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Religion: A Mental Illness?
Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12
One thing to clarify: This is not discussing the ‘validity’ of any religion. It is already clear that there is -no- point in debating on religion, as it is analogous to the futility of discussing the existence of flying pigs. We already know religion is utter nonsense, and that is the starting point of this discussion. Please ignore the religious posters that retaliate to this thread (which may likely overwhelm in percentage), and just imagine them to be little insects flying around. DO NOT RESPOND.

Let’s start with the general definition of ‘mental disorder’ to avoid any equivocations or play of words. I couldn’t find any to-the-point definitions from official sources so I’m using Wikipedia’s definition:


A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological pattern, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development of a person's culture. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, acts, thinks or perceives.


Note 1: There’s nothing negative with the term “mental disorder”. It has no bad connotations, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. So please don’t take offense from this thread. It’s very different from homosexuals being called “fags”.

Note 2: I am aware that “mental disorders” are subjective depending on perspective of normality. I’m speaking from the scientific perspective; however I’m still very aware that from the religious majority it would not labelled a mental disorder. It’s the same as how Santa Claus is very real for a group of 5 year-olds, however when a couple of adults step in the “perspective of normality” changes, and Santa Claus is in fact, very unreal.

What causes the implant of religion into the human brain? Generally religion is a result of nurture from parents’ upbringing and surrounding culture. It’s primarily a result of “where you were raised”, and of course, if a modern day Christian were instead brought up in Asia, the likelihood of converting to Christianity after adulthood would be extremely unlikely.

Generally at the age of 2-6, in the preoperational stage of childhood brain development, the child gains most of its beliefs from imitation of others in order to develop their views of the world. In this stage the child does not have a proper sense of doubt, hence why at this stage it becomes easy to implant religious beliefs into their brains.

Afterwards is the stage of egocentricism, which occurs at around the age of 7-11. It is the perspective that everything in the world is viewed solely from the child’s own point of view. (Do you remember when you had this mentality too? Try reminiscing.)

Can you see where this is getting at? The developmental cycle following egocentricism is the formal operational stage of cognitive development, wherein the individual gains the ability to look at things from a logical perspective. The individual gains the ability of deductive reasoning, abstract thinking, and most importantly, empathy. (Look up ethnocultural empathy; it is relatively easy to identify a religious individual lacking it. See all the people using Pascal’s Wager as an argument to support their religion?)

Here is an example of a monke- I mean an individual that lacks the element of empathy:


mangasurf wrote:

I consider myself a pretty devout Roman Catholic although i'm not perfect. I respect every other religion, but I do believe Catholicism is the true religion (but doesn't everyone else think there's is as well). We'll figure it out through death i suppose though . I respect Atheists viewpoints somewhat since everyone was given free will, but for some reason I don't like them very much. sorry.

Here's a question to the Atheists. Why not have a religion? What happens when you are wrong? lol you might be wishing eternally you would have believed. Its like never gambling because you don't believe you'll win. If you are right (which i don't believe you are) then uh nothing happens i guess? cool. but if you are wrong, ehhh not so good.


Note that he indicated that he respects all other religions, yet completely contradicted that statement afterwards by implying that atheists are better off not taking the risk because: they will either go to hell for not believing in god, or nothing will happen at all. That is implying that the only possible religion is his own religion and he is leaving out all others in the equation. Through this observation, we can see that this individual is still stuck at the egocentric stage of cognitive development.

Nowadays it has become common for people to not fully reach the formal operational stage, which is clearly a problem in mental development. It is an illness in a psychological pattern, reflected in behaviour, and is not considered part of a normal development of a human being. Therefore, it is a mental disorder.
If society would pinpoint this problem and fix the issue, scientific development would increase significantly as a huge number of people would gain the ability to think logically - henceforth the amount of scientists delving in scientific research would increase too. The reason no one can convince the religious is because they are missing a significant part of the brain. It’s like trying to describe to a color-blind person the color red.

Mods: Please don’t move this thread to extended discussion; this belongs in the general section. If newspaper articles belong in the general section, this should stay here too. If this thread gets locked, it’s a clear indication that something is wrong with modern society.

--

EDIT: Due to the misconceptions on my unclear definition of 'religion', I'm going to make it more specific and pinpoint 'theism':


Belief in the existence of a god or gods, esp. belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures


It would be easy for me to simply pinpoint one group such as Christian fundamentalists, but I want to make this broad.
Posted 2/28/12
Everything is a mental disorder nowadays. Meet with a psychologist and he'll definitely find a few in you.
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12
Everybody is mentally ill to a degree.
Posted 2/28/12
I loled at the last bit It's also the only bit I read hoping for a summary... Oh well!

