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A Word to Mr. Harris and those who hold similar views:
Posted: 05 August 2007 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 376 ]  
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[quote author=“SkepticX”][quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]You and all your other CIA buddies on this forum need to get back up in your space ship and stop watching me. I have my laser protection gear on, so you can’t control me. YOU CAN’T CONTROL ME!!!

Funny, rolling with it and all, and I appreciate your sense of humor and your general demeanor (we’ve throw some hard balls at you for sure), but what about the implications of the fact that religious belief is indistinguishable from psychosis other than for the fact that religious beliefs are more popular? Doesn’t that tell you (or at least suggest) something?

Yeah, it tells me that you need to refine your definition of psychosis.  Psychosis is a mental illness that markedly interferes with a person’s capacity to meet life’s daily demands.  That excludes most Christians, who get along just fine.  In fact, the next person who will run this country, whatever party or ideology he/she belongs to/believes, will be a Christian. So work on your definition a little - it should exclude believers who have no problem whatsoever meeting life’s daily demands.  You can’t just define us into mental institutions, as much as you and your other CIA buddies would like.

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Posted: 05 August 2007 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 377 ]  
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This statement by SkepticX truly does hit the nail on the head “...religious belief is indistinguishable from psychosis.”

Now I am no psychologist nor psychiatrist (two professions that perhaps have their own special psychoses?), but when one compares the psychological maladies of the religious to those of the non-religious the evidence for the truth of the above statement appears to pile up considerably. 

PSYCHOSIS “Any severe form of mental disturbance or disease which may also be associated with physical disease . . .”

of course this definition goes on to make the point,  “. . . and which produces deep and far-reaching disruption of normal behaviour and social functioning.”

However, this latter statement (which includes the ‘normal behaviour’ and ‘social functioning’ conditions), appears to weaken the impact of the original reference to mental disturbance.  What this definition implies is that if the vast majority are denying the efficacy and veracity of science while they attend theistic worship services and believe in the existence of supernatural beings, then they are not to be considered as psychotic.

HOWEVER, from the point of view of an atheist, the vast majority of a population could certainly be classified as psychotic.  From my own non-theistic, belief-in-truth, intellectual condition, I am constantly bombarded by the religious psychosis of most of those with whom I come into daily contact.  The detection-of-psychosis alarm bells go off multiple times a day as I deal with people who confront reality through their mentally disturbed theistic belief system.  From my perspective these people should be locked up or somehow medicated (education seems to have failed), but we can’t lock away more than half the population of this country!

It seems to me that the excuse “to be normal” (or “this is normal)  is one of the ways in which theists often rationalize away their psychotic beliefs about gods and various spirit beings.  Yet I find this excuse a deplorable defense of a particular brand of insanity.  If, for instance, more than half of the population of this country felt that it was morally (and mentally) acceptable to eat dead people, would we (the non-cannibals) ignorantly accept that such necro-foodia was just normal behaviour?  Of course not!

It seems to me that standards of decency are immune from populist beliefs.  It also seems to me that mental disturbance cannot be judged in the light of acceptable cultural practices in a particular human population.  Those who reject the scientific conclusions about the nature of this world while they accept and behave according to supernatural dogma are mentally disturbed.  I don’t care if they happen to make up 95% of the population of country ‘X’ - we must measure mental disturbance by standards that have nothing to do with norms or with ‘the majority wins’ kind of thinking. 

When I imagine that President Bush forced America into the war with Iraq largely due to his ‘mentally disturbed’ theism coerced upon a population of other ‘mentally disturbed theists’ - thus it just seemed the normal and acceptable action to take at that time.  The facts of the matter have since convinced the vast majority that this huge ‘mental disturbance’ (otherwise refered to as the ‘War with Iraq’)  was a mass psychosis that has led to deaths of almost 4,000 Americans and perhaps as many as half a million Iraqis.  Those who were opposed to the war saw from the outset that the facts as presented by the administration were incorrect and that a psychosis (a mental disturbance) was leading the Americans and the British to war.  The point I am trying to make here is that just because something is referred to as “normal” does not make it immune to being characterized as ‘immoral’ or ‘psychotic.’

Bob

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Posted: 05 August 2007 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 378 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]When I imagine that President Bush forced America into the war with Iraq largely due to his ‘mentally disturbed’ theism coerced upon a population of other ‘mentally disturbed theists’ - thus it just seemed the normal and acceptable action to take at that time.
Bob

 

Hey Bob,
Good to see you posting again.
I don’t have an argument with your post and I suppose it is in essence a paraphrasing of Herr Freud’s zoughtz on ze matter.
But I don’t believe for a second that Bush and co. took their inspiration from the almighty when they contemplated the Iraq war.
It is obvious that their true devotion is to the Almighty Dollar.

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Posted: 05 August 2007 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 379 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]”...religious belief is indistinguishable from psychosis.”

