Still Don't Think Theism is a Mind Disorder...Part Deux

kellym78's picture

Since there have been so many things that I wanted to address in the comments, plus the fact that it got long as hell, I decided to post it here. Enjoy.

 

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No atheism here.

Submitted by Fenriz on January 13, 2008 - 2:37pm.

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).

I agree that it is considered taboo to critique religion too harshly, but is that respect deserved? Would we not be better off as a society if events such as these didn't happen? Some people will find other reasons to engage in destructive behaviors, but why not eliminate as many potential catalysts as possible?

Personally, I find the analogy with drugs, alcohol and nicotine included, to be particularly appropriate as analogous to religion. People often become just as addicted to religion as they would to any drug, it appears that susceptible people harm themselves or others as a result of their addiction, and the most frequently used excuse for not criticizing religion is that it makes people feel good. Well, so does heroin.

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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 entirely. Have you ever heard of something called the Jerusalem Syndrome? It's a relatively rare occurrence wherein people, usually males, visit Jerusalem, an suddenly imagine that they are Jesus. It is believed that David Koresh suffered from this before instigating the Waco incident. If the seed of religion was not already planted in their minds, they may very well fall prey to some other delusion, but that in no way excuses religion.

Furthermore, I did qualify my statement in the original post by saying that these delusions seemed to manifest themselves in vulnerable people, but again, if the bible didn't have a specific command to cut off your right hand if it offends you on the premise of it being better to enter heaven maimed than go to hell (an implicit threat of eternal punishment), this man likely would not have felt compelled to cut his right hand off with a circular saw.

Finally, when dealing with statistics, particularly in the field of psychology, there is practically never a case of clear causation. It's always a matter of correlation, and a positive correlation does not have to be excessively high to be considered statistically significant. I feel that the case for religion having detrimental effects on people's mental health can be made with certainty that there is a positive correlation between excessive religiosity and delusions resulting in violence to oneself or others.

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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.

This is absolute conjecture that would not be supported by evidence. The vast majority of conflict in the world has some religiously inspired motivation. 9/11 is no different. Did the fact that all of the hijackers were Muslim escape you? The glorification of death in jihad and subsequent eternal pleasures along with the fact that we refuse to adhere to their asceticism and dogma is the primary reason why they have characterized the West as "evil". I'm sure that there are economic motives as well, but considering the support that we had previously given Al Qaeda and the fact that our dependence on oil has only served to fatten the pockets of the Bin Laden family and much of the Middle Eastern oil magnates doesn't lend much credence to that theory. The only country with a legitimate beef against the US economic policy in the Middle East was Iraq, but this is a subject I won't delve into here. It will suffice to say that Saddaam Hussein and Al Qaeda were not friendly, much less in cohoots.

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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.

If such activities are inherent to the very concept of organized religion, and thereby the vast majority of theists in the world, then the demarcation between theism and religion is negligible. Not to mention that it is one's belief in a god that gets them into the organization in the first place.

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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.

I don't see how atheism has anything at all to do with the support or lack thereof for corrupt institutions. I can attack or not attack hegemony within the church, government, or corporate world and be or not be an atheist. These are two completely unrelated topics.

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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.

Please explain what exactly "true atheism" is. Atheism does not necessitate "assaults [on] the fundamental philosophy of belief in unseen powers." Many atheists don't care at all about the pervasiveness of religion and its social implications. I was writing from my vantage point as an atheist about what I feel to be the dangers of religion. It wasn't meant to be a treatise on "atheistic philosophy", whatever that is.

 

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Submitted by nen on January 13, 2008 - 3:25pm.

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.

"Religion" is not a mental disorder-it's the effects of religion on people's minds that may lead to or otherwise push the susceptible "over the edge", so to speak. I am very familiar with the neurology of religion (I am a neuropsychology major) and hope to do research in that field. Andrew Newberg, author of "Why God Won't Go Away", is a professor at Penn, which I where I plan to finish my degree and I hope to have the opportunity to work with him at some point.

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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.

The fact that a certain part of the brain is stimulated during so-called "religious experiences" does not demonstrate anything other than the fact that a certain experience is associated with increased or decreased activity in areas of the brain, just like any other experience that we have. Using the term "hard-wired" muddies the waters by giving this predisposition an aura of seemingly scientific respectability. It would be a non sequitor to assume that this implies that it is supposed to operate in that fashion universally or that it was a necessary facet of the evolutionary process. The fact that the majority of people throughout history have believed in god would predispose their descendants to also have the same susceptibility to the type of temporal lobe stimulation that causes these experiences, and therefore cannot prove anything other than how the brain operates in certain circumstances.

I do believe that religion was necessary in our evolutionary history to facilitate social cohesion and provide answers to the unanswerable questions and solace regarding the frightening reality of life and impending death. I feel that we should do as Daniel Dennett suggests in Breaking the Spell and question whether or not it is still beneficial to society.

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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.

Again, you're making the naturalistic fallacy be presupposing that is equals ought. From a sociological perspective, the norm would be theistic belief because norms are always culturally defined. Just because it is the current norm doesn't mean that it should remain that way. I also never implied that any deviation from "pure rationality" is a mental illness. Anybody see a strawman?

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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.

There are no universal emotions. Every individual's brain operates differently and everybody perceives these things differently. Some people are more capable of modulating their emotions than others, for example. Contrary to what you stated here, emotions are not inherently "irrational". Rather, it is experience with certain individuals, activities, and events that cause the body to release certain chemicals that elicit those reactions from the brain. These feelings are reinforced with repeated exposure, thus strengthening the neuronal connections and facilitating or maintaining the intensity of the experience.

Sexuality and attachment provide us with plenty of demonstrable evidences for this mechanism. Orgasms cause the body to release oxytocin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for forming feelings of attachment and "love", and the correlation between levels of sexual activity and contentment with one's partner has been demonstrated in multiple studies. Childbirth and breastfeeding also cause the release of oxytocin facilitating the bond between mother and child. Emotions are no more irrational than any of our other bodily functions, and can only be considered so from the aspect that rationality and reason are not applied to the release of chemicals, just as you don't have to think about breathing. Is breathing irrational?

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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.

I have thought things through, thanks. Sorry if you feel like I'm giving you a bad reputation. Maybe you should call yourself something other than atheist to differentiate yourself from the rest of us and avoid the stigma. Like anti-inflammatory-statementist. Or, never-tell-people-they're-full-of-shitist.

 

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Submitted by john allan tate iii on January 13, 2008 - 6:01pm.

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.

Yes, we can be wrong.

Yes, we could be "wrong" about god, although to be wrong we would have had to assert first that our lack of belief in god was predicated on knowledge that no gods exist, which we never did, but other atheists may.

Atheism and agnosticism deal with different subjects entirely. Most of us here are agnostic atheists, meaning we have no belief in god due to our lack of knowledge of said being's existence.

I am slightly offended at the assumption that we are closed minded. I feel that I and my partners, plus the people here that I know well enough to be able to ascertain anything of substance, are all very open minded-to actual evidence.

 

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Submitted by nen on January 13, 2008 - 7:41pm

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.

A lot of people have their heads up their asses. What makes you think that atheists would be any different. I am assuming that you aren't holding us to some kind of unwritten code of ethics for atheists, of course.

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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.

That would be the definition of a strawman, but let me clarify our position here. The title of that post, along with our former haeder banner slogan, are designed to be controversial and slightly offensive. We feel that ridiculing religion is one of the best tactics when trying to reduce the impact of religion on society. Every person who has seen that or even the "Believe in God? We can fix that" slogans has had a small seed of doubt planted in their minds. They may react with indignation, but that stems from the deep-seated fear that we are right.

