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Are religious beliefs a mental disorder?

 
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 02:18 pm
As they say, religious belief or more precisely faith, is the belief in things absent any evidence and thus reason for that belief. Sounds like delusion to me.

"Abstract

In clinical practice, no clear guidelines exist to distinguish between "normal" religious beliefs and "pathological" religious delusions. Historically, psychiatrists such as Freud have suggested that all religious beliefs are delusional, while the current DSM-IV definition of delusion exempts religious doctrine from pathology altogether. From an individual standpoint, a dimensional approach to delusional thinking (emphasizing conviction, preoccupation, and extension rather than content) may be useful in examining what is and is not pathological. When beliefs are shared by others, the idiosyncratic can become normalized. Therefore, recognition of social dynamics and the possibility of entire delusional subcultures is necessary in the assessment of group beliefs. Religious beliefs and delusions alike can arise from neurologic lesions and anomalous experiences, suggesting that at least some religious beliefs can be pathological. Religious beliefs exist outside of the scientific domain; therefore they can be easily labeled delusional from a rational perspective. However, a religious belief's dimensional characteristics, its cultural influences, and its impact on functioning may be more important considerations in clinical practice."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15990520

"American Psychological Association To Classify Belief in God As a Mental Illness"
http://www.thenewsnerd.com/health/apa-to-classify-belief-in-god-as-a-mental-illness/

About time too.
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Type: Question • Score: 16 • Views: 6,838 • Replies: 85

 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 02:27 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
Nah...I do not think religious beliefs are a mental disorder.

"Religious beliefs" are mostly blind guesses about the nature of REALITY...just like atheistic beliefs that there are no gods.

Neither are, of necessity, a mental disorder.

They could be...but I think we should give both groups the benefit of the doubt.


HesDeltanCaptain
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 02:31 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Be all for doing so and letting people enjoy their delusions if not for those who take those delusional beliefs and try to get them respected into law, or become violent justifying their violence as "orders from a god."
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 02:35 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
HesDeltanCaptain wrote:

Be all for doing so and letting people enjoy their delusions if not for those who take those delusional beliefs and try to get them respected into law, or become violent justifying their violence as "orders from a god."


That is a problem...and one that bothers me also, Skip.

I was just addressing the title theme of the thread, though.


0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 07:45 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
HesDeltanCaptain wrote:
Are religious beliefs a mental disorder?

I'm tempted to just say Yes and keep it short and sweet. But the truth is that the human mind, even in the best of conditions, is rarely completely rational. So it really comes down to a matter of degree. Almost any big city can boast of at least a few lunatics who stand on street corners and rant religious prophesy. Most people recognize that level of insanity.

What's really interesting, and Sam Harris has pointed this out before, is the degree to which religious delusion is intrinsically accepted in modern society. We are so programmed to respect someone's right to believe whatever they want, that we sometimes extend that to their belief itself, or at least the tolerance of that belief.



tlatoanitzin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 08:03 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
Some aspects of science are also based on faith: big bang, theory of chords, evolution, etc. But the theory of the creation is also science. So how can be those who think certain theory is correct be treated as mentally ill. Mentally disorder would be one who thinks is superior by race, knowing that evidence does not support that asseveration.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 08:06 pm
I am tempted to wonder that about many things. Like being a rabid football fan for instance. They may not claim it as a 'faith' but their lives reflect a devotion to it that puts religious believers to shame. Their belief in 'their team' and the absolutely loony rituals they practice in the belief it will help their team win a meaningless game far surpasses many religious practices in terms of irrational behavior.

At least there is a hypothetical importance to religion, the same is not true of football.
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 11:01 pm
Seeing as how religious beliefs are the default mental mode, the norm, they're not a mental disorder.
neologist
 
  2  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 11:41 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
There are many isms. Not all involve a supernatural being.
Patriotism is one.
Ethnocentrism. . .

For the next several months in the US, thousands of folks will paint their faces, dye their hair, and don the most outrageously colored and crafted costumes to show their adoration of the football gods.

Delusional?
Yes, if you don't happen to be a Seahawks fan. Laughing
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 02:48 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

HesDeltanCaptain wrote:
Are religious beliefs a mental disorder?

I'm tempted to just say Yes and keep it short and sweet. But the truth is that the human mind, even in the best of conditions, is rarely completely rational. So it really comes down to a matter of degree. Almost any big city can boast of at least a few lunatics who stand on street corners and rant religious prophesy. Most people recognize that level of insanity.

What's really interesting, and Sam Harris has pointed this out before, is the degree to which religious delusion is intrinsically accepted in modern society. We are so programmed to respect someone's right to believe whatever they want, that we sometimes extend that to their belief itself, or at least the tolerance of that belief.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrDlVLbtKbQ&feature=iv&src_vid=22cYcsVPOok&annotation_id=annotation_836627[/youtube]
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22cYcsVPOok[/youtube]



Sam Harris should be an entertainer. He is not a philosopher.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 06:51 am
@Leadfoot,
Leadfoot wrote:
At least there is a hypothetical importance to religion, the same is not true of football.


Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.

Bill Shankly
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 07:48 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
http://m.snopes.com/apa-belief-mental-illness/

You may want to do a little research before embarrassing yourself again.
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 08:13 am
@George,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/kathleen-taylor-religious-fundamentalism-mental-illness_n_3365896.html

"An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.

Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a "science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics," made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday.

In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said that "One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated," The Times of London notes."

While you're correct about the snopes review of the article in the OP, the sentiment is legitimate.
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 08:14 am
@InfraBlue,
Beliefs are taught and learned so not a default anything.
George
 
  2  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 08:22 am
> the sentiment is legitimate.

Wrong again!

This freelance science writer spoke of "religious fundamentalism" and those
"radicalized to a cult ideology".

These are not equivalent to "religious beliefs" in general.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 08:29 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
HesDeltanCaptain wrote:

Beliefs are taught and learned so not a default anything.


In the area currently being discussed (religion, in particular)..."beliefs" are merely guesses about the nature of REALITY...that are being disguised.

Some people, for instance, guess that there is a god...and instead of saying, "I guess there is a god" say ,"I believe there is a god."

Using "believe" gives a better flavor...and allows people to demand respect for their guess.

Others, to extend that suggestion, guess there are no gods...and instead of saying, "I guess there are no gods" say, "I believe there are no gods."



In this area...all the word "believe" is...is a disguise.
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 08:38 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
Quote:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/kathleen-taylor-religious-fundamentalism-mental-illness_n_3365896.html

"An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.

You can find someone who said anything about everything. Edger Mitchel a bonafide 100% American astronaut says space aliens came to earth to prevent nuclear war. Says so right here in an A2K thread! It might even be true that he said it!
I'm more interested in what you think.
Do you think everyone who believes there is a God is mentally ill?

HesDeltanCaptain
 
  2  
Reply Sat 15 Aug, 2015 08:27 am
@Leadfoot,
Believe everyone who asserts a belief in beings absent any empirical evidence may be mentally ill. As indications go, it'd be a big one.
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  2  
Reply Sat 15 Aug, 2015 08:29 am
@Frank Apisa,
They say "believe in..." because we can assert beliefs in anything and not be compelled to produce evidence. Others believe in Bigfoot, fairies, and the Loch Ness monster. None are required to produce a body for study or anything of the sort. Can "believe" anything.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Sat 15 Aug, 2015 09:13 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
Quote:
@Leadfoot,
Believe everyone who asserts a belief in beings absent any empirical evidence may be mentally ill. As indications go, it'd be a big one.


By your reasoning: If every scientist who ever put forth a theory with no empiracle evidence was mentally ill, that would include an awful lot of them.
0 Replies
 
 

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