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Explaining Religious Psychosis

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15990520

This idea is well established in psychology, religion is form of psychosis. It isn't treated because it's mass delusion which can be consider normal by society.

His idea is that the genesis of religion is linked to altered brain states from drugs and other phenomenon which cause delusions.

J Psychiatr Pract. 2001 May;7(3):163-72.
Faith or delusion? At the crossroads of religion and psychosis.
Pierre JM.
Source

UCLA School of Medicine, USA.
Abstract

In clinical practice, no clear guidelines exist to distinguish between "normal" religious beliefs and "pathological" religious delusions. Historically, psychiatrists such as Freud have suggested that all religious beliefs are delusional, while the current DSM-IV definition of delusion exempts religious doctrine from pathology altogether. From an individual standpoint, a dimensional approach to delusional thinking (emphasizing conviction, preoccupation, and extension rather than content) may be useful in examining what is and is not pathological. When beliefs are shared by others, the idiosyncratic can become normalized. Therefore, recognition of social dynamics and the possibility of entire delusional subcultures is necessary in the assessment of group beliefs. Religious beliefs and delusions alike can arise from neurologic lesions and anomalous experiences, suggesting that at least some religious beliefs can be pathological. Religious beliefs exist outside of the scientific domain; therefore they can be easily labeled delusional from a rational perspective. However, a religious belief's dimensional characteristics, its cultural influences, and its impact on functioning may be more important considerations in clinical practice.

PMID:
15990520
[PubMed]
 
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rockofullr

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Jun 11, 2009
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So atheists think that religious people are delusional and suffering from psychosis? Surprise!

I am not religious but I find this theory dismissive of many of the underlying factors which influence people to participate in religion.

Are climate change deniers also suffering from psychosis? What about chiropractors? Apple haters?
 

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
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i wonder if our founding psychos had any thoughts on that

and we all know about abe lincoln's wife being batcrap crazy, which may be why he dug her so hard.
 

rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
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East Bay, Cali
That paper says nothing about religion and psychosis.

Here's my problem, if we say religious people have a psychosis then where do we draw the line? Are conspiracy believers suffering from psychosis?
 

syadasti

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Apr 15, 2002
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i wonder if our founding psychos had any thoughts on that

and we all know about abe lincoln's wife being batcrap crazy, which may be why he dug her so hard.
The basis for our democracy came from the Romans - filled with psychos and behaviors not tolerated in modern societies. What makes current delusions the right delusions and not the ones from past great civilizations? There are clinical and non-clinical disorders which would not bar you and may even aid in being a productive member of society, religious psychosis is among them.
 

syadasti

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$tinkle

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that video -- FRICKING GLENN BECK APPROVED INTERNET GOLD, BTW -- says i can see God by taking LSD.

i want my money back. i saw lots of stuff (trees growing, walls breathing, pavement disecting itself, clouds turning to giant snowflakes, a frisbee going through someone), but no God. unless of course, that was Him in plain sight.

now i don't know what to believe. i guess i need the faith of a[n obviously] crazy child

why are there psychotic atheists? were they raised catholic?
 

$tinkle

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Feb 12, 2003
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and if all christians should "pay taxes and be put into mental institutions", then what will they do for a living that will be used to collect taxes?

and all abrahamic religions are based upon ancient rome? and judaism resulted from the cult of caesar?

that video thomas pained me.
 

Andyman_1970

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2003
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The Natural State
I realized the sciam link won't let you read it anymore, you can see an excerpt here:

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/08/neuroscience-and-god.html
Thats a negative Ghostrider.......blocked as well..........

Not a huge deal, I have a pretty good grasp of the intent of the topic....as you can't "prove" God is "real" then these people who believe in him must be crazy.

Would be interesting to compare the definitions of pschycosis and faith.

Also behaviors we consider normal or abnormal, are considered the opposite in other cultures, so in some sense what is "normal" psychologically is relative to the surrounding culture is it not?
 

syadasti

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Apr 15, 2002
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MRIs give us direct insight into what is actually going on in the brain.

boingboing said:
Neuroscience and God
Posted by David Pescovitz, October 8, 2007 12:28 PM
The current issue of Scientific America Mind looks at how neuroscientists are using brain scans to study the biology of spiritual experiences. The fMRI images seen here are from a study by University of Montreal researcher Mario Beauregard and his colleagues. The scientists scanned the brains of nuns as they recalled religious epiphanies to see which areas of the brain lit up.

Such efforts to reveal the neural correlates of the divine—a new discipline with the warring titles “neurotheology” and “spiritual neuroscience”—not only might reconcile religion and science but also might help point to ways of eliciting pleasurable otherworldly feelings in people who do not have them or who cannot summon them at will. Because of the positive effect of such experiences on those who have them, some researchers speculate that the ability to induce them artificially could transform people’s lives by making them happier, healthier and better able to concentrate. Ultimately, however, neuroscientists study this question because they want to better understand the neural basis of a phenomenon that plays a central role in the lives of so many. “These experiences have existed since the dawn of humanity. They have been reported across all cultures,” Beauregard says. “It is as important to study the neural basis of [religious] experience as it is to investigate the neural basis of emotion, memory or language.”

