Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 920

Shown: posts 1 to 6 of 6. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Jesus is admirable/other ruminations

Posted by Eddie Sylvano on September 19, 2002, at 15:15:59

When it comes to religions, I always get stuck at the supernatural stage. The main purpose for religions is usually (eventually), to explain the unexplainable, and in doing so they typically resort to supernatural forces. To me, then, religiousity boils down to whether or not you accept the idea of a reality not governed by physics. I don't see it.
That aside, I have to admit that I have great respect for the principles and methods espoused by Jesus. Most of the New Testament is accessible to athiests, owing to the fact that it's mainly stories (parables) conveying how one should and shouldn't behave and think. Jesus strikes me one of the most compassionate, sensible, and self-consistant figures in religion (and there are others who qualify). If everyone behaved remotely like him, the world would be much less brutish and nasty. Say what you will about him, he was a unique guy, particularly for his times. I've often wondered if he was compelled by a mental "illness" of his own. One of the aspects of my own mental issues are sudden, intense emotional states, some of which make me feel like *I* am Jesus (intense empathy and painful concern for all around me). The thought of pain and suffering in others deeply aggrieves me.
Does this make me a Christian? I don't believe that he was the son of god, or that there is an afterlife, so I'm not "saved." I just respect his ideas.
When I was married, my wife would take me to her "charismatic" church, where I'd watch a lot of people dance and sing, and later gossip. It seemed to me like few of them truly appreciated what they were espousing. It was more like an ornament to them. The focus was always narrowly on salvation and increasing membership, and rarely on humility or compassion.
On another note, I've always thought it was interesting that one of the symptoms of certain mental illnesses is "hyper-religiousity." Could there be a biological gradient to it?

 

Re: Jesus is admirable/other ruminations Eddie Sylvano

Posted by Mal on September 20, 2002, at 10:41:33

In reply to Jesus is admirable/other ruminations, posted by Eddie Sylvano on September 19, 2002, at 15:15:59

I have often wondered the same, about whether Jesus might have been afflicted with some mental illness. I imagine how I would react to someone who behaved as he did, said the things he said, etc., and I would probably assume there was a biochemical problem. But I have always run low in the faith department. It is an interesting idea, although we will never know.

On occasion growing up I attended a charismatic church with a friend and I was always terribly uncomfortable with it. Not that there is anything WRONG with it- just speaking for myself, I was uncomfortable. Anyway, those folks would dance and pace and speak in tongues. I have a bit of a scientific mind, so I could not understand any of that at all- and I still can't. I would hate to think they were all putting on a show... So what was it? DO you have any ideas on that?

 

Re: Jesus is admirable/other ruminations

Posted by Eddie Sylvano on September 20, 2002, at 11:02:18

In reply to Re: Jesus is admirable/other ruminations Eddie Sylvano, posted by Mal on September 20, 2002, at 10:41:33

>I was uncomfortable. Anyway, those folks would dance and pace and speak in tongues. I have a bit of a scientific mind, so I could not understand any of that at all- and I still can't. I would hate to think they were all putting on a show... So what was it? DO you have any ideas on that?
---------------------------

I'm with you there. I'd always get the evil eye from my wife for sitting quietly and reading the bible (or whatever else was handy), when it was time to jump around and babble.
As for why people do such stuff, I have to imagine that it's group psychology. People in groups will do really unusual things (looting, soccer riots, mass psychosomatic illnesses). It's also probably a bit of competition ("Look at me! I'm closer to god than you!"), since the groups they form (and the nature of the groups) are very emotional and regimented. They want to be considered as leaders in the group. Like you said, it's not really an empirically *bad* thing, but I can't understand how they (1)don't feel silly doing it (2)Believe that it is genuine. For that matter, Jesus himself admonished those who prayed loudly (and made a big spectacle of it) at the temple. He thought you should pray privately and meekly (they'll inherit the earth). Jesus hated flash.
It's curious that the spirit never moves them to speak in tongues or get "slain in the spirit" when they're out at Radio Shack, or whatnot.
So that's what I think.

