Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
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26-03-2013, 08:38 AM
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
(26-03-2013 05:55 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Asp.

Quote:Religious faith might or might not be a mental
disorder, it might only be a symptom of one, or
maybe not at all. Fine. But fundamentalism is.
Fundies deliberately ignore reality, deliberately bury
their heads in the sand any time a more rational
person points out the flaws in their nonsensical
delusion. They have lost the ability to distinguish
between reality and illusion. That's a mental
disorder in my book.

Do you really not see the staggering hypocrisy of that statement?


No, I really don't. Psychiatric wards all over the world are filled with people living in alternate realities where they get so lost in a fictional world of their own creation. These people would otherwise be sane - it's not like they (most of them anyway) have two disorders, or physical brain damage - they're just suffering from the inability to separate their fiction from the real world. No matter how often people who don't share their delusional existence try to help them return to reality, they refuse, often building false assumptions that all "those people" are out to get them, some evil conspiracy designed to ruin their alternate life. It's very similar to the way religious fundies assume atheists are evil Satan worshipers out to get them.

The delusions, the imaginary persecutions, and the hysteria that many of them fall into if they get pushed too hard by their imaginary persecutors (yes, WBC, I'm looking at you, among others), are all more or less identical to the same behaviors found in schizophrenics.

If you think dogs rule the world, dogs created mankind and we must bow down and do everything they ask or they'll eat us and bury our bones, and if you believe that so thoroughly that you live your life according to this delusion, then you get diagnosed with a mental disorder.

But if you believe pretty much the same thing about Yahweh, well, that's OK, you're just a Christian.

There really isn't much difference, clinically, other than the fact that for some reason, we're never supposed to speak badly of religious people

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26-03-2013, 09:31 AM
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
Some mental health issues seem to open a door that allows super-crazy religiousity to infect the mind. What comes to mind are the women who kill their children because God told them too.
What I mean, (it makes sense in my head, I want to get it out)...for example:
I had post-partum depression after my middle child but no god was telling me I had to kill her. I was not involved in any religion so that really wasn't part of my experience. If I had been steeped in a fundamentalist environment during that time, maybe the years of brainwashing would have gotten a better hold on me and I would have heard God telling me to hurt her.
I don't think fundamentalism is a mental disorder but I do see a good possibility that when there is a breakdown in a person's reality/fantasy filter that extreme ideas have a place to take root.
Just my opinion.

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26-03-2013, 11:19 AM
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
Sorry, but I don't get why this is so hard to understand. Maybe it's because I have worked with people who have mental illness so the difference is clear-cut to me. Night and day in fact.

What I believe fundamentalists suffer from are both indoctrination and magical thinking. That's it. It could be argued that brain-washing results in a mental disorder, but I would have to disagree. That's simply a lack of exposure to more information while being isolated to less. That much could easily be cured by exposure to the missing information. What generally stops that from occurring where access to the additional information becomes possible is the magical thinking. When people believe that magic can explain anything that contradicts logic or common sense, then it makes it difficult to reason them out of that viewpoint. That's not a mental disorder. It's just an alternative (albeit incorrect) world view. And, when they have spent years among family and friends living that world view, there are plenty of reasons not to go seeking a different world view. Is it a mental disorder when someone believes breaking a mirror will result in 7 years of bad luck? No, it's silly superstition - no more and no less. The same is true with any magical thinking.

True mental disorders come in two forms. One is completely biological which fundamentalism obviously is not. The other is emotional problems that result from psychosocial circumstances (abusive parents, for example) or life events (death of loved ones or loss of a job). This latter type is the only possible place fundamentalism could fit. However, this type consists of things like depression, anxiety, anger management issues, and self-defeating behaviors. A fundamentalist might cling to religion harder out of emotional problems, but the problems themselves would be the depression, anxiety, etc. not the fundamentalism. Many non-fundamentalists have the same emotional problems and many fundamentalists have no emotional problems (at least not significant enough to be classified as a disorder). They're separate concepts.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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26-03-2013, 11:39 AM
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
(25-03-2013 11:04 AM)kim Wrote:  The Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides details on brain atrophy and studies have shown a direct link to brain atrophy in life changing religious experiences. It seems these life changing experiences such as being "born again" have been linked to brain atrophy.

The study hypothesizes it may have to do with a combination of stress and hormonal release. Personally, I have to wonder if these experiences are the symptom of an already present brain disorder but I don't know... I'm not a neurologist. I think a quote from the article, "For now, we can be certain that religion affects the brain--we just are not certain how." is quite telling that there is something going on.

Here is a link to a Scientific American article which discusses the study.
I just read the article since I didn't have time yesterday. Honestly, I don't see where they get their conclusions.

