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Forums > Social Discussion > Religion: A mental illness?

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Written by: Simian
ah, israel. Just another justification for my thesis that religious belief should be treated the same as any other mental illness. But that's another discussion entirely...



Well, this is another discussion entirely. smile

Thoughts?

I'm inclined to agree.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield

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Posted:According to the words of the Buddha, the existence or non-existence of God is simply not relevant to the path of Buddhism.

A believer in God could be a buddhist, as could an athiest.

There are many forms of Buddhism, and one in particular- Tibetan buddhism, does tend to rely on a highly developed cosmology which includes, for example, Demon realms and various heavens/hells.

Zen Buddhism tends to be more 'pure', and focuses more on reality as it is; though it often references concepts like 'karma'.

There are also corrupt versions, generally in places where Buddhism has become a state religion and is used primarily, like Christianity has been in the past, as a form of social control. These may be the origin of the erroneous belief that Buddha is a God.

(One of the recorded statements of Buddha is when he clearly and specifically pointed out, that he was not a God, simply a normal human being who had found a path to freedom from suffering).

The various developing forms of Western Buddhism, following the Buddhist tradition of adapting to the culture it finds itself in, is tending to downplay, re-interpret, or even dismiss, notions like 'karma'.

Essentially Buddhism is a way of conquering suffering and dissatisfaction- in its purest form it relies soley on the 'Four Noble Truths' and the 'Eightfold Path' which are step-by-step and consise instructions for overcoming suffering and dissatisfaction.

One of the main actual practices of buddhism, is meditation- not in a religious form, but as a way of understanding reality and self.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

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Posted:would you say that you have to believe in kharma to believe in buddhism? because i thought the buddha said something along the lines of 'many people will not achieve enlightenment in this life'. so he is saying if people dont seek enlightenment in this life, it is because they are not yet ready for it?

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:Nice one, dave.. smile
Buddha has entered Nirvana (so it's believed) and in his last words he advised his deciples to find their own way to reach the state of Nirvana...

I have a hard time to put thoughts in words due to a lack of vocabulary, but: is religion the ritual of inferior complex? To project the attributes of "the perfect" human being to something and someone called "god"? Which always has to be something other than oneself, because one knows how flawed the self is (god sees all...) - creating suffering? "There is always a bigger fish in the tank" - this also is a humbling thought...

I recall meeting a guy at Venice Beach/ CA, who claimed: "I am the messiah"... He was a nice guy anyways and I had no reasons to call him crazy. IMO a person claiming to be "god", "the prophet" or "the messiah" is perfectly allright as long as he is not concluding any superior rights from her/his status. Some doctors would want to put him into an asylum, but why? As long as s/he's not interfering with my freedom - hey! Be "god" - no worries hug

I'm close to tell each and everyone that s/he actually is god - more or less realized (yet)... Everyone bares all the qualities of a god (creator/ destroyer) and especially since different religions have a very different understanding of "what makes a god" I can see the call to be justified... wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: Mr Majestik


would you say that you have to believe in kharma to believe in buddhism? because i thought the buddha said something along the lines of 'many people will not achieve enlightenment in this life'. so he is saying if people dont seek enlightenment in this life, it is because they are not yet ready for it?





Good question, and one that different buddhists would answer in different ways.

Some schools of buddhism focus on karma as simple cause and effect- i.e. the things you do have consequences.

This is part of the basis for the list of things buddhists are encouraged to do/not to do, such as not using mind-altering substances.

Unlike many religions, this is not because to do so is against 'Gods will', or because it is evil; but purely because of the consequences of doing so, such as tendency to delusion, or impaired meditation.

Seen that way, there is nothing mysterious about karma- it's not some kind of 'balancing' of good/bad actions constantly totted up by some universal force, but instead is simple cause and effect.

Do buddhists believe in re-incarnation. It's probably fair to say most do, as most buddhists live in cultures where this belief is normal.

However, buddhism is well-known as a system which adapts itself readily to any culture it finds itself in, and it's an interesting question as to what the status of re-incarnation will be as Western buddhism continues to grow.

