Saturday, April 21, 2007
The-ill-ism: the God, the Dis-ease
Here's a interesting essay from a website called 'BetterHumans.com'.
(Prefereable to 'Better Homes and Gardens'. ^_^)
I get first dibs on putting shock therapy electrodes on Jerry
Falwell's and Fred Phelps' temples.
Ending Biblical Brainwash
For better mental and cultural health, it's time we classified
religious fundamentalism as a psychological disorder
By George Dvorsky
[ Monday, December 16, 2002 ]
Imagine that you're a psychiatrist. A new patient comes to see
you and says that he regularly talks to an invisible being who
never responds, that he reads excerpts from one ancient book and
that he believes wholeheartedly that its contents must be
accepted implicitly, if not taken literally.
The patient goes on to say that that the world is only 6,000
years old and that dinosaurs never existed. He brazenly rejects
modern science's observations and conclusions, and subscribes to
the notion that after death he will live in eternal bliss in
some alternate dimension. And throughout your meeting, he keeps
handing you his book and urging you to join him, lest you end up
after death in a far less desirable alternate dimension than him.
Is this a mentally healthy person? If you were a responsible
psychiatrist, how could you answer yes? These symptoms border on
delusional schizophrenia, which the American Psychological
Association's DSM-IV describes as involving a profound disruption
in cognition and emotion, assigning unusual significance or
meaning to normal events and holding fixed false personal beliefs.
So, should you insist on follow-up appointments along with some
strong medication? Well, quite obviously, the patient is a
religious fundamentalist. So he would most likely not be
diagnosed with a psychological problem. In fact, such a
diagnosis could land you in hot water; the patient's religious
beliefs are constitutionally protected.
Yet, perhaps it's time this changed, and that we made religious
fundamentalism a mental and cultural health issue. People should
be able to believe what they like, but only so long as their
convictions don't harm others or, arguably, themselves.
Fundamentalism, however, breeds fanaticism and often leads to
terrible violence, injustice and inequality. If society can force
drug addicts into rehabilitation because they're a danger to
themselves and the public, then we should be able to compel
religious fundamentalists to undergo treatment as well.
Religion as virus of the mind