with chemical brain imbalances.

teddy5k's picture

well said. i do think that

well said. i do think that the message of RRS gets lost with some very blatant attention getting lines. their intent is still to rid the world of religion, one conversion at a time. i would like them to be a little more as their namesake states.....rational. when they start saying things like mental disorder, it doesnt help anything. until its fully proven that its a mental disorder(which it never will), theists can walk all over that statement. RRS and many other atheists, tend to fall in the category of extremists. it seems that it is very hard to belong to anything involving religion or anti-religion these days without having to be an extremists to get your point across or get respect. this of course, is a very bad category to fall in to. i hope that doesnt happen seeing how big RRS is and how much of an influence RRS has, and will have on atheism in the 21st century. on the other side, if you just sit back and be a quiet atheist you are doing the same good/bad a quiet theist is doing. nothing. if you care about your country or your world, you need to help. i do my part with my friends and family in a respectful rational way. i hope others do the same. i would love to see RRS help atheists do the same with their families and friends.

"It is far better to grasp the world as it really is, than to persist in delusion however satisfying and reassuring".

I agree with the last few

I agree with the last few people. I love the rational response squad, but sometimes you guys play a bad representation of atheists like me.

 

Now I would say religion (usually) leads to very irrational behavior, and sometimes can lead people to do extremely irrational behavior that is pretty insane. However, I would not become so prejudice or bigoted that I'd say all theism is a mental disorder. Perhaps a mental block but not a "disorder" in a medical sense. This block can lead to people doing insanely good and benevolent things, but it can lead to insanely malevolent or violent things. Perhaps those who are already mentally weak succumb to fanaticism by using religious or spiritual ideas as a mental crutch, but let's not get simple minded by labelling theism as a mental disorder (meaning they are flawed humans, mentally less than atheists, etc).

 

This kind of bigotry doesn't do anyone good in any situation, and in this situation it especially doesn't help atheists. If we ever want to be taken seriously, and end the negative views and hatred towards us, then we need to be more rational than that.

/rant

Charles Evolution's picture

Thanks, teddy5k. I agree

Thanks, teddy5k. I agree with you.

I like the RSS. And I like it as much as any out-of-the-closet atheist can, but having known a number of people with schizophrenia, I'm a bit concerned that people with mental illnesses are being lumped together with the scary evangelical religious faithful. This is not right.

It is okay to criticize your friends, especially if you think some aspect of the point they make is flawed. We can't hide our dirty laundry from the public, as atheists, simply because we ARE public. And this is how it should be.

But if we call religious beliefs a form of mental illness (and they might be), we should be careful not to equate them with real genuine schizophrenic psychosis.

This approach does not genuinely serve psychotic people and their needs. In fact it might allow schizophrenics with religious delusions to be denied the proper respect they deserve in order to deal with their mental health issues.

I know Kelly's point had very little to do with this issue, so I apologize if I've made a mountain out of a molehill, but as someone who believes in advocating for the mentally ill, I feel strongly about this particular point.

I recently read a bunch of atheists jumping on the same bandwagon against this poor delusional guy with his religious hallucinations.

 If this disturbed guy didn't live in a religious culture, he would probably have some other hallucination that could have caused as much damage, based on whatever the irrestable voices in his head told him to do. One could debate this point, but plenty of images of violence and mutilation exist in every culture, and they're not all founded by religion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luigi Novi's picture

Well said, Charles.  

Well said, Charles.

 

darth_josh's picture

Without even reading any

Without even reading any further evidence presented for the claim that theism is a mind disorder, three posters with less than 20 hours combined membership have voiced disapproval of the examination. Followed by someone that MAY have read everything posted, but only commented three times in 33 weeks.

How very quaint.

Would it please your delicate sensibilities if we referred to it as mild schizophrenia? Perhaps just delusional behavior? Either way, we're discussing aberrant psychology.

I am not quite sure that I understand your objection due to the fact that you argued schizophrenia was more severe instead of wholly dissimilar.

A disorder is a disorder is it not? Refusing to accept the idea that a god might NOT exist based upon one's psychological conditioning is every bit as much of a disorder as a chemical imbalance, traumatic injury, or aversive programming.

This has also been covered:

here

here

here

And generally every day, but we are most certainly welcome to discuss it again.

Leave the nicey-nice dogma at the door though. In all honesty, I go into these discussions concerning the 'mind disorder' thing with an open mind, but as of yet I have seen no convincing argument to the contrary.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.

nen's picture

Sapient wrote:No. Do us

Sapient wrote:

No. Do us a favor and argue for your postion without pretending to know your logical fallacies. It'll make the experience more beneficial for all of us.

I'll give you this... it could appear like an ad hom, but it wasn't.

I'm not sure I understand. Because I was under the impression that by doubting my atheism, jcgadfly was implying a lack of reasoning capability on my part (considering we're on an atheist website here, I expect the majority of people consider theists irrational on the subject of theism). And by stating this, he/she was distracting from my argument, and biasing people here against it. Frankly, whether or not I believe should have absolutely no bearing on the validity of my arguments, and yet jcgadfly still brought it up as his/her first point.

Of course, I'm new to debating, so I admit you might be right. But don't just knock me down and act superior without explaining why - that is hardly a mature way to handle this. Please tell me - why was it not an ad hominem fallacy?

darth_josh wrote:

Would it please your delicate sensibilities if we referred to it as mild schizophrenia? Perhaps just delusional behavior? Either way, we're discussing aberrant psychology.

No, the phrase "aberrant psychology" is even easier to knock down. The word aberrant is defined by Merriam Webster as:

  • straying from the right or normal way
  • deviating from the usual or natural type

Exactly what about theism isn't normal or usual? Sure, not rational and (I think it's) probably not correct, but aberrant is *precisely* the wrong word to use here. I can't see how you can call theism "aberrant psychology".

On the other hand, I don't disagree at all with your use of the word "delusional". Actually, the definition of this word seems to fit theism more closely: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary. Spooky.

darth_josh wrote:

A disorder is a disorder is it not? Refusing to accept the idea that a god might NOT exist based upon one's psychological conditioning is every bit as much of a disorder as a chemical imbalance, traumatic injury, or aversive programming.

