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Religion: A Mental Illness?
maffoo 
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Posted 2/28/12

heIIow wrote:

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.


Using the above definition of a mental disorder (particularly the part I've highlighted in bold), no, religion is not a mental disorder. As you put it:


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.


By the very definition you have used, religion in general can't be a mental disorder if they are based on a person's culture. You could probably come up with an argument about people joining cults that aren't part of their culture having some sort of mental problem using your definition, but not religious people in general.


The reason no one can convince the religious is because they are missing a significant part of the brain.


Which part of the brain? Do brain scans show a chunk of the brain missing?


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.


First of all, this would be more appropriate in Extended Discussion, as you seem to want a more in-depth discussion. That's exactly what Extended Discussion is for.

Second, you have basically suggested that a significant number of people here are mentally ill, which comes across as an attempt at provoking some sort of flamewar. While I wouldn't lock it myself if I had the power to do so, I wouldn't see it as a sign that "something is wrong with modern society" if it ended up getting locked.

--


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. :)


Belief in a god is not the same as religion. I believe that there is some form of god, but I'm not religious. On the other hand, some religions are atheistic (I've seen Buddhism mentioned already), and some of the fundamentalist atheists come across to me as religious.

It seems to me that you are simply trying to categorise people as mentally ill simply because they don't share your belief system, which funnily enough is the sort of behaviour that religious zealots tend to go for.
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Posted 2/28/12

maffoo wrote:


heIIow wrote:

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.


Using the above definition of a mental disorder (particularly the part I've highlighted in bold), no, religion is not a mental disorder. As you put it:


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.


By the very definition you have used, religion in general can't be a mental disorder if they are based on a person's culture. You could probably come up with an argument about people joining cults that aren't part of their culture having some sort of mental problem using your definition, but not religious people in general.


The reason no one can convince the religious is because they are missing a significant part of the brain.


Which part of the brain? Do brain scans show a chunk of the brain missing?


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.


First of all, this would be more appropriate in Extended Discussion, as you seem to want a more in-depth discussion. That's exactly what Extended Discussion is for.

Second, you have basically suggested that a significant number of people here are mentally ill, which comes across as an attempt at provoking some sort of flamewar. While I wouldn't lock it myself if I had the power to do so, I wouldn't see it as a sign that "something is wrong with modern society" if it ended up getting locked.

--


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. :)


Belief in a god is not the same as religion. I believe that there is some form of god, but I'm not religious. On the other hand, some religions are atheistic (I've seen Buddhism mentioned already), and some of the fundamentalist atheists come across to me as religious.

It seems to me that you are simply trying to categorise people as mentally ill simply because they don't share your belief system, which funnily enough is the sort of behaviour that religious zealots tend to go for.

I think i love you.
Posted 2/28/12


Although your post seems to be filled with valuable points, all it's pointing out is equivocal sections of my post. Have you realised not only are you committing the fallacy of equivocation, but you are also committing the fallacy of contextomy? I don't appreciate it when people such as yourself misrepresent my argument by leaving out significant portions of my post. There's a reason why I bolded out "Note 2" in red, it's so I could prevent people like you to confuse the whole point of the thread.


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.


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.


You can go further with your argument that I'm wrong by my own definition, but all you're going to demonstrate is a strawman fallacy.


Which part of the brain? Do brain scans show a chunk of the brain missing?


An intentional misinterpretation, or pure stupidity? I can't take you seriously at all.

--

As for your implication that I'm trying to start a flame war -- you are clearly misguided. I'm addressing an issue, and I've already made it clear that it should not be taken to offense. The rest is up to you to decide whether you find it offensive or not.


Belief in a god is not the same as religion. I believe that there is some form of god, but I'm not religious. On the other hand, some religions are atheistic (I've seen Buddhism mentioned already), and some of the fundamentalist atheists come across to me as religious.

It seems to me that you are simply trying to categorise people as mentally ill simply because they don't share your belief system, which funnily enough is the sort of behaviour that religious zealots tend to go for.