 

Re: Jesus is admirable/other ruminations Eddie Sylvano

Posted by Mal on September 20, 2002, at 17:11:50

In reply to Re: Jesus is admirable/other ruminations, posted by Eddie Sylvano on September 20, 2002, at 11:02:18

Eddie, I was thinking about riots and situations like that. I always get very nervous in thick crowds. I know how people do things in large groups that individually they would *never* do.

But now you've got me thinking... Why is it that some people seem to be born more susceptible to the emotional suggestions of group psychology? Fortunately, (IMO), I have never been one of them, but my Mom is MUCH more open to that sort of thing. Is it nature or nuture? Is it chemical? Are there drugs I could get (legally or otherwise) that would make me more "spitirual"? (I'm not ACUTALLY interested in doing so, I'm just making a point). Fascinating to think about...

And your ex should have been glad you were there with her and not behaving disrespectfully or getting into trouble! ;D

Mal

 

Re: religion, a mental disorder/science+religion

Posted by madison88 on September 21, 2002, at 23:27:42

In reply to Jesus is admirable/other ruminations, posted by Eddie Sylvano on September 19, 2002, at 15:15:59

good for you. i strive to respect each religion for what it has to offer humanity. while i have personal grudges against Christianity, it was nice of you to point out some of the aspects of it that anyone can relate to. i hope to be able to do the same someday. from what i understand the term "mental illness" to mean, religion, as distorted by a mental illness, can become something that cripples an individual's ability to function. religion is suppose to allow us to live in a world that is uncertain and in which our own mortality is brought to our awareness all to often. It is necessary for any conscious being. it cushions our anxieties and allows us to live in the moment, not fearing the future. so, for religion to do otherwise is maladaptive, and can be considered disordered. i think that anytime religion is maladaptive, there is some underlying disorder present. and since there seem to be biological basis for psychosis and/or the affective disorders, it would make sense to find a biological basis for hyperreligiosity, coinciding with the appropriate mental disorder present.

religion is suppose to fill the part of life that science can't explain, and some of what science does explain. the fact that we can explain why the sun seems to rise and set everyday shouldn't make it any less miraculous. it is simpliest to describe science and religion as existing in separate spheres, although i don't think it is a reality. i think of science and religion as two superimposed spheres. it happens to be easier to see religion on one half of a the spheres, and science on the other half of the spheres. in the middle they seem to overlap. the reality is that they both coexist equally at any point on the spheres.
perception:
(rrrrr r r r r r r rsrs s s s s s ssssss)
reality:
(rsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrs)

 

Re: Jesus is admirable/other ruminations

Posted by Eddie Sylvano on September 23, 2002, at 15:17:51

In reply to Re: Jesus is admirable/other ruminations Eddie Sylvano, posted by Mal on September 20, 2002, at 17:11:50

> But now you've got me thinking... Why is it that some people seem to be born more susceptible to the emotional suggestions of group psychology? Fortunately, (IMO), I have never been one of them, but my Mom is MUCH more open to that sort of thing. Is it nature or nuture? Is it chemical? Are there drugs I could get (legally or otherwise) that would make me more "spitirual"? (I'm not ACUTALLY interested in doing so, I'm just making a point). Fascinating to think about...
--------------------------

It'd be hard to answer that. One of the hallmarks of unhappy people that I've noticed is a distinct lack of self esteem. More specifically, these people don't feel that their own ideas or opinions have any merit. Therefore, they always look to other people for indications of what to think/do, and to validate their thoughts (or sometimes invalidate). Why this happens to some people, I don't know. It could be partly biological. If their temperment leads them to be less successful in current societal terms (they're quiet, don't meet as many people, don't get job leads, etc), they might see themselves as defective, and look to others for "better" ideas. Also, I'm sure that if you were raised in an environment where the social leaders (parents, kids in school) belittled your ideas/actions, you'd just come to believe it. In any case, you end up needing the advice and approval of others in order to make desicions.
Still, the disparity between the most and least socially controlled people isn't that big. It's incredibly rare (beyond mental disorders) that anyone really, truly doesn't care what other people think about them, to the point that they behave however they please in public.


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