This paragraph looks like a statement of opinion with no backing argument. Yes, a disorder is a disorder. That hardly makes for a good definition of the word though, does it? Once again, Merriam Webster to the rescue:

  • lack of order <clothes in disorder>
  • breach of the peace or public order <troubled times marked by social disorders>
  • an abnormal physical or mental condition <a liver disorder> <a personality disorder>

The former two definitions can't make sense in this context, so I assume that you refer to the latter. So, what it means by mental disorder is an abnormal mental condition. In what way can theism be considered abnormal?

 

Guys, I think I know what you mean when you say that theism is a mental disorder. Theism doesn't make sense and often has symptoms in common with recognised mental disorders. Actual mental disorders are often coupled with theistic beliefs too (like in the case of Mr Handy).

But in of themselves those beliefs are not in any way abnormal or aberrant - both adjectives that "mental disorder" connotes. So can we please find another catchphrase?

Luigi Novi's picture

Darth Josh: Without even

Darth Josh: Without even reading any further evidence presented for the claim that theism is a mind disorder, three posters with less than 20 hours combined membership have voiced disapproval of the examination. Followed by someone that MAY have read everything posted, but only commented three times in 33 weeks. How very quaint.

Are you implying that the duration of one's membership is at all pertinent to the quality of their arguments or counterarguments? What does how many hours of membership they have have to do with anything?

Darth Josh: Would it please your delicate sensibilities...

Please do not presume to condescend others here simply because they happen to disagree with you. Doing this only lowers your own credibility the discussion.

Darth Josh: ...if we referred to it as mild schizophrenia? Perhaps just delusional behavior? Either way, we're discussing aberrant psychology.

If you can provide scientific evidence of this, rather than just semantics, please do so.

Darth Josh: A disorder is a disorder is it not? Refusing to accept the idea that a god might NOT exist based upon one's psychological conditioning is every bit as much of a disorder as a chemical imbalance, traumatic injury, or aversive programming.

No, it is not. If you have evidence that it is, provide it.

Darth Josh: Leave the nicey-nice dogma at the door though. In all honesty, I go into these discussions concerning the 'mind disorder' thing with an open mind, but as of yet I have seen no convincing argument to the contrary.

The burden of proof is on the person making the controversial claim. In this case, the claim is that theism is a mental disorder. Thus it is not the responsibility of skeptics to prove that it isn't.

babblero's picture

Wooo hot topic. Are theists


Wooo hot topic. Are theists whacked?
I think that is the question that is over and above whether theism is a disorder. Theism is not defined as a disorder in itself though it can be a symptom.

According to http://psyweb.com/Glossary/

"Delusions are false beliefs that are deeply entrenched and clearly not based in reality and are not consistent with cultural believes or the persons' level of intelligence and life experiences. Persons cling to these believes even after the believes are shown to be false."

If we separate the apologist part that "are not consistent with cultural believes". W can have IMO a cleaner definition. Do we know that all theists are Delusional? No. Simply put some of them are indeed faking their delusion. That would be a different disorder, probably some form of Narcissism or Megalomania.

again from same site:

"Hallucination are not illusions see note below. Hallucination can be auditory, olfactory, visual, or tactile. Hallucinations are false perceptions or unreal apparition. They do not correspond to the stimuli that is present and have no basis in reality. You have to remember that what is an hallucination in one culture, is not in another."

Excepting the last statement of that definition as an apologetic... Do theists have hallucinations?

Well it depends who you ask.

In all actuality people hallucinate throughout the day, every time you picture something or hear a song in your head or remember the feel of your lovers skin, your hallucinating. What the DSM IV however defines as Hallucination would be a hallucination that one didn't intend or trigger by thought, and that has no bearing on the current mental context. Lets go a step further...A hallucination can be identified in that the person believes it is not an hallucination or has difficulty separating it from the real environment.

Well not all theists hallucinate in this sense. Mostly(sic) just their leaders hear or see god otr at least it is mostly the leaders who say they hear or see god or have conversations with god. Many have regular conversations. George W Bush for example. That the followers are following people with a severe hallucinatory disorder is probably explained by yet another disorder but I do not know offhand what.

Another likely candidate: Shared Psychotic Disorder.
http://www.behavenet.com/capsules/disorders/sharedpsychoticdis.htm

A way to answer this is to determine how one became a theist. Was it due to ones parent/s being theist/s? Or how about any one close to or having deep ties with one who was also a theist.A lover or strong authority figure or sexually idealized figure. When one comes to believe things unreal in this way it is called shared psychotic disorder. Of course the DSM IV would handily have us accept yet again that if it is a culturally shared phenom it is no longer a disorder. Obviously the theists have gotten to the researchers funding. (almost a psycho-theist conspiracy in that constant thread of apology.)

When an authority or sexually bonded person teaches one some model and that model is backed up by a society or culture of a society, that model, no matter how nonsensical, gains immense gravity to stick with one for life. It is very hard to let go of all the subconscious hooks for any belief no matter how nonsensical.

We have not yet touched on Magical Thinking, a belief that two events are related regardless of the empirical evidence. Such ideas as psychic premonition (knowing who will call on the phone) or affecting die rolls or that because one prays and something happens prayer must be having the effect. Unfortunately IMO the DSM IV categorizes Magical Thinking as an inherent attribute of a given disorder only if that magical thinking is 'different than the normative magical thinking of the culture'(sic).

I'm just a layman but I do think that the majority of people who believe in anything outside the scope of evidence are indeed insane to a degree.
I think an egg ought be called an egg when were discussing methods to make an omelette and that it is fair to call any theist delusional and guilty of magical thinking to some degree and likely somewhat given to hallucination.

But it is also likely , given that a vast huge insane majority of the world are theistic or otherwise superstitious, that we all are whacked and just by chance some of us don't believe in a god and just by chance we come to our 'rational' sense of the world. Being right does not make one more sane after all.

I also think that the vast majority of the planet including a majority of atheists will fit into some disorder or other.

At the last, just because one is crazy, doesn't mean one should not point out another's craziness.
How are we to grow and get better if we continue to apologize for each others misgivings and misdeeds?

To Hell with God and Religion. Except for Kali, she's hot.

darth_josh's picture

Luigi Novi wrote:Darth

 

Luigi Novi wrote:

Darth Josh: Without even reading any further evidence presented for the claim that theism is a mind disorder, three posters with less than 20 hours combined membership have voiced disapproval of the examination. Followed by someone that MAY have read everything posted, but only commented three times in 33 weeks. How very quaint.

Are you implying that the duration of one's membership is at all pertinent to the quality of their arguments or counterarguments? What does how many hours of membership they have have to do with anything?

