Why religion is a mental illness.

I am respectfully writing a rebuttal to a fellow atheist who says that religion is not a mental illness. This is not an attempt to belittle the work of my fellow atheist, but instead challenge what they think.

I have this perspective on religion, that comes from the one church I went to when I was young, but since then have seen many examples of deviant and disturbing behavior on the part of religious people, and religions. That's why I think religion creates, employs, and uses mental illness to its self sustainability.

Reason one for my thinking. The external locus of control. You must submit. "We are Borg, you will be assimilated." Religion teaches you to be codependent, you must rely on God, a thing, a higher power, nature, or just the wind for your better self to exist. You're not in control, other forces are driving you and you must either let them, or give into them. I'm not a therapist, but, that's dangerous thinking. Yes, it's sick, and yes it's a mental disorder. Millions of children are being taught to suffer and love it because their life is not in their own hands. Not only that, but it an be stripped away for a thought, or a misdeed.

Reason two. Did you talk to Jesus today? No, well plenty of people did, or saw him. They got told to run for president, kill their kids, deny homosexuals equality, oppress women. It's not just Jesus though, DJins and Mohammad are there waiting for you, and they are everywhere. Why for every person on this earth there is supposedly spirits walking around talking to people, and watching them. What is worse for your mental health than paranoia, and schizophrenia being normalized. Face it, we can't really separate the two until something happens. Because religion is so ingrained in many cultures. Many  people believe non existent things, and people are talking to them, watching them, and even torturing them.

The problem is that religion isn't a mental illness that is caused by neural receptors malfunctioning or an imbalance of neural chemicals, it's a mental illness that is caused by long term exposure, duress, guilt, and fear. From infancy children are terrorized with thoughts of hell, plagued with guilt, and taught that even life has no value above and beyond their belief.

The indoctrination process isn't all rainbows and sunshine. It's riddled with terrible things, like a flood killing everyone but a family in the abrahamic religion, they are taught the beauty in mass genocide, ass extinction, death, and murder. And it's sealed with a rainbow.

In Scientology people are taught alien souls taunt and torture you.

Buddhism, women are lesser, and Jews pray in thanks for not being born a woman.

The reason that religion is not treated as a mental illness is because such a majority of people have been indoctrinated with it.  Let's look at the facts. If you claimed that God told you to slaughter your only child today, we would have you institutionalize. If you claimed that you would burn your children or torture them, the same would happen, but in the context of history and biblical morality, which is twisted and morose, it is the tenants of religious dogma.

Religion takes a perfectly developed normal brain and teaches it to be fractured, to believe things which can't be tested, or proven, and to believe those things to not only be real, but to be more important than the very life they are living theirselves. Instead of children growing to learn and think, and question, they are taught to fear, to hide from facts and evidence.

Some people would disagree, and say moderate Christians aren't really messed up, but I would disagree, though they might not behave as fringe individuals, they believe absurd and disturbing things, like if their God asked them to harm their child, they are duty bound to do so. Moderates aren't really that moderate when it comes to legislating their ideologies, and indoctrinating their own, and other children. They aren't moderate in their belief that they are moral and they get it from their dogma, not from themselves.

Religion has painted history in blood, has given permission for slavery and mass genocide, murder, and even been the reason babies are mutilated, and women are raped. It teaches men that they are above women, and like gods, that they are justified in taking from women what they will, and subduing them.

Religion is the reason for racism, and bigotry, it teaches separation by ideologies, and causes people to have a warped sense of self. If it was found only in a small group it would be treated as a disease, or like we treat caniblaism, with disgust, and loathing. No religion agrees with the other on who has it right. It makes people paranoid, hostile and delusional. It exasperates existing mental illnesses in some individuals and disguises it in others. That is because religion is a man made mental disease. It arose from fear and paranoia around the natural world that humans didn't understand, and keeps people on that level, sometimes for an entire lifetime.

Neural studies have even found that during prayer parts of the brain shut down, they don't function to think at all. It literally can stunt neural development and cognition. Religion is a mental illness. It is hard to look at it this way, when I have friends who are good people, but then I have other friends with equal disorders in brain function. The two are identical, the way you can't tell a person to not be depressed, you can't tell them to not believe in ghosts. The way you can't tell a person to stop being bipolar, you can't tell them that a genocidal God is horrific and can't really exist. Religion effects the same parts of the brain that other disorders do, but this one is forced upon the person rather than develops as a natural effect of deficiency in developmental form.

I firmly believe that one day we will be able to say it to all believers, and end religions. But till then, we live with people mentally ill of their own doing. As for those who suffer due to natural consequences of their brain chemistry, I feel for them, it's not easy. But one day I am sure religion will be linked to cases of ptsd, and other disorder, until then it would be hard to convince me that it is not causing systemic sickness among people. 

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