No, it isn’t. It’s all in the behaviour and functionality of the individual, not what they believe. How about people who believe in Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, and all that? One can believe anything, as long as they can function well. It’s mental illness, not mental state.

of course this definition goes on to make the point,  “. . . and which produces deep and far-reaching disruption of normal behaviour and social functioning.”

It’s not a point, it’s the defining clause.

HOWEVER, from the point of view of an atheist, the vast majority of a population could certainly be classified as psychotic.

To some atheists, apparently. I’m one and I wouldn’t agree that just about everyone is crazy.

When I imagine that President Bush forced America into the war with Iraq largely due to his ‘mentally disturbed’ theism coerced upon a population of other ‘mentally disturbed theists’ - thus it just seemed the normal and acceptable action to take at that time.

His insanity has more to do with Regan era dogma than belief in any god.

Look, it’s not all us vs. them. Now, if you said that all the Mormons are mentally ill, I probably wouldn’t have a case against it, but my grandmother (garden variety Catholic), among others, wasn’t crazy. Neither was Chief Dan George.

Have we implanted your brain yet? I’ll have to speak with the saucer people about you.

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Posted: 05 August 2007 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 380 ]  
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Now I’m ready to believe in group consciousness.  I wrote the following on notepaper before turning on the computer this morning:

Fundamentalism is Mental Illness

Santa Claus is fun - a believable fairy tale for little children.  However if a person grows up still believing in Santa, everyone recognizes the condition as mental illness.

When fundamentalists take the Bible stories literally - insisting that the earth was created in 6 days - that Adam and Eve were made in a twinkle and have no non-human ancestors, then it is clearly a manifestation of mental illness in the same category as ‘Santamania.’

Most people say that such insanity is harmless; such people are harmless.
Are they?  They deliberately infect their children with the disease.  They frighten the gullible with threats of torture.  Is that harmless?  Bigotry is the nature of fundamentalism, and bigotry is a major cause of wars.  In the case of fundamentalist Muslims - fanatics who have been conditioned by radical clerics commit suicide as a way of committing mass murder, thereby gaining ‘promised’ rewards in a ‘promised’ afterlife.  At this moment, children around the globe are being conditioned to commit such crimes.  Are such people really different from the criminally insane?

George Bush is criminally insane.  Why?  Because he prays to some kind of Santa, and this phantom tells him that what he is doing is right.  On Sundays, Bush’s pastor and congregation affirm his delusions - fortify his convictions.  Fundamentalist churchgoing is like going to a doctor and getting medicine to prolong your illness and make it incorrigibly chronic.

People like VicM, Bruce, Blessed Mommy are not harmless.  They are mentally impaired, and they are here to try and impair others.  Is that harmless?  If there was a historical preacher called Jesus, did he really want to crimp the minds of fearful and gullible people so that they couldn’t distinguish fantasy from reality?

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“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 05 August 2007 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 381 ]  
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I see in the news this morning that an Arkansas couple just had their 17th child, and are ‘looking forward to more.’ I forget the dollar figure that it takes to raise a child in the U.S. these days, including a college education, healthcare, etc. but mulitply whatever-it-is by 17 and pass the hat for this happy couple. No, pass the wheelbarrow. No, pass the Brinx truck. In the photo, the mother looked bright and cheerful and seems serious about starting on the next one.

Seems like your just jealous because your not getting any action for yourself.

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Posted: 05 August 2007 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 382 ]  
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[quote author=“g.wood”]. . .
[Bush’s] insanity has more to do with Regan era dogma than belief in any god. . . .

I see psychosis as more of a symptom than an illness, though I’ll gladly stand corrected if I’m mistaken. I do realize that a class of psych. meds are referred to as anti-psychotics, so maybe my take on things is a bit off.

Which brings up another point: everyone’s perception is a bit off at times. Is that psychotic? (Please read anything written by Thomas Szasz for a stunningly creative attitude about mental functions/problems.) Psychosis, as I understand it at least, is not necessarily organic-born. I remember going through a cognitive phase when I was in my mid-teens in which psychosis was an everyday occurrence for me. The cause of my psychotic episodes was—again, as I see things now—a terrible dissonance between what as a child I’d learned about the workings of the world and what I was currently learning in the actual world.

Bush’s religion-based insanity, it seems clear to me, resulted in the destruction of many thousands of innocent people. He should be publicly . . . well, never mind what should publicly happen to his head/neck region. My paranoia prevents me from finishing the sentence. Bush succeeded in his war crimes only as a result of the millions of unthinking, brainwashed religionists who supported his mental disorder because they share in it. The fact that they continue to support his mental disorder will prevent him from getting the result he so richly deserves.

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Posted: 05 August 2007 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 383 ]  
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Bush succeeded in his war crimes only as a result of the millions of unthinking, brainwashed religionists who supported his mental disorder because they share in it.

