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Old 05-25-2005, 08:16 AM   #1
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Religion as a Mental Illness

Since we're ever so concerned with mental health these days, I think it's time to address a group that rarely gets help:

http://www.science-spirit.org/printe...article_id=130

Quote:
Has TLE changed the course of civilization? LaPlante and many other TLE experts speculate that the mystical religious experiences of some of the great prophets were induced by TLE — because the historical writings describe classic TLE symptoms. The religious prophets most often thought to have had epilepsy are Mohammad, Moses, and St. Paul. Dostoevsky, another famous epileptic whose works are filled with ecstatic visions of universal love (and terrible nightmares of uncanny fear and radical evil), thought it was obvious that Mohammad’s visions of God were triggered by epilepsy. "Mohammad assures us in this Koran that he had seen Paradise," Doestevsky notes. "He did not lie. He had indeed been in Paradise — during an attack of epilepsy, from which he suffered, as I do."

When Mohammad first had his visions of God, he felt oppressed, smothered, as if his breath were being squeezed from his chest. Later he heard a voice calling his name, but when he turned to find the source of the voice, no one was there. The local Christians, Jews, and Arabs called him insane. When he was five years old, he told his foster parents, "Two men in white raiment came and threw me down and opened up my belly and searched inside for I don’t know what." This description is startling similar to the alien abduction experience described by people with TLE.

Note that the overriding emotion experienced by Mohammed, Moses and St. Paul during their religious visions was not one of rapture and joy but rather of fear. When Moses heard the voice of God from a burning bush, he hid his face and was frightened. Luke and Paul both agreed that Paul suffered from an unknown "illness" or "bodily weakness" which he called his "thorn in the flesh." Many biblical commentators have attributed this to either migraine headaches or epilepsy. Paul did once have malaria, which involves a high fever that can damage the brain. Other psychologists have noted that likely TLE sufferers such as Moses, Flaubert, Saint Paul, and Dostevesky were also famous for their rages.
It's also been known too that neurotransmitter levels have often been an indicator of how "religious" someone is. Someone with higher levels of dopamine (which is interpreted in the temporal/frontal lobes) is often "more religious." Likewise, someone with low dopamine and high serotonin is often more likely to be agnostic/atheist.

What's more curious, however, is the other implications of high/low dopamine/serotonin. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that makes people hyper/gittery, whereas serotonin makes you calm/numb. Is this why so many "fervent" Christians look crazy? Is it because they are crazy?

Is religion a socially acceptable mental illness? I mean, if someone claimed to have a leprechaun watching them, and they had to do modify/inhibit their behavior to prevent that leprechaun from killing them, we'd have them locked up in a padded room. But substitute the word "God" for "leprechaun," and we can describe most of Christianity right there.

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Old 05-25-2005, 08:26 AM   #2
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Sigmund Freud was high on cocaine while writing the better part of his theories. Cocaine releases high levels of dopamine.
You state that people with high dopamine levels are possibly crazy...still I don't see Freud being erased out of all psychology books in college?

While we're on the topic, I better quit doing sports then, God forbid it may release dopamine and make me feel good. Sports can drive you crazy, beware!
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Old 05-25-2005, 08:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by the soul waits
Sigmund Freud was high on cocaine while writing the better part of his theories. Cocaine releases high levels of dopamine.
You state that people with high dopamine levels are possibly crazy...still I don't see Freud being erased out of all psychology books in college?
Freud is seen as crazy in modern psychology. But, since he is the first person to bother creating psychology, we learn about him for reference purposes. However, his theories have long since been cast aside in favor of better, modern theory.

Quote:
While we're on the topic, I better quit doing sports then, God forbid it may release dopamine and make me feel good. Sports can drive you crazy, beware!
Sports release endorphins, which are opiates that inhibit dopamine breakdown. Dopamine and serotonin are not bad, inherently, but having too much or too little can lead to mental illness...just as the one I describe above.

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Old 05-26-2005, 11:05 AM   #4
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I find this thread interesting coming from you, Melon. In an earlier thread you said that you didn't need science to legitimize your experience as a homosexual. You know you were born a homosexual because that is your experience.

Why then would you trust science to explain someone else’s experience?
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Old 05-26-2005, 07:19 PM   #5
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Because it is interactions between fundamental particles under forces that obey set laws that govern the universe and every single event within.
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Old 05-26-2005, 09:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dalton
I find this thread interesting coming from you, Melon. In an earlier thread you said that you didn't need science to legitimize your experience as a homosexual. You know you were born a homosexual because that is your experience.

Why then would you trust science to explain someone else’s experience?
This is partly my (very coy) response to society who, very earnestly and generally unintentionally, reduces sexuality to gross and unflattering banalities.

And this is my own response to that: reducing religion to gross and unflattering banalities. Science certainly has a very convincing explanation for why "prophets" have existed, and it's very curious how their "spiritual experiences" echo a very real epileptic disorder.

I mention this partly from experience. A few years back, I used to have highly vivid dreams coinciding with chronic stress issues. In fact, at more than one point, I'd wake up during my dreams ("lucid dream") and see a fictional world as vivid as the real world. Anyway, these "dreams" would occasionally cross over into the spiritual realm, and I certainly have my own "visions" of what heaven, hell, and purgatory are--a sort of "Melon's 'Divine Comedy,' if you will. And they were truly mindnumbingly beautiful, frightening, and empty (respectively). Are they real? That's a matter of faith, perhaps, but such "visions" ended once I started taking supplements that have successfully boosted my serotonin levels (and conversely lower dopamine levels).

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Old 05-26-2005, 09:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Because it is interactions between fundamental particles under forces that obey set laws that govern the universe and every single event within.
I've often thought philosophized about the nature of humanity within the context of "nature vs. nurture." In a very post-humanist sense, I have thought of humanity as being the ultimate form of "artificial intelligence." That is, we are only as good/bad, smart/dumb, athletic/lazy as our genetic programming allows. And our "free will," etc. is merely a series of complex AI instruction sets that guide our responses. That is, it's said that there are ideas that are too complex to comprehend; that is, they go beyond our instruction sets.

With our increasing knowledge of the human genome, coupled with advances in gene manipulation, I think its conceivable in the future that we could rewrite our own "software" as it is by creating new DNA sequences and inserting them within our own DNA. In essence, we'd be the creators of our own evolution.

But I digress. Me talking about post-humanism is certainly too soon for our time. I give it another decade or two before we start caring about that.

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Old 05-26-2005, 10:36 PM   #8
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The philisophical implications of post-humanism are not too soon. They can and should be adressed now.

I am of the school of thought that flesh can be a weakness, that no matter how hard we tinker human beings can only be improved so far with genetic engineering. The furthest advances will come when the biological can be melded with the technological ~ go Borg!
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Old 05-27-2005, 04:41 AM   #9
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Religion as a form of mental illness?

I've always felt that religion does seem to be like that.

The way some people go on about interacting with"God", it seems utterly insane.

People who often have strange visions of unique supernatural and extremely fanciful things are often considered in our contemporary society to be "loonies" or "psychos."

Yet, to believe in "God", and to say ridiculous things such as "God Bless You", seems to be considered quite natural by most people.
I find it utter lunacy!

I mean I don't mind it if people philosophise about the existence of "God" and develop their own idea of what "God" could be, but when they just believe in "God" because it is kind of expected of them is, in my opinion, crazy. It almost takes over their lives!

But if belonging to a religion is a mental illness, than following a football club could be to....which would make me mentally ill....

However, I do believe that there must be some form of mental weakness that is associated with just being of the Christian or the Muslim or whatever faith.
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Old 05-27-2005, 05:10 AM   #10
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Wow, 10 points. I must say this is the most interesting thread I have read for a long time.

So....

Serotonin is increased/decreased by joy/depression

Endorphins inhibit dopamine.

What increases dopamine levels, please?
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Old 05-27-2005, 06:14 AM   #11
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This thread makes me wish I were worth a damn in science. I'm not, unfortunately.
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Old 05-27-2005, 06:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by intedomine
Religion as a form of mental illness?

I've always felt that religion does seem to be like that.

The way some people go on about interacting with"God", it seems utterly insane.

People who often have strange visions of unique supernatural and extremely fanciful things are often considered in our contemporary society to be "loonies" or "psychos."

Yet, to believe in "God", and to say ridiculous things such as "God Bless You", seems to be considered quite natural by most people.
I find it utter lunacy!

I mean I don't mind it if people philosophise about the existence of "God" and develop their own idea of what "God" could be, but when they just believe in "God" because it is kind of expected of them is, in my opinion, crazy. It almost takes over their lives!

But if belonging to a religion is a mental illness, than following a football club could be to....which would make me mentally ill....

However, I do believe that there must be some form of mental weakness that is associated with just being of the Christian or the Muslim or whatever faith.
If you had experienced the two miracles I have, you'd be more apt to believe in God. I have written about these miracles twice in these forums. If you are not familiar with them, let me know, and i will write them again.
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Old 05-27-2005, 08:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by beli
What increases dopamine levels, please?
Phenylalanine --> L-Tyrosine --> L-Dopa --> Dopamine --> Norepinephrine --> Epinephrine

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. Supplements are available for both phenylalanine and tyrosine. The latter is usually tolerated better (and those with PKU have to take tyrosine supplements to produce dopamine).

Parkinson's Disease sufferers are given L-Dopa ("Levodopa") to temporarily eliminate the symptoms of the disease, which is solely caused by a lack of dopamine in the nervous system. However, for reasons yet unknown, the brain cells that convert L-Dopa to dopamine stop working and Parkinson's Disease symptoms then continue unabated until death occurs from something else (you cannot die from Parkinson's Disease; it just makes your life miserable until you die of something else). Some theorize, however, that it's the nature of Levodopa itself, which may cause the cells that convert L-Dopa to dopamine to oxidize, and that a medication to "de-oxidize" the cells might make the medication effective again. As such, some theorize, as well, that starting with tyrosine might be better for Parkinson's patients, because it doesn't cause the problematic oxidation...but since it isn't a prescription or patentable, traditional medicine will never even tell people that it exists.

Regardless, synthetic dopamine actually does exist and would cure every Parkinson's Disease patient, even those with L-Dopa oxidation. What's the pharmaceutical world's excuse? "It's too expensive." And so they refuse to make it in any large quantities and people are made to needlessly suffer.

[/end rant]

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Old 05-27-2005, 10:04 AM   #14
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I think religion is mix of

- psychological fantansy
- mental delusion
- collective illusion caused by cumulative lies subjected during
childhood

For the creators of religion, its like

- a person who wants everyone to worship him or her .. I would first try to tell you "peacefully" , then bribe, then kill.
I mean a person who wants everyone to believe him is suffering
from mental illness.

How else you can explain
- No condoms
- No Homosexuality
- No suicide
- Lot of kids who needs to brainwashed during childhood.
- Kill non-believers
- Religious Wars
- The incentive of "heaven"
- lies
- miracles


Interesting article nevertheless
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Old 05-27-2005, 10:17 AM   #15
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