tell em tithe is no more than a bribe. take hold of your own life.
not sure if these url's will link from copy paste but googles news "religion mental illness" :
Thank you for the fine links. It's refreshing to realize that scientific research is no longer intimidated into giving religion a pass. It has always infuriated me to observe that certain human behaviors, otherwise understood as mental illness, were given a pass when offered in a religious context.
For example, during a job interview, if a person were to claim she wanted the job because god told her to pursue that particular career, it would be acceptable. But, if she told the interviewer that she wanted the job because her two-headed all-knowing alien friend from Kolob, with whom she spoke with this morning (and whose son lives inside of her), told her she should apply for the job; she would be dismissed as unstable an best, or insane, and be denied the position. Or: the person preaching Jesus' imminent return on a street corner would be given a pass, while the same person preaching the imminent insect-alien invasion of earth would be carted off to the local psych ward.
Irrational behavior when performed in a religious context has always been given a pass by society. It is refreshing to see this is not always the case.
While it's good not to give religion a pass, classifying it (as opposed to certain unhealthy religious behaviors) as a mental illness is neither scientific or rational. Clinging to ideas does not constitute mental illness, mental illness is the actual, demonstrable malfunctioning of the mind.
Over the years we have progressed by REMOVING behaviors from the mental illness category because they are things done by people who are otherwise healthy. Homosexuality was once considered mental illness as were some other forms of (kinky?) sexuality that are not so considered any more. Unfortunately we continue to medicalize behavior attention issues (ADD) probably because there's money in it. And sadly 'addiction' has become the new mental illness (internet addiction, video game addiction, sex addiction, yada yada).
A society that could consider religion a 'mental illness' could just as easily (probably more easily) classify atheism as a mental illness with atheist parents being held suspect as detrimental to their children.
I'd love to see religion eliminated through rationality, not the (erratic) dictates of the psychological lobby.
I think we agree on a lot, but I find it very important to look at the unintended effects of various actions. If a field is to be scientifically based (and both psychology and psychiatry have had issues with this in the past) unambiguous definitions are in order. Mental illness is not just misplaced or inaccurate belief. Redefinition like this then becomes a 'scientific' version of correct-think.And atheism will likely be one of the first victims of that redefinition.
Clinging to something which has no inherent value, maintaining a relationship with that thing, even when it is holding you back, strikes me as a hoarding behavior. I've watched a couple of those shows which document hoarders and their attempts, successful and otherwise, to deal with their habit / obsession, and the parallels are striking. In both cases, the action is illogical and irrational; the thought of the hoarder is that "I'll need this someday," and therefore the attachment maintains. Also in both cases, arguing people OUT of their behavior is difficult if not impossible.
Clinging to an outmoded, obsolete idea, particularly an idea which may be doing active harm to you or to your environment or culture ... that may indeed reflect mental illness.
>> Except that these people have an invisible friend.
Exactly. That very same behavior, talking to invisible friends, is correctly classified as mental illness. EXCEPT when it is in the context of religion. Religion gets a pass for schizophrenic behavior. A person who talks to aliens is mentally ill, why doesn't the same apply to talking to the virgin Mary, to angels, to jesus, or to some invisible god?
People who hear voices in their heads are nuts, whether those voices are perceived to be from ghosts, angels, aliens, or from gods. Why the squeamishness about calling these folks insane? Religious insanity gets a pass where nothing else does in society. We have been conditioned to treat religion as special. That needs to end.