Again a play on definitions. I've already made my definitions clear. Is all you can do endeavor to point out inconsistencies in my definitions? It's really futile as I hope you are capable of comprehending the main points of the post. Thank you for an attempt of a rebuttal however, really got my brain working. But could you at least make a constructive post next time?
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Posted 2/28/12
I've seen enough personally.Religion isn't a mental illness,no point in continuing this unless we can start lobbing personal insults at religions or those who have no religion.
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Posted 2/28/12


I don't see this as as strawman. If your argument is shaky on its own foundations, then its your position to clarify the definition to suit the intelligent conversation you want to promote.

While I appreciate your attempting to guide the conversation away from empty rhetoric, you've thrown out quite a few fallacies as well.

The discussion aside, I can think of one user that would want to flame you, and it's the one you called a monkey in your OP. Really, that did set a bad frame for the thread at the outset.
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12
Religion being a mental illness, that was the point freud made. I've always been partial to Sartre's point that the human is the only self-conscience being and therefore the only being that can actually give any value to the world around them, because everything is inherently valueless. I think this is a heavy weight on most people and therefore religion is used as a an easy way out, rather than having to think, why something means this to you, you can simply believe that a higher power who you can not possibly understand gave it it's value rather than having to question yourself. In this way I agree that religion is probably more of a delusion or wish fufillment than it is a mental illness. I always think of something i read that Voltaire had said, " If God did not excist, then man would have to create him."

Has for the argument that religious fundamentlist are mental, I think my view of them is more cynical. In thus spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche says that God was killed by the Ugliest man in the world, because he grew tired of God's omnipresent eye being able to see his faults. There is this belief in Nietzsche's writting that God is a tool to be used to fool and overpower other. I think this is what the fundamentalist do, i think their more machavallian than ill. A Good example is Pat Petterson, the things he says seem deranged, but when you see the timing and effect they have on his followers you can understand that they are well thought out and planned. He is in full control of the tools of fear and delusion. He can easily keep his followers isolated with the belief that they are persecuted and can not trust outsiders, pointing to a discussion like this as an example of outsiders hatred. This I don't think is the work of a mad man, but the work of someone in full use of their mental abilities who understands the consequences of their actions. There is a logic behind the actions. Has someone who is bi-polar i can assure you that a steady constant logic that thinks about consequenses, is not the actions of someone who is acting out there mental illness.
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Posted 2/28/12

heIIow wrote:

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. :)


i really like you used my quote, and left out all of my major points. What are you trying to prove here? Why are you so content on convincing yourself and others that there is no hope for life after death? From the looks of it, it seems you lost , so you are resorting to a defense mechanism to cope for the lack of understanding.

Btw reported thread because of selective use of my own quotes to try to sway your own opinion.
Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12

ShogunSides wrote:



I don't see this as as strawman. If your argument is shaky on its own foundations, then its your position to clarify the definition to suit the intelligent conversation you want to promote.

While I appreciate your attempting to guide the conversation away from empty rhetoric, you've thrown out quite a few fallacies as well.

The discussion aside, I can think of one user that would want to flame you, and it's the one you called a monkey in your OP. Really, that did set a bad frame for the thread at the outset.


Actually it would become a strawman as he is attempting to misrepresent my post to make it look contradictory. I'm quite aware that it's my position to clarify the definitions, which is why I've defined the the terms in my first post.

I hate it when people clearly understand the point, yet play around with rhetoric as though it's a valid rebuttal. Don't you?

I'm glad there was a use for Note 1 and Note 2. Except it's sad that some people still look past it... such as that guy above.

As for the example - it was necessary. It's like diagnosing a patient with gambling addiction. Harsh but necessary. If we follow your ideology and avoid harsh truths things would be pretty messed up.

EDIT:

Please ignore the insect directly above and below this post. Do -NOT- respond. Do -NOT- point out anything including the fact that he had no major points. It will only digress the point of this thread.
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12

heIIow wrote:


papagolfwhiskey wrote:

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.)


Thanks! You're probably one of the few people so far who managed to fully comprehend my post. Isn't it scary?