Yes. Due to the fact that there is much more evidence supporting the claim that theism is a mental disorder available for reading on the site than presented in Kelly's blog. Her blog is one more piece falling on the supporting side of the argument. Meanwhile, the opposing side has offered little more than assertions to refute.

Quote:

Darth Josh: Would it please your delicate sensibilities...

Please do not presume to condescend others here simply because they happen to disagree with you. Doing this only lowers your own credibility the discussion.

I'm afraid that after reading countless posts on this site and elsewhere regarding this issue, I am all too accustomed to people asking for a milder approach to confronting the mentally ill.

Quote:

Darth Josh: ...if we referred to it as mild schizophrenia? Perhaps just delusional behavior? Either way, we're discussing aberrant psychology.

If you can provide scientific evidence of this, rather than just semantics, please do so.

The scientific evidence is primarily what is presented via analysis of the causes behind these aberrant acts of the adherents to faiths. There is a mountain of evidence given by the perpetrators of these acts that specifically cite their beliefs as the impetus for the action(s).

I have no need for semantics when a violent criminal asserts that their god told them to do it.

Quote:

Darth Josh: A disorder is a disorder is it not? Refusing to accept the idea that a god might NOT exist based upon one's psychological conditioning is every bit as much of a disorder as a chemical imbalance, traumatic injury, or aversive programming.

No, it is not. If you have evidence that it is, provide it.

This was too short of a response. I apologize.

I excuse the theist for having the disorder. It is the delusionn itself as programmed that I am more interested in analyzing. One primary conditioning of religions is to instill that 'faith means all' thus negating the individual's capacity for ethical analysis prior to an aberrant action. In other words, all four things that I mentioned have the capability, no... tendency, to cause the disorder called theism to take root. Where the individual takes it from there is subject to permutational speculation.

For instance, one hellish example would be Jonestown. One must speculate that had the 'spy' not been killed then would the koolaid have been served? Perhaps if left to their own devices, the followers of Pastor Jones might have made a utopic society based upon their belief system. Since the converse happened and we trace the causality, we find that it begins with the belief itself held by one individual and transmitted to the congregation like an eventually deadly virus.

Quote:

Darth Josh: Leave the nicey-nice dogma at the door though. In all honesty, I go into these discussions concerning the 'mind disorder' thing with an open mind, but as of yet I have seen no convincing argument to the contrary.

The burden of proof is on the person making the controversial claim. In this case, the claim is that theism is a mental disorder. Thus it is not the responsibility of skeptics to prove that it isn't.

As I've said, I maintain an open mind entertaining speculative hypotheses. The claim that theism is a mind disorder and subject to more psychological analysis in hopes of finding a more effective cure than hoping people will be cured has stood so far.

I completely concur with your last statement. However, if the evidence has been provided and your only recourse for refutation is that you haven't seen it then we must continue to examine not only the past evidenc, but the new evidence that happens every day just like Kelly's blog entry reporting Mr. Beast-Hand.

Simple question: Where would Mr. Beast-Hand have gotten the idea that it was the 'mark of the beast'?

 

Also, here is some help:

How To Use The Quote Function

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darth_josh's picture

nen wrote: So, what it

nen wrote:
So, what it means by mental disorder is an abnormal mental condition. In what way can theism be considered abnormal?

Ummm. Which thousand examples would you like?

Given that one must be programmed with theism, I'd say there is the abnormality.

If one is to make the argument that 'aberrant' is not the correct word to describe the psychological condition of people who talk to thin air expecting a response then I suppose you and I would be the aberrant psychological profiles since we do not. Prepared to make that leap?

As far as 'catchphrase', I'm afraid that I don't understand. You have agreed that disorder means disorder. Why must we relabel something that eloquently fits the description?

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Cpt_pineapple's picture

I'd like to see some

I'd like to see some scientific peer reviewed journals of Theism being a mental disorder.

darth_josh's picture

Cpt_pineapple wrote: I'd

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
I'd like to see some scientific peer reviewed journals of Theism being a mental disorder.

Patience, my dear Cpt., is a virtue. 

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Luigi Novi's picture

Logical Fallacies

Darth Josh: Without even reading any further evidence presented for the claim that theism is a mind disorder, three posters with less than 20 hours combined membership have voiced disapproval of the examination. Followed by someone that MAY have read everything posted, but only commented three times in 33 weeks. How very quaint.

Luigi Novi: Are you implying that the duration of one's membership is at all pertinent to the quality of their arguments or counterarguments? What does how many hours of membership they have have to do with anything?

Darth Josh: Yes. Due to the fact that there is much more evidence supporting the claim that theism is a mental disorder available for reading on the site than presented in Kelly's blog.

Luigi Novi: A fact that has nothing to do with hours of membership of others. I’ve been a visitor to this site since May 5 of last year, have read a number of Kelly’s essays (including some really nice refutations by her of Dinesh D’Souza’s fallacy-filled columns), and have participated in their web chats. And yet, I am unaware of any scientific evidence on this site that theism is a mental disorder. That is simply because being a visitor to a site, even a longtime one, does not mean that one has everything on it that you’ve read. I have no problem being referred to the evidence in question if one is willing to do this (something I notice you haven’t done, Josh), but please do not presume that there is some link between whether one has read this “evidence”, and how much time on the site they’ve spent. If you and the others here want to promote this site and its ideas, then obnoxiously biting newbies ad hominem, or falsely accusing people of being newbies will not accomplish this.

Darth Josh: Her blog is one more piece falling on the supporting side of the argument.

Luigi Novi: Her blog is an assertion of that argument. Not evidence in support of it. You seem to have trouble telling the two apart. Nowhere in her blog entry did Kelly present actual evidence that theism is a mental disorder.

Darth Josh: Would it please your delicate sensibilities...

Luigi Novi: Please do not presume to condescend others here simply because they happen to disagree with you. Doing this only lowers your own credibility the discussion.

Darth Josh: I'm afraid that after reading countless posts on this site and elsewhere regarding this issue, I am all too accustomed to people asking for a milder approach to confronting the mentally ill.

Luigi Novi: Non sequitur.

No one said anything to you about taking a milder approach to theists, so this comment has nothing to do with the statements that preceded it. The issue was your need to condescend to those that do not share your viewpoint, a problem we are all too accustomed when debating theists. There is no reason to insult those you are arguing with, regardless of whether you think you’re right and the other person is wrong regarding the discussion’s central topic. Doing this shows that you are incapable of civil discourse.