My feeling is that it will be very much de-emphasised.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:is religion and expression of inferior-complex, or it's ritual?

marx said: it's opium to the (poor) people... shrug


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:'many people will not achieve enlightenment in this life'

Because they don't know the path or have the guidance. IMO, the established religions are no help here. They have lost the plot on guidance, as they only seem to focus on making sure people obey "church laws". This is not the way to heaven.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

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Posted:i dont understand what point you're trying to make stone.

by saying 'many people will not achieve enlightenment in this life' was buddha simply accepting that many people would never have religious/philosophical satisfaction? or was he suggesting that they would be reborn continuosly until they did eventually reach enlightenment.

btw, my religion teacher drilled it into us that buddhists believe in rebirth, not re-incarnation OWD. i had a hard time following him but he said there was a diference. i think it was about your karma flowing on to another life, but you as you are dies. where reincarnation is you being reborn, rebirth is your karma starting new life. if that makes sense?


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:Written by: FireTom

marx said: it's opium to the (poor) people... shrug



But you really have to read more of what he writes to get a sense of what he means. I mean Marx thought religion was created as a method of social control... he's got serious issues.

Which seems more likely?

1. A man sees lightning strike the ground. After talking with everyone else in the tribe he thinks up an explanation for this which involves anthropomorhic deification.

2. A man (back when we were still living in caves) thinks "Damn, I wish I had more control over this tribe" and proceeds to invent a religion which establishes a ruling class with control over other members of the tribe.

3. Or you could even go Freudian and say that Religion (especially christianity/judaism) is symptomatic of subconscious fears of their father's mortality. People are afraid that their father will die (and the most depressing moment of your entire life comes when you realise your parents are only human) and create a fictional father who will never die, and will never become weaker than his children.

Marx does talk a lot of crap most of the time shrug


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
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Posted:its just that nobody has ever read his whole works to realise it, they just take wahts useful at the time wink, kind of like religions do.....

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

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Location: Manchester, UK

Total posts: 1261
Posted:Written by: Sethis
Marx does talk a lot of crap most of the time shrug


But still was much closer to the mark than the coke-head Freud. smile


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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:I'd be more inclined to go with Freud over Marx on their ideas about religion (although probably not on their ideas about dream interpretation wink ) actually.

Although they do both talk a lot of B*ll*cks. rolleyes


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
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Total posts: 3149
Posted:I'd say that the formation of organised religion as a form of social control seems quite plausible.
After all, how exactly does one go from seeing lightning striking the ground to forming a code of proscribed behaviour?


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK

Total posts: 1261
Posted:Written by: Sethis

I'd be more inclined to go with Freud over Marx on their ideas about religion (although probably not on their ideas about dream interpretation wink ) actually.

Although they do both talk a lot of B*ll*cks. rolleyes


I think one of the only things that I learned in Philosophy at uni is that most of the people who are considered to be 'great thinkers' were either wrong or mightily confused.


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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:In the begining the religions of the world were there to provide answers to problems that confounded people at the time. Wrong perhaps, but not especially harmful. However in every generation will always be people who, consciously or not, thirst to dominate others. In many cases their minds are totally warped to the extent that they will say anything in order to achieve power, like "God spoke to me, he said...". Not so much a cynical dishonesty as a complete mental illness. Just read about the formation of the Mormon church if you don't believe me.

According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK

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Posted:Written by: simian

I'd say that the formation of organised religion as a form of social control seems quite plausible.
After all, how exactly does one go from seeing lightning striking the ground to forming a code of proscribed behaviour?


1 - man see's lightning, screams 'WHAT THE F...!'
2 - man deduces that something must have caused lightning.
3 - man asks why the lightning was caused.
4 - man deduces that it must have been because his community did something bad and were being given a warning.
5 - man takes the idea and blows it out of all preportion and forms a structured belief system around it.
(then many years later)
6 - man discovers science yet many people have become so dependant on the belief structure that they cannot let it go.

obviously theres a bit more to it.
I dont think it was created maliciously though. In fact religion has been around for so long that I dont think people would have had the mental capacity to be manipulative in such a constructive way. It has just been jumped on as a method of control. Much the same as organised sport - but thats another matter...
smile


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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:Some believe that at first there was a monotheism, which weakened and degraded to a polytheism/ animism.

Marx and Freud sure have been talking *** yet they had a (valid) point. Religion is an expression of this urge "I need something in the universe that lasts" - the Egyptians have found that the sun was the only, or one of the very few objects that didn't change. That's why the sun became (the only) god... They did that step further and went back to monotheism (temporary)... From that jewish religion derived... or am I having a gap there?

If religion makes people work for a certain (common) goal and unifies - it's good, if it is the reason for discrimination and violence - it aint...