Anyway, just in case people think I'm making up some facts:

- It is an accepted FACT that some people fail to reach the formal operation stage in cognitive development. Some people only partially reach this stage in relation to their specialty, however it is very common nowadays for an individual to be "lacking" in their abilities to construct deductive reasoning. What can I say ... religion is, enforcing this?



And as for this ^ you clearly ignore the posters supporting religion yet spring to life when someone supports you? one-sided much? Are you just aching for attention? Calling a majority of the population of the world people with "mental disorders" is highly offensive, especially to those with ACTUAL mental disorders. Are you sure, perhaps, you are not the one suffering from denial and struggling to cope with the lack of understanding you have about the subject?

how can ONE human (yourself) even comprehend Religion and Creation, or diseases and plagues, and everything we try to explain. You believe everything was just there from the beginning? that there was no guiding hand in creation? that a big explosion happened out of nothing and nowhere? Research the Watchmaker Analogy, Intelligent Design, etc. (like a domino effect.) Creation is far to complicated and complex to be a coincidence.

EDIT : and btw, i took up religion at the age of 15 because i felt as though i was missing something not because i was taught it at a young age.
and i don't appreciate you targeting Christians using "santa claus" when nearly EVERY society has myths and legends they believe in or continue to tell. Saint Nicholas was an actual person in case you didn't know. The idea of Santa Claus has NOTHING to do with Christianity, but a typical American non-religious adaptation.
Posted 2/28/12
As soon as I hear intelligent design, it makes me shiver...
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12
- It is an accepted FACT that some people fail to reach the formal operation stage in cognitive development. Some people only partially reach this stage in relation to their specialty, however it is very common nowadays for an individual to be "lacking" in their abilities to construct deductive reasoning. What can I say ... religion is, enforcing this?


And as for this ^ you clearly ignore the posters supporting religion yet spring to life when someone supports you? one-sided much? Are you just aching for attention? Calling a majority of the population of the world people with "mental disorders" is highly offensive, especially to those with ACTUAL mental disorders. Are you sure, perhaps, you are not the one suffering from denial and struggling to cope with the lack of understanding you have about the subject?

how can ONE human (yourself) even comprehend Religion and Creation, or diseases and plagues, and everything we try to explain. You believe everything was just there from the beginning? that there was no guiding hand in creation? that a big explosion happened out of nothing and nowhere? Research the Watchmaker Analogy, Intelligent Design, etc. (like a domino effect.) Creation is far to complicated and complex to be a coincidence.

@ Mangasurf

Did it ever occur to you that for some of us, the whole creation thing is a moot point that doesn't matter, simply because it is impossible to prove any argument for or against it. I never got the point of arguging about how we got here when it has so little effect on our current lives. If the world was created by God rather than a radom event, would your life truely fundamentaly change? Probably not. Thats why religion is a delusion, it's wish fullfilment of the highest degree it gives life meaning that can't be taken away and that is fine. Some of us though prefer to give life our own meaning and don't need religion, we can create our own delusions and our personal dogmas and they are as legitamite as any religious ones. I find the religous usually think this is narcassistic or pridefull, but it's the right of every self-conscience being to use his conscience and belief as he will.

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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12

pewternatural wrote:

- It is an accepted FACT that some people fail to reach the formal operation stage in cognitive development. Some people only partially reach this stage in relation to their specialty, however it is very common nowadays for an individual to be "lacking" in their abilities to construct deductive reasoning. What can I say ... religion is, enforcing this?



And as for this ^ you clearly ignore the posters supporting religion yet spring to life when someone supports you? one-sided much? Are you just aching for attention? Calling a majority of the population of the world people with "mental disorders" is highly offensive, especially to those with ACTUAL mental disorders. Are you sure, perhaps, you are not the one suffering from denial and struggling to cope with the lack of understanding you have about the subject?

how can ONE human (yourself) even comprehend Religion and Creation, or diseases and plagues, and everything we try to explain. You believe everything was just there from the beginning? that there was no guiding hand in creation? that a big explosion happened out of nothing and nowhere? Research the Watchmaker Analogy, Intelligent Design, etc. (like a domino effect.) Creation is far to complicated and complex to be a coincidence.

