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I've been wondering something - how come religion or atheism isn't viewed as a mental illness?
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Posted 3/6/16
If there is a god, then he/she/it does not care about any of us. It may care about us as a creation, but as for our individual lives I would say no. Perhaps we are to govern ourselves and see how well we do. I like to think that if there was a god we would have been programmed in our brains to never question it. The fact that we can question it doesn't exactly mean there isn't one, but that if there is one, he really doesn't care if you believe or not as we are probably just creations that he/she/it no longer cares about. This is evident in that he/she/it would allow such bad results to occur in people's daily lives. Hunger, violence, etc. For example, let us say you engineered a new species. You don't really care about them as an individual, but you want your new creation as a whole to serve some function. I think it to be the same. Who knows, perhaps the "god" we think may just be a more advanced alien race who created a bunch of species and dumped them all on their experiment planet Earth. There really is no solid proof either way, but I believe that one can closer lean to the idea that if a god exists, we mean absolutely nothing to it. Those who just blindly believe do so because they want there to be some higher power than themselves so they think life has further meaning or that they will be something other than dust in the wind when they die.
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Posted 3/6/16
Mental illness tends to follow the vein of being diagnosed based on the norms of a given society. Actions that contradict the norm have historically been viewed as mental illness. These were generally devious actions that contradicted what was considered acceptable social behavior. You can see this in how homosexuality, prostitution, blasphemy, and vagrancy were once treated as a mental illness. There are some historical cases in which children were treated for mental illness for as little as being disagreeable to their parents. I don't think it would be a stretch for religion to be considered a mental illness in the event that atheism became the new social norm. Of course that does not mean that religion is, in actuality, any form of medical malady for a person. Even our current forms of diagnosing widely accepted mental illnesses are highly subjective on the part of professionals doing the diagnoses. If we lived in a society in which the majority of the population experienced severe chronic depression, it would probably be likely that the minority of people who experience consistent bouts of happiness would be considered mentally ill. Happiness as a mental illness would further be supported by scientific evidence when medical research revealed the differences in brain activity between the majority of normal depressed people and abnormal happy people. The point of this reversal is to show how different a "medical" diagnosis may be if the people doing the diagnosing are of a different perspective.

Prior to the concepts of holistic medicine, people with debilitating mental and physical illnesses were often viewed as closer in affinity to the religious spiritual realms. Shamans in animistic religions were generally people who showed epileptic, autistic, or manic tendencies. These people were viewed as different to the point that they must be existing in some communication with entities beyond the real world. From a historical perspective, "mental illness" has always walked hand in hand with religion as a means by which the unseen manifested itself in the real world.

A good book if you are interested in this is Michel Foucault's Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. I think the English translation of it is called the History of Madness. The book doesn't go back as far as animism, but it begins with philosophical discourse on how the modern conception of mental illness began.
Posted 3/6/16
I would've thought religion to be a mental illness if it wasn't so common and natural. People naturally seek answers. It's a human thing to fear oblivion and uncertainty, so we theorize based on our limited knowledge of things.
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Posted 3/6/16 , edited 3/6/16

Khaltazar wrote:

If there is a god, then he/she/it does not care about any of us. It may care about us as a creation, but as for our individual lives I would say no. Perhaps we are to govern ourselves and see how well we do.
For example, let us say you engineered a new species. You don't really care about them as an individual, but you want your new creation as a whole to serve some function.


Also, like a parent with a toddler, you would want it to learn enough independent intelligence and self-government on its own that you wouldn't have to watch and clean up after it every single minute, and take dangerous breakable things out of its hands.
There's a difference between not doing and not caring.
Posted 3/6/16
I think you've raised a good point.

if mental illness is defined as a state where you are likely to hurt yourself or others, then I believe those who are extremists would fit into such a criteria, that doesn't mean just muslim extremists, even Christian extremists have hurt people... like that one Christian extremist who killed an abortion doctor few years ago.

I don't think the normal religious people are mental though because they're not hurting themselves or other people.


atheism is not a mental illness because I believe atheism is the default that all humans are born with. we're born with a blank slate, we only start believing things when people constantly influence us to believe in it. my parents never tell me anything about god or religions, to be honest... so that's why I've just default to atheism.

plus, nobody ever harms others or themselves in the name of atheism... though some people will try to link me to some obscure article just to prove me wrong rofl... but let me know when people kill doctors in the name of the flying spaghetti monster
Posted 3/6/16

mickeydayum wrote:

Mental illness tends to follow the vein of being diagnosed based on the norms of a given society. Actions that contradict the norm have historically been viewed as mental illness. These were generally devious actions that contradicted what was considered acceptable social behavior. You can see this in how homosexuality, prostitution, blasphemy, and vagrancy were once treated as a mental illness. There are some historical cases in which children were treated for mental illness for as little as being disagreeable to their parents. I don't think it would be a stretch for religion to be considered a mental illness in the event that atheism became the new social norm. Of course that does not mean that religion is, in actuality, any form of medical malady for a person. Even our current forms of diagnosing widely accepted mental illnesses are highly subjective on the part of professionals doing the diagnoses. If we lived in a society in which the majority of the population experienced severe chronic depression, it would probably be likely that the minority of people who experience consistent bouts of happiness would be considered mentally ill. Happiness as a mental illness would further be supported by scientific evidence when medical research revealed the differences in brain activity between the majority of normal depressed people and abnormal happy people. The point of this reversal is to show how different a "medical" diagnosis may be if the people doing the diagnosing are of a different perspective.