I guess you would have to put Christopher Hitchens in with the same group of “unthinking, brainwashed religionists”. 

Let us also shed light on Sam Harris himself and his quote from his previous book,

“It seems all but certain that some form of benign dictatorship will generally be necessary to bridge the gap.  But benignity is the key-and if it cannot emerge from within a state, it must be imposed from without.  The means of such imposition are necessarily crude:  they amount to economic isolation, military intervention (whether open or covert), or some combination of both.  While this may seem an exceedingly arrongant doctrine to espouse, it appears we have no alternative.”

Where I’m from the first people who spoke out against Bush’s foreign policy were in fact Christians.  But that is besides the point what is also besides the point is the fact that our President is a Christian.  His foreign policy is neo-conservative not Christian.

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Posted: 05 August 2007 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 384 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]. . .
Where I’m from the first people who spoke out against Bush’s foreign policy were in fact Christians.  But that is besides the point what is also besides the point is the fact that our President is a Christian.  His foreign policy is neo-conservative not Christian.

Did I say that every Christian fool supported Bush’s war games or that every atheist college grad protested them? Are you serious?

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 05 August 2007 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 385 ]  
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Did I say that every Christian fool supported Bush’s war games or that every atheist college grad protested them? Are you serious?

I’m not even close to making that suggestion and as I said that was besides the point.  But you can ignore my point if you want, I understand.

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Posted: 05 August 2007 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 386 ]  
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Fletch, I acknowledge and appreciate your point. Shades of grey color my world more often than black-white distinction. It seems to me that the only way for a Christian to find meaningful enjoyment on this forum is to compartmentalize. Just this morning I sent a private message to Bruce Burleson chatting about my life, and he’s sent me similar messages. On this forum, however, we barely tolerate each other’s positions on most matters we consider crucially important. We just understand that our posts address a handful of people rather than just each other. So I hope you can allow sides to debate without feeling personally slighted. Our comments on this forum are political in a sense. But many of us atheists are former Christians, myself included. I obviously feel empathy toward my former self, and have no reason to harbor negativity toward current Christian individuals just because they’re Christians.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 05 August 2007 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 387 ]  
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homunculus:

Shades of grey color my world more often than black-white distinction.

I obviously feel empathy toward my former self, and have no reason to harbor negativity toward current Christian individuals just because they’re Christians.

Then why say something like this,

Bush succeeded in his war crimes only as a result of the millions of unthinking, brainwashed religionists who supported his mental disorder because they share in it. The fact that they continue to support his mental disorder will prevent him from getting the result he so richly deserves.

This comes across very black and white.  Basically it appears that you are saying, in general, Christians are more likely to be brainwashed and support Bush.  Considering I never voted for Bush and Christopher Hitchens most likely did I take offense to that. 

As I said, “I guess you would have to put Christopher Hitchens in with the same group of “unthinking, brainwashed religionists”.

And let us not forget what Sam Harris has said,

“It seems all but certain that some form of benign dictatorship will generally be necessary to bridge the gap. But benignity is the key-and if it cannot emerge from within a state, it must be imposed from without. The means of such imposition are necessarily crude: they amount to economic isolation, military intervention (whether open or covert), or some combination of both. While this may seem an exceedingly arrongant doctrine to espouse, it appears we have no alternative.”

According to your standard we know Hitchens is brainwashed, is Harris as well?

On the side I appreciate your last post.

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Posted: 05 August 2007 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 388 ]  
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Fletch, everybody is brainwashed. My intention was only to add to the mixture. Please read Szasz.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 05 August 2007 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 389 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]

I see in the news this morning that an Arkansas couple just had their 17th child, and are ‘looking forward to more.’ I forget the dollar figure that it takes to raise a child in the U.S. these days, including a college education, healthcare, etc. but mulitply whatever-it-is by 17 and pass the hat for this happy couple. No, pass the wheelbarrow. No, pass the Brinx truck. In the photo, the mother looked bright and cheerful and seems serious about starting on the next one.

Seems like your just jealous because your not getting any action for yourself.

This response makes me think that you’ve never heard of birth control.  Do we really need to breed like flies in order to have sex?  What kind of egomaniacs would procreate like that?  If they want to run a boarding school, why not, (after having several kids of their own) adopt 15 promising little kids who are presently neglected or starving?

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Posted: 06 August 2007 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 390 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”] Basically it appears that you are saying, in general, Christians are more likely to be brainwashed and support Bush.

I’m not going to touch the brainwashed bit, but support Bush? Definitely. I saw a political cartoon once that summed it all up nicely. The caption was something like, The Day The Election Was Decided. A farmer is plowing the field, in the background his wife calls from the front porch, “Pa! TV says there’s boys marrying boys out in San Francisco!”

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