Is Christianity a form of mental disorder?

by John Doe 63 Replies latest jw friends

  • John Doe
    John Doe

    Take the average born again. They begin their day imagining a powerful imaginary friend, and then go around mocking rational people and daring them to disprove the imaginary friend exists. Some even hear voices from their imaginary friend and claim he exercises magic for their benefit.

    Consider schizophrenia:

    Schizophrenia (pronounced /?sk?ts?'fr?ni?/ or /?sk?ts?'fri?ni?/), from the Greek roots skhizein (σχ?ζειν, "to split") and phren, phren- (φρ?ν, φρεν-; "mind") is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disordercharacterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. Distortions in perception may affect all five senses, including sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, but most commonly manifest as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking with significant social or occupational dysfunction. Onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, [1] with approximately 0.4–0.6% [2] [3] of the population affected. Diagnosis is based on the patient's self-reported experiences and observed behavior. N

    Does that definition not show striking similarity to a Christian? I ask in good faith.

  • John Doe
    John Doe

    Allrighty then.

  • Satanus

    'I ask in good faith.'

    Yabbut, how MUCH faith?


  • villabolo

    The Christian Bible, like the Jehovah's Witnesses take the Jewish Bible and try to impose patterns into it that are simply not there. Their exegesis is similar to what certain schizophrenics do with newspaper clippings attached to their wall. Their world is a pastiche, scissor and paste collection of other peoples writings-a special code that could open the door to the Universes secrets.

    Not that I would paint all Christians with the same brush. Most of them are simply followers. And also schizophrenia is more complex than the one manifestation I noted. Most Christians are simply followers who don't even read the Bible. Even the zealous ones have other personality profiles that could best described by different mental conditions such as Temporal Lobe Psychosis.

    Ultimately we get into a question of semantics when we realize that "sane" is not so sane. Also the difference between "insane" and "sane" is more of a spectrum than a hard line. In other words sanity is partly a subjective term.


  • bluecanary

    No, I don't think so. At least in the majority of Christians; I'm sure there are a few loonies.

    I think that Christianity involves a combination of believing in a community fable and praciticing psychological techniques that creat the sensation of receiving spirit. Of course, Christians don't realize that they are creating certain psychological states through prayer, meditation, singing or chanting. They prefer to believe it's coming from an outside source. And it's easy to believe in the same story everyone else does when (a) it's impossible to disprove and (b) it isn't inherently harmful to do so.

  • AllTimeJeff

    It isn't a mental disorder.

    Sometimes, people make themselves mental defending it as if its tenents were literal though.. It's instructive to know the difference...

  • nicolaou

    Careful JD! It was suggested that I was 'mentally ill' for even asking a question like this . . .

    Could religious belief be considered a sign of mental illness?

  • John Doe
    John Doe

    Nic, how did I miss that thread?!

  • Caedes

    Could religious belief be considered a sign of mental illness?

    Where is The Gladiator? I thought his posts were great!

    In answer to the OP, no christianity (or religious belief) isn't a form of mental illness although religion could form the basis of someone's mental illness. I would say that there are probably a majority of perfectly rational theists (although none of them believe in a literal translation of their particular religious text!)

  • wobble

    I have a feeling that Caedes' "rational theist" is an oxymoron, but do agree that religious belief is dangerous to the extent that it can cause mental disorders of varying strength.

    Certainly belief in the teachings of Fundie groups and wacko ones like the WT/JW do cause the adherents to display attitudes and actions that could easily be described as a form of mental illness, i.e being willing to sacrifice your child's life in warfare or terrorism, or because of believing the WT's un-scriptural blood doctrine. Being willing to shun people simply because they do not believe the same as you,even a son or a daughter.

    So it behooves all of us to examine ourselves and see if our beliefs are a danger to ourselves,our family or society.



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