Shinobi

Religious Fundamentalism Could be Treated as a Mental Illnesss

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Shinobi    147

Hey, everyone! A post recently made by @Fweethawt reminded me of an article I read that discusses the possible connections between religious fundamentalism and mental illness.  According to an Oxford University researcher who specializes in neuroscience named Kathleen Taylor, religious fundamentalism may one day be treated as a mental illness.  I just thought some of you might be interested in checking this out.

 

Here is an excerpt from the Huffpost article where I found this information:

 

"An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.

Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a “science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics,” made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday.

In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said that “One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated,” The Times of London notes.

“Someone who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology — we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance,” Taylor said. “In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage.”

The author went on to say she wasn’t just referring to the “obvious candidates like radical Islam,” but also meant such beliefs as the idea that beating children is acceptable."

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/kathleen-taylor-religious-fundamentalism-mental-illness_n_3365896.html

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MOHO    446

Would it be logical to regard fundamentalism as a mental illness or the attributes that leads one to it?

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More like the low-level functioning brain of an individual who is blind to alternative ideas relating to areas of thought where that person has been indoctrinated and brainwashed. This condition has been called by many "dumbassism."

 

This condition could be a phase lasting only a few months or years, or it might be a condition that could last for a decade or even a lifetime unless educated ideas start to penetrate a numb scull. Sometimes a well trusted person with alternative ideas is able to convince the individual that hedging might be wise, accomplished by the individual studying alternative ideas in case the individual's own convictions become less certain some day.

 

 

 

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Shinobi    147
 

Would it be logical to regard fundamentalism as a mental illness or the attributes that leads one to it?

 

Hi, MOHO.  You bring up a really good point.  I'm not 100% sure what the answer is.  However, I'm personally of the opinion that religious fundamentalism may cause mental illness over time.  I found a study that seems to indicate that this might be the case. In an article titled, "Religious Experiences Shrink Part of the Brain," found in Scientific American, author, Andrew Newberg, writes, "In this study, Owen et al. used MRI to measure the volume of the hippocampus, a central structure of the limbic system that is involved in emotion as well as in memory formation. They evaluated the MRIs of 268 men and women aged 58 and over, who were originally recruited for the NeuroCognitive Outcomes of Depression in the Elderly study, but who also answered several questions regarding their religious beliefs and affiliation. The study by Owen et al. is unique in that it focuses specifically on religious individuals compared to non-religious individuals. This study also broke down these individuals into those who are born again or who have had life-changing religious experiences. The results showed significantly greater hippocampal atrophy in individuals reporting a life-changing religious experience. In addition, they found significantly greater hippocampal atrophy among born-again Protestants, Catholics, and those with no religious affiliation, compared with Protestants not identifying as born-again."

 

Basically, this study may indicate that radical religious experiences such as being 'born-again' might actually cause hippocampal shrinkage in the person who experiences them.  If this is in fact true, it might help explain some of the erratic behavior that some members of religious extremist groups exhibit during services, etc.

 

Here's the link to the article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/religious-experiences-shrink-part-of-brain/

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MOHO    446

WOW!, That's profound, @Shinobi,

A correlation between fundyism and lack of brain activity! Whod'a thunk it?

I can tell you I had to shut down part of my brain to accept xianity.

 

Also, perhaps attributes that LEAD one to accept fundyism more readily could be identified and dealt with. Even if all we do is hang signs on these folks. "If you have an over active hippy campus, you MIGHT be a fundy!" 

 

"Here's your sign."

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