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Are religious beliefs a mental disorder?

 
 
CostaCoffeeBob
 
  -2  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2016 05:02 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
If some beleive that those who beleive in a 'god', or a Higher Power are suffering from some form of mental illness. Then the same can be said for those who espose certainly political philosophy.

Personally think that Socialists/Communists'Marxists/Maoists are also sufferening from some form of "Brain Fart!"
0 Replies
 
Harry Blake
 
  0  
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2016 10:32 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
asked- "Are religious beliefs a mental disorder?"
------------------------------------------------------------

I can't see much nutty about this..Wink-
"Love one another, feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the destitute, tend the sick, visit the prisoners, look after the poor"- Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 12:30, John 13:34, Matt 25: 37-40)
0 Replies
 
AugustineBrother
 
  0  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2016 08:03 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
But you don't qualify 'religious belief' and the APA drasticallly qualifies it such that a similar anti-religious belief is classified as a mental disorder.
0 Replies
 
AugustineBrother
 
  0  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2016 08:56 am
@rosborne979,
But you avoid the question of whether anybody has the rights over another in that way

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...
....
Article 18:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2016 11:50 am
I think I've reached a conclusion on whether strange beliefs in anything is a mental disorder. I'm saying 'no'.

In One of my attempts to answer the question, I picked what I thought was the most disconnected from reality belief system I could find and followed 2 believers in it for about 5 years. I came away convinced that they were perfectly normal people who had not been brain washed and were not delusional. They had the same ability to think and reason that I did. I realize that may not count for much here btw.

So the question I have now is why normal intelligent people are so susceptable to such wild departures from reality. I can't see any evolutionary advantage (and do see lots of disadvantages) so I'm left thinking that these widely divergent aberrations are the result of the inborn need to see the purpose in life that has nothing to do with evolution or any scientifically verifiable phenomenon. It is obviously a very powerful force and I think it is a mistake to ignore the various responses to it as just the result of weak or sick minds.

catbeasy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 02:55 pm
@Leadfoot,
This is a difficult subject to understand nonwithstanding my admiration for much of Richard Dawkins work. I'll try to explain this as I see it the best i can, but will not do so well because you really need a book for this..

ok, so we must clarify what we mean by reality and by default delusion. However, that would take too long and involves so many nuances that I cannot go into that here, so here's a shortcut and am sorry for anything that's assumed or unclear:

So, in the sense we are talking about here, we all have delusions and would all be to some degree "mentally ill". However, like "crime", these terms are human constructs and are so defined as legal constructs, not "reality". The "reality" as I see it is that our brains are designed to function with fictions from the get-go. It is a function of our experential mechanism that allows us then to sort what is perceived as being fact or fiction. However, it is also a function of that same system that can indicate a fact as fiction (this, still relative to us!) and fiction as fact. Examine the rain dance.

Science is a methodology designed to cut through this experential haze and marshall our experiences into better forms that enable more sophisticated analysis than what our hapharzard/random experential systems receive on their own. Still, science is not perfect and we can obtain false positives and negatives.

So what we are left with is a system that perforce shoves us into believing in false things, ghosts, demons, rain dances, broken mirrors and bad luck etc. It is in our nature and sans science runs rampant (though even with science it is still wanting and there is still so much outside of the purview of science that there is a lot of illusions left for us to experience). For more on this..see behaviourism and learning - both classical and operational.

Language as it relates to our consciouness, for example, begs gods and demons. Why? Because we have reflection and so can talk to ourselves (probably reflection preceded language). This means we can talk to many people in our head. We are also polymorphously perverse. Something else a result of our consciousness (at least as it relates to our conscious "choices"; animal love of bizarre objects can be induced as well - though for different reasons and effects) which means we can project anything in our consciousness and subconscious to other things.

The result here is that you can have a conversation with yourself or make up a conversation with someone or something or some God in your head. Children are excellent at this with stuffed animals. This is one of our human superpowers if you will - a "side effect" of consciousness.

