Date: Thu 16 Oct 97 15:23
By:   Caroline Evans
To:   Dan Ceppa

Dan Ceppa:
Very few xians have even an inkling as to the origins of the religion they practice. They know far more of the origins of other religions, especially those that are called pagan. They decry those religions as superstitious. Yet, by their same arguments, their very own religion is just as superstitiously oriented. They just find a way to deny that fact to themselves.

Caroline Evans:
I think their squirming has a lot in common with another group that clings tenaciously to delusional beliefs: psychotics.

In a psychology textbook (Behavior and Life by Frank Bruno) the following conversation between actual institutionalized psychotics was reported:

    Patient One :  I can walk through walls.
    Patient Two :  Let's see you do it.
    Patient One :  I don't do it when people are watching.
    Patient Two :  So you can't do it if I look.
    Patient One :  I didn't say that. I said I don't do it while
                   other people are looking.

This conversation was included in the text to give the reader a "feel" for psychotic belief systems and the squirming replies psychotics offer to those who find objections to their beliefs.

I can see no difference between the insistence by Patient One that he can walk through walls and the many insistences that the religiously deluded offer for their beliefs. Their steadfast resistance to reality pretty much settles any doubt as to the psychotic nature of these beliefs.

"Invisible magic beings" may have been a reasonable hypothesis for a naked prehistoric bushman who was trying to understand the world around him. It is not a rational belief for humans who have acquired the wealth of knowledge that we have today.

The hypothesis of "invisible magic beings" has been shown to be false and those who cling to bushman beliefs are no more suited to function in the real world of today than would be a Zinjanthropus.

If we had a largely unpopulated planet with practically unlimited resources, as did the primitive bushmen, then lunatic beliefs are no problem... the nuts can head out in the wilderness and believe insane thoughts without infringing on others. Nowadays is an entirely different story. The planet is fully populated and there is no "someplace else" the deluded can head off to.

We have discovered that the human brain is very malleable in its first decade and that evil visited upon children can have lifelong and inescapable consequences.

Actual physical/chemical pathways are laid down in childhood while unused ones wither and die. A child's brain eventually becomes less malleable and as adults the learning process is much less efficient. Pathways set down in childhood tend to remain. Destroying a child's right to think clearly is no small damage. A religious upbringing that includes irrational beliefs in invisible magic beings tends to destroy the child's ability to think rationally and thus tends to destroy the child's sanity.

A parent who lobotomized her healthily noisy five year old child to make him quiet and compliant would be condemned as evil beyond description. A parent who physically damages a child's brain with irrational beliefs has committed an act that is equally evil and should be condemned equally.

The habit of irrational thought carries through to other realms... making the victim less able to learn to think logically and rationally about non-religious subjects. This is where we see compartmentalization... folks block off the "religious/irrational beliefs section" from the rest of their thought processes.

This compartmentalization is akin to that of serial killers, like Ted Bundy, who compartmentalize "the beast" and function otherwise as upstanding "young republicans". A compartmentalized belief system may temporarily allow its believer to function in the real world while privately holding insane thoughts in check. Despite outward "normalcy", however, the tension between the two beliefs is always there and stressing the believer.

We can see this here in this echo. Regularly, the religiously deluded offer up religious beliefs that are neither internally consistent nor consistent with observed reality. In virtually every case you will discover that the deluded were exposed to religious indoctrination either formally or informally in their early childhood.

Some, however, are quite adept at computer-techie stuff and/or other workaday subjects in which they display no signs of irrationality, having resorted to compartmentalization in an attempt to retain their sanity.

Others seem to be incapable of rational thought and offer up all sorts of nonsense on every subject. They apparently have weak compartmentalization skills or are in the grips of full blown psychosis.

I think that Bill Kochman is probably a full-blown psychotic.

Those who understand that religion and philosophy are exercises in abstraction akin to poetry or art can deal with these issues in a rational manner... they know that abstractions exist within the human mind... but those who wrongly imagine that these internal abstractions are concrete external reality have taken the step over the line into the land of delusion and insanity.



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