• WISDOMfromPO-MO
    753
    If you do not know what I mean, click here.

    Let's not forget the assertion that Christian faith is a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

    Have you noticed what I have noticed? We in the West seem to increasingly like to pathologize everything that we can.

    That is not a Big Pharma conspiracy theory. It is an observation about our larger culture.

    Frankly, hearing people say that theism/religion is a mental illness reminds me of cultural conservatives saying that homosexuality is a mental illness.

    Maybe this is why the mental health services infrastructure is inadequate in some places: mental illness is obscured and trivialized as it is co-opted by every agenda on the political landscape, and people who really do suffer from mental illness are lost in the noise.
    1. Is theism a mental illness? (35 votes)
        Yes
        14%
        No
        86%
        Not sure
          0%
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    I guess you're saying Theism=Delusion.

    Last I remember Delusion was defined as a strongly held belief that isn't in agreement with the current knowledge and culture. A belief that resists change despite strong counterevidene.

    By that definition Theism, being part of culture, is NOT a delusion and so is NOT a mental illness.
  • SonJnana
    243
    No I don't see it that way.

    If in the future society gets to a point where people don't hold beliefs without empirical evidence like ghosts, gods, horoscopes, etc. at all, then maybe it will be. In that society, people will see someone who is going out of their way praying, and they won't be able to understand what's going on. They might think something is wrong with the person and consider mental illness.

    Don't know if society will ever get to that point. Right now though, I don't think it's fair to look at theism as a mental illness.
  • Noble Dust
    3.1k


    I guess if theism is a mental illness, then humanity as a whole has moved from a state of complete "mental illness", at the dawn of history/consciousness, whenever that might have been, to a state of..."the majority of the world is still mentally ill"....???
  • Posty McPostface
    5.1k
    Surely, a reductio ad absurdum doesn't need to be pointed out?
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    It seems more and more people all the time are coming to think that any idea or belief that they themselves do not hold is a mental illness or evil or just plain wrong. The near future of western civilization doesn't look to be very bright.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    dumb shits like the average internet atheists will say theism is a mental illness.

    good thing nobody who has a single neuron gives a shit about what these fucks have to say.

    i'm not wrong, and you atheist poseurs know it. read a goddamn book and come back once you realize your fucking retarded "secular humanism" is incoherent and groundless. new atheism is a mental illness you shills.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k

    I'm wondering your reply to something I stated a few days back here:
    I think the crux of much of theism of Western/Abrahamic variety is very much based on Anslem's ontological argument. This is definitely seen in Christianity (the most "romance novel" of the religions), but also seen in Kabbalistic/speculative aspects of Judaism, and some theological aspects of Islam. It's a very Platonic idea of the Good. It is the idea of the most perfect being. Do you like physical pleasure? God is the most perfect pleasure- in fact it isn't really pleasure but profound mystical bliss that cannot be described with words... or so the ideas would go.. The Platonic notions of the most perfect good. God is the most perfect completeness, the whole, the whole story, etc. etc.

    In a way this idea is like the "romance novels" of religion. There is this romantic ideal of the perfect being. This vision is anthropomorphized as experiential reality is projected on a SUPER being that is equated with perfect reality. What of the idea that experienceness is only a quality of animals? How is it a quality of the universe writ large? Just human projection in my opinion.

    So, my conclusion then is the superstitious nature of humans, the incomprehensible nature of reality outside our human understanding of it, provides the impetus to speculate about a god with the most perfect nature. We cannot get outside experience and it shows in our theological speculations.

    By the way, this has nothing to do with "new atheism" or anything, so is not related to any of those authors.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    i'm hammered and dont give a damn about anything right now, ill get back to you tomorrow maybe, who knows and who cares honestly. life sucks and then you die. if god exists we won't know it cause he obviously doesnt give a damn about any one of us.

    edit; dont ban me mods luv u bless u be well etc etc etc
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    or just plain wrong.JustSomeGuy

    So we're not allowed to think other people are wrong now? That's going to make it quite hard to fight of the next Hitler or Stalin. I'm sure they both had everyone's best interests at heart and should have been treated with a bit more tolerance. Damn those interfering allies with their dogmatic beliefs in freedom, equality and justice!
  • Noble Dust
    3.1k


    I think you missed this:

    It seems more and more people all the time are coming to think that any idea or belief that they themselves do not hold is a mental illness or evil or _________ The near future of western civilization doesn't look to be very bright.JustSomeGuy
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    No, just didn't have any issue with the rest of it. Treating Theism as a mental illness is an insult to the many intelligent theists who are fully functional members of society. Vehemently believing they are wrong to espouse their religion is something I strongly defend my right to do without being accused of darkening the future of humanity.
  • dog
    89
    Frankly, hearing people say that theism/religion is a mental illness reminds me of cultural conservatives saying that homosexuality is a mental illness.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Indeed, calling thought or behavior we don't like 'mental illness' at least can be bogus, especially if there's no physical variation in the tissue. 'All the parts are normal, but we don't like what they're doing in unison. Hmmm. Let's have someone in a lab coat call it a disease. People'll eat that up. And let's come up with a detailed classification system. People love labels for themselves and others.'

    This isn't to say that it's all bunk. But it seems clear to me (as your example of homosexuality demonstrates) that non-scientific factors play a strong role in what gets call a 'mental disease.' Or are we too believe that it was a scientific breakthrough and not just a change in mores that got homosexuality reclassified?

    *There's a passage in one of Freud's books that indicates Freud being utterly grossed out by oral sex. If memory serves, he was dominated by the assumption that sex was for procreation alone (biologically not religiously speaking.) It seems more likely to me that the size of the human genitals has an evolutionary relationship with the size of the hands and mouth. A more knowledgable person might be able to confirm that masturbation and oral sex are ancient and present in our genetic relatives.
  • Noble Dust
    3.1k


    Huh, I must have misinterpreted the exchange, then. But I don't think JustSomeGuy was on board with the idea of theism as a mental illness, but I could be wrong. Carry on.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.3k
    Last I remember Delusion was defined as a strongly held belief that isn't in agreement with the current knowledge and culture. A belief that resists change despite strong counterevidene.

    By that definition Theism, being part of culture, is NOT a delusion and so is NOT a mental illness.
    TheMadFool
    A delusion is NOT a belief that isn't in agreement with the current knowledge and culture. Here is a list of symptoms from Wikipedia. I've bolded the pertinent information, which is almost all of it.
    The following can indicate a delusion:

    The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.
    That idea appears to have an undue influence on the patient's life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.
    Despite his/her profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.
    The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.
    There is a quality of centrality: no matter how unlikely it is that these strange things are happening to him/her, the patient accepts them relatively unquestioningly.
    An attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.
    The belief is, at the least, unlikely, and out of keeping with the patient's social, cultural, and religious background.
    The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of their psyche.
    The delusion, if acted out, often leads to behaviors which are abnormal and/or out of character, although perhaps understandable in the light of the delusional beliefs.
    Individuals who know the patient observe that the belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.

    Additional features of delusional disorder include the following:

    It is a primary disorder.
    It is a stable disorder characterized by the presence of delusions to which the patient clings with extraordinary tenacity.
    The illness is chronic and frequently lifelong.
    The delusions are logically constructed and internally consistent.
    The delusions do not interfere with general logical reasoning (although within the delusional system the logic is perverted) and there is usually no general disturbance of behavior. If disturbed behavior does occur, it is directly related to the delusional beliefs.
    The individual experiences a heightened sense of self-reference. Events which, to others, are nonsignificant are of enormous significance to him or her, and the atmosphere surrounding the delusions is highly charged.


    The part I underlined shows that delusional people can still function normally and think logically, but throw that logic out the window when it comes to contemplating the veracity of their delusion.






    It seems more and more people all the time are coming to think that any idea or belief that they themselves do not hold is a mental illness or evil or just plain wrong. The near future of western civilization doesn't look to be very bright.JustSomeGuy
    No, it's not that it's an idea that we don't agree with that makes it a delusion. It's the fact that the beliefs theists hold are held onto because it ultimately makes them feel good and feel important. We were never guaranteed that the truths of reality will be something we like, or makes us feel good. In fact, if you wish to measure someone's lack of delusion, just ask them how many unwelcome beliefs they have.

