Could religious belief be considered a sign of mental illness?

by nicolaou 63 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • nicolaou

    Religious believers clearly have tendencies to make-up "facts" and "evidence" rather than accept true research and admit even the simplest of belief failures. They have strange ceremonies that are virtually pointless but are said to have special significance or power.

    We all know certain 'Christians' alive today who are fully prepared to argue that they might never die! Couldn't it be argued that such a reversion into childlike fantasy is a telltale sign of mental illness? Isn't it a self-replicating insanity when part of the illness drives the sufferer to convince others to regress to their level and contract the same illness? Sounds severe, almost like a pandemic.

    Some might go as far as to call religious belief a contagious disease.

  • R.Crusoe

    If you are alone - wherever you are - you will be the minority = mental illness by disassociation.

  • BurnTheShips

    Mental illness is a health problem that can change the way a person thinks, feels, makes decisions, deals with others, or copes with everyday life. Someone with a mental illness may experience a number of problems that may make it difficult for them to lead a normal life. Mental illness is NOT contagious. It is not like a cold or the flu. Just like you can't catch bad eyesight or asthma from someone, you can't catch mental illness.

    Perhaps you are mentally ill.

  • real one
    real one

    I think anyone that would choose being tortured for the rest of their lives instead of living a happy pain-free life is mentally ill. I have Jesus to look foward to meeting. What do you have to look foward to?

  • Jeffro

    Two words... J Canon.

  • Gopher

    If religious belief (or any belief) is taken to great extremes, there could be mental illness.

    However, religious belief is so imprinted into many societies that it is hard to argue that mere belief equates with mental illness. People want to believe there is more than just this life. Various cultures and their religions offer different solutions to the "purpose of life" question.

    Non-believers simply think that this life is its own purpose. Those I've communicated with have accepted this and it has motivated them to make each day count.

    I don't think wishing for more than this life is a bad thing, but it may not be realistic either.

  • hamilcarr

    I don't think this kind of discussions promote a better understanding of each other's views. Mental illness is just a label often used in authoritarian regimes to suppress divergent opinions. When it comes to believing / non-believing, both views can equally be defended, for instance:

    Is Atheism a Sign of Mental Illness?

  • Jeffro

    Religious beliefs, even irrational ones, are not in themselves a sign of mental illness, though many are a sign of gullibility.

    But a religious/superstitious person who hears voices is less likely to seek diagnosis of a mental illness if their religion allows/encourages them to believe they're the voices of god/angels/spirits etc.

  • Sirona

    Where do I start?

    I agree that someone is less likely to see a psychiatrist if they sincerely believe that any "voices" they hear are simply angels (or spirits).

    I do however take exception to the inference that anyone who believes they have communication from the "other side" is mentally ill.

    In the DSM and other official manuals we see set criteria for diagnosis of mental illness. In times past, mental illness has been diagnosed and a person labelled without proper evidence - resulting in inappropriate treatments being given and a general deterioration in the patient due to the misdiagnosis. It is important to state what we really mean by "mental illness".

    I will probably regret this, given the environment I'm in, but let me use myself as an example. I function in life very well. I am not plagued by destructive thoughts or "voices" and my life is totally normal. However there are times when I choose to participate in a spiritual service, during which I often experience phenomena which could be labelled "supernatural".

    I am totally aware of arguments which indicate that someone is using self hypnosis in this scenario. Whether that be the case or not isn't really under debate. What is under debate is whether I'm mentally ill or not. The answer is that I am not, yet I experience (at my will) things which could be labelled as spiritual experiences.

    I have seen spirit beings and I have had communication from spirit beings. Again, these are controlled (by me) and are never disturbing to me. Interestingly, many of these communications reveal information which I couldn't have known and which can be verified - either by someone present or later as things transpire.

    I would love science to eventually find a way to measure and prove spirit communication. Experiments have been conducted which show a significant result with regards to extra-sensory communication. These experiments are currently being replicated by those with funding. Many experiments have already shown a significant result beyond chance on things which you appear to be labelling "evidence of mental illness".

    Mental illnesses where the individual hears voices and sees visions exist of course - I have studied various mental illnesses and their causes. This does not mean, however, that every individual who experiences extrasensory perception is mentally ill.



    Yes religion is a sign of mental illness contagious disease. Just look at Islam and the madness that grips its millions of adherents. They all think they have Allah to look forward to. Jehovah’s Witnesses have Jehovah.

    Real one, who is anything but, thinks that he/she has Jesus to look forward to. Only Jesus? You are being short changed.

    As The Roman Gladiator I have my Roman Gods and Goddesses to look forward to. Here are just few of them.

    Apollo - the god of the sun.

    Bacchus - the god of wine.

    Ceres - the goddess of farming and the Earth.

    Cupid - the god of love.

    Diana (mythology) - the goddess of the moon.

    Fortuna - the goddess of luck.

    Janus - the god of doors.

    Juno - the queen of the gods.

    Jupiter - the king of the gods.

    Mars - the god of war.


    Pluto - god of hell (the underworld).

    Venus (mythology) - goddess of love and beauty.

    Vulcan - the god of fire.

    I thank my Gods every day that I live a life free of illusion and have so many Gods to protect me in the arena and receive my soul if they should fail to deliver me from the hands of sinners. I pray for deluded Christians and Muslims

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