This throws the whole article in question as far as I'm concerned:
Quote:The study, published March 30 in PLoS One, showed greater atrophy in the hippocampus in individuals who identify with specific religious groups as well as those with no religious affiliation. It is a surprising result, given that many prior studies have shown religion to have potentially beneficial effects on brain function, anxiety, and depression.
This study found different results from previous studies. So I would first want to know more about this study (methodology, etc.) and about the other studies before drawing my own conclusions. In addition, it's odd that specific religious groups have similar results with those who have no religious affiliation. That's a red flag right there concerning the validity of the study. How can there be religious significance when those without religion show similar results? The brain differences are likely accounted for by something else. Stress, which they suggest, could be it, but not necessarily related to religion specifically.

Furthermore, I find myself wondering what they mean by "people heavily engaged in meditation or spiritual practices". Meditation is obvious, but what are the "spiritual practices"? Meditation is not a religion and is practiced by many people as a health measure. Without further details, the article seems to emphasize meditation. It then mentions born-again Christians and Catholics specifically without saying anything about what was being measured.

In addition, the sample size was small. Correlation is not causation. Suffice it to say I have my doubts about the conclusions.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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26-03-2013, 12:11 PM (This post was last modified: 26-03-2013 12:35 PM by kim.)
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
You didn't go to the article... it's referred to at the beginning of the link. It might be a bit lengthy but it's informative.

I came across it researching types of dementia other than Alzheimer's Disease.

Honestly, I don't care if fundamentalists' behavior resembles any mental disorder or not. I try to stay waaaaay the hell away from them.

However, the next time they show up in my WalMart parking lot with 2(the "demon possessed" ones) of their 5 children gagged and bound to the bumper of their mini van, while they (the fundamentalist parents) went in to the store and bought tarp, duct tape, and a baseball bat, I won't wonder what they might be up to. I'm sure everything's just fine. Drinking Beverage

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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26-03-2013, 12:54 PM
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
(26-03-2013 12:11 PM)kim Wrote:  You didn't go to the article... it's referred to at the beginning of the link. It might be a bit lengthy but it's informative.

I came across it researching types of dementia other than Alzheimer's Disease.

Honestly, I don't care if fundamentalists' behavior resembles any mental disorder or not. I try to stay waaaaay the hell away from them.

However, the next time they show up in my WalMart parking lot with 2(the "demon possessed" ones) of their 5 children gagged and bound to the bumper of their mini van, while they (the fundamentalist parents) went in to the store and bought tarp, duct tape, and a baseball bat, I won't wonder what they might be up to. I'm sure everything's just fine. Drinking Beverage

They probably bought the baseball bat to play softball.
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26-03-2013, 01:25 PM
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
This is easier to decide than it seems.

Fundamentalism has "mental" right in the middle of the word - clearly, fundamentalist are totally mental, right?

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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26-03-2013, 02:33 PM
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
No, but it does an excellent impersonation. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-03-2013, 03:04 PM
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
After reading some psychology literature it's interesting to see how Christianity can afflict peoples minds. It tends to be very attractive for those with borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, as well as mask a large amount of other psychological problems.

However something I have noticed as people become religious and grow in the church is that they pick up nasty brain habits.

They begin to think in black and white terms. Either something is good or all evil. Either something is true or it's all false. Very all or nothing thinking pervades their life.

They seem to see themselves as chosen people out to change the world, and then end up playing the victim when their feelings get hurt.

Also they develop a fervent hatred for change, and love/obsession for things that are non-changing.

A developing co-depedence on their imaginary friend. Who provides them with all their emotional needs, as well as a dumping ground for emotional garbage.

It seems to me that the hard core religious mind might be a personality disorder all it's own.

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26-03-2013, 03:13 PM (This post was last modified: 26-03-2013 05:17 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Is fundamentalism a mental disorder?
Hey, Kim.

Well nobody fucking likes fundamentalists. They're worse at parties than Buzz Killington!





The question isn't whether they're dinks. Of course they are. It's is fundamentalism a mental health disorder. It isn't. And saying otherwise is a disservice to science.

Hey, Impulse.

Dope posts.

I could take or leave questioning the validity of the study, but the larger issue is that it says NOTHING about a connection to mental health at all.

That being said, the whole non-religious findings seem to be downplayed.

Hey, Angele.

Quote:I don't think fundamentalism is a mental disorder but I do see a good possibility that when there is a breakdown in a person's reality/fantasy filter that extreme ideas have a place to take root.

I think it's a different system at work.

People's need for certainty is tied to the degree of crisis they perceive. Fundamentalists, at the core of it all, are afraid. The rigidity of fundamentalist ideas is intoxicating to the fearful. I think that's where they take root.

The fact that the ideas are truthful/fanciful is secondary to the perception that they're "right", ie, if you buy in, you'll be safe/saved and no longer have to fear.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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