Sam Harris talks about using ridicule to end the KKK's influence and power on Truthdig.com in response to how to end irrational faith. We are kind of following that model. Do I honestly think that every single person who believes in god has a mental illness? No. But I believe that certain people's pre-existing mental illnesses can be made worse, people may develop certain guilt complexes or suffer from perpetual fear because of their existence as depraved, disgusting, sinful creatures, many people develop pathological sexuality issues, and the compartmentalization necessary to maintain your faith essentially boils down to denial and self-deception. I think that anybody can look around them and see how religion incites and justifies violence against others. The more fundamentalist groups are much more prone to these types of issues, but as I said before, that doesn't excuse religion. There is still a positive correlation between religiosity and certain neuroses. I will attempt to gather some of the studies that have been done and post them later for reference.

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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?

It is relevant because any belief that is in constant conflict with actual evidence is psychologically harmful when it must be maintained despite conflicting evidence. Imagine that you suspect your partner is having an affair. When you start digging, you find odd charges from hotels, possibly other incriminating evidence, along with his/her sudden lack of interest in sex. For you to ignore all of what is staring you in the face will be extraordinarily difficult. It may cause anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts about the issue, or anger and bitterness. Now, imagine that you try to repress all of that and pretend it's not happening. You will need to devote a lot of mental energy to doing so, and ultimately, you are then harming yourself. Religion does the same thing.

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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.)

Much of what I wrote above does point to distress or impairment in functioning. Obviously, we also have to take degrees of distress/impairment into consideration. Cutting off your own hand, cutting off your baby's arms, and drowning all 5 of your children seem pretty significant.

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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).

True for the most part, but another facet of the danger of religion is its impact on society. How about the hospitals or doctors who refuse to provide certain services because of their religious beliefs? How about pharmacists who refuse to fill certain prescriptions? How about sending a country to war because god instructed him to do so? Are you getting it yet?

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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.

How about this-religion may increase your susceptibility to mental illness and delusional beliefs. It should be a warning on the sides of bibles and korans.

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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.

You are being arrogant and inflammatory by issuing some kind of order to stop being arrogant and inflammatory. Funny how that works, huh?

 

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Submitted by Luigi Novi on January 13, 2008 - 11:14pm.

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.

I like you Luigi, but I must disagree at least partially. I already covered most of this already, but I do agree that we tend to seek out patterns and make sense out of a confusing, difficult, and sometimes painful existence, particularly our ancestors who were literally in danger of death at practically any moment. I get that. I already posted my disclaimer to the mental illness issue above.

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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.

I would say that that particular action would not have happened if he was an atheist. Something else possibly, but not that exact action. If you believe in no mark of the beast, or better yet, had never heard of it, where would that idea come from? If there wasn't a biblical injunction to do so, why would that particular thing have been so prominent in that man's mind? So, his mental illness may or may not have been influenced by religion, but his actions certainly were.

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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.

If religion causes one to act in ways that are harmful to themselves or others, I feel that it should be held accountable for that. What is the difference between acting psychopathic and being psychopathic? Psychopathologies are defined by one's actions. It doesn't necessarily have to pervade every area of a person's life to still be considered problematic. An excellent read dealing with how theism, particularly evangelical christianity, affects the mental health of adherents is The Mind of the Bible Believer by Edmund Cohen. I also explained above the tactical reasons behind using controversial taglines.

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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.

I think that one could infer that better functioning societies would tend to see less mental illness, but as far as actual studies, I would have to look around. I plan on compiling a list and posting it later.

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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.

This is off-topic, but I feel that both sides are filled with rhetoric and appeals to emotion on that argument. "Pro-lifers" who blow up abortion clinics and support the death penalty?

 

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Submitted by nen on January 14, 2008 - 6:39pm.

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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.

Personally, I would interchange the words as they are practically synonymous.

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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!)

On the goals, you are correct, although we have other goals as well. We would like to encourage everybody to think critically about all areas of life. (nb: This does not mean that we think that we are always right or have perfected critical thinking. We're all still learning, but we try our best.)

We also have plenty of deconversions under our collective belts. Hardly a day goes by in which we don't get emails from people thanking us for helping them to break free from religion.

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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.

Listen, we aim to be provocative. We have many reasons for the way in which we operate that have been discussed at length many times and I won't get into right now. Trust me-there's a method to the madness.

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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

Yes, I would like to disagree. If we polarize people, it will ultimately result in a situation in which other atheists aren't perceived as negatively because everybody's thankful that they're not us. Then they have a better chance of getting to know our friendly counterparts. We also feel that publicity and attention are the best ways to get the public to understand that we exist, and nothing gets more press than a good controversy. Just look at how much press we've gotten in the year and a half that we've been doing this and compare it to any other atheist group. We are regularly listed right alongside Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens. I feel that we have been tremendously successful at achieving our goals. We just don't care about what others think about them. We make decisions for ourselves, and so far I don't see any of our haters achieving what we have in the short time that we've been operating.

 

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Submitted by Charles Evolution on January 14, 2008 - 11:27pm.

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.

Actually, this man's psychiatric history was not known. He is not necessarily schizophrenic.

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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.

I feel that we can differentiate between the various ways in which religion is harmful to people, and this is just one example of that.

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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.

Like I said, there is no evidence that he had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I also understand how these illnesses originate in the brain, but so does everything else, including the propensity towards religious belief.

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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.

There is actually a positive correlation between schizophrenia and religiosity. (Link coming soon.) The central issue in all of those issues is one of being paranoid. What else could be more frightening to a paranoid person than an all-knowing, ever-present god who will torture you for all eternity if you don't meet his standards?

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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.

Drug addicts, people with depression, nymphomaniacs, and the excessively religious all have chemical imbalances.

 

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Submitted by teddy5k on January 14, 2008 - 11:56pm.

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.

What are we supposed to be helping here? As far as I can tell, we should be doing whatever we feel is necessary, especially considering the facts I illustrated above regarding our intent and success in that area.

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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.

I hope that everybody speaks out in whatever way they feel comfortable. We do things a particular way, but we never said that everybody has to operate in that manner. In fact, we think that it would be detrimental if everybody was as "extreme" as us. We'll do our job-you can do yours.

 

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Submitted by bullhead2007 on January 15, 2008 - 12:51am.

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.

 

It's a good thing that we aren't your representatives, then.

 

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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).

 

I wouldn't contend that any mental illness makes one a "flawed human"; rather, it just makes them a human with a mental illness.

 

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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.

 

I think that our stance is rational. I think that this can be demonstrated and I will begin compiling studies as soon as I can.

I also fail to see the bigotry of which you speak. I have no prejudice against those who have been afflicted with mental illnesses. If I did, I would be bigoted against most of my family and probably myself. Is labeling depression a mental illness a sign of bigotry against them or a statement of fact?

 

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Submitted by Charles Evolution on January 15, 2008 - 1:16am.

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.

I am glad that you like us, and that you're able to voice your objections in a reasonable manner. However, I do believe that the "scary evangelical religious faithful" are the victims of a mental disorder. Whether it was caused by religion or just worsened by it, it really doesn't matter. It is obvious that they are more likely to act on their religious convictions in an entirely different way than others. When's the last time you saw an atheist suicide bomber?

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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.

On the contrary, as opposed to allowing religion to inflict further damage to these people, I feel that the responsible thing to do is to protect them from religion. That necessitates the recognition that religion is a dangerous and negative force in society.

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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.

We realize this, but how will we know exactly how religion influences these delusions until it is essentially eliminated? Unfortunately, we can't see the outcome clearly, but I feel that we can label religion as a detrimental influence on a person's psychology, and even more so for those who are susceptible to delusions.

nen's picture

Leaving the efficacy of

Leaving the efficacy of being controversial for the time, here are two quotes from your blog entry (which I hope I'm not taking out of context):

Quote:
"Religion" is not a mental disorder

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Personally, I would interchange [theism and religion] as they are practically synonymous.

So, are you're saying that "theism is not a mental disorder" then? If this is so, then please refrain from suggesting otherwise. Whether or not you're deliberately trying to cause controversy, I can't see why stating things you don't believe are true will help your cause. If you're not a pedant, I think theists will pick it up.

What I believe you are saying is that "theism is often coupled with mental disorders." That is an assessment that I can agree with, after having read yours and others' arguments.