    I want to believe that I will exist forever, but the evidence contradicts that. I want to believe that everyone will get what they deserve in the end but the evidence contradicts that as well. While I want to believe these things, I know that they can't be true because of the evidence. When we eliminate these wants for these particular ideas, where is God?
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    The belief is, at the least, unlikely, and out of keeping with the patient's social, cultural, and religious background.Harry Hindu

    You said it. Not me.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    That is not a Big Pharma conspiracy theory. It is an observation about our larger culture.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    It has become a big part of all cultures ever since curing disease had become a social function and easily monetized. The more diseases, the more money. Disease had become a marketing tool because we have been convinced to fear everything that is different (abnormal) - and everything is.

    I recently heard a lecture given in a "progressive" environment where the lecturer labeled gun ownership a mental disease. The audience took it seriously and more or less agreed.

    Satre was right in that if we want to change things, it is up to reach individual to change it. Who is willing the whole effort to make everything a disease a sham?
  • Cuthbert
    216
    I would say that theism is a mental illness if there is no God. It is a kind of delusion. But if there is a God, then theism is not a mental illness: it is a recognition that there is a God. To decide whether theism is or isn't delusional we have to first agree whether there is a God or not. And that is the very point on which we cannot agree.

    As an answer to the assertion that there is a God, the proposition 'theism is a mental illness' is therefore question-begging.
  • Cuthbert
    216


    It is interesting that the list of symptoms does not specify that the belief is false.

    Suppose someone is being followed by the secret police in a country where such things happen and where nobody dares talk about them for fear of persecution. He would probably have all the symptoms listed. But he would not have a delusion.
  • andrewk
    1.6k

    Frankly, hearing people say that theism/religion is a mental illness reminds me of cultural conservatives saying that homosexuality is a mental illness.
    I don't think it is anything to be concerned about. In the West, both are fringe views, held by very small groups of people that, thankfully, have very little influence.

    The fact that, at the date of writing this, ten out of ten people have rejected the claim, is support for that view.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    It's the fact that the beliefs theists hold are held onto because it ultimately makes them feel goodHarry Hindu

    We are not emotionless, unfeeling computers. We are human animals with sometimes irrational, emotional, imperfect brains. Acting as though holding a belief that brings one joy or peace in this world full of suffering and pain is a mental illness shows both ignorance and a lack of maturity.

    To be honest, though, you're misrepresenting theists in the first place. Who are you to say why all theists hold their theistic beliefs? That's an extremely egotistical claim to make, that you know why all of these people believe this silly thing (which you, of course, don't believe because you, of course, are not silly like they are). This, again, shows ignorance and a lack of maturity.

    So we're not allowed to think other people are wrong now? That's going to make it quite hard to fight of the next Hitler or Stalin. I'm sure they both had everyone's best interests at heart and should have been treated with a bit more tolerance. Damn those interfering allies with their dogmatic beliefs in freedom, equality and justice!Pseudonym

    Vehemently believing they are wrong to espouse their religion is something I strongly defend my right to do without being accused of darkening the future of humanity.Pseudonym

    You seem to have had an irrational and emotional response to what I said that caused you to severely misinterpret it. The point I was making was that more and more people view ideas or beliefs as mental illness or evil or wrong for the soul reason that they do not agree. That any idea or belief they themselves do not share is automatically wrong or evil or insane. Nowhere did I state or even imply that we aren't allowed to disagree with each other. The point was that simply disagreeing with something does not render it wrong.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307


    No, you seem to have interpreted it correctly. Pseudonym apparently isolated one small bit of what I said and ignored the context which caused him/her to misunderstand the meaning.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    So what exactly do you want people to do when they disagree with a position. Say a new fascist party came to prominence in my country and I disagree with their position on immigrants. Talk me through how I'm supposed to deal with that in a way that doesn't fall foul of your guidelines that I should not in any way infer that it is wrong. I'd quite like the ability to oppose fascism in the strongest possible terms, not sure how to do it without implying they're wrong.
  • Dlaw
    14
    Theism is LIKE a mental illness insofar as it is technically a delusion, but in reality it's a metaphor.

    To me, the key to the analysis is that if you start from the Atheist perspective and move towards understanding religion, you get to more right answers than if you come from religion and move towards Science.

    But that's not universally true. A lot of useful metaphors that inspired scientists came from religion.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307


    So anything that is believed to be true, and then later shown to be false, is retroactively mental illness? I don't think the ridiculous implications of that need to be pointed out. But even without the implications, that doesn't make any sense. It is perfectly rational to believe something is the case when it actually isn't, so long as the evidence one possesses can reasonably be seen as supporting that said thing is the case. If I have never seen a narwhal and have very little evidence of them existing, so I do not believe they exist, does that make me mentally ill?