Darth Josh: ...if we referred to it as mild schizophrenia? Perhaps just delusional behavior? Either way, we're discussing aberrant psychology.

Luigi Novi: If you can provide scientific evidence of this, rather than just semantics, please do so.

Darth Josh: The scientific evidence is primarily what is presented via analysis of the causes behind these aberrant acts of the adherents to faiths.

Luigi Novi: And I’m asking you one more time: Where is it? Where is this “analysis”? Is it peer-reviewed? When we get into debates with creationists about the Scientific Method and the Peer Review Process, we get cricket chirps in response. What’s yours? If there is such a wealth of scientific, peer-reviewed evidence on this site, why did you not link to just one piece of it? Why have I not heard that the AMA or APA has accepted it as confirmed, or the theist uproar that would've no doubt followed? Your silence on this point makes it clear that phrases like "what is presented via analysis..." are just euphemisms you use because no such evidence exists.

Darth Josh: There is a mountain of evidence given by the perpetrators of these acts that specifically cite their beliefs as the impetus for the action(s).
Luigi Novi: Which does nothing to establish that it’s a biological or chemical disorder. All you’re doing is citing the behavior. But the assertion here is not what the behavior is. It’s what the cause of it is. All you’re doing is making a deliberate confusion between behavior and cause.

Darth Josh: I have no need for semantics when a violent criminal asserts that their god told them to do it.
Luigi Novi: Then stop resorting to them.

Darth Josh: A disorder is a disorder is it not? Refusing to accept the idea that a god might NOT exist based upon one's psychological conditioning is every bit as much of a disorder as a chemical imbalance, traumatic injury, or aversive programming.

Luigi Novi: No, it is not. If you have evidence that it is, provide it.

Darth Josh: This was too short of a response. I apologize. I excuse the theist for having the disorder. It is the delusionn itself as programmed that I am more interested in analyzing. One primary conditioning of religions is to instill that 'faith means all' thus negating the individual's capacity for ethical analysis prior to an aberrant action. In other words, all four things that I mentioned have the capability, no... tendency, to cause the disorder called theism to take root. Where the individual takes it from there is subject to permutational speculation. For instance, one hellish example would be Jonestown. One must speculate that had the 'spy' not been killed then would the koolaid have been served? Perhaps if left to their own devices, the followers of Pastor Jones might have made a utopic society based upon their belief system. Since the converse happened and we trace the causality, we find that it begins with the belief itself held by one individual and transmitted to the congregation like an eventually deadly virus.

Luigi Novi: None of what you said establishes that theism is a mental disorder. Again, you are confusing behavior with its cause. We know what the behavior is. But Kelly's assertion, and yours, is that it's biologically caused. Again, where is your evidence that it is biologically caused, and not cultural?

Darth Josh: As I've said, I maintain an open mind entertaining speculative hypotheses. The claim that theism is a mind disorder and subject to more psychological analysis in hopes of finding a more effective cure than hoping people will be cured has stood so far.
Luigi Novi: Again, you seem to be having trouble distinguishing between an assertion and a proven fact. You and Kelly have asserted that it is a mind disorder. You have not provided evidence that it is, so you haven’t even come close to establishing it as an empirical fact that has gained acceptance in the medical community, let alone one that has “stood”.

Bold assertions are not the same thing as proven facts.

Darth Josh: I completely concur with your last statement. However, if the evidence has been provided and your only recourse for refutation is that you haven't seen it then we must continue to examine not only the past evidenc, but the new evidence that happens every day just like Kelly's blog entry reporting Mr. Beast-Hand.
Luigi Novi: And since the evidence has not been provided, then this point is moot. Can you link me to these bits of evidence on this site that you’ve mentioned? Have they been submitted to peer review journals? If so, what was their response?

Darth Josh: Simple question: Where would Mr. Beast-Hand have gotten the idea that it was the 'mark of the beast'?
Luigi Novi: The answer to this depends on how you frame the scope of the question. Are you talking about cultural origins, psychological origins, either, or both? By itself, the question does not prove your or Kelly’s assertion. Even if, for the sake of argument, we agree to the answer “from religion”, this only explains the cultural form in which the act manifested itself. It does not explain whether it was biological, much less that he would not have mutliated himself if he were an atheist. People mutliate themselves for non-theistic reasons, after all.

Darth Josh: Also, here is some help: How To Use The Quote Function
Luigi Novi: Thanks. But I think I’ll stick to the formatting method I’ve been using.

Darth Josh: Ummm. Which thousand examples would you like?
Luigi Novi: Proof that even some exist (and that these examples are indeed ones of scientific evidence, not the behavior itself again) would be nice.

Darth Josh: Given that one must be programmed with theism, I'd say there is the abnormality.
Luigi Novi: Again, if it has to be programmed into you, then doesn’t that support the idea that it’s culturally derived, rather than biological?

Capt. Pineapple: I'd like to see some scientific peer reviewed journals of Theism being a mental disorder.

Darth Josh: Patience, my dear Cpt., is a virtue.

Luigi Novi: In other words, you got none, despite your previous bloviating to the contrary. Thank you.

 

Cpt_pineapple's picture

darth_josh

darth_josh wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
I'd like to see some scientific peer reviewed journals of Theism being a mental disorder.

Patience, my dear Cpt., is a virtue.

 

Not holding my breathe. 

totus_tuus's picture

kellym78 wrote:Ignatius of

kellym78 wrote:
Ignatius of Loyola makes an interesting case study demonstrating the way in which religion exploits this predisposition to self-loathing and delusional disorders.

Based on your stilted synopsis of Ignatius' life, I can see how you may have been able to draw that conclusion.  Perhaps an examination of all the facts of Ignatius' life would point to the fact that his religious beliefs helped him cope with adversity and persevere in the face of crippling injury and adversity.

Born into a noble family, Igantius was sent as a young man to serve at the Spanish Royal Court.  He served with distinction in the Spanish Army until he suffered a grave leg wound which very nearly cost him his life, left him crippled, in constant pain, and led to his release from military service, a profession which he had deply loved.  I think he was about 30 years old when this happened.  I think it most likely that this was the cause of his depression.

Quote:
The esteemed founder of the Jesuit's autobiography details graphically the man's obsession with self-harm, his hallucinations, and his severe depression which would at times lead him to drastic measures such as digging a hole in his room at college deep enough that he hoped to end his life by jumping into it. All that to escape the demons that he felt were tempting him with indecent, ungodly thoughts.
 