Prior to the concepts of holistic medicine, people with debilitating mental and physical illnesses were often viewed as closer in affinity to the religious spiritual realms. Shamans in animistic religions were generally people who showed epileptic, autistic, or manic tendencies. These people were viewed as different to the point that they must be existing in some communication with entities beyond the real world. From a historical perspective, "mental illness" has always walked hand in hand with religion as a means by which the unseen manifested itself in the real world.

A good book if you are interested in this is Michel Foucault's Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. I think the English translation of it is called the History of Madness. The book doesn't go back as far as animism, but it begins with philosophical discourse on how the modern conception of mental illness began.


Did you write that all by yourself?
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Posted 3/6/16
I think what you're trying to describe and actually having trouble with is bigotry, which is an intolerance towards other people's opinions.

Believers of God and non-believers of God can both have serious mental disabilities and can both be perfectly healthy. But the second that you or anyone rejects another's viewpoint, then you have already eliminated the possibility that the other person can have any validity in their arguments.

Mental deficiencies and belief in God have very little to do with one another. One is an impairment, one is a personal attitude. I don't consider belief in God, subscribing to a religion, or being an atheist to be a mental illness in the sense that I don't think I have a mental illness just because I like to eat hamburgers.
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Posted 3/6/16

JumboMac wrote:

Did you write that all by yourself?


Umm, yes?
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Posted 3/6/16

JumboMac wrote:


mickeydayum wrote:

Mental illness tends to follow the vein of being diagnosed based on the norms of a given society. Actions that contradict the norm have historically been viewed as mental illness. These were generally devious actions that contradicted what was considered acceptable social behavior. You can see this in how homosexuality, prostitution, blasphemy, and vagrancy were once treated as a mental illness. There are some historical cases in which children were treated for mental illness for as little as being disagreeable to their parents. I don't think it would be a stretch for religion to be considered a mental illness in the event that atheism became the new social norm. Of course that does not mean that religion is, in actuality, any form of medical malady for a person. Even our current forms of diagnosing widely accepted mental illnesses are highly subjective on the part of professionals doing the diagnoses. If we lived in a society in which the majority of the population experienced severe chronic depression, it would probably be likely that the minority of people who experience consistent bouts of happiness would be considered mentally ill. Happiness as a mental illness would further be supported by scientific evidence when medical research revealed the differences in brain activity between the majority of normal depressed people and abnormal happy people. The point of this reversal is to show how different a "medical" diagnosis may be if the people doing the diagnosing are of a different perspective.

Prior to the concepts of holistic medicine, people with debilitating mental and physical illnesses were often viewed as closer in affinity to the religious spiritual realms. Shamans in animistic religions were generally people who showed epileptic, autistic, or manic tendencies. These people were viewed as different to the point that they must be existing in some communication with entities beyond the real world. From a historical perspective, "mental illness" has always walked hand in hand with religion as a means by which the unseen manifested itself in the real world.

A good book if you are interested in this is Michel Foucault's Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. I think the English translation of it is called the History of Madness. The book doesn't go back as far as animism, but it begins with philosophical discourse on how the modern conception of mental illness began.


Did you write that all by yourself?


Is that weird?
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Posted 3/6/16 , edited 3/6/16
Maybe it's a cop out, but religion is the easy "answer," for things in the universe. Consider the big bang; So, everything came from one point, expanded, and boom the universe exists(no really going to bother getting into semantics on the big bang).. but what about before that, where did the laws of the universe, which allowed the big bang to happen in the first place exist? People seek the answer of a beginning to it all, and an omnipotent god simply existing and creating it all, is their quickest answer. The universe itself could be called 'god,' but you know people and their desire to personify things.

While they non-religious people cannot disprove god, religious people cannot prove him. At the end of the day, honestly, it's all meaningless, but human nature drives people towards religion because an answer, even if it is wrong, draws people in more than no answer at all.

So combine that with the fact mental illness is usually defined by society(which is drawn towards the belief of a god) and there you have the reason for some people deeming atheism a mental illness.

That's my two cents on this.
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Posted 3/6/16

qualeshia3 wrote:


Ranwolf wrote:

Really comparing religion with mental illness ..Damn I say anything close to that bad and some mod feels the need to be all up in my grille..Fucking hell Neo-nazis allowed to express themselves, atheists allowed to bash away and I can't even call anyone an idiot for being an idiot.


Personally I believe grossly misreading an OP's posts should be classified as a mental illness, as this poster tends to have a history of doing.

Posted 3/6/16

mickeydayum wrote:


JumboMac wrote:

Did you write that all by yourself?


Umm, yes?


Please do my essays for me...... xDD
Posted 3/6/16
[q


Not at all, Madamoiselle. Qualeisha.
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Posted 3/6/16 , edited 3/6/16


Not at all, Madamoiselle. Qualeisha.



My Turn:

You spelled my name wrong.
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Posted 3/7/16
This is an interesting question, but I don't think believing in god or having a religion qualifies as a mental illness. Mostly it's just people going along with what they've been told to believe. That's just normal social conformity.

It does bring up a related topic: how can one make proper moral decisions when one's world view is based on a fantasy? How can one know the proper course of action while being an unquestioning follower of some arbitrary set of beliefs?

The biggest lie perpetrated by religion is that religious beliefs are the basis of morality. To make proper decisions on right and wrong, you have to start with a clear vision of reality, uncluttered by superstition and unfettered from the pressure of social institutions which have been around for thousands of years and arguably haven't improved the human condition one bit.

I'm not saying that religious people haven't done good things. But overall, the religions of the world have had literally centuries do make humans better and improve society and they have utterly failed. Mostly, religion is used to divide, control, and justify the worst atrocities that humans have perpetrated upon each other. Maybe it's time to try thinking for ourselves.
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