Post Reply Religion, Insanity?
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Posted 5/23/08
Many atheists have classified religion as a form of insanity. Do you think this is true? Most religious people would deny it, but I’m not so certain.

I attest that if God is real, then religion is not insanity. However, if we were to assume that he wasn’t, then religion would be insanity.

The example Peter Kreeft gave on this was grand for me. He brought up an old play from the 1940’s called Harvey. I loved that because I was in that play once, and won a medal for my performance. (Boast, boast-always boasts when this comes up.)

The play is starred by a man named Elwood P. Dowd. Elwood is a member of a very prominent family of parvenus, extremely upper-class people. So socially excelled are they, that everyone of them actually avoids being sent off to the war. (this isn’t directly mentioned in the play, it’s just a historical note. People of their positions weren’t drafted into WWII because they boosted the economy more by continuing their normal careers than by fighting on the front lines.)

Elwood P. Dowd, however, has a friend named Harvey. Nobody can see Harvey excepted him. Harvey is a six foot tall walking, talking, and magical rabbit. The play is set up so that it can be done in one of two ways. In my version Harvey turned out to be real.

In another version he did not. So, let’s look at this. If Harvey is real and only Elwood knows it, Elwood is enlightened. He’s opened to a realm of knowledge that everyone else is ignorant of. Now then, if Harvey is not, Elwood is simply insane.

Religion is similar, but there is a major difference. God is a grander entity than any bleeding rabbit. That’d make us infinitely more insane than Elwood, because God is an infinitely great entity, making him infinitely more grand than Harvey.

Well, I believe that God is real, so I don’t think I’m insane. But, if he weren’t real, and I still believed he were, then I’d be a complete nut.
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Posted 5/23/08

SeraphAlford wrote:

old play from the 1940’s called Harvey.


Hahaha, i was in that play also. I was Wilson, but i didn't get an award for my proformance.

But to the question at hand.

No, i don't like to think religion is some sort of mental illness. I don't think religion poisons people to the edge of insanity. Yes, people can be fanatic about it and kill people over the name of God, but I'm not talking about killing for the sake of country, i'm speaking about the ax murderer who says he kills for God. When i watch the news or a movie about someone who murderers people and proclaims that it was for God, i don't think it was religion who the red-handed third party is. I think more on how they were probably chemically imbalanced beforehand and have misinterpreted the message of the Good Book.

Even though this is an extreme example, on the lighter side of the question. Do i think normal believers are insane? Maybe a little bit. Like the ones that shake and yell when they sing a hymn or think that demons inhabit their body and think a priest is the only why to extract the them. Crying during singing about God is totally ok, in my book. They are crying because they are happy or the song it beautiful to them. I don't see a problem with this.

I think believing is part of being human, be it in God or science or global warming or even Harvey the Rabbit.
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Posted 5/23/08

Joliame wrote:

Hahaha, i was in that play also. I was Wilson, but i didn't get an award for my proformance.

But to the question at hand.

No, i don't like to think religion is some sort of mental illness. I don't think religion poisons people to the edge of insanity. Yes, people can be fanatic about it and kill people over the name of God, but I'm not talking about killing for the sake of country, i'm speaking about the ax murderer who says he kills for God. When i watch the news or a movie about someone who murderers people and proclaims that it was for God, i don't think it was religion who the red-handed third party is. I think more on how they were probably chemically imbalanced beforehand and have misinterpreted the message of the Good Book.

Even though this is an extreme example, on the lighter side of the question. Do i think normal believers are insane? Maybe a little bit. Like the ones that shake and yell when they sing a hymn or think that demons inhabit their body and think a priest is the only why to extract the them. Crying during singing about God is totally ok, in my book. They are crying because they are happy or the song it beautiful to them. I don't see a problem with this.

I think believing is part of being human, be it in God or science or global warming or even Harvey the Rabbit.


Seriously? That’s cool-I was Dr. Sanderson. I originally auditioned for the role of Wilson though. It was cool, one of my best buddies got the role of Wilson and I got Dr. Sanderson, so we wound up building an interesting relationship between our characters. Great memories…

Well, I wasn’t really discussing those extreme cases you brought up. But there actually are cases in which people have mental illnesses in which cause them to believe they’re being spoken to by God. Naturally you are right, there are chemical unbalances or electric malfunctions to cause these-but I wouldn’t completely devalue religion’s play in it.