    Truth and reality have nothing to do with it; only evidence and reason. None of us possesses proof, none of us knows anything for certain (except that "I exist"). All of our knowledge is based on evidence and reason, and every single bit of it could potentially be shown to be wrong at some point.
  • T Clark
    3k
    i'm not wrong, and you atheist poseurs know it. read a goddamn book and come back once you realize your fucking retarded "secular humanism" is incoherent and groundless. new atheism is a mental illness you shills.darthbarracuda

    Well, now... I resemble that remark, although I don't call myself a "secular humanist." I tend to be more sympathetic to a theistic point of view than an atheistic one, not because I am a believer but because they believe in something, right or wrong. They don't define themselves based on the fact that something doesn't exist. What an odd sort of self-identification. On the other hand, I think theists and anti-theists both miss about half the point of it all.

    I like that - use the term anti-theists to differentiate them from atheists. I can't be the first to think of that.
  • T Clark
    3k
    i'm hammered and dont give a damn about anything right now, ill get back to you tomorrow maybe, who knows and who cares honestly. life sucks and then you die. if god exists we won't know it cause he obviously doesnt give a damn about any one of us.darthbarracuda

    "God's Song" by Randy Newman. What a wonderful song, not because I'm against religion. It's just so well written and funny. Listen on YouTube.

    Cain slew Abel Seth knew not why
    For if the children of Israel were to multiply
    Why must any of the children die?
    So he asked the Lord
    And the Lord said:

    Man means nothing he means less to me
    Than the lowliest cactus flower
    Or the humblest Yucca tree
    He chases round this desert
    Cause he thinks that's where I'll be
    That's why I love mankind

    I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
    From the squalor and the filth and the misery
    How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
    That's why I love mankind

    The Christians and the Jews were having a jamboree
    The Buddhists and the Hindus joined on satellite TV
    They picked their four greatest priests
    And they began to speak
    They said, "Lord, a plague is on the world
    Lord, no man is free
    The temples that we built to you
    Have tumbled into the sea
    Lord, if you won't take care of us
    Won't you please, please let us be?"
    And the Lord said
    And the Lord said

    I burn down your cities-how blind you must be
    I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
    You all must be crazy to put your faith in me
    That's why I love mankind
    You really need me
    That's why I love mankind
  • T Clark
    3k
    Frankly, hearing people say that theism/religion is a mental illness reminds me of cultural conservatives saying that homosexuality is a mental illness.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Seems like a really bad analogy. The specifics of religion are clearly cultural. People aren't born Christians or Muslims. People do seem to be born homo- or heterosexual.
  • T Clark
    3k
    No, it's not that it's an idea that we don't agree with that makes it a delusion. It's the fact that the beliefs theists hold are held onto because it ultimately makes them feel good and feel important.Harry Hindu

    It takes a bit of hubris to think you can explain the motivations of billions of people with whom you disagree in a single dismissive sentence. To think that you're right and most everyone else is completely wrong sounds like a delusion to me. I'm not a theist but it's clear to me you are wrong in your assessment.
  • T Clark
    3k
    I would say that theism is a mental illness if there is no God. It is a kind of delusion. But if there is a God, then theism is not a mental illness: it is a recognition that there is a God. To decide whether theism is or isn't delusional we have to first agree whether there is a God or not. And that is the very point on which we cannot agree.Cuthbert

    So, being wrong means you're crazy? That doesn't make much sense.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    who knows and who cares honestly. life sucks and then you die. if god exists we won't know it cause he obviously doesnt give a damn about any one of us.darthbarracuda

    You are in desperate need of Stoicism, my friend.

    edit; dont ban me mods luv u bless u be well etc etc etcdarthbarracuda

    Made me laugh.

    I like that - use the term anti-theists to differentiate them from atheists. I can't be the first to think of that.T Clark

    I discovered the term around the time of the "new atheism" movement, around ten years ago or so. Someone on a forum used it, and I found it very fitting. I'm surprised it isn't used more often, since in my experience many self-identifying atheists are, in fact, anti-theists. (I, myself, don't identify as a theist or an atheist, precisely because of the baggage that comes along with those terms)
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