Religion is not a disease, its a symptom
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18-11-2014, 01:54 PM
Religion is not a disease, its a symptom
This is just an idea that I've had floating around in my head for the past few weeks and I thought I'd air it out a bit, it first came up purely by chance in a debate with my uncle who's also non religious, and I've been thinking about it since.

You can probably guess where I'm going with this from the title, basically the people who say religion is a virus aren't exactly accurate, yes it spreads in the manner of a mime but I'd argue if it is a virus its more akin to HIV than something like influenza, it won't kill you on its own, it needs a combination of other factors.

First of I'll start by laying out my thoughts on what I call the religiosity scale, I'm probably not the first person to come up with this, and that's probably not what its called, but I don't remember encountering it anywhere else. Basically it works like the Kinsey scale for sexuality, there's no binary you are religious or aren't, there are differing amounts of religiosity, think about it, atheists, agnostics, pantheists, deists, culturally religious, moderate, fundamentalist, there's all different levels on the scale. For this topic we'll be focusing on the religious end of the scale though, so think between culturally religious to fundamentalist.

So, how does this tie in with religion being a symptom not an disease, well, as I said, religion is like HIV, its generally latent or doesn't do much unless it interacts with other factors, well, what are those factors, simply put, strife. Yes, simply put, religion is a in a way a coping mechanism, it generally doesn't kick into high gear except in situations of stress, that's why people from poorer communities are generally more religious, think about the american south both in religious and economic terms. Its not just financial strife though, think about places like the middle east, where virtually constant conflict has created a living environment that's probably virtually unimaginable for most of us. Lack of education of course also exacerbates these factors and just makes them all that much worse, though I would argue that lack of education alone, while a contributory factor isn't necessarily the crux of the issue.

Of course religion isn't exactly blameless in all of this, once its active it often tends to help perpetuate the situation in which it is thriving, discouraging individuals from seeking advanced education or indeed in some cases any education. As well as often leading to more aggressive and unreasonable political and military stances that only aggravate existing tensions. It is also possible that religious people may make generally poorer economic decisions such as donating to churches and evangelists rather than investing in their own well being, however I suspect this factor is a marginal one and can often be covered more by lack of proper or higher education and thus lack of opportunity. I should also point out that this is all generalization and may not hold true in specific cases.

So, how does all this apply in practical terms, well it means that attacking religion head on may not be the most effective tactic, I know, shocking isn't it. Instead, I suspect investing in better education as well as better economic opportunities will lead to a gradual decrease in overall religiosity as well as number of people who identify as religious. This is of course all speculation and I have nothing really to back any of this up other than my own reasoning and speculation, still I;d be interested to hear what anyone else has to say regarding my thoughts, for or against or anything else, please feel free to comment below and thank you if you've managed to make it to the end of my extensive ramblings.

As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil which they set out to destroy.
- Christopher Dawson

Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
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18-11-2014, 05:23 PM
RE: Religion is not a disease, its a symptom
I'd say it's both, like a self feeding loop. It was lack of knowledge which led to religion being developed as not only a early form of explanation for unknown natural phenomena but also as an early form of government in order to control and regulate early civilization. Since then, religion has been an easy tool to use to subjugate and oppress the masses while securing a strict social hierarchy. Today, religion is primarily pushed onto those of a young age who lack the knowledge and critical thinking skills to properly comprehend what it is they are being taught, and thus develop cognitive biases as they continue to believe the religion they were taught as being truth.
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18-11-2014, 05:30 PM
RE: Religion is not a disease, its a symptom
I agree with your last paragraph as we need more educated individuals which will lead more questioning, then to more thinking, and then to reasoning.

I would define what you're talking about as faith, and not religion. I think that religion would be the disease as it is used to brainwash everybody form a young age. The faith that people have in their religion later on in life is dependent a lot on the other factors that you brought up.

There are many others on here that can give a more informed opinion, but that is mine.

Remember, just because you want something to be true, doesn't make it true. Yes, even if you have faith.
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18-11-2014, 08:47 PM
RE: Religion is not a disease, its a symptom
I think modern religion is merely a cultural adaptation which evolved around the need of a property based society (starting with the land needed for agriculture) to view a woman's reproductive capacity as a scarce resource.