I do in fact agree with a great deal of your commentary here. There's just one other thing I'd like to pick up on:

Quote:
I have thought things through, thanks. Sorry if you feel like I'm giving you a bad reputation. Maybe you should call yourself something other than atheist to differentiate yourself from the rest of us and avoid the stigma. Like anti-inflammatory-statementist. Or, never-tell-people-they're-full-of-shitist.

Apologies for the condescending "please think things through" - ironically, I didn't think that statement through :S.

It's not that I want to avoid the stigma of being an atheist. That's not the point. I have argued with theists in the past without issue. My disagreement was purely that theists can get stuck on such statements, which can make a meaningful discussion harder.

 

Finally, as for the effect of provoking responses from theists, I can only say that I have had a singular bad experience from this. Someone I know who has lost faith in the church refuses to read any Dawkins, on the premise that he's "arrogant and unlikable". So that's where my bias comes from. Then again, maybe he was just giving an excuse not to think about it.

[Edit:] Oh. Finally, finally:

Quote:
How about this-religion may increase your susceptibility to mental illness and delusional beliefs. It should be a warning on the sides of bibles and korans.

Love it! Smiling

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: Leaving the

Quote:

Leaving the efficacy of being controversial for the time, here are two quotes from your blog entry (which I hope I'm not taking out of context):

 

Quote:
"Religion" is not a mental disorder

 

Quote:
Personally, I would interchange [theism and religion] as they are practically synonymous.

So, are you're saying that "theism is not a mental disorder" then? If this is so, then please refrain from suggesting otherwise. Whether or not you're deliberately trying to cause controversy, I can't see why stating things you don't believe are true will help your cause. If you're not a pedant, I think theists will pick it up.

You are taking it out of context.  Theists often say that "theism isn't the problem, religion is."  Specifically, religion is the outward manifestation of theism, in the same way that repetetive suicide attempts are an outward manifestation of bipolar disorder.

Suicide attempts are not a mental disorder.  However, the underlying condition, bipolar disorder, is.

If you go back and reread the thread that Kelly was responding to, you'll see the distinction.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: Finally, as for the

Quote:
Finally, as for the effect of provoking responses from theists, I can only say that I have had a singular bad experience from this. Someone I know who has lost faith in the church refuses to read any Dawkins, on the premise that he's "arrogant and unlikable". So that's where my bias comes from. Then again, maybe he was just giving an excuse not to think about it.

Give the man a cigar!

Seriously, if you don't have any background in psychology, just think about your observations for a bit, and I think you'll see that this happens a LOT, and not just to theists.

Why do you think power words are used so much in political ads?  People vote based on the slogans they've heard -- much more often than on actual knowledge of the candidates.  There was a poll taken in my home state during the last presidential race, where 100 voters were asked what they thought of Kerry's voting record as a congressman.  Ninety-eight of them, after giving their opinion, confessed to never having independently looked at any part of Kerry's voting record.

It's the same with Dawkins, et al.  (And maybe RRS, to some degree??)  Once they have been sufficiently tarred with the epithet, "arrogant and condescending," people who have never even heard them speak or read their books will join in, parroting what those around them have said.

Furthermore, and this is probably even more detrimental, there's something called confirmation bias that gets into the mix.  Have you noticed that sometimes you will be thinking of a song, and you turn on the radio, and there it is?

Have you noticed that when that happens, many people jump to the conclusion that it's karma, or fate, or god, telling them something?  They never stop to think about the tens of thousands of times they've been thinking of a song and it hasn't immediately played on the radio?  That's confirmation bias.  We count the hits but ignore the misses.

If one person at RRS is arrogant in one post, the effect multiplies because people don't think about the ninety-nine posts in which the same person was polite.  We are judged primarily by the hits, not the misses.

Furthermore, there's another effect, and the name eludes me because I haven't had an ounce of caffeine today.  When we have a preformed conception of someone, and then we meet them, or read their writing, for the first time, we are much more likely to believe our preconception than if we went in with no prior knowledge.  In other words, our capability to judge the person objectively changes based on the strength of our existing belief.

(Hint: this is also one reason why theism is SOOOO difficult to leave.  From childhood, people are taught that they are 100% sure that god exists.  This makes any other statement extremely difficult to judge objectively.)

Delusion: Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact: a paranoid delusion.

(dictionary.com) 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

FallenKnight's picture

The Choices and the Voices...

Having spent a great deal of time around theists (I consider myself a Recovering Catholic) and not quite as much time (but likely a lot more time than the average person) in the company of people with "genuine" mental illnesses I can tell you one thing for certain: At least the mentally ill people try to use their mental faculties to the best of their ability. And on a personal note, given the choice, I would prefer their company to that of some proselytizing sanctimonious prick. I also find it easier to trust the mentally ill, they are far more earnest, and are far more honest with themselves, so can therefore be more honest with you.

The theists, including the dreaded JoHoes (jehovah's witnesses), mormons and pentacostals, couldn't care less about critical thinking because that would mean they would have to take personal responsibility for their thoughts, actions and lives, and their tightly controlled faerie world would unravel pretty quickly. I feel it's intellectual laziness on their part to put their lives in the hands of (insert name of imaginary being/force/idea/whatever here).

Fortunately for most mentally ill people there are drugs and therapy available to help them. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for theists (My apologies to the Rev. Jim Jones). Until religion is recognized as detrimental to individuals in particular and society in general the adverse affect on life will continue.

Sorry, but I took a cue from Kelly and use "religion" and "theism" as interchangeable terms.

Charles Evolution's picture

Many of your answers are

Many of your answers are quite good. I would like to see what the DSM IV has to say about religion as a menta illness. I trust that source more that i do your speculations.

Yes, there is no proof yet that the guy who cut his hand off was crazy, I mean really crazy (yet). But, c'mon, no one cuts their hand off to get into the kingdom of heaven unless their nuts, most likely.

But that whole idea of cutting your hand off or ripping your eye out (if it offends God) has got to be metaphoric.

It's an extreme metaphor, but it simply means STOP doing those things that offend God. If it were literal, we'd have reports of very devote early Christians cutting their hands off and plucking their eyes out.

I'd like some good psychological evidence that religious belief is a form of mental illness (not just David Koresh or Jim Jones, etc.). Real evidence. I haven't seen it yet.  

It could be that there's an evolutionary basis behind beliefs in gods, ghosts, and spirits, etc. And if it's part of our evolutionary inheritance (although the last 400 years of the European Enlightenmment has helped us be more rational), it would be a bit bold to claiom that religious beliefs are now a form of mental illness (especially when harldly anyone doubted these beliefs except in the last 400 years). Were all of our ancestors mentally ill, from 400 years ago and beyond? Or were they just irrational? Beiring in mind that being irrational does not constitute mental illness.

 

 

 

 

 

Religion is better

Religion is better described as a crutch used by people with everything from run of the mill laziness and need to belong to those with serious psychiatric disorders.

Certainly there are occasions when the deluded and the delusional coincide, but the man in the original hand chopping story might have read lord of the rings if he hadn't had the bible to guide him in his insanity. 

I think it is more then fair to call religion outside the bounds of reason, but the bounds of sanity are actually a bit wider then reason.  As much as we may want to medicate and treat the religious, it is counter to the ideals of living in a free and open society.

 I appreciate what you guys are doing, and think there ought to be more give and take between the religious and the non-believers.  That said, I think slander for the sake of pissing people off is a bit less then productive.  I am not a closeted atheist and take on the religious for their  bigotry and arrogance.  

 We need two kinds of messages, those that rally the troops and those that convert the agnostics and the non-practicing.  I don't see how this is either.

 

PS: In the Kirk Cameron debate, you should have pointed out that their "painting" that must have a "painter", was indeed a print that must have had a printer.

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: Yes, there is no

Quote:

Yes, there is no proof yet that the guy who cut his hand off was crazy, I mean really crazy (yet). But, c'mon, no one cuts their hand off to get into the kingdom of heaven unless their nuts, most likely.

But that whole idea of cutting your hand off or ripping your eye out (if it offends God) has got to be metaphoric.

