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A question of religion 
12th-Aug-2011 04:58 pm
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Something came up in conversation earlier today, where a friend mentioned that she's heard some people espouse the belief that having a religious viewpoint is literally a mental illness. I don't agree myself; sure, there are a number of crazy religious people, and I think some religions (like most sects of Christianity) should be erased from the world because their worldviews promote insanity. But religion inherently an insanity? No. Anyway, what do you think?

Poll #1769256 Religion and sanity

Do you believe that being religious is literally a mental illness?

Yes
9(10.7%)
No
75(89.3%)
Comments 
13th-Aug-2011 12:03 am (UTC)
I'm agnostic, heavily leaning towards atheist, but I know of countless mentally adjusted folks who believe in a higher power (or powers). Just like there are atheists who suffer from mental illness.
13th-Aug-2011 12:20 am (UTC)
This. I could have written the same thing.
13th-Aug-2011 12:54 am (UTC)
Same.
13th-Aug-2011 12:55 am (UTC)
Although tbh I wonder when it comes to religions like scientology :/ haha. But I know I should strive not to judge too harshly.
13th-Aug-2011 03:23 am (UTC)
I know manic depressives who aren't schizophrenic, and vice versa, yet both manic depression and schizophrenia are still mental illnesses.

That being said, I'm not sure whether being religious is a mental illness in and of itself. It could be a symptom of schizophrenia. I do believe, however, that to think there are supernatural forces at work in any capacity requires some level of mental instability; whether they're simply believing what they've always been told, or have even had personal interactions with one or more supernatural being. For the record, I'm an agnostic atheist who has a long history of mental illness.
13th-Aug-2011 12:24 am (UTC)
There are some who argue that religion comes from mental illness (specifically some kind of obsession or compulsion), but I think that for the most part religious peopl are just as likely to be mentally ill as the rest of society.
13th-Aug-2011 12:45 am (UTC)
I've also heard the opposite; that religion is an evolutionary coping mechanism for the world and that religious people lead healthier lives. Which may be why I'm a LaVeyan Satanist. We're like atheists, but with magick and rituals. So we get the good parts of religious practice without the higher power and illogical BS. In Satanism, we are our own gods.

Yes, atheists who miss the pomp and circumstance of organized religion become either LaVeyan Satanists or Unitarian Universalists. :-D

Ave Satanas!
13th-Aug-2011 01:37 am (UTC)
I'd be inclined to think neither is entirely true; for some people, religion is healthy. For others, it's the focus of a mental illness and therefore could potentially be harmful.

I don't believe all religious people are crazy for pretty much the reason you said. Also, I think most mental illnesses require a certain lack of function in daily life to actually count as mental illness. Otherwise it's just weirdness.
13th-Aug-2011 02:48 am (UTC)

I have heard that religious people lead healthier lives. I imagine anyone who's able to come up with a coping mechanism is bound to lead a healthier life.

16th-Aug-2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
My coping mechanism is that I'll end up going to sleep one day and not waking up. Dreamless sleep that may or may not be painful.
13th-Aug-2011 12:29 am (UTC)
Oh good, so this is what we talk about in the future. I always wondered what we'd do if we ran out of new things to make pills for.
13th-Aug-2011 12:37 am (UTC)
Melodramatically, in mystical tone of voice: "Do you take the red pill... or the blue pill?"
13th-Aug-2011 12:59 am (UTC)
Sadly, I've met people who hold that viewpoint. They're usually crazier than the people they're denouncing.
13th-Aug-2011 01:34 am (UTC)
No, but I think it's disordered thinking.
13th-Aug-2011 02:37 am (UTC)
Agreed.
16th-Aug-2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
/agree
13th-Aug-2011 04:58 am (UTC) - RE
You know... I honestly believe that NOT believing in God is no more "logical" than believing in God. How did everything get here? The universe, solar system, planets, humans with thoughts, FEELINGS, different personalities, complicated lives on earth... Even /if/ the Big Bang really happened, who made it happen? Think deeply...
Do you not think we have souls?

And to answer the question, I agree with the first answer; anyone can be insane and anyone can be healthy, regardless of whether or not they follow a religion.
13th-Aug-2011 03:19 pm (UTC)
It's all about parsing that word "illness." We hear "mental illness" and we think...well, insert DSM term here. However, in a greater sense of the word 'illness,' more like 'disfunction,' in the same way that an optical illusion is an disfunction of the brain in seeing what isn't actually there, I think it's an accurate statement.
14th-Aug-2011 07:54 pm (UTC) - Reply to fallen_scholar
When we see optical illusions, we aren't mentally ill.

Religious people have faith; they aren't claiming to be able to explain God and/or religion by logic.

No one can prove what isn't or is there...not yet, anyway.
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22nd-Aug-2011 07:20 am (UTC)
I don't care if people are religious or not as long as they don't want to convert me to anything.

I think a light form of religiosity is normal , but some people take it to the extreme. I wouldn't say the religion is part of the mental illness, but rather that these people already have some kind of mental illness or disorder already that shapes their religiosity.
28th-Oct-2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
I don't think that being religious is in and of itself a mental illness. However, I've read that people with ...how do I put this...not a disorder, but emotional baggage or some deep-rooted issues are more likely to be obsessively devout. I don't remember why, though.
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