@ Mangasurf

Did it ever occur to you that for some of us, the whole creation thing is a moot point that doesn't matter, simply because it is impossible to prove any argument for or against it. I never got the point of arguging about how we got here when it has so little effect on our current lives. If the world was created by God rather than a radom event, would your life truely fundamentaly change? Probably not. Thats why religion is a delusion, it's wish fullfilment of the highest degree it gives life meaning that can't be taken away and that is fine. Some of us though prefer to give life our own meaning and don't need religion, we can create our own delusions and our personal dogmas and they are as legitamite as any religious ones. I find the religous usually think this is narcassistic or pridefull, but it's the right of every self-conscience being to use his conscience and belief as he will.



Yeah thats your opinion and i humbly respect it, i'm just flaming at the ignorant OP because he clearly targeted Christianity and myself from a previous post that he couldn't let go... Targeting a huge majority of the population and saying they all have mental disorders for their beliefs in a Being/Beings or Forces greater than themselves and beyond the point of human comprehension and debate is VERY hypocritical of himself. You don't see Religious here making posts saying Atheist's are mentally ill, because they have no hope for life after death do you?

Try to find a point in the OP's thread. There is none, but an obvious jab at my image and beliefs and at the Religious CR and the world, and that he has obvious psychological turmoil in his own beliefs. <-- it is s a defense mechanism to attack or flee when cornered... and you can say that he has reached a point where he is cornered by a lack of understanding and forethought about the subject of religion.
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Posted 2/28/12
Being a fan of Jung's theory of the Universal Unconscious and its Archetypes, I see theistic religion as a very natural expression of instinctual drives through symbols.

Religion, theistic or not, can serve as one of two things [or perhaps both]. On one hand, it allows us to embrace and experience a sense of the mystic and an interconnectedness with something greater than us, something I believe is a result of how our sympathetic neurology evolved, and as such is by no means unhealthy.

Otherwise, it may be used as a sort of teflon against the world, as both a coping mechanism and a way to 'fill in the gaps,' sidestepping critical thought in the process. In extreme cases, this is fundamentalism.

The latter usage is where it can be dangerous, and what the OP seems to be getting at. While I understand religion is often an inherited trait, there are many religious fundamentalists that converted later on in life, just as there are many atheists who are just as fundamentalist in their views. On the other hand, there are plenty of religious born and raised who seriously question their own school's scripture and draw their own conclusions.

Let me say this - I believe thought is structural. You do not need any specific dogma to adopt a fundamentalist mindset. Hell, if you unconsciously crave a fundamentalist dogma but can't find one to suffice, you'll just create it yourself. Any idea is prone to fundamentalism, and fundamentalism itself is not a disorder. It can, however, find more full expression when adopted by those with a pre-existing disorder.

Until a proper study is performed, the argument that abolishing religion would help scientific progress gets a pie in the face as long as there are religious scientists conducting respected, peer-reviewed research. And there are a LOT of them. Further, science is a blanket statement. There are many sciences that would in no way be constrained by scripture.

Personally, the largest constraint I can see for scientific research is the monetary system, at least as it exists, because it impedes research and shadows new innovations for fear of them throwing an existing competitive market to the wolves.
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Posted 2/28/12 , edited 2/28/12

heIIow wrote:

Actually it would become a strawman as he is attempting to misrepresent my post to make it look contradictory. I'm quite aware that it's my position to clarify the definitions, which is why I've defined the the terms in my first post.


He's not misrepresenting it though, it is your post, and the wikipedia definition IS contradictory. I'm sure we're not the only two that would find it so, and such conflict in the OP could deter some from posting.
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Posted 2/28/12

heIIow wrote:



Although your post seems to be filled with valuable points, all it's pointing out is equivocal sections of my post. Have you realised not only are you committing the fallacy of equivocation, but you are also committing the fallacy of contextomy? I don't appreciate it when people such as yourself misrepresent my argument by leaving out significant portions of my post. There's a reason why I bolded out "Note 2" in red, it's so I could prevent people like you to confuse the whole point of the thread.