Charles, I think you're overlooking a couple of really important facts. First, there have been several court ordered hand severings in Iran this year. Iran (Persia) has been around for a damn long time, and in its history, there have been millions and millions of people who didn't think that line was metaphoric.

You think it's got to be metaphoric because your perception of reality is so rooted in essentially European ideals of justice that anything else seems inconceivable. Consider for a moment that in Iran, it is absolutely inconceivable that a woman would ever be able to represent herself in a divorce suit against her husband in court, yet that has happened thousands of times in just one year in America.

Morality and reality are not nearly so objective as any one person would like to believe, and it's naive at best to think that because you can't find a way to take the bible literally, that nobody else could without being crazy in a way the DSM IV recognizes.

If you are going to suggest that anyone who does physical harm to themselves in the name of religion is DSM crazy, you're going to have to include a LOT of people. If you include mental harm, you're going to have to include exponentially more.

The question begins to become clearer when you think of it this way -- if a very large percentage of the religious do physical or mental harm to themselves or others, and they wouldn't have done it but for their theism, does theism attract crazy people, or is theism itself a kind of disorder?

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: Religion is better

Quote:
Religion is better described as a crutch used by people with everything from run of the mill laziness and need to belong to those with serious psychiatric disorders.

Forgive me, but I think this is a crutch.  Religion is indoctrinated into people when they are too young to know any better.  The beliefs shape their entire lives, and they were never "crutch-less."  A crutch is a temporary brace used to give time for otherwise healthy bones to heal.  If the bones are so brittle that they will always break without help, we say someone has a disease.

(I recognize that people with bone diseases use crutches.  I'm trying to address the meaning of the metaphor, not to make it a perfect analog.)

It's very painful, and even more controversial, to consider the idea that two thirds of the planet's population have something wrong with their brains that keeps them from being able to think and function properly, but we can't rule it out simply because it's a painful idea.  To say that religion is a crutch is missing the point.  Most of the religious people in the world never had an option to be anything other than religious.  The crutch analogy fails.

 

Quote:
Certainly there are occasions when the deluded and the delusional coincide, but the man in the original hand chopping story might have read lord of the rings if he hadn't had the bible to guide him in his insanity.

This is speculative.  People have been getting their hands chopped off in Iran for centuries as part of the law.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that since you would never chop your own hand off for religion, that nobody else would.   Also, think about the mass insanity that has been wrought in the name of religion.  The suicide bombers that have been attacking various targets all over the world are well trained, intelligent men.  You've read the profiles of the 9/11 bombers, right?  These were not dumb shits.  They were respected, educated men.

If you are American, your only first hand observation of religious indoctrination is American Christianity.  While it is pretty crazy in some ways -- creationism, anti-stem cell research, anti-gay, etc, current history doesn't record much in the way of doling out death.  However, you should remember the witch hunts, only a few centuries ago, in which the government, made up of the most learned men in the community, sanctioned and led the persecution of so many innocents.  Think for a moment about the number of gay christians who could be living happily with someone they actually desire if only Christians would read a little science and realize that homosexuality is rampant all through the animal kingdom, and we know that it is not a choice.

Labelling every Christian who does something stupid as insane is just as disengenuous as labeling all atheists as angry malcontent goths.

 [I think it is more then fair to call religion outside the bounds of reason, but the bounds of sanity are actually a bit wider then reason.  As much as we may want to medicate and treat the religious, it is counter to the ideals of living in a free and open society.]

Redrover, religion IS a description of reality.  If it is believed by someone, than that person's perception of reality is irrational.

If sanity is the state of perceiving religion accurately, then people who believe religion are not sane.

 

Quote:
I appreciate what you guys are doing, and think there ought to be more give and take between the religious and the non-believers.

I don't.  I believe religion is harmful and detrimental to society, and I want everyone to abandon it.  There's no middle ground there. 

 

Quote:
We need two kinds of messages, those that rally the troops and those that convert the agnostics and the non-practicing.  I don't see how this is either.

You obviously haven't seen the google traffic reports.  The troops are rallying.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

The beliefs shape their

The beliefs shape their entire lives, and they were never "crutch-less."

 Does that somehow make of it less of a crutch?  It's a crutch forced on people, it limits thier growth in many ways, and encourages their dependence.  But a bad idea and a mental illeness are two very different things.

 If sanity is the state of perceiving religion accurately, then people who believe religion are not sane.

 Accurate perception is not the definition of sanity.  Everyone that has a wrong idea is not mentally ill.  You would have some real trouble finding a sane person if that were the case.  Are republicans all insane?  Was every Nazi insane?  Nope, human minds in perfect working order take lots of shortcuts and need to feel part of a group more then they need to answer every question before them.

D The suicide bombers that have been attacking various targets all over the world are well trained, intelligent men.  You've read the profiles of the 9/11 bombers, right?  These were not dumb shits.  They were respected, educated men.

 And your point is?

People have been getting their hands chopped off in Iran for centuries as part of the law.

People have been doing lots of terrible things for centuries.  Since most people in the history of time have been religous, there is almost a 100% correlation between bad things and being religious.  But that doesn't mean that one always causes the other or that gettign rid of religion will somehow cure all those problems.

Think for a moment about the number of gay christians who could be living happily with someone they actually desire if only Christians would read a little science and realize that homosexuality is rampant all through the animal kingdom, and we know that it is not a choice.

 "Rampant" is a bit of an overstatement.  Not that many animals mate for life and very rarely do animals pair with the same sex for life.  Animals lick and touch each other without regard for gender, but that is hardly the same thing.  And so what if it were a choice, people oughta be able to love whom they please.

That off topic bit aside, homosexuality has been embraced by some religions and I think even with no christian influences alot of people would still have hang ups about sex. 

I don't.  I believe religion is harmful and detrimental to society, and I want everyone to abandon it.  There's no middle ground there.

 Yeah, I guess I don't disagree. But if it is a mental illness, then abandoning it might be a little tricky.  We should get everyone to abandon Schizophrenia too while we are at it.

You obviously haven't seen the google traffic reports.  The troops are rallying.

 Yeah, missed that one.  No possibility that a shocking name for a post got lots of folks to check it?

Well, once everyone gets to this rally, what's the plan?  Call religious people names until they give up and admit how right we are?

Goths?

Labeling every Christian who does something stupid as insane is just as disengenuous as labeling all atheists as angry malcontent goths.

 First of al, I did not do the first thing, this blog did.

Second, as a life long atheist, son of an atheist, grandson of an atheist, and the sibling and friend of Atheists, I have never once heard any atheist referred to as an "angry malcontent Goth".

 Projecting much?

 You seem to hate religion because it has victimized you.  You are right to do that.  But the fact that religion does bad things is not evidence that is is not true. 

 

Hambydammit's picture

Redrover, are you trying to

Redrover, are you trying to be a turd?

Quote:
Does that somehow make of it less of a crutch? It's a crutch forced on people, it limits thier growth in many ways, and encourages their dependence. But a bad idea and a mental illeness are two very different things.

Did I not address this in the next paragraph? I was addressing the meaning of the common usage of the crutch analogy. Are you trying to misrepresent me, or did you just skip a paragraph? Did I not mention this exact objection?

Quote:
Accurate perception is not the definition of sanity. Everyone that has a wrong idea is not mentally ill. You would have some real trouble finding a sane person if that were the case. Are republicans all insane? Was every Nazi insane? Nope, human minds in perfect working order take lots of shortcuts and need to feel part of a group more then they need to answer every question before them.

Again, I have addressed this. I separated theism from innacurate perceptions by noting that theism is a model of reality. We say someone is insane when their entire framework of reality is skewed. This is synonymous with theism, as I demonstrated.

Quote:

D The suicide bombers that have been attacking various targets all over the world are well trained, intelligent men. You've read the profiles of the 9/11 bombers, right? These were not dumb shits. They were respected, educated men.

And your point is?

I thought it was quite clear. Theism was the external impetus for their actions. Their skewed model of reality, not chemical imbalance, caused their actions.