So, lemme get this straight.  A fella who's lived through a horrific siege, been seriously wounded and maimed, forcibly retired from a profession he loved suffers from depression, is haunted by the memory of his experience and overwhelmed by grief.  If you, Kelly, hadn't informed me that this was caused by the mind disorder known as theism, I'd have thought that perhaps it was some form of delayed stress disorder. 

Quote:
Sometimes that would lead to an insatiable desire to harm himself in order to purge this evil from his body, simultaneously punishing himself for not having the strength to resist thoughts that were likely normal human doubts and concerns.

But Ignatius doesn't tell us the nature of the demons that haunt him, does he?  Perhaps they weren't the "normal human doubts and concerns", perhaps Igantius was resisting the Rennaisance equivalent of "going postal", and doing so without the benefit of modern psychiatric and medical care.  Do you think that could be a possibility, Kelly?

 

Quote:
His life as a beggar on the streets, living only off of the good-will (and pity) of others...

Ignatius, though, manages to overcome his delayed stress disorder, became a beggar by choice, forsaking the advantages of his noble birth to serve the poor, sick and destitute by living among them, begging  not only for himself, but also on their behalf.  What an awful man!

Face it Kelly, you picked a bad example in Igantius, then you proceeded to edit his history until it suited your purposes.  That's intellectual dishonesty.

Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus, building it from nothing.  From its foundation, it managed to attract the best and the brightest of Catholic men to its ranks, producing scientists who contributions to astronomy, mathematics, and meteorology have been  crucial to those fields.

I'm running outta time right now.  I hope to find time to address your comments about "Ratzi", the Holy Father, in the near future.

 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II

darth_josh's picture

Quote: Again, if it has to

Quote:
Again, if it has to be programmed into you, then doesn’t that support the idea that it’s culturally derived, rather than biological?

I missed something. Where did the 'biological' part come in? Yes. Psychological disorder culturally programmed.

Since nothing besides peer-reviewed studies will satisfy you then I will acquiesce to the fact that your definition of mental disorder has not been met.

I have only the agreement of an Oxford professor of Animal Behavior, a neuroscientist, a molecular biologist, 20 or so journalists, a cart-full of philospohers, and a site full of first-hand experiences supporting the claim. I will try harder to satisfy your appeal to authority.

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Charles Evolution's picture

DSM IV

I'm waiting for the DSM IV to claim that religion is a mental illness. Until that time, we should be sceptical about making such claims, especially if we're rational people.

 Being irrational is not a mental illness, and believing in things that you can't prove exist is not a mental illness either, even if those beliefs are based on faith. 

Once you realize how frequently "normal" people can be irrational, iyou realize that this is not enough to demonstrate mental illness.

Another thing, is that if religious beliefs can be demonstrated to be a form of mental illness, then we can't hold these believers responsible for their irrational beliefs. 

How you can you hold a crazy person responsible for their beliefs? That's why it's better to say that these people are irrational, not crazy. 

 We're left accusing every Shaman in every hunter/gatherer culture from the last 100,000 years as being mentally ill, as with every pre-Judeo/Christian belief in the gods as mentlly ill too.

 Isn't it better to say that these people are simply mistaken, and that their views are not based on reason. There is a difference between being irrational and crazy. Calling it Mental Illness just confuses the whole issue of what mental illness really is, and it serves no one by using these terms

 

 

 

darth_josh's picture

Yep. Trusting in a book to

Yep. Trusting in a book to tell us what is and isn't sure is a great idea there, Charles. How has that worked for us in the past?

I think you're forgetting that any time the subject is brought up there are people who completely refuse to accept even the hint of the idea. Any research submitted concerning the effects of the beliefs upon the individual is met with derision before being cursorily dismissed as false.

The individual is always the one with the mental illness to people unwilling to continue examination. It seems that people want to stop short of asking "What made the asshole crazy?" Why did compartmentalization benefit this person, but this person was incapable of it?

Instead we're just happy to say that the beliefs, whether harmless or not, are just beliefs and they don't have any effect.

Who wears the larger set of blinders, the theist or the indifferent? At least the theist has a reason for wearing their blinders.

Moreso, I think it best if I clarify one more thing since apparently i am failing to adequately convey my personal thinking on the subject.

As I understand it, the claim is that theism is a mind disorder.

At no point are we holding accountable the individual as crazy for their beliefs. Rather we are holding the beliefs accountable for the crazy person.

-ism, not -ist.

Theists are crazy, but not because they hold the beliefs, but because the beliefs made them that way.

I beg to differ with the "it serves no one..." statement. Approaching it in this fashion has helped me get away from being angry with the believer for having the beliefs. After listening to/reading both sides of this issue, I have developed a deep sense of pity for the believer.

Prior to this, I was of the mind that the believers were much more responsible for their actions and used religion to justify them. Now, I am more inclined to say that the converse is true.

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Cpt_pineapple's picture

darth_josh wrote: Yep.

darth_josh wrote:

Yep. Trusting in a book to tell us what is and isn't sure is a great idea there, Charles. How has that worked for us in the past?

 You know, you're right. Those dumbasses will just put pretty ANYTHING in that book. Seriously, it's not like they actually have the nerve to demand scientific peer reviewed research before they put something into it.

 

 

darth_josh's picture

I thought that I had

I thought that I had already responded to you tonight, Pineapple.

If one is going to refer to the DSM as the ultimate truth then I would think the bible would be an analogous representation.

It seems so easy to disregard the fact that mental patients don't write journals about their own mental illnesses. How absurd of me to think that the editors of something like the DSM could be counted as peers.

Particularly considering that one must have a sponsor to be in the APA. Given the current and soon to be board's previous references to religion in their case studies (Robinowitz and  Stotland), I don't see a chance for an objective analysis of the claim any time soon.

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Luigi Novi's picture

Darth Josh vs. Evidence Skywalker

Luigi Novi: Again, if it has to be programmed into you, then doesn’t that support the idea that it’s culturally derived, rather than biological?

Darth Josh: I missed something. Where did the 'biological' part come in? Yes. Psychological disorder culturally programmed.

Luigi Novi: You and Kelly assert that it is a mental disorder, and you in particular assert that theists are "crazy". That's a biological phenomenon.

Darth Josh: Since nothing besides peer-reviewed studies will satisfy you then I will acquiesce to the fact that your definition of mental disorder has not been met.