Personally, I think religion is a bit... silly? Not exactly the word I was looking for, but whatever. If people are happy, I don't really care.
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Posted 2/28/12
Too many words and letters.
Let people do what they want. Everyone is mentally ill somehow anyway.
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12
I'm going to go away and think on this before I decide to make a lengthy response to your comprehensive and erudite post. I must congratulate you and being able to frame a specific question and state a position using your own words. Further I'm glad someone here can actually string two coherent sentences together and doesn't start an OP with a question that parses out as 'how long is a piece of string'

I will concede now that there there is a lot of (harsh) truth to what you posted so much so that it is debatable as to weather or not I'll even need to post. Should that be the case, you may take my silence as general agreement with your position.

I'd warn you that you're going to be as popular as someone who describes a religious person's god as their "imaginary friend" but I think you know that.

One final thought that occurred to me. The endemic 'mental disorder' that you high light is not limited to 'believers'. As can be inferred from the complaint embedded in my compliment to you; I think a general failure of logic and language skills to be rampant in society today. I fear for the future.

(Edit: PS - as the posters above me have amply demonstrated.)
Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12
Haha, now I have read a bit more of it, I see what you're trying to say... But I don't think "mental illness" is really the term you're looking for. It's only as crazy as children believing in the tooth fairy, or me believing in negative pandas.

Rofl, I have no idea what I'm talking about.
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12

haikinka wrote:

Haha, now I have read a bit more of it, I see what you're trying to say... But I don't think "mental illness" is really the term you're looking for. It's only as crazy as children believing in the tooth fairy, or me believing in negative pandas.


Given that you TL: DR the entire post, I find what you 'think' the poster 'might' be trying to say to be... valueless. Sorry.

In point of fact, I have to disagree with you as well. (though wasting my time on a post that I've declared to be without merit begs the question about my own mental state) I am convinced the poster knows exactly what she's trying to say and what her words mean. One of the reason her post is 'too long' for your impatient little mind is the effort she has gone to make it clear what she is and is not saying. The whole point of the post is to present the argument that religious belief represents a mental illness which makes your attempt at correcting her 'meaning' .. Insulting.

( Edit: PS if you have no Idea what you are talking about. Why did you bother to post? What benefit do you or does society or this forum or your peers gain by your demonstration of willful ignorance?)
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12
Rather than religion being a mental illness itself, I think you could link it with mental illnesses. For example, some schizo who hallucinates and sees/hears demons may start praying or going to church for comfort, or to get rid of them.
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Posted 2/28/12
Apart from offending the large varieties of religions in your post,I can't say I agree with your assessment.

For example on the world's biggest religions is Buddhism.It is a highly respected religion in terms of fostering peace,harmony and understanding within human society,however much like Confucianism its leader was a mortal man who walked on this earth.

His teachings were so intriguing to the East that they built a religion around his namesake and absorbed everything that he taught.

For many,religion is the same as a spiritual philosophy.

Would anyone here consider following philosophy as a mental illness too?

I understand many people are disenchanted with Christianity but that does not mean all religions should be placed on the same judgement.
Posted 2/28/12

papagolfwhiskey wrote:


haikinka wrote:

Haha, now I have read a bit more of it, I see what you're trying to say... But I don't think "mental illness" is really the term you're looking for. It's only as crazy as children believing in the tooth fairy, or me believing in negative pandas.


Given that you TL: DR the entire post, I find what you 'think' the poster 'might' be trying to say to be... valueless. Sorry.

In point of fact, I have to disagree with you as well. (though wasting my time on a post that I've declared to be without merit begs the question about my own mental state) I am convinced the poster knows exactly what she's trying to say and what her words mean. One of the reason her post is 'too long' for your impatient little mind is the effort she has gone to make it clear what she is and is not saying. The whole point of the post is to present the argument that religious belief represents a mental illness which makes your attempt at correcting her 'meaning' .. Insulting.

( Edit: PS if you have no Idea what you are talking about. Why did you bother to post? What benefit do you or does society or this forum or your peers gain by your demonstration of willful ignorance?)


Nah, I read it properly after... But either way you're right, so I'm sorry.
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12
I agree with SegaValkyrian. Not all religions are the same, therefore they cannot be judged by one guideline of judgement.
Posted 2/28/12
Anyone who hands me a Christianity flyer in the street and tells me I'll burn in hell is mental to me
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12




I'm not answering in the discussion but I do need some clarification. Are you stating that just religion itself is a mental illness or are you including religion and a belief in God as a mental illness?
Posted 2/28/12
Finally something worth reading, people who incorporate a religion into all( and I mean all) aspect of their lives tend to become very rigid; Towards the point where their actions and way of thinking becomes narrow. I personally view religion as a test of one's faith in the face of adversity and that helps build character. I also believe that people who practice their religion should also learn how to approach things in moderation, because religion should always have room for questions rather than just absolutes.
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