Quote:
People have been doing lots of terrible things for centuries. Since most people in the history of time have been religous, there is almost a 100% correlation between bad things and being religious. But that doesn't mean that one always causes the other or that gettign rid of religion will somehow cure all those problems.

There is also an extremely high correlation between atheists and people who do not do heinous things. Have you looked at jail statistics? Significantly less atheists -- proportionally -- in jail than theists.

Quote:
"Rampant" is a bit of an overstatement.

No, it's not. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of higher animal species that have a consistent, statistically significant homosexual/bisexual population.

Quote:
That off topic bit aside, homosexuality has been embraced by some religions and I think even with no christian influences alot of people would still have hang ups about sex.

Would you like to make another strawman? Homosexuality was an example of a particular break from reality. There was no implication that all theism subscribes to the same breaks from reality.

Quote:
Yeah, I guess I don't disagree. But if it is a mental illness, then abandoning it might be a little tricky. We should get everyone to abandon Schizophrenia too while we are at it.

As I've said before, theism is not like schizophrenia. There are mental disorders, like PTSD that are caused by external forces. Theism is one such disorder. If we never sent men into combat, there would never be combat-induced PTSD. If there was no religion, there would never be religious induced insanity.

Quote:

Yeah, missed that one. No possibility that a shocking name for a post got lots of folks to check it?

Well, once everyone gets to this rally, what's the plan? Call religious people names until they give up and admit how right we are?

Why don't you do some reading. Check out the RRS Authors section. You'll see that we have extensive resources available, everything from science to philosophy to logic to editorials. Our site is extensive. If you learned everything in just our RRS Authors section, you'd be quite a bit smarter than when you arrived. I don't claim to know half of it, myself. I write within my specialties, as do the others. There's more here than any one person could absorb effectively.

Seriously, redrover, why don't you stop whining about our marketing and check out our content. Instead of wasting our time and yours, you could be learning about stuff you didn't even know you didn't know, and I could be doing my research and writing instead of defending the site against someone who could be helping if he wasn't bitching about semantics.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: First of al, I did

Quote:
First of al, I did not do the first thing, this blog did.

Did I say you said it?  Project much?

Quote:
Second, as a life long atheist, son of an atheist, grandson of an atheist, and the sibling and friend of Atheists, I have never once heard any atheist referred to as an "angry malcontent Goth".

Awesome for you.  Seriously.  I'm glad you live in a place that's better than most.   You're very lucky to have a family of atheists.  Most of us have not been so lucky.

 

Quote:
You seem to hate religion because it has victimized you.

You seem to think you know a lot about me.  

 

Quote:
You are right to do that.  But the fact that religion does bad things is not evidence that is is not true.

If you'd stop bitching for long enough to consider all the evidence, I think you'd understand our position better.  Do you really think we're just saying this without any reason?

Instead of attacking us, why don't you ask us for clarification?  Why don't you ask specific questions about the definitions of "mental disorder," or "insane" or anything else?  You're not being constructive or trying to learn.  You're just preaching at us.  We have a strong case.  Why don't you try to understand it fully before you argue against it?  Wouldn't that be a bit more rational than reacting angrily to what you think, but don't know for sure, to be wrong?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Cpt_pineapple's picture

Hambydammit wrote: Instead

Hambydammit wrote:

Instead of attacking us, why don't you ask us for clarification? Why don't you ask specific questions about the definitions of "mental disorder," or "insane" or anything else?

 

 

On that note, what is your definition of 'insane' and 'mental disorder'? 

Hambydammit's picture

I don't use the word

I don't use the word "insane" scientifically.

A mental disorder is a condition in which an individual experiences inordinant distress or disability as a result of reduced, impaired, or altered mental ability.  Mental disorders can be caused by genetic, chemical, or environmental factors, including physical and mental abuse or mistreatment.

There are tons of categories, including psychotic disorders, developmental disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders.  The list could go on for a long time.

Psychology does not have a universally agreed upon definition, but for my purposes, I regard anyone who experiences a chronic state of inability to perform otherwise normal cognitive tasks to have a mental disorder.

For the purposes of this definition, "normal" refers to the abilities of a person of average mental faculties, given the knowledge he possesses, assuming no outside coercion or ulterior motives.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

the turd

Not my intention to be a turd or to attack.

 

It's my intention to be a little bit of a devil's advocate and add my voice and my point of view to those who advocate for athiesm.  Although I don't think athiests should restrain thier response to religion, we should keep the upper hand by keeping our arguements based on the same thing as our beliefs, reason.  THere are plenty of emotional reasons to hate religion and plenty of scornful insults we can lob in its direction, but in a battle of emotions atheists are still outnumbered 100million to one in this world.

 

Not saying this arguement is solely an emotional one, but it seems the way it is defended even amoungst atheists is very emotionally charged.

Perhaps in our quest to label religion mental illness, we should not forget the emotions that accompany being an oppressed minority.  We are not well served by them.

 I stand by my crutch metaphor.

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:

Quote:
Perhaps in our quest to label religion mental illness, we should not forget the emotions that accompany being an oppressed minority. We are not well served by them.

You're being much more reasonable now. Thank you.

Please don't forget that appeal to emotion works both ways. Just because there is an emotional appeal to an argument, it doesn't make it either true or false. If our classification has merit, it has merit, even if it is being voiced by an emotional minority.

I respect your decision not to call theism a mental disorder. I hope you will continue to keep an open mind, and not base your decision on the emotional repulsiveness of calling such a large part of the population mentally disordered.

Quote:
but in a battle of emotions atheists are still outnumbered 100million to one in this world.

No. Atheists are the fourth most populous category, behind only Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

We account for anywhere between 13 and 18 percent of the American population. We are outnumbered approximately 8 to 1 in America.  Worldwide, it's about 3.5 to 1.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

crazy

You know, some used to label homosexuality as a mental disorder.

It was in the DSM and everything.  Some continue the belief and try to treat it.

 I's pretty facsist stuff.  

 

At the core of my concern with this whole line of reasoning is that this is getting remarkably similar to that.

 Part of what I like about atheism is that we are supposed to know that we can't know, while religious folks claim to know the nature of the universe and enforce it on people through plenty of brutal and abusive methods.

 

Cpt_pineapple's picture

Hambydammit wrote: I don't

Hambydammit wrote:

I don't use the word "insane" scientifically.

A mental disorder is a condition in which an individual experiences inordinant distress or disability as a result of reduced, impaired, or altered mental ability. Mental disorders can be caused by genetic, chemical, or environmental factors, including physical and mental abuse or mistreatment.

There are tons of categories, including psychotic disorders, developmental disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders. The list could go on for a long time.

Psychology does not have a universally agreed upon definition, but for my purposes, I regard anyone who experiences a chronic state of inability to perform otherwise normal cognitive tasks to have a mental disorder.

For the purposes of this definition, "normal" refers to the abilities of a person of average mental faculties, given the knowledge he possesses, assuming no outside coercion or ulterior motives.

 

 

Does love fit this definition? It most certaintly causes people to do things they otherwise wouldn't do.

 

We account for anywhere

We account for anywhere between 13 and 18 percent of the American population. We are outnumbered approximately 8 to 1 in America.  Worldwide, it's about 3.5 to 1.

 What is your source for these numbers?

The US numbers seem about right, and I bet we have a good showing in places like europe and japan, but the middle east, and the third world have a whole lotta people whom are pour hungary and uneducated.  Hard to believe a third of those folks are atheists. 

Cpt_pineapple's picture

Redrover77 wrote: We

Redrover77 wrote:

We account for anywhere between 13 and 18 percent of the American population. We are outnumbered approximately 8 to 1 in America. Worldwide, it's about 3.5 to 1.

What is your source for these numbers?

The US numbers seem about right, and I bet we have a good showing in places like europe and japan, but the middle east, and the third world have a whole lotta people whom are pour hungary and uneducated. Hard to believe a third of those folks are atheists.