Luigi Novi: First, what other than scientific evidence do you think should satisfy me? Second, in what way have I indicated a pesonal definition of "mental disorder"? The only one of us who has selectively redefined words and phrases, Josh, is you. You define craziness or mental illness as something non-biological, you define evidence as something that is merely asserted, and you define a demand for evidence or citations as an appeal to authority. Who among the two of us is engaging in the familiar troll/flamer/paralogist tactic of giving false definitions to words and phrases?

Darth Josh: I have only the agreement of an Oxford professor of Animal Behavior, a neuroscientist, a molecular biologist, 20 or so journalists, a cart-full of philospohers....

Luigi Novi: Excuse me, but what you're saying now IS an appeal to authority. Science is based on evidence. Not the impressive pedigree of the person presenting it. And yet, instead of presenting the evidence these people have, you hypocritically present their resumes, as if their stature alone proves your point. You have quite a bit of nerve to refer to my demand for evidence as a demand for authority, but then turn around and present "authority" as the only support for your point of view.

There's certainly nothing unimpressive about these people you mention, mind you, and yet, you're unwilling to link to or cite even one of them. In doing this, you reveal your position to be unsupported. Either cite your documentation, or stop falsely claiming that you have any.

Darth Josh: ...and a site full of first-hand experiences supporting the claim.

Luigi Novi: If you knew anything about how science works, you'd know that anecdotes do not constitute evidence. In making statements like this, you demonstrate that you are as ignorant of science as creationsists.

Darth Josh: I will try harder to satisfy your appeal to authority.

Luigi Novi: You have not established that I have made any appeal to authority. I have made it clear to any casual reader not addled by stupidity or dishonesty that the assertion central to Kelly's essay needs to be supported by scientific evidence, which has nothing to do with authority. By engaging in the blatant Straw Man of distorting my words, or attributing words to me that I never uttered or implied, you further reveal yourself as a knowing liar who cannot engage in sincere disagreement with intellectual honesty, civility or decency.

Darth Josh: Yep. Trusting in a book to tell us what is and isn't sure is a great idea there, Charles.

Luigi Novi: Your words. Not his. Charles merely said that irrationality and mental illness are not the same thing, something you never address once in your response to him.

Darth Josh: I think you're forgetting that any time the subject is brought up there are people who completely refuse to accept even the hint of the idea. Any research submitted concerning the effects of the beliefs upon the individual is met with derision before being cursorily dismissed as false.

Luigi Novi: In order to "forget" this, you have to establish this to him first. You haven't. All you've done is make bold assertions like this, without ever once citing one example, and then claiming that a demand for one is an appeal to authority.

Your fallacies have been refuted, Josh. You're done.

darth_josh's picture

No, I am not 'done'.

No, I am not 'done'. Certainly none of this is 'done' and never will be because we're supposed to question and reason with each other even after it is allegedly 'done'.

How is 'crazy' a biological phenomenon?

Psychological certainly. I didn't get bumped on the head and suddenly become an atheist. Nor did I imbibe something to make me a theist prior to that.

Sarcastically, I gave you unnamed references to peer-reviewed analyses of the claim. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Albert Ellis are three 'authority figures' who concur with the claim and they expound upon it in their books/studies. Certainly I didn't trust them at their words. I researched every footnote to ensure accuracy. It took me a month to read 'The god delusion'. (neither here nor there, sorry I ramble)

I should have just flat out dropped the names in the first place. I knew it would be attacked as an appeal to authority.

It just blows my mind that in the same breath you ask for peer-reviewed studies and discount appeal to authority. Isn't asking for peer-review asking for an authority?

Nevermind.

You ask for documentation and then disregard published incidents such as Mr. Beast-Hand as anecdotal indicative of mental illness, but certainly not caused by theism. I'll quote:

Quote:
The yokel who cut his hand off may very well be mentally ill, but that act is not necessarily derived from religion, or even necessarily expedited by it; It is just as well possible that he would've done that had he been an atheist.

Yet I ask, What caused him to think it was 'the beast'?  

Nevermind. 

Are biological causes the only ones for mental illness then?

People can't be driven crazy?

Are there any unbiased psychologists to review the claim?

Many questions. 

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babblero's picture

Irrational vs Insane re:Charles


The DSM IV is not everything and not considered an authority by everyone. See: http://www.slate.com/id/2140923/ for a description of capitalist influence in the categorization of disorders. A search will reveal many more articles and sites opposed to many of the disorders delimited in the DSM IV.

I did not refer to the DSM IV as an end all authority; we should all think for ourselves. A I noted in my post most DSM IV entries have an exception for culturally shared versions of the same things they call disorders when not culturally shared. I can plainly see through that and suggest it be taken into account.

Generally, the DSM is taken as a professionals guide to mental disorders and has an authority professionally. That does not make any specific statement in it accurate in a factual way.

In relation to theist beliefs however and cleaning the apologetic exceptions for culutrally shared disorders, it is clear that belief in a supreme being is opposite any evidence and is therefore a symptom of some disorder.

Irrationalism is not a disorder in itself (i.e. in the many arts, irrationalism is often considered boon) but when irrationalism is applied as fact or truth or to preposit scientific evidence, it is indeed a disorder of some sort, quite likely an intellectual disorder. Whether you want to clarify that as mental disorder or not is a perfectly individual choice.

This is because 'mental disorder' is not an actual thing but a representation of a relationship of the individual brains thoughts to the social consensus of thoughts. Mental disorder if applied as a fact rather than a guideline for further inspection, is at the brink of a very slippery slope. That slope is defined by the questions "Who defines Mental Disorder?" and "How is Mental Disorder used as a definition, how can it be used to control people"?

So Charles I partially understand your desire to not lable theists as factually mentally disordered. At the same time every single one of them show some of the symptoms of professionally judged mental disorder (excepting the apologetics offered them).

To believe in the Cheshire Cat, is indeed excluded frombeing a mental disorder if it is common in your culture. These exceptions I am not willing to count in a serious definition although a large body of professionals are.

Indeed I would argue against labeling anyone mentally disordered excepting for actual brain damage or in a lack of brain development. This simply because it futilizes the justice system and inequalifies those committing crime in comparison to the victim of the crime. If said mental disorders are used to escape justice, such 'disordered' criminals should be subject to a hospital with bars and not let free due to being 'cured' (like Hinkley was). They should serve out their time equally to a 'sane criminal' and simply moved from hospital to prison after the cure.

So though the theists show symptoms of disorder, they should not have the legal term applied to them. My use was literal not legal and I expect we should hold them to the same standards of behavior as non theists.