'Murican Canadian
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18-11-2014, 08:49 PM
RE: Religion is not a disease, its a symptom
hehe i gotta do it, I apologize in advance for the paste, but I just LOVE this Tongue

Faith is a group VI reverse transcribing DNA virus that is responsible for the human mental disorder called religion, which is the chronic form of the lesser affliction called gullibility. Symptoms range widely among the diseased and can include headaches, nausea, suggestibility, lack of reason, hallucinations, paranoia, euphoria, depression, and genocidal tendencies. Humans are the only known host of the virus. Other animals may not have the necessary brain capacity for self-delusion.

The "Faith" virus commonly enters the human vessel via the optical and auditory systems. It is then carried via the blood to the brain where it infects the neurons of the cerebral cortex in the region of the frontal lobe. New findings indicate it could also infect the sex glands, the seminiferous tubules (in males) and the ovaries (in females). As a result of this, the ovum and sperm of those people can be infected, allowing the "Faith" virus to be easily carried to the next generation. As well as person to person transfer of the virus, the other major danger is infection via contaminated paper. The "Faith" virus can be harbored for many years on the surface of the paper itself, laying dormant and resurrecting itself at the touch of human flesh. Although paper is the main vector for the virus today, it was once transferred by papyrus, animal skin and clay.

The virus seems to have started out as the archetypal "Faith" virus "Generalis religica"; which begat "Generalis judaica"; which begat "Generalis christianica"; which begat "Generalis catholica" and it's brethren; which begat "Generalis protestantica"; which begat "Generalis puritanica" about the time it was carried away to the Americas; and so on and so on.
Offshoots of these viruses include the more serious genus types of "Fundamentalis"; A species example being "Fundamentalis islamica", a virus type which has recently undergone multiple population explosions.

common symptoms

Suggestibility - This symptom often occurs at the point of contact, weakening the brain and making it easier for the virus to infect its victim. Interestingly, this symptom gradually decreases as the Religion disease itself takes hold, rendering the infected resistant to logical reasoning and in extreme cases impassive to the cries of "Mercy! Mercy!" from those about to be stoned, burned, eaten by dogs, slandered publicly, or if in the U.S. slandered Republicanly.

Paranoia - Sufferers are often convinced someone is watching them.

Delusion/Hallucination - In many instances, delusions start out fairly innocuously, such as attributing a common occurrence to the will of a divine benevolent overlord. Throughout history these attributions have included such things as the rising of the sun, the setting of the sun, the resurrection of his son and the headlines of 'The Sun'. These delusions can quickly progress to the point where people believe they have actually seen this overlord, heard his voice and even drunk the blood of his only child - Jesus.

Lack of reason - Often one of the saddest parts of the Religion disease is the inability of the infected to form simple logical conclusions from everyday data. Examples include the belief of sufferers that they survived, got helped, got maimed, or won an Oscar because an external overlord was watching. Often they point to their debilitating infection as a direct help, saying that to succeed they had to have "Faith" in themselves.

Genocidal tendencies - While not common in itself, in recent years this symptom appears to be on the rise in certain "Faith" sufferers. This has been traced to an increase in the type "fi" form of the virus, "Faith fi" being Fundamentalis islamica. Paradoxically, this has also caused an increase in type "fc" (Fundamentalis christianica). Research shows that these virus types can work together in a positive feedback loop which is as self-sustaining as it is mutually destructive.

Cure:
Until very recently it was thought there was no cure; however, in areas which have had the most exposure to the Faith virus (e.g. Europe) it appears as though some people are finally becoming resistant. Although there are many types of general anti-viral which work on the Faith infection (such as "Bolloxaway" and "Atheismatol"), only one type of anti-viral which specifically targets "Faith" has so far been isolated. It was discovered by renowned biochemist and anti-Faith activist Richard Dawkins and was in fact harvested from his own blood after prolonged exposure to an Anglican Bishop. It seems to work by breaking down the Faith virus and rendering it into a benign mixture of useless parts.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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23-11-2014, 02:34 AM
RE: Religion is not a disease, its a symptom
The problem is not religion..The problem is how people utilize religion because at the end of the day its just information.

I think what you are pointing to is the human condition. Viewing religion as some kind of affliction is misguided because its use/abuse is just a byproduct of a more central and basic issue. Some people just don't know better.. Some people do, and use this to their advantage.
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