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.


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.


You can go further with your argument that I'm wrong by my own definition, but all you're going to demonstrate is a strawman fallacy.


Sorry, but you defined a mental disorder in a specific way (including the idea that it is a behaviour which is not part of a person's culture.) You then stated that religion is partly cultural. As you say in your "Note 2" the idea of "mental disorder" is subjective and judged relative to the norms of the group, therefore a Christian in a Christian culture is not mentally disordered, whereas using your definitions an atheist in said culture would be.

I think of a "mental disorder" as being something psychological that has a significant negative impact on your ability to function in society. You mentioned lack of empathy in your original post, and I would agree that this is an example of something that would indicate a mental disorder. However, people with religion can (depending on whether they are fundamentalists or just people who happen to follow a particular religion) function well within society, both within their own communities and alongside others. Indeed, I have worked with many people of faith, and I wouldn't call them mentally disordered at all.



Which part of the brain? Do brain scans show a chunk of the brain missing?


An intentional misinterpretation, or pure stupidity? I can't take you seriously at all.


Nope, you have stated that part of the brain is missing. This suggests physical damage. Perhaps you need to reconsider your language?

As for your main point in that part of your post, if I am reading it correctly the "missing part of the brain" is the ability to think logically. However, there are plenty of scientists out there with some form of religious belief, and certainly a lot of historical scientists were religious.

Having a religious/spiritual/theistic belief about the origin of the universe, or life after death, doesn't necessarily mean that someone can't think logically, though if taken to extremes it can have that effect (ie. fundamentalists of any faith, theistic or otherwise.)

--


As for your implication that I'm trying to start a flame war -- you are clearly misguided. I'm addressing an issue, and I've already made it clear that it should not be taken to offense. The rest is up to you to decide whether you find it offensive or not.


I didn't say, or imply, that you are trying to start a flamewar. I said that it could come across as starting a flame war. You have used language that is provocative, for example:


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.


You state that religious people are to be ignored, implying that their views are not important. You also categorise them as suffering from a mental disorder. You then seem to recognise that you are going to get a few, shall we say slightly unhappy responses, and turn it around as a problem with society if someone steps in and locks it. However, I am happy to accept you at your word when you say you weren't trying to start a flamewar, I'll just assume that you are being a little but blunt (and arguably need to reconsider the phraseology if you want to avoid offense.)



Belief in a god is not the same as religion. I believe that there is some form of god, but I'm not religious. On the other hand, some religions are atheistic (I've seen Buddhism mentioned already), and some of the fundamentalist atheists come across to me as religious.

It seems to me that you are simply trying to categorise people as mentally ill simply because they don't share your belief system, which funnily enough is the sort of behaviour that religious zealots tend to go for.


Again a play on definitions. I've already made my definitions clear. Is all you can do endeavor to point out inconsistencies in my definitions? It's really futile as I hope you are capable of comprehending the main points of the post. Thank you for an attempt of a rebuttal however, really got my brain working. But could you at least make a constructive post next time?


My point there is that you have basically defined anyone with any belief in any deity as mentally disordered. Going back to the definiton you have used for a mental disorder:


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.


(I know you don't like me looking at definitions, but the definition sets out the criteria by which you are judging people to be mentally ill.)

I believe that there is a god of some form. However, this belief does not make me religious. I don't go to a place of worship or study religious texts, and I don't say prayers. If you met me in real life, you wouldn't know whether I believed in a god or not unless you happened to ask me. Given that my actions wouldn't give away my belief (bearing in mind that you it's only through my actions that you could have any idea what I feel, think or perceive) how can it be a sign of mental disorder?

You could argue that my belief (and the beliefs of countless non-religious theists such as myself) is irrational, but IMO this is not the same as mentally disordered.

My problem with your definition of religion is that it is both too narrow and too broad. Too narrow because it excludes atheists, no matter how fundamentalist they are, and too broad, because it includes anyone who has any slight belief in a deity/deities.

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