Beliefs, whether culturally held or individually held, ought have no bearing on legal definitions. Legal definitions ought to be based on behaviors and consequences, nothing more, nothing less.

And further, I do think many theists, perhaps the great majority, though literally insane, have a high enough quality of grey matter that they can be considered simply inane (that is capable of rational thought but stubbornly refusing it).

I do think that the majority of theists are theists of convenience. That is, they argue on the side with the most supporters. And that if the tides should slowly turn, they would begin changing sides enmasse. (Something to the effect of a social critical mass phenomena. I have read of it as a theory before).

Being somewhat humanist I do expect ethical behavior, based on consensual benefit, from my peers, regardless of what they believe.

If they act exceedingly unethically(starting wars, torturing people, abusing children etc., I would just as well help them into the nut house if I can't get them in a prison.

One last point, this forum is based on discussion, often humans use discussion to come to develop their thoughts. Simply claiming that one set of terms is necessary adn we should censor our thoughts to save humanity from theists is not necessarily effective. People must be able to express their thoughts in order to develop them. Taking the authority to claim the only correct way to define theists or to offer up taboo ways of defining them is simply impractical.

Your intent is clear, ensuring self and group responsibility, (and perhaps to avoid scapegoating theists as well) , and is not diluted by this point. Lets keep the legal terms to 'irrational' as you describe and allow 'plum loco' and Mentally disturbed or disordered, for casual discussion.

To Hell with God and Religion. Except for Kali, she's hot.

darth_josh's picture

As far as being 'done' with

As far as being 'done' with fallacies, how about a tu quoque?

Luigi Novi wrote:

Theism is not a mental disorder. It is something that is derived by how we're hardwired. Human beings are pattern-seeking individuals, and as such, we sometimes, when searching for a pattern, have a hit ("Those are MOONS circuling Jupiter!" ), and sometimes have a miss ("This phenomena was caused by a GOD!" ). That's just in our nature. A person who holds a religious belief is not mentally ill.

The yokel who cut his hand off may very well be mentally ill, but that act is not necessarily derived from religion, or even necessarily expedited by it; It is just as well possible that he would've done that had he been an atheist.

That's a lot of assertions there. I accepted it as reasoned discussion the first time through.

Quote:
Does religion expedite violence in people in such a way that it would not do with the same people were they atheists? Arguably. But I think I better example would be the Crusades, the Inquisition, witchhunts, jihads, fatwas, circumcision, etc. because these people who commit those acts are not mentally ill

another one

Quote:
, and this is why religion's power is so disturbing: It is disturbing precisely because it can get people who are not mentally ill to do things that would otherwise seem to be the domain of the mentally ill.

huh? not mentally ill doing mentally ill things?

Quote:
That religion provides a prism for illogical behavior that secular ideas cannot is a valid criticism of it. But one is traipsing onto the realm of pseudoscience when one argues, without citing peer-reviewed scientific evidence,

A paper outlining the claim conducting a study on 2/3 of the world's population. Hmmm.

Quote:
that it can objectively be labeled a sign of mental illness. Doing this is little different than when homophobes refer to homosexuals as mentally ill, or when anti-atheist theists claim that atheists are immoral.

Except those focus on people and we're discussing the beliefs.

Quote:
But if these acts were born out of mental illness, then you would expect a drastic drop in mentall illness demographically if theism decreased and atheism increased. I'm skeptical that this would be the case, but it makes an interesting question. Do countries with higher levels of atheism than the U.S., like Sweden, for example, have a lower per capita rate of mental illness? Well, we know from the 2005 study "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies" published the Journal of Religion and Society (http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html) that there appears to be a positive correlation (though not necessarily causation) between religiosity and higher rates of abortion, teenage pregnancy and murder, but I know of no information offhand that establishes the same correlation for mental illness.

From your link:

JSR wrote:
Regression analyses were not executed because of the high variability of degree of correlation, because potential causal factors for rates of societal function are complex, and because it is not the purpose of this initial study to definitively demonstrate a causal link between religion and social conditions.

What was the point of linking it then?

Quote:
Can you supply such information, Kelly? If not, then I'd say that no, I still do not think that theism is a mental disorder. It's just an unfortunate by-product of what makes us uniquely human.

Everyone interested should be working on it.

Quote:
Btw, has anyone else read Tom Neven's silly little essay in which he argues that pro-choicers use the term "pro-choice" as a euphemistic dodge because they can't win the debate on intellectual grounds? If you wanna read it, it's at: http://www.boundlessline.org/2008/01/abortion-and-th.html. My response to it is in that thread, near the bottom (Just do a search for my name). It's also my latest MySpace blog entry, at www.myspace.com/luiginovi.

Off-topic.

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totus_tuus's picture

kellym78 wrote: The most

kellym78 wrote:
The most disturbing quote, one that I'm hoping was merely a nuance of translation, was, "The pope asked Roman Catholics to pray for the 'mercy of God for the victims of the grave situations caused by the moral and sexual conduct' of clergy members in daily prayers of penance and purification, The Times of London said Monday." Hold on...could you run that by me one more time? He wants them to pray that god has mercy...on the victims?! I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto--we've been transported straight to bizarro world.

Maybe before you and Toto leave Kansas, you should grab a dictionary and look at the definintion of mercy as "1 a: compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment <begged for mercy> b: imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder2 a: a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion b: a fortunate circumstance <it was a mercy they found her before she froze>3: compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor>".

Wow, "compassionate treatment of those in distress."  Please, no thanks are necessary, it was my plasure to help you with the nuances of the English language.

Quote:
Let me give the church some advice since I still possess the faculty of reason: Stop covering up for these people!! Either they are mentally ill or just sociopathic and have no business in a congregation, school, or possibly even in public.

Thanks for the advice.  Now, sit down and provide the same advice to your local public school board since your child is 2-3 times more likely to suffer sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher than at the hands of a priest.  Additionally, school districts are guilty of the same behavior the Church has been accused of, that is, the tactic of shuffling offenders from job to job within the profession.  This practice was so prevalent in the New York public school system that the practice gained the nickname of "passing on the garbage".

Research has indicated that the problem of sexual abuse by priests is predominantly a homosexual problem (85-95% of victims are males).  But when the Vatican prohibited the ordination of men with same sex attraction issues, the world screamed "HOMOPHOBIA".

