Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is Being A Religious Fundamentalist A Mental Disorder?

Over the past few days I have been debating with a couple of creationists on a Christian website. What drew me to the website was that there was a post criticizing Bart Ehrman's tactics and his interpretations of scripture. I honestly wanted to hear some criticism of him from Christians to get the other side of the argument. On the site I left a comment and over several days it turned into a debate with several creationists over cosmology, evolution, scripture and god. It was me against 3 creationists but I held my own I can tell you that.

It occurred to me however, when dealing with these extremely religious people who are so deeply brainwashed by their faith, whether extreme religious belief might be a mental disorder. I know it's been asked before, and we have neuro-scientific data showing that religious belief is at least partly a brain-phenomenon. But I mean damn, after dealing with people who are so so deeply convinced that god is everywhere and that angels and demons travel among us, and that evolution and all the science that contradicts scripture is a giant conspiratorial hoax, I am so glad I don't have to deal with those kinds of people in my personal life. I would go insane if I had to be around fundies all day.

What is it that makes someone believe so strongly that god is real and that he communicates with them spiritually every moment of every day? What brain condition fools people into thinking that the entire world exists just for them to love god? I heard recently that religious belief might one day be 'cured' by taking a pill. Would it be ethical to force certain people to take that pill? I think that if they're not violent there's no reason to do so but I do wish religious fundamentalism could be wiped out for good. It's a dangerous meme that's doing more harm than good. I've also wondered, since I'm a natural born skeptic and atheist, if it's possible that I could have been religious myself if things had gone different growing up. It's hard for me to imagine myself being religious at all but I can't say for sure.

For now, I'm just glad religious belief is waning.

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