As a Christian I believe that the devil -does- use Christianity, Islam, Judaism-all religions to manipulate people. According to common Christian belief, the devil doesn’t have the power to create or destroy. Rather, he has the power to manipulate-to turn good things against us. Sex is a good example. Sex is a wondrous miracle of nature given to us by God, but the devil can take it and ruin us with it.

There’s actually a story in the bible about how Jesus was taken out by the devil and the devil tried to trick him into doing evil deeds by citing reference to the Tanakh, what modern Christians call the Old Tesetatment.

Alas, I was actually talking about those more subtle oddities that you brought up. Speaking in tongue, for example, is when people are convinced that they’re so filled with the spirit that they can’t help but blurt out strange noises. Supposedly they mean something to God, though most of the time no man can understand them. At times God is supposed to have used this gift to bring prophesies to people with the gift of interpretation.

This being said if there turned out to be no God-all these people are just screeching like angry dotards. Well, I believe I speak in tongues. I don’t know-it’s certainly a real experience, I know there’s something going on within me. I have in the passed, I admit, had doubts about what that is.

The honest truth is that I know that I’ve convinced myself I was sick or not sick in the passed simply by subconsciously persisting to myself that it was so. That’s a mutated form of mild hypochondria-and it’s technically possible that all of these emotional upsurges are the same thing.

I don’t believe that, but if religion were a lie, then that’d definitely be classified as insanity to me. Sanity is measure by your perception and relationship with the accepted reality. So, if I say I’m the Queen of England you’ll think I’m a nut. Now then, if I say I’m a dog and start attacking people-you’ll think I’m a nut-but even more insane than in the previous example. Finally, if I say I’m an inanimate object…like, a desk, then you’ll know I’m completely lost.

Now, I wouldn’t say religion is an insanity on par with those levels. But, assuming God doesn’t exist, then nobody is touched by God. Yet, I believe I’m touched by God. But I’m not, so I’m insane. Naturally this is hypothetical-but, the point remains in my mind.

Then again, you bring up a good point. It’s natural to believe. Just because you’ve been deceived by a desire to believe something doesn’t mean that you’re crazy. So, I suppose not -all- religious beliefs could classify you as crazy….but some could.
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Posted 6/20/08
Well if you say im not crazy for believing Ichigo exists, then its fine
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Posted 6/20/08

saywhaat wrote:

Well if you say im not crazy for believing Ichigo exists, then its fine :)


Sure, you can have Ichigo as long as I get Harry Potter and all of his friends.
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Posted 6/20/08

SeraphAlford wrote:


saywhaat wrote:

Well if you say im not crazy for believing Ichigo exists, then its fine :)


Sure, you can have Ichigo as long as I get Harry Potter and all of his friends.


I chose Prince Myshkin.
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Posted 6/22/08
yaay now we can all live in our own little fantasy world filled wih, curses, magic, pixies and the god old battle of good and evil! uuuuh..

BANKAI! wush wush swish zoom, paw and etc...
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Posted 6/22/08 , edited 6/22/08

saywhaat wrote:

yaay now we can all live in our own little fantasy world filled wih, curses, magic, pixies and the god old battle of good and evil! uuuuh..

BANKAI! wush wush swish zoom, paw and etc...


No shit. I'm an atheist but im not a biggot. Kill me if you will. P C P I A H O A D.
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Posted 6/22/08

saywhaat wrote:

yaay now we can all live in our own little fantasy world filled wih, curses, magic, pixies and the god old battle of good and evil! uuuuh..

BANKAI! wush wush swish zoom, paw and etc...


Well, considering the fact that I’ve officially declared myself insane…sort of…I guess now’s probably the time to ask if I’m the only one who gets so into anime that he actually creates himself a character and imagines scenarios in which said character interacts with the actual characters of the show…? Well, come on, surely somebody else amongst all this pretends they’re anime characters from time to time! I’M NORMAL! X_X… Claymore..
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