Quote:
The church's willingness to cover for them (note the use of the words "sexual conduct" instead of "misconduct" from the pope) obviously persists to this day and likely will never stop. Any person who willingly leaves their child in the care of these men of god is as delinquent and delusional as the pope apparently is.

That the treatment of offenders has been mishandled by the Church is obviously true.  That such behavior is exclusive to the Church is not true.  Statistics show that your children are at much greater risk in a public school system, so educating your children is deliquent and delusional as well, in fact 2-3 more times as delinquent or delusional.

Quote:
(On a side note, I find it especially ironic that the first empire in search of global domination was in fact the catholic church, ...

On a side note, this is without a doubt, the most ridiculous statement you have written to date.  Whether the Church was ever bent on world domination or not does not affect the accuracy of the statement.  Assyria, Persia, Egypt, Macedon, Rome all achieved domination of the known world of their time, and all preceded the existence of the Catholic Church.

I don't know much about Islam, so I'll refrain from commenting on your observations on that score, especially since the inaccuracy of the information in the first two segments of your post is so glaring.

Quote:
Flip-flop much?

Read much?

Research much?

Think much?

Flawed data, or data which is tampered with to suit your one's own purposes will always yield flawed results.  To put it in other words, garbage in, garbage out.  Write something factually accurate, and I may consider your point of view.

You're the intellectual. I'm a tired old soldier with a room temperature IQ suffering from the mind disorder as theism,  yet even I know you can do better... much better. 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II

totus_tuus wrote:

totus_tuus wrote:

kellym78 wrote:
The most disturbing quote, one that I'm hoping was merely a nuance of translation, was, "The pope asked Roman Catholics to pray for the 'mercy of God for the victims of the grave situations caused by the moral and sexual conduct' of clergy members in daily prayers of penance and purification, The Times of London said Monday." Hold on...could you run that by me one more time? He wants them to pray that god has mercy...on the victims?! I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto--we've been transported straight to bizarro world.

Maybe before you and Toto leave Kansas, you should grab a dictionary and look at the definintion of mercy as "1 a: compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment <begged for mercy> b: imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder2 a: a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion b: a fortunate circumstance <it was a mercy they found her before she froze>3: compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor>".

Wow, "compassionate treatment of those in distress." Please, no thanks are necessary, it was my plasure to help you with the nuances of the English language.

Quote:
Let me give the church some advice since I still possess the faculty of reason: Stop covering up for these people!! Either they are mentally ill or just sociopathic and have no business in a congregation, school, or possibly even in public.

Thanks for the advice. Now, sit down and provide the same advice to your local public school board since your child is 2-3 times more likely to suffer sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher than at the hands of a priest. Additionally, school districts are guilty of the same behavior the Church has been accused of, that is, the tactic of shuffling offenders from job to job within the profession. This practice was so prevalent in the New York public school system that the practice gained the nickname of "passing on the garbage".

Research has indicated that the problem of sexual abuse by priests is predominantly a homosexual problem (85-95% of victims are males). But when the Vatican prohibited the ordination of men with same sex attraction issues, the world screamed "HOMOPHOBIA".

Quote:
The church's willingness to cover for them (note the use of the words "sexual conduct" instead of "misconduct" from the pope) obviously persists to this day and likely will never stop. Any person who willingly leaves their child in the care of these men of god is as delinquent and delusional as the pope apparently is.

That the treatment of offenders has been mishandled by the Church is obviously true. That such behavior is exclusive to the Church is not true. Statistics show that your children are at much greater risk in a public school system, so educating your children is deliquent and delusional as well, in fact 2-3 more times as delinquent or delusional.

Quote:
(On a side note, I find it especially ironic that the first empire in search of global domination was in fact the catholic church, ...

On a side note, this is without a doubt, the most ridiculous statement you have written to date. Whether the Church was ever bent on world domination or not does not affect the accuracy of the statement. Assyria, Persia, Egypt, Macedon, Rome all achieved domination of the known world of their time, and all preceded the existence of the Catholic Church.

I don't know much about Islam, so I'll refrain from commenting on your observations on that score, especially since the inaccuracy of the information in the first two segments of your post is so glaring.

Quote:
Flip-flop much?

Read much?

Research much?

Think much?

Flawed data, or data which is tampered with to suit your one's own purposes will always yield flawed results. To put it in other words, garbage in, garbage out. Write something factually accurate, and I may consider your point of view.

You're the intellectual. I'm a tired old soldier with a room temperature IQ suffering from the mind disorder as theism, yet even I know you can do better... much better.

Hi again, TT.

I don't have a problem with the pope asking for the mercy of god to fall on the victims. They need some mercy - I just doubt that god will give it to them since the church isn't taking the right steps to solve the problem. That's mostly because I think they're trying to solve the wrong problem. They're making it too hard - they're trying to solve the pedophilia problem among some of their priests when it all comes down to their breaking the vows they took. After all the vow of celibacy (a foolish one in my view) doesn't say " you can have sex with human kids and animals but not with adult humans" it says "No sex".

I always thought if a priest broke his vows, he was gone from the priesthood - no exceptions. When did that change?

Compassionate treatment of those in distress isn't very useful if your only solution involves cash and spreading the distress to a new group of people. As far as the "passing on the garbage" in the NY school system, the question arises "where did they get the idea?" I don't think it was original to the NY schools.

I would amend Kelly's statement to say that the first "empire" to be successful at global domination was the RCC.

My 2 pesos (which the way the US is going may well be worth more than $2 in the future),

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin

Cpt_pineapple's picture

darth_josh wrote: I

darth_josh wrote:

I thought that I had already responded to you tonight, Pineapple.

If one is going to refer to the DSM as the ultimate truth then I would think the bible would be an analogous representation.

 

The key difference is that the DSM is revised based on peer reviewed evidence.

 

darth_josh wrote:

Particularly considering that one must have a sponsor to be in the APA. Given the current and soon to be board's previous references to religion in their case studies (Robinowitz and  Stotland), I don't see a chance for an objective analysis of the claim any time soon.

 

And of course when the scientists disregard evidence for God, they are merely not giving an objective anlaysis.

 

So how is my argument different from yours? 

 

darth_josh wrote:

 

It just blows my mind that in the same breath you ask for peer-reviewed studies and discount appeal to authority. Isn't asking for peer-review asking for an authority?

 

I know some physicists, biologists, and chemists that believe in God.

 HE DOES EXIST!!!

 

So darth, why would you discount that argument from authority, yet still hold on to yours?