Scientists and scholars have long speculated that religious feeling can be tied to a specific place in the brain. In 1892 textbooks on mental illness noted a link between “religious emotionalism” and epilepsy. Nearly a century later, in 1975, neurologist Norman Geschwind of the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital first clinically described a form of epilepsy in which seizures originate as electrical misfirings within the temporal lobes, large sections of the brain that sit over the ears. Epileptics who have this form of the disorder often report intense religious experiences, leading Geschwind and others, such as neuropsychiatrist David Bear of Vanderbilt University, to speculate that localized electrical storms in the brain’s temporal lobe might sometimes underlie an obsession with religious or moral issues.
 

Pesqueeb

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Feb 2, 2007
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How broad a brush are we using here? Let me play Devils advocate (see what I did there?) for a moment. If the argument is that religion is some kind of mass psychosis because its people believing in things they cant prove, aren't atheists just as psychotic in that they also can not prove that "God" does not exist?
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
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How broad a brush are we using here? Let me play Devils advocate (see what I did there?) for a moment. If the argument is that religion is some kind of mass psychosis because its people believing in things they cant prove, aren't atheists just as psychotic in that they also can not prove that "God" does not exist?
Belief in imaginary beings isn't the same thing as non-belief. There are countless iterations of this type of delusion from many cultures throughout history - hundreds of gods and creation myths - all kinds of crazy if you think its true because you can't absolutely prove or disproved delusion from the individual or the masses religious or otherwise. Anyhow, the lack of a delusion is not a delusion.

MRI can show brain states which clearly show abnormal states of function in mediation/trances/religious experiences just like you can prove whether you have a fever with a thermometer. Ain't technology great.
 
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rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
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syadasti, can you clarify for me?

The ramblings in your vid seemed to imply that religion is a form of mass psychosis. Do you agree with Mr. Crazy's views?

Do you believe that all religious people suffer from psychosis?
 

Andyman_1970

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2003
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The Natural State
So the hypothesis is that the same areas of the brain "light up" during a religious experience as they do a psychotic episode? If that is the case are there regions of the brain that "light up" during say aerobic activity and eating (just trying to find two activies)?

Because that area of the brain "lights up" does that automatically = psychosis?

Obviously I'm not super educated on this.
 

Silver

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Jul 20, 2002
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Do you believe that all religious people suffer from psychosis?
The ones that actually believe, yes.

I'm with Dennett on this one. Most believers don't actually believe, they believe in belief or have social reasons for believing.

The ones that do actually believe, we all call crazy. Remember Harold Camping? He and his followers don't believe things any crazier than the average evangelical Christian, they just put a date on it, so the average evangelical thinks they are nuts.

If two people believe a unicorn is going to appear at their front door, and one gives me a specific date, I don't think to myself, "That other fellow with no date has a great grip on reality."
 

syadasti

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Apr 15, 2002
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Silver nailed it. Not many people truly believe just as plenty of rational/good/sane people have gotten involved with extremist religions/cults and other harmful causes throughout history.
 

rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
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907
East Bay, Cali
So the hypothesis is that the same areas of the brain "light up" during a religious experience as they do a psychotic episode? If that is the case are there regions of the brain that "light up" during say aerobic activity and eating (just trying to find two activies)?

Because that area of the brain "lights up" does that automatically = psychosis?

Obviously I'm not super educated on this.
The idea is that the same part of the brain is in used whether you are having a conversation with god (or some other spiritual revelation) as when crazy's see/hear something that is not there.

The coloration is a weak one IMHO, although I agree that to hear God you have to be special (take G.W. Bush for example).

Andyman, do you know religious people who believe they communicate directly with God? I assume you have not spoken with Him based on your logical and reasonable interactions on this board.
 

Andyman_1970

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2003
3,105
5
The Natural State
Andyman, do you know religious people who believe they communicate directly with God? I assume you have not spoken with Him based on your logical and reasonable interactions on this board.
Yes...............they are creepy and I've found have what I find a jacked up understanding of the Scriptures and faith.

Nope, not like “directly” or have heard an audible voice. Now, I do believe that the Holy Spirit “prompts” me in certain situations, but it’s not like Obi Wan and Luke kind of thing………..”turn off your targeting computer”……… Some would chalk the “prompting” up to one’s conscience, and Paul speaks that everyone was created “hard wired” to sense those things.

Now do I believe that God spoke directly to say Moses? Yep
 

stevew

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Sep 21, 2001
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If two people believe a unicorn is going to appear at their front door, and one gives me a specific date, I don't think to myself, "That other fellow with no date has a great grip on reality."
 