 

I found this:

 

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/08s0074.pdf

 

but then again it's from 2001 So '01 had a population of 14% with no religious affiliation.

 

So I see the point that atheists aren't that much of a minority. 

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: Does love fit this

Quote:
Does love fit this definition? It most certaintly causes people to do things they otherwise wouldn't do.

A perceptive question, and a good example of just how nebulous our definition of mental disorder is.  If we wanted to (I certainly don't), we could go a long way with this.  Infatuation has been proven to diminish our capacity for rational thought.  Normal brain function is damn hard to describe, which makes abnormal even harder.  I'm not going to address this much more because as perceptive as this question is, it doesn't really pertain to the topic.  Whether love is or not has no bearing on whether theism is.  (Love and PTSD are not very similar, for instance.)  If anything, it highlights the need for a more precise definition, but it does nothing to rule out theism as a dangerous disorder.  If they change the definition, we might be forced to change our position.  As it stands, theism fits.

Other things to consider:  Van Gogh was certainly insane, as were Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Berlioz, Schumann, and hundreds of other famous artists.  Certainly, abnormal brain conditions can have potentially positive side effects.  This gets into an interesting, but not really relevant, normative discussion of the relative value of the contributions of individuals versus their own happiness, etc.

I do not propose to revolutionize psychology, nor do I pretend that our current definition is either complete or completely accurate in what it does address.   Frankly, I don't care too much about the definition.  Truthfully, I don't even give a damn whether theism ever gets listed in the DSM.  What I care about is getting people to realize how theism affects the brain.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

A gem from kelly

The only country with a legitimate beef against the US economic policy in the Middle East was Iraq, but this is a subject I won't delve into here.

 

I just cought this tidbit from kelly.  WTF?  study mideast foreign policy much?  We are most hated by Saudis becase our financial system props up their dictatorship.  How about the millions and millions of people all over the region that live in poverty while our economic system pays their non democratic leaders billions for oil? You don't think they have reason to hate us? 

This comment stemmed that someone supposed that it would be possible for 9/11 to occur without radical islam.  I think they are right to suppose that it is possible.  Perhaps sucide bombings are harder to pull off without promises of virgins, but I think an attack of somekind could still have been attempted by someone. Religion is not the route of all evil.  Some evil is made without need of a holy book.

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: The US numbers seem

Quote:
The US numbers seem about right, and I bet we have a good showing in places like europe and japan, but the middle east, and the third world have a whole lotta people whom are pour hungary and uneducated.  Hard to believe a third of those folks are atheists.

Redrover.. Dude.  I said worldwide.  I did not say uniformly.

 I take a lot of time making sure I use the words that convey precisely the meaning I intend.  Please try to do me the courtesy of giving me the benefit of the doubt and reading my words precisely.

Thanks.  Off the top of my head, I said fourth.  This source says third.  I've seen some disagreement.  Just look for any official census compilations on google.  It's not hard.

From http://www.adherents.com/ 

Major Religions of the World
Ranked by Number of Adherents

(Sizes shown are approximate estimates, and are here mainly for the purpose of ordering the groups, not providing a definitive number. This list is sociological/statistical in perspective.)
  1. Christianity: 2.1 billion
  2. Islam: 1.5 billion
  3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
  4. Hinduism: 900 million
  5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
  6. Buddhism: 376 million
  7. primal-indigenous: 300 million
  8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
  9. Sikhism: 23 million
  10. Juche: 19 million

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

but then again it's from

but then again it's from 2001 So '01 had a population of 14% with no religious affiliation.

 

No religious affiliation does not always equate to atheism.

And the term "minority group" is not a calculation of numbers.

 For instance, women are considered a minority group although their longevity ussually means they are more then half the population.

Hambydammit's picture

  Quote: I just cought

 

Quote:
I just cought this tidbit from kelly.  WTF?  study mideast foreign policy much?  We are most hated by Saudis becase our financial system props up their dictatorship.  How about the millions and millions of people all over the region that live in poverty while our economic system pays their non democratic leaders billions for oil? You don't think they have reason to hate us?

Redrover, I'm honestly not trying to bust your balls today.  This is a good topic for discussion, and I'd love to see it get as much attention as it deserves, but it's not relevant to this thread.  Please don't get into this discussion on this thread, but feel free to start a new post about it.  I think it's a great topic.

 

Quote:
This comment stemmed that someone supposed that it would be possible for 9/11 to occur without radical islam.  I think they are right to suppose that it is possible.  Perhaps sucide bombings are harder to pull off without promises of virgins, but I think an attack of somekind could still have been attempted by someone. Religion is not the route of all evil.  Some evil is made without need of a holy book.

I agree completely on all counts.  Suicide bombing, war, and atrocity are not possible only through religion.  However, it's wrong to say that since it's not the only possible cause, it should be left alone.  It's the cause we've chosen to fight, and we simply don't have enough hours in the day to fight all the causes of nastiness in the world.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: No religious

Quote:

No religious affiliation does not always equate to atheism.

And the term "minority group" is not a calculation of numbers.

 For instance, women are considered a minority group although their longevity ussually means they are more then half the population.

Ok.  Now I'm busting your balls.  Are you just trying to find some way to be right?  Dude, you said a million to one.  That's clearly wrong.  It's incredibly wrong.  It's so wrong that it needed to be pointed out.  Does it matter if it's 8:1 or 9:1 or 7:1?

The point is that there are a lot of atheists in the world.  You seem insistent on getting off topic.  You aren't a sock puppet for Cpt_Pineapple, are you?

(That's a joke aimed at Pineapple.  Pay it no mind.)

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

read your link

http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html#Nonreligious

 

In that article it combines non religios with atheists.  It says that 50% of the no religious are half thiestic.

 Meaning 8% of the world is non-thiestic and only some subset of those are truely atheistic.

 

meaning 92% of the world believes in supernatural powers of some kind. 

Hambydammit's picture

Did you read my last

Did you read my last post?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

After I had posted.   I

After I had posted.

 

I was using hyperbole when I said a million to one.

 

We are infact outnumbered.  There are about 5.5 billion more religios people in the world.

 Not a small army of emotional believers.

Sapient's picture

Charles Evolution

 

Charles Evolution wrote:

Many of your[Kelly] answers are quite good. I would like to see what the DSM IV has to say about religion as a menta illness. I trust that source more that i do your speculations.

Considering the DSM used to list homosexuality as a mental disorder and that theism isn't currently listed as a disorder, I trust Kelly's "speculations" more than the DSM.  Adding to that, the group of the APA (Division 36) that deals with the psychology of religion is the former American Catholic Psychological association I don't see why you'd be trusting the professional conmen over Kelly.  Yes, I refer to priests and doctorates of theology as conmen.

 

 

Quote:
It's an extreme metaphor, but it simply means STOP doing those things that offend God. If it were literal, we'd have reports of very devote early Christians cutting their hands off and plucking their eyes out.

The reason we don't see those things is because Christians don't actually believe the things they claim to.  As Daniel Dennett wrote, they merely believe in belief.  This problem of course relates to compartmentalization which is derived from the inabilty to think clearly or if you will, a disordered brain. 

 

Quote:
I'd like some good psychological evidence that religious belief is a form of mental illness (not just David Koresh or Jim Jones, etc.). Real evidence. I haven't seen it yet.

What would suffice as evidence?  Listing in the DSM?  If it's listed in the DSM would you discount it on the grounds that the DSM has made hundreds of mistakes over the course of it's history?  

Have you ever heard of a person who martyred themselves to meet up with 72 virgins in an imaginary nonexistent paradise that anyone thinking critically can easily ascertain is, well imaginary?   If you don't think that such action is derived from a brain in disorder than we happily disagree with you, and see this all as a difference of opinion.

- Brian Sapient


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

Cpt_pineapple's picture

As I alluded to in a

As I alluded to in a previous post, the trouble I have is that love could very well fit into this description.

 

Hell, a lot of things could fit into your definition of 'mental disorder'.

 

[edit]

Translation: I think your purposly altering your definition to include Theism in it. 

