Religious delusions are common symptoms of schizophrenia.

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Medicine*Woman, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. ellion Magician & Exorcist (93) Registered Senior Member

    some schizophrenics