These days most of us have the freedom to believe in whatever they want to - unfortunately there are still people out there who do not enjoy the same luxury...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

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Posted:Written by: FireTom

Egyptians have found that the sun was the only, or one of the very few objects that didn't change. That's why the sun became (the only) god... They did that step further and went back to monotheism (temporary)... From that jewish religion derived... or am I having a gap there?




I'm slightly confused...

The Egyptian sun God Amun-Re (or Ra/Re), was the chief deity for the Egyptians, in the same way that Zeus was the chief deity for the Greeks. There were also dozens and dozens of other deities, ranging from Shu and Tefnut (the second and third gods, chronologically speaking) through to the more popularly known Isis, Osiris, Thoth, Horus and Seth (Set). Monotheism is definately NOT part of Ancient Egyptian mythology. More to the point, Egypt itself had religion for over a millenia before Judaism came into being. Even then, Egypt never became monotheistic until much, much, MUCH later. smile

Written by: FireTom

If religion makes people work for a certain (common) goal and unifies...




Problem is, the common goal generally is something about cleansing/converting/burning the heretics. Uniting against non-believers and other such sillyness. shrug


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

i8beefy2

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Location: Ohio, USA

Total posts: 674
Posted:It's amazing how much religious stories and explanations mirror each other. A lot like mythology actually, there are many themes that are common to all of them.

And yet people get all caught up about how many fingers and toes someone has (or some other mundane detail) and everyone starts fighting. I don't believe religion was CREATED to control people, only to give etimological explanations about the world.

It just happens to provide an excellent infrastructure for mass control once it is established.

For instance, any Roman Catholics here? Ya know how your not supposed to eat meat on Fridays or whatever? Ya know why that is? Because back in the day, the meat industry was completely wiping out the fish industry, so the fishing guild went to the church and asked them to help. Boom, you can't eat meat on Fridays so you eat fish. And this is by DEVINE DECREE. Much more effective than going to the (mostly) ineffective governing bodies.

There are examples of such things throughout most every religion. This is the first one that came to mind for me.

Plus you have the whole similarity in mythos between them all, the stories they tell with common themes, etc. I feel religion is mythology. But then they say every myth is based on some factual events, so who know. Just don't be a literalist and have an open mind and discuss things instead of having to have the Truth and we'll all be ok.

Zealots... can't live with em, can't live without em...


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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Written by: i8beefy2

Zealots... can't live with em, can't live without em...


I contest the second part of that sentence.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Post deleted by Stone

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:@stone: pity is that it was their way, which might not be yours...

@sethis: there were some pharaos (echnaton comes to my mind at first) who introduced Amun as the ONE AND ONLY god, censoring the worship of the other god(esse)s.

The Hebrews might "just" have been ONE tribe that kept to the "new"/"old" religion inside the kingdom, therefore being under threat.

These days there is so much speculation and new evidence coming up that it's hard to say, what part of the bible is actually historical and which part is methaphorical. While some try to proove that God had parted the red sea for Mose, others go as far and state that the Hebrews actually never really left Egypt physically but only in mind.

Any which way it's a fact that the Hebrew hold a big heritage of Egyptian mythology and science - as displayed in the Kabbala.

Certainly if the only aim of a religion is warfare and to dominate all other religions - it's corrupt. Remember that in a multitude of islamic dominated countries there was a peacful co-existance of various religions - much more than in those dominated by christianity - leading to a great deal of inventions and innovatinos. Everybody benefits from tolerance.

Also today we have a different view of how the pyramids were built - away from the pure slave-theory to a (yet) forced labour, but with a certain status within society. Doing dirty work in the name of a higher goal makes things a little easier. One may carry a hard burden, but if he therefore gains the respect and honour of the rest of the population - this might outweigh the heavy duty.

As already stated: Religion is ONE part to explain the world as it is. Science is only another. Both necessarily don't need to rival each other but can contribute to get the whole picture. As already coming obvious in the "Evolution vs. ID" thread - you cannot really prove one side to be right and the other to be wrong, there will always remain a residue of doubt to both.

Therefore - as much as I oppse any kind of extremism - religion and belief might be beneficial to a certain extend, as much as ratio and proof.... to put it in a philosophical way: balance is required.

Right now the "new god" becomes materialised in paper and coins - this is one reason for the US to be so unpopular in the middle east and other parts of the world: They are promoting phoney gods made from plastic - they look all so fancy, but the rubbish remains for ages...

I'd say that greed - materialism over the extent of sustaining onesself - is the mental illness the world suffers from AS MUCH as religious extremism. It balances each other, no? While in some places terrorists (against the state) are incarcerated for sometimes indefinate, big industrial leaders proove themselves to be a much higher threat to the individual citicens - hence they do not face the status of a terrorist (by law)...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:I dont mean to sound harsh, but please look through your posts to check that they make sense

Written by:
While in some places terrorists (against the state) are incarcerated for sometimes indefinate, big industrial leaders proove themselves to be a much higher threat to the individual citicens - hence they do not face the status of a terrorist (by law)...





???

And there is no book called the Kabbala. Its a set of teachings based on several texts, the most importanat of which is the Zohar.

And the Jews didn't originate in Egypt... They travelled there (alledgedly)


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Written by: dream
I dont mean to sound harsh, but please look through your posts to check that they make sense

And for the love of God, lay off the brackets! eek


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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ado-p
GOLD Member since May 2004

ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland

Total posts: 3882
Posted:Written by: dream

And there is no book called the Kabbala. Its a set of teachings based on several texts, the most importanat of which is the Zohar.

And the Jews didn't originate in Egypt... They travelled there (alledgedly)



I dont think he said either of those things. Unless you edited your post already Tom smile


Love is the law.

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:umm no I didn't specificaly refer to Kabbala as a book, yet the theoretical mythology of the Hebrew has been written down in a number of books (Zohar is one of them), which compilation is the said teaching...

Wherever the Hebrews originated, they have been in Egypt at some point in history - right now it might be the dominant theory that they have been there as slaves, but what evidence other than the passages of the bible are proving that they were?

And sorry to have not clearly posted my opinion and to straighten it out herewith: Any religious system is undergoing change in time, there is no religious system which has not experienced that. While formerly Islam was tolerating other beliefs in it's surrounding, it's very intolerant these days.

Hence I consider greed a mental illness (that has been here since far too long), it is more dangerous than any religion. If money becomes the "new" religion - greed is it's extremism. yeah - offtopic - *sigh* I know... spank me


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Jeff(fake) in the beginning there was nothing.

MrMajestik, many people wont reach enlightenment simply because they dont have any guidance. I was brought up a Roman Catholic and the church teaches us to follow rules, which do not lead to enlightenment. Jesus said I am the light the way and the truth, not the Church is the light the way and the truth. All that religion stuff came afterwards. I think its a similar story for all the great prophets.

To me, it seems probable that Jesus awakened in his early 30s, and then guided people on the path to enlightenment. I would suggest that when Jesus cured the sick, blind and deaf he was not healing physical illnesses. And heaven aint up there, its here and now, rebirth if u will.

smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
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Total posts: 4693
Posted:are you saing rebirth is being born here in the first place? i dont follow your last sentence at all. although i do see it as plauseable that enlightenment and heaven are the same thing, i may jsut be getting my usage of language mixed up, after all, translations are never as good as the original!

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:if there's a cycle of death and birth, then yes - to be born here is being "reborn" aready.

Stone, to me it also appears that most of what the bible says (about jesus) is methaphorical. But do you mean that without a guide, or teacher one cannot reach enlightenment, or awakening?

IF religion is considered a mental illness - is "enlightenment" a symptom? wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
While formerly Islam was tolerating other beliefs in it's surrounding, it's very intolerant these days.



That sort of universalisation is about as sensible as saying 'I once knew a black man who stole something so all blacks are thiefs.'

There are tolerant and intolerant Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus etc. You can't just lay down that kind of blanket statement without coming across as a rascist.

Rather than just insult over a billion people try looking at some of the reasons why a large part of the Islamic world is moving towards a more anti-western, anti-cultural integration stance.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:dream dream dream... If you'd take a closer look at the world you might come to the exact same statement.

To put my quote and your example in the same context is.... cows poh... censored

I was not pointing out at the individual Muslim, who is an individual HUMAN BEING, but at the islamic movement as a whole. And there it can't be denied, that this is undergoing some retro-problems... Intolerance also is not insultive and just deriving from a lack of education (and tolerance). As many muslim leaders (these days) regard the West, Christianity and Judaism as a threat, they react very intolerant to it.

If you look back in time, you will find that under the rule of Islam the most modern city, Cordoba was flourishing and great (essential) discoveries have been made with Muslims, Christians and Jews aside (in peace, until the Christians...)

Or are you trying hard to misunderstand me?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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