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
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MRI can show brain states which clearly show abnormal states of function in mediation/trances/religious experiences just like you can prove whether you have a fever with a thermometer. Ain't technology great.
so i can't help but conclude that infatuation, gambler's high, your favorite rebecca black song, 300 ms immediately following when the last bead leaves your hoop, or white hot bigotry (for, say, religion) may also yield similar results, no?

or does that normal physiological response creating an "abnormal" state not comport well with your world view?

loves me some pat condel or dawkins, but that midnight rambler from borneo was a bit scattered. love to get your thoughts on why you picked that guy, and that video. his editing skills are a team coco production
 

syadasti

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so i can't help but conclude that infatuation, gambler's high, your favorite rebecca black song, 300 ms immediately following when the last bead leaves your hoop, or white hot bigotry (for, say, religion) may also yield similar results, no?
The MRI patterns would have a lot more variation in your list - different behaviors/thought patterns trigger different areas of the brain. Its a useful, complex diagnostic tool, not a binary test.

loves me some pat condel or dawkins, but that midnight rambler from borneo was a bit scattered. love to get your thoughts on why you picked that guy, and that video. his editing skills are a team coco production
A family member sent me it the other day because my future brother in-law is interested in the topic (found it randomly from an unrelated topic) and I thought it would make for some entertainment and chum the waters for this multidisciplinary topic. Starting off with something from a science magazine or medical journal would not be effective.
 
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$tinkle

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The MRI patterns would have a lot more variation in your list - different behaviors/thought patterns trigger different areas of the brain. Its a useful, complex diagnostic tool, not a binary test.
right, that's why i suggested they may be similar.
i would expect also that infatuation for one's mate, or one's creator may also yield similar results, yet if i'm correct in my assertion we would not conclude that butterflies in the tummy is a symptom of psychosis.

so what are we to conclude? that an emotional response to perceived stimulus is a psychotic symptom? if so -- and maybe i just didn't catch what you were throwing -- then are phobias a symptom of psychosis? that may be a stretch, but not by far i bet.

anecdotally, it seems that cognitive ability/agility also is not a significant factor, especially given how someone can change/delete/add a belief system based upon a sound logical argument, or peer manipulation and pressure. intellectual giants can eventually be persuaded against their better judgment.

i can appreciate your outside-looking-in p.o.v. when discussing JWs, 7th day aventists, mormons, etc., and am left to conclude that for a wide variety of beliefs (including non-beliefs) matched to its own wide variation of intensity, coupled with just as wide a variety of intellect, our brains are much too complex to reliably give a uniquely standard response that can repeatedly be identified by a very precise MRI session.

which in turn tells me that while an MRI result for a particular brain tells me how an individual may respond within a tight range to stimulus, it does not convince me this range of measure is consistent through their life, much like eyesight. but like eyesight (and hearing, & other senses), there are standard responses to stimulus that can very accurately give a state of health, and can be acted upon to "correct" & heighten its usefulness.

maybe science can "cure" religion? that would be a silly thing to believe.
A family member sent me it the other day because my future brother in-law is interested in the topic (found it randomly from an unrelated topic) and I thought it would make for some entertainment and chum the waters for this multidisciplinary topic. Starting off with something from a science magazine or medical journal would not be effective.
gotta know your audience, true.
 
...so what are we to conclude? that an emotional response to perceived stimulus is a psychotic symptom? if so -- and maybe i just didn't catch what you were throwing -- then are phobias a symptom of psychosis? that may be a stretch, but not by far i bet...
Let us conclude that the way we all model and view the world differs and that our beliefs (the "reality" models and how we use them) are more or less useful in interacting with a universe that we can't comprehend in toto.

Let us label the more useful models "rational" and the least useful "psychotic" and allow that there is room for an unbounded number of models.

I would hold that religious belief tends to the psychotic end of the spectrum.
 

$tinkle

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Feb 12, 2003
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Let us label the more useful models "rational" and the least useful "psychotic" and allow that there is room for an unbounded number of models.
i would have difficulty putting religion-based benevolence as "least useful", or lauding communism for its indiscriminate pursuit eradicating the religious as "more useful"
I would hold that religious belief tends to the psychotic end of the spectrum.
there is certainly no short list of human fckups to back that up, true.

and how would this crowd categorize astrology? or scientology? i would hope/expect not so favorably, but do not believe these are "religions", but pure superstitions [yeah, i know: "same thing"]

maybe at the next monekyfest, we should seek baptasia to sponsor the entertainment
 

Silver

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and how would this crowd categorize astrology? or scientology? i would hope/expect not so favorably, but do not believe these are "religions", but pure superstitions [yeah, i know: "same thing"]
Both crazy.

Astrology is older, so not as crazy as the Abrahamic religions.