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Old 03-11-2010, 03:11 PM
 
310 posts, read 488,280 times
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A Baylor University study of 293 mentally ill Christians found that one-third of clergy across Christian denominations denied help when it was needed or dismissed mental illness as spiritual in nature.

This lack of support being denied them makes them even more vulnerable to serious mental health consequences. Research shows that religious people seek mental health advice from clergy more often than from a mental health professional. It's a shame that clergy is blocking help so frequently while encouraging the delusions of the afflicted as being demonic in nature or as being "visions" from god himself.

The connection between mental illness and religion is important. Atheists rely on evidence and reason for their opinions, while the religious rely on faith and authority. Evidence and reason are a much more reliable way to approach day to day reality than religious belief. It is also interesting to note that there does not seem to be any symptom of a mental illness that presents itself as a LACK of belief, or as atheism, but many conditions that present religiosity as a frequent and notable symptom of mental illness.

So it is not surprising that when mental illness manifests itself in someone religious that they are far less likely to seek professional help or to even consider that their symptoms are a result of illness rather than from a holy or unholy origin.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
680 posts, read 1,167,378 times
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I've read studies connecting regions of the brain associated with religious experience to those that are involved in certain types of epilepsy and other conditions.

However, the study you refer to does not compare non-religious to religious people in terms of how likely they are to seek help when they suffer mental or emotional illness. You seem to assert that a rationalist/atheist would be more likely to seek help than would someone who is religious. You may be right, but you didn't provide any evidence for this, only an untested hypothesis.

Here is an alternative hypothesis: Many rational atheists are imbued with a sense of mental fitness and assume that they are beyond the reach of mental/emotional illness. I've seen a great deal of arrogance among highly intelligent people who embrace empiricism and rationalism. It takes some humility and insight into oneself to be able to admit that one needs to seek help.

Using my argument, you could make the opposite case and say that religious people are more likely to seek help because they're more open to experiencing their faults due to their embrace of the idea that they are fundamentally flawed (original sin, being separated from God, etc.), whereas a self-reliant atheist may cling to a belief that he/she is free from mental illness due to being empowered by superior cognitive faculties that prevent the onset of delusional thoughts or feelings.

I think my alternative hypothesis is just as reasonable as what you propose in your OP. Too bad we can't fund some research to see what we would find if we conducted a series of studies to get to the heart of this.

Given that we can't test this empirically, I guess the best we can do is debate using speculation and educated guesswork. So, what say you in response to what I've said?
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:40 AM
 
1,168 posts, read 1,043,801 times
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What defines mental illness?..who is making the ideals that govern the verbage and or meanings?

Let me say this...It has been observed that Humans continually burn fossil fuels, when driving their Automobiles.
Knowing full well that this is detramental to their very existance, and in polluting the enviroments and other living things, making it so all can suffer and die.
Knowing this is the case with most modern cities, nations countries, and kingdoms....when something living, said to be intelligent, does such a unintelligent thing, knowingly, and continually done..daily....would that not be mental illness according to intelligent minded people?
Or are all humans unintelligent, and mentally ill, as it seems to be the norm or accepted condition of the overly confident modern human being?

In a insane world Metal illness is the norm!...and so there is reason for everything....
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:38 AM
 
310 posts, read 488,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tongpa-nyi View Post
Given that we can't test this empirically, I guess the best we can do is debate using speculation and educated guesswork. So, what say you in response to what I've said?
interesting response but I could point out some flaws in your hypotheses. First off, atheists tend to look for logical reasons for everything they believe. If an atheist starts having hallucinations or hearing voices talking to them, they are not likely to jump to the conclusion that god or satan is speaking to them. Assuming they (or those near them) question the origin of the voices/hallucinations, they're probably going to start from the assumption that they should get checked out by a professional.

On the other hand, a religious person will be a lot more likely to immediately assume that they're possessed by demons or that their god is talking directly to them. In looking back through many past and current threads on these boards, this seems to be very much the case. Someone claims to be possessed by a demon, or claims to be having divine "visions" and the immediate reaction of most of their religious compatriots is to encourage them in their delusions without question.

Conversely, when a nonbeliever sticks his head into one of those many threads and suggests (however politely) that the person suffering the delusions should get medical evaluation to rule out illness, that person without fail seems to get viciously attacked by those religious people. Go scan back through some of the
threads that have "visions", "possessed/possession", "demons", et cetera in the titles and you will see what I mean.

It seems to almost always be a non-religious person that suggests medical evaluation first, whereas the religious will fall for any declaration of possession or "divine visions" without so much as a pause to think about it's validity first.
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