 

[/edit] 

The Rational

How about we leave the science to the scientists.

What would suffice as evidence?  Listing in the DSM?

 Yes, Exactly. A group of proffessionals studying religion and seeing if it fits the definition they give to mental illness.  Peer review, the whole bit.

Some sort of irrational belief syndrome would just be silly in its implication. What do you think about those that believe in UFO's, Ghosts, luck, fate, people that think their dog understands them, conspiracy theorists?  Do we medicate and treat all them too?  I

 Brave New World much?

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: Some sort of

Quote:

Some sort of irrational belief syndrome would just be silly in its implication. What do you think about those that believe in UFO's, Ghosts, luck, fate, people that think their dog understands them, conspiracy theorists?  Do we medicate and treat all them too?  I

 Brave New World much?

Why in the hell is it so difficult to make any kind of statement without everybody going off the fucking deep end and saying that we're advocating the exact kind of thing we fight against?

Let me put this in really, really big letters.  Maybe that will help.

RRS does not think, nor are we trying to prove, that all, or most, or even a significant portion of theists need to be on medication.  We are completely against forcing anyone (outside of convicted criminals deemed to need medical incarceration) to take any medication.

Does that help?  Let's see how many posts before someone else accuses us of the same thing.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Yeah

You know that they treat people with a diagnosis of a DSM disorder right.  So, you think just counciling then?

 My point wasn't about drugs, it is about the arrogance of having a state (or medical community) sponsored version of reality and therapy of any kind trying to enforce that reality.  

Hambydammit's picture

The DSM is not part of the

The DSM is not part of the government.  It's part of the medical community.

Yes, I know people with disorders CAN be treated, and the AMA and FDA get a little feisty when people start asking to treat things that aren't in the DSM.  We want people to have the OPPORTUNITY to be treated.

That's the point!

Ok.  In really huge letters this time:

THE RRS DOES NOT ADVOCATE FORCING ANYONE INTO TREATMENT FOR ANYTHING.  AT ALL.  ZIP.  ZERO.  ZILCH.  NADA.  

 

Now, in a different font:

THE RRS DOES NOT ADVOCATE FORCING ANY KIND OF TREATMENT ON ANYONE.

THE RRS DOES NOT ADVOCATE FORCING ANYONE TO GET TREATMENT FOR ANYTHING.

 

Is that relatively clear?

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

I never used the word "force"

Not trying to be a dick here, but can we keep the discussion to normal sized letters.

 I used the word "enforce", but that was within the context of therapy.  If someone asked their counselor, "Does god exist?"  THey would be compelled to say, "No, that's a belief of those with a disorder."  

 

Hambydammit's picture

I'm not trying to be a dick

I'm not trying to be a dick either, Red. I'm trying to figure out a way to communicate a very simple idea, and no matter what I say, it's not sinking in.

In the context of going out of your house, you're likely to run into someone who will tell you that god doesn't exist. It's not exactly priviledged information.

There are many doctors and pharmacists who have personal beliefs that differ from the official opinion of the AMA. In cases of prescriptions, therapy, etc, they have to go with what the AMA says because that's reality, such as it is. If you don't want to deal with the reality of abortion, you don't become an OB/GYN.

Does that mean people with invisible friends couldn't be therapists and still get AMA approval? Well, yes. I think having a psychologist that doesn't believe in invisible friends is kind of important.

Having said that, there are lots of "councellors" without degrees or AMA certification. The only thing you need to legally practice telling people how to fix their life is a degree in sociology with a certification in councelling. Furthermore, churches are perfectly free to have "church councellors" who can be "certified" in any manner the church sees fit. All they have to do is not try to prescribe drugs... which you don't want to do for theists anyway.

In other words, it's not the 1984 big brother scenario you imagine. It wouldn't force anyone into treatment, and it most certainly wouldn't end up filling the insane asylums with everyday good folk. It's simply the acknowledgment that Delusional Disorder and Theism are indistinguishable in many cases.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Psychology

I am getting your point.  At least, the "very simple" ones and I am not suggesting that you ever have advocated forcing treatment.  Get that.

Brave New World and 1984 are indeed, different books.  I was not suggesting a 1984 senario.

 Counselors do not tell people, "How to fix their lives."  They are also not big on defining sanity or reality.  They treat people that have disorders that negatively effect their ability to function and enjoy their life.  The vast majority of religious people would make no such complaint about their beliefs.

Hambydammit's picture

Psychologists and

Psychologists and Psychiatrists diagnose and treat people with disorders.

Councelors are simply people with or without degrees or qualifications who tell people how to fix their lives.  To be employed by the state, you must have certification, which you can get through the  sociology or psychology department at most accredited universities.

To be employed by yourself or by a church, you need a good marketing department.

Check out the self help section of your local bookstore, and you'll see lots of people who are trying to help people fix their lives, without regard for disorders.

Again, red, you're having a lot of trouble keeping your categories separate. 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

It's your categories I have trouble with

To provide counselling services you need to have a minimum psychology or social work degree, most "counselling jobs require a masters degree. It is a liscensed medical profession and it is against the law to practice without a liscence. Their aren't marketing requirements as far as I know. 

Sociology is the study of human societies.  Without a masters in
social work, psychology, psychiatry, or counselling, they could not practice.

Religous institutions can provide some informal counselling.

Folks like Dr. Phil can write all the books they want and give people all the advice they want, but what they do is not considered formal counselling.

If you are talking about the DSM or diagnosing people or getting treatment, you are talking about the medical professionals.

They would all cringe if you asked them if they "fix peoples lives". 

 Yes, I was a Psych major.

 

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: To provide

Quote:
To provide counselling services you need to have a minimum psychology or social work degree, most "counselling jobs require a masters degree. It is a liscensed medical profession and it is against the law to practice without a liscence. Their aren't marketing requirements as far as I know.

Again, I'm not trying to be a dick, but I'm surprised that you were a psych major and have so much trouble figuring out what I'm saying. Again, I said something along the lines of, "If you want to work for a church, etc... you need a good marketing department." That is to say, you can offer your advice and get people to pay for it, but you can't claim to be licensed to do so. In order to sell yourself in this way, you need a good ad campaign. "Marketing" is a subtle way of saying this without having to spell it all out.

Pastors "councel" people all the time, and many of them only have theology degrees, if that.

For licensed jobs, you must have a degree, as I said.

Quote:
Sociology is the study of human societies. Without a masters in
social work, psychology, psychiatry, or counselling, they could not practice.

I'm intimately familiar with sociology. I did mean to say social work above, not sociology. Apologies.

Again, they cannot practice as a licensed therapist. They can sell it as something else, so long as they don't misrepresent their status or credentials. This is a very simple distinction.

Quote:
Religous institutions can provide some informal counselling.

I've mentioned this, no?

Quote:
Folks like Dr. Phil can write all the books they want and give people all the advice they want, but what they do is not considered formal counselling.

And this.

Quote:
If you are talking about the DSM or diagnosing people or getting treatment, you are talking about the medical professionals.

I've mentioned this.

Quote:
They would all cringe if you asked them if they "fix peoples lives".

I'm pretty sure I've made the distinction and acknowledged the difference. Just to be 100% clear, let me spell it out again:

Psychiatrists and sociologists (both scientists, in at least one sense) are concerned with the way things are. Delusional Disorder and Theism are virtually identical, yet one is identified as a disorder, and the other is rewarded with the presidency. This is bad science. Theism needs to be recognized as delusional disorder if, indeed, it does fit all the diagnostic criteria.

Non-licensed therapists, authors, councelors, and pastors are free to tell people anything they wish about what they should believe or how they should live. Getting the psych community on board with the delusional disorder thing has absolutely no bearing on people's abilities to advise people in any way they see fit.

No one is talking about forcing anyone to change anything about the way they live or believe.

Just as doctors are not free to tell patients that there is an imbalance in their humors, psychologists should not be free to tell patients that they need to pray for healing, or that god is real. If someone asks a licensed psychologist (scientist!) if god is real, the most correct answer would be, "There is no evidence that I'm aware of."