So, when ideas are processed that we call irrational or delusional, there is essentially no difference in processing that information in our brains than what we call rational. The only difference occurs in deciding either individually or collectively that certain beliefs that are not ours are irrational or perhaps better stated: something other than rational.

"Delusional" then becomes a social construct. A schizophrenic in a tribe is honoured and can lead and heal the tribe. In our culture they are marginalized, hospitalized and considered nuts. Note, I am not making a judgement on either cultures correctness, or morality here, just trying to set a playing field (defining terms) for that discussion if it is desired.

So, religious beliefs are not a mental disorder any more than non religious beliefs are a mental disorder. They are only such from a human level, a construct such as crime which is human made and hence has no "reality" beyond what society decides at a particular time.

Speaking of shamans and suhc, note that native american tribes considered the "white man" to be mentally disordered because he claimed to "own" the land and because of his acquisitiveness in general. Was that a mental disorder? Only recently has western people (outside of some religious sects) begun to question materialism and that questioning is still no where near the level the native americans thought about it.

Aagin, I have left out a ton so there's a lot of assumption in my discussion but anyway its .02..
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 03:14 pm
@catbeasy,
It's a simple matter of faith vs science, but some scientists are also religious.

It seems college graduates are more likely to be atheist.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2016 08:12 am
@catbeasy,
Quote:
The result here is that you can have a conversation with yourself or make up a conversation with someone or something or some God in your head. Children are excellent at this with stuffed animals. This is one of our human superpowers if you will - a "side effect" of consciousness.

Is it likely in your perspective that it's 'all in my head'? Of course, that is the obvious conclusion and not one that I haven't considered. I could be wrong but I ruled that out due to the unlikeliness of where it led me.

If I am wrong and there is no God, I will die with the satisfaction that I imagined something worthy of one.
AugustineBrother
 
  0  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2016 12:22 pm
@Leadfoot,
That is quite a disgraceful reason for a supposedly courageous stand. You argue that God is beyond reason's ability to know and you use words like 'likely' and 'could be wrong' but unless you are just an unthinking teenager you have to admit that that kind of committment to God is disparaged MORE than atheism by the Jews and Christians, and rightly so : It demeans your own nature as a thinking person.


John Henry Newman illustrates this point as follows: "I am far of course from denying that every article of the Christian Creed, whether as held by Catholics or by Protestants, is beset with intellectual difficulties; and it is a simple fact that, for myself, I cannot answer those difficulties. Many persons are very sensitive of the difficulties of Religion; I am as sensitive of them as any one; but I have never been able to see a connexion between apprehending those difficulties, however keenly, and multiplying them to any extent, and on the other hand doubting the doctrines to which they are attached. Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate"


=========
"It is, then, perfectly true, that the Church does not allow her children to entertain any doubt of her teaching; and that, first of all, simply for this reason, because they are Catholics only while they have faith, and faith is incompatible with doubt. No one can be a Catholic without a simple faith, that what the Church declares in God's name, is God's word, and therefore true."
AugustineBrother
 
  0  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2016 12:37 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
Yet you avoid all the time the question, Is there a God? That is the far more basic question and really the only one that matters since to it there will be adherents mentally healthy and those with a mental disorder.
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AugustineBrother
 
  0  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2016 12:58 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
You do make me laugh, the extreme lengths you go to avoid saying something is true or false. If Love of mathematics (which I have) were constuable as a mental disorder that would be enough for you to work against it.

Such a dogmatic "religious" fundamentalist you are. Still, there is humor in it.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2016 07:04 pm
@AugustineBrother,
Quote:
That is quite a disgraceful reason for a supposedly courageous stand. You argue that God is beyond reason's ability to know and you use words like 'likely' and 'could be wrong' but unless you are just an unthinking teenager you have to admit that that kind of committment to God is disparaged MORE than atheism by the Jews and Christians, and rightly so : It demeans your own nature as a thinking person.


I think you assume too much in your reading of my position. When I said it was 'likeky' (that it's all in my head) I very specifically said 'from the skeptic's position', not my own.

And if you are incapable of hypothesizing about the possibility of being wrong, then it is your faith that lacks strength. I am confident enough in my own faith in God to consider any possibility where-as you seem to think yours would crack if you allow yourself that freedom.
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catbeasy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Aug, 2016 04:07 pm
@Leadfoot,
Hi Leadfoot,

I hadn’t read all of the posts in this thread and maybe there you had indicated your religious leanings. So, no I hadn’t considered you an interested party, actually, I assumed uninterested!

So, my response wasn’t so much about ‘God’ being all in the head. The answer was more meant to clarify (and I’m being liberal with that term) why religious beliefs are NOT a mental disorder. In fact I cursorily covered the underpinning structural apparatus that is behind thinking to show that all thinking is pretty much illusory due to the nature of the way that structure forces us into processing information..

However, what I left out explicitly but implied – and this is more the crux of the matter – is that because that very reasoning is subject to so much error, you can only conclude with what you have come to believe. And of course, if what you have come to believe is in error..

So, structural concerns aside, what I think is more important is that you have your facts as straight as are commensurate with your experience and that you try your best to judge all things using the same reasoning where things are the same. This is not as easy as it is said.

Here lies another crossroads. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to people that they believe what they do with the information they have. However, for subjects like politics and religion, people quite lose their reason. So, the Christian will, without any sense of irony, laugh at the Mormon over the ‘absurdity’ of their beliefs!!! Why? Because they believe themselves in possession of the facts that substantiate their beliefs, while the Mormons are either deluded by the Devil or for whatever reason are not smart enough to ‘get it’.

The problem with using the same ration-al to adjudicate same subjects is that people have beliefs for emotional reasons and it is probably so that their subconscious mind will typically not allow access to reason that is contrary to an emotionally held belief. Sometimes for whatever reason it happens and people go crazy and/or things go sour or perhaps they eventually either incorporate the new beliefs into their greater belief system or lock it down tighter than before. Belief is a prickly thing with religion and politics.

Just watch John Stewart skewer folks who do NOT use the same judgments for same subjects. But I feel for them, because they are so tightly wound that to admit to certain truths would devastate them psychologically. Interesting though that an extreme of repression can also cause psychological problems (thanks to Freud!) that can be called ‘mental disorder’. But again, this isn’t a given. Not all people believe who have a belief in God are repressing. They may truly believe with the information they have.
catbeasy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Aug, 2016 04:24 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Hi CI..

My answer to Leadfoot leaves out a crucial aspect of the question. What do you mean by ‘God’. God is ill defined at best and of course in our culture there a million assumptions once you mention the word. So, when you say I believe in God, what is meant? What does it mean in this discussion?

The way I look at is very simple: Logically you cannot be atheist. You can at best be agnostic: meaning “I don’t know”. However, I would like to propose another term; Effective Atheist. Meaning, I don’t believe in ‘God’ (defined in a moment) and so don’t practice any (obvious) religious observances. So, effectively, I am an atheist. However, I do hold out that there could be a (type of) God and further, the belief is perforce logical. What is meant by that?

Well, very simple: in accordance with my experience, we are creators, we create little and big things. We also exist. Also, other beings exist that are creators on this planet. By extension, it is logical that there COULD be other beings not on this planet that are also creators and why not that they created the universe and everything we perceive in it?

No one knows. It cannot be proven or unproven, but it is a thought that is commensurate with our experience. And we can do nothing with this thought pending contact with maybe aliens or a leap in our evolution. But I'm not holding my breath.

OTOH, the idea of a Judea-Christian God as given in the book called the Bible, while not disprovable, is not commensurate with my experience. In fact while there are not many reasons to dismiss a being who creates the universe (and we stop there), there many many reasons why the God of the bible (or any given incarnation or belief of that God that follows a typical Christian/Jewish belief – i.e. saviours, adam and Eve, Noah, Chosen People etc.) has only a miniscule chance of being true. And that miniscule chance rests on the idea that that God is, by our proper experiential definition: CRAZY!

Peace..
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Aug, 2016 04:49 pm
@catbeasy,
I believe in science. This planet is 4.5 byo. Man evolved from primates. These are things that scientists tell us. Theism is based strictly on faith. I have faith that some day I will die, and will be gone forever.
catbeasy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 08:12 am
@cicerone imposter,
Hey Ci

I find it interesting that you and I "believe" in science. Believing in science seems to be a bit like believing in hard work = get the job done. Or language = communication.

'Belief' implies uncertainty. Science is a methodology. As such it is not uncertain; I think it is true by definition, since we made the methodology and gave it a name.

And maybe there is no ambiguity for things like chemistry or certain things in physics. Like this chemical plus this chemical always equals this chemical. No 'belief' necessary there. We call that a fact because it occurs every time and never doesn't occur under the same conditions.

But not so much for other things which the methodology of science is applied. So for these other things, maybe what we mean by believing in science is that we believe in the conclusions that most scientists ascribe to when they apply the methodology of science to a particular subject? What do you call that? Philosophy of science? This is a hard one because not all people would come to the same conclusions based on some scientific review of some subject. Take your implied example of evolution.

We can apply the methodology of science to figure out the age of rocks, bones. We can collate, catalog and order fossil data from rock strata using science. To some degree we can use science to test natural selection and science has given us a peek into the physical mechanism behind it (genes).

And if we are liberal with our definition of science we can say that evolution is constantly occurring with bacteria, animals (the forced evolution of dogs and cats for example) which we can directly observe without controversy. Yet the origin of life and the evolution of ourselves, not so much. So, in that sense, we can circle back around and say that our belief in evolution writ large is actually a belief. It is not the same as putting two chemicals together to always get the same result.

So, I am with you, I believe in evolution. I think the evidence for it is overwhelming. Yet I cannot say it is True (with a capital T). It is only true for me until otherwise shown not to be. Would be evolution haters have the burden of proof upon them to show it is not true and it is a heavy burden indeed, one that I don't believe will be forthcoming. In fact the opposite. I believe we will continue to find more evidence for evolution as we are afforded the time, money and social/political/physical resources on this planet.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 09:19 am
@catbeasy,
Hello catbeasy..
Quote:
So, structural concerns aside, what I think is more important is that you have your facts as straight as are commensurate with your experience and that you try your best to judge all things using the same reasoning where things are the same. This is not as easy as it is said.
True, not easy, but not impossible, even in the case of theology. Notice I have avoided the use of 'religion' in favor of theology. Religions are merely man's attempts to understand what the existence of God means. That of course is an error prone process and why I do not claim any recognized religion as my own. All my posts are not an attempt to establish a new religion but mostly my reaction to the various errors of religions.

Quote:
Here lies another crossroads. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to people that they believe what they do with the information they have. However, for subjects like politics and religion, people quite lose their reason. So, the Christian will, without any sense of irony, laugh at the Mormon over the ‘absurdity’ of their beliefs!!! Why? Because they believe themselves in possession of the facts that substantiate their beliefs, while the Mormons are either deluded by the Devil or for whatever reason are not smart enough to ‘get it’.

If I laugh at any particular religion, that laughter originates from the logical inconsistencies and departures from reason within the religion itself, not the contrast between it and my own beliefs.

If I have any basic belief, it is the belief that God is logical and his actions are consistent with reason. The rest of the universe is, so why would its creator not be.

I did start with God as hypothesis, but my experiences combined with logic and reason have moved it from hypothesis to accepted fact. Because of the requirement of 'personal experience' being required in the equation, there is no possibility of 'proof' of God' being demonstrated. I've concluded that he wanted it that way.
George
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 09:22 am
@Leadfoot,
Well put, Leadfoot.
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CVeigh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 10:22 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
The study refers to non-normal religious belief. As in non-normal anti-religiuos belief [ HINT ]
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CVeigh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 10:23 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
after 4 000 years if this is still up in the air I think I'll go get a snack and let you be the Man with the Answer.
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