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

RationalSchema's picture

Simplify

I am going to try to simplify this arguement. First let me state that I think when we start to talk about mental disorders we need to be very cautious. The current system we have is flawed. It is a categorical system that works from the top down as opposed to bottom up.

Anyway, people have beliefs about themselves, the world and the future. Bascially the Beck Cognitive Triad. People feel emotions, both positive and negative, and engage in behaviors based upon these beliefs. How I think about myself as a person or how people treat each other in relationships is just as much a belief as someones belief in a higher power, Jesus, YEC, and so forth. In our brains they are all beliefs that drive our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Some beliefs lead do actions and emotions that become maladaptive, distressing and cause significant impairment in the individuals functioning. In other words, the belief has a negative impact in their lives that leads to negative consequences.

According to Cogntive Theory this happens when beliefs are irrational and information processing is distorted because of these beliefs. For example "Nobody will like me," "People are not to be trusted," "The world is a scary place," and "I will always be a failure" are types of irrational thoughts and beliefs that are held by individuals in distress. So, you could surmise that the irrational beliefs of religion cause significant impairment or distress and therefore could be considered mental disorders. For example, the guilt that an individual who is catholic may feel for getting a divorce. "I am unworthy and a horrible person because I defied God." However, there are two huge catches.

1. As said before, the belief has to cause significant impairment and distress.

2. According to Cognitive Theory the beliefs are only activated given certain environmental stimuli or events. In plain terms, social context matters. When we live in a country or a society where these beliefs are accepted, are norms, and are generally reinforced positively by society they cause no distress or impairment.

Conclusion: Irrational beliefs can lead to distressing and maladaptive actions and emotions, but in cases where they are accepted by the larger culture they do not cause impairment.

 

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

Delusional disorder

There is a very significant difference between Delusional disorder and Theism.  People with a DD come up with their delusions on their own! Paranoia is not taught.  No one told John Hinkley Jr. that Jodi Foster was in love with him and that he was the guy from taxi driver.  There are no Sunday morning classes for that shit.

 On the other hand, religion is taught.  Someone telling you something is true is actually evidence that it is true.  Not the best evidence, but evidence none the less.  It's not the result of a psychotic episode.  Thats a huge fucking difference.

Note: Social workers are licensed professionals as well.

You said people without degrees were counselors (one C not two), saying "I mentioned that" does not change that you were wrong. 

 There is no such thing as a "Non-licensed therapist".  A therapist is profession like being a lawyer.  So it is like calling someone a non-licensed lawyer.  Not a bloody lawyer, are they? Just some guy  giving you some legal advice.

Perhaps you should learn something about psychology before you start trying to apply the science to religion.  The only thing you have said that makes real sense is that religious people are crazy.   Everything after that you have been pulling out of your ass.

Ok, I am trying to be a dick now.

 

 

Thanks

Well Said, Rational Schema

 

That previous comment is for ham the rambo kitty.

 

My primary arguement is that folks shouldn't throw around medical terms without understanding the basic defition of a Mental disorder.  Certainly belief without evidence or reason is a troubling, and destructive at times, but that does not raise religion to the threshhold of a disorder.

Secondly as someone that likes his personal liberty, I object to any attempt to make ideas into mental disorders.  

 Somehow those ideas have lead to the rambo kitty feeling mighty mis-understood. 

 

aiia's picture

Redrover77 wrote: Someone

Redrover77 wrote:
Someone telling you something is true is actually evidence that it is true. 
No

Someone

No

 

Yes, You telling me you have first hand knowledge of everything that you know? 

Hambydammit's picture

Ok, look.  We're just

Ok, look.  We're just playing the word dance here.  I'm really happy for you that you caught me in a typo.  Sociology does not equal social work.  I'll admit it again if it makes you feel better.

How many different ways do you need me to say that I understand the difference between licensed and non-licensed, and therapists, counselors (with one c and one l) and pastors?  If it makes you feel better, I acknowledge your keen understanding of the definitions of the words.  It's a truly staggering display of regurgitation.

Quote:
Perhaps you should learn something about psychology before you start trying to apply the science to religion.  The only thing you have said that makes real sense is that religious people are crazy.   Everything after that you have been pulling out of your ass.

I think if you do some digging you'll find that not only are you just being a dick, you're definitely not correct about my education or knowledge.  You've been splitting hairs over whether I've used exactly the correct word, and frankly, you've been wasting my time.  By now, I can't remember, and I'm not going to look, but in one of these threads, I posted the DSM's description of Delusional Disorder, and with the exception of some disagreement over the nature and duration of mood episodes (whether theists experience the same kind of mood episode, primarily), nobody's had anything to say about the fact that all the other symptoms are identical.  The damn DSM even says that mood episodes are not always present.

Yet again, I will say this, as plainly as possible:

1) PTSD and Delusional Disorder were used as examples from the DSM of disorders that have either some or many very similar or identical characteristics as those demonstrated by at least a significant number of theists.

2) I have not, and do not claim, to have the research necessary to defend theism as identical to DD.  I apologize if I was ever hyperbolic in my comparison.   Kelly is the one compiling data and doing research.  I'm in the middle of something completely different, and am over a decade out of college.   I believe that Kelly is pursuing theism as a similar disorder to DD. 

3) I don't remember ever bringing cognitive therapy into the discussion. 

4)  This discussion has gotten absurd.  Red, for the sake of not wasting any more of my time, I am happy to give you the trophy for winning.  You've managed to pull this thing so far off the original topic, and either intentionally or ignorantly stick on points that were either never made or clearly not intended, that I honestly don't even remember what the first damn point was.

Your entire bloody post is not a refutation of anything in psychology.  It's a rant against terminology.  You win.  You are the master of using words in their exact textbook way.  You're really good at it.  You are the man.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

aiia's picture

Redrover77

Redrover77 wrote:

No

 

Yes, You telling me you have first hand knowledge of everything that you know? 

Non sequitur

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.

Dude

Good lord.  Read my first comment.  I basicly say the same thing in my last one as the first.  I object to this use of medical terminology in a non scientific manner and thought a less loaded term like crutch was more appropriate.  You then divided it up line by line to tell me I was wrong.  I responded and four days later and here we are.

 There are some stiking similarities between the DD and Theism(I went and read the DSM description), with one major difference.  The cause.  The PTSD Theist thing is a bit further of a stretch.  last I checked Waking up in the middle of the night screaming is not all that common amongst church goers.

I apologize for the spelling bit, as I am a terrible speller myself I ussually avoid that sort of thing, but as a general rule, one should check the spelling of anything you intend to put in quotations repeatedly.  I was about to ask if that is how it is spelled in England or something. 

 

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: I object to this use

Quote:
I object to this use of medical terminology in a non scientific manner and thought a less loaded term like crutch was more appropriate.

This has been noted, and you never responded to my differentiation between crutch in the common usage and your more obscure, and not particularly appropriate usage.

Quote:
There are some stiking similarities between the DD and Theism(I went and read the DSM description), with one major difference.  The cause.

Yes.  So we agree.  They're very damn similar except for the cause.  One disorder is caused by one thing and the other is caused by another.  That's why they will have different names.

 

Quote:
The PTSD Theist thing is a bit further of a stretch.

PTSD was used as an example of a disorder that is triggered by external stimuli.... like theism.

 

Quote:
last I checked Waking up in the middle of the night screaming is not all that common amongst church goers.

Which is why I only used PTSD as far as I meant it to be used.. external triggering.

 

Quote:

I apologize for the spelling bit, as I am a terrible speller myself I ussually avoid that sort of thing, but as a general rule, one should check the spelling of anything you intend to put in quotations repeatedly.  I was about to ask if that is how it is spelled in England or something.

So noted, and accepted.  I trust that you understood my meaning.   For the record, I have written tens of thousands of words worth of original material for RRS.  I think if you go through it, you'll find my spelling to be damn near impeccable.  Perhaps you can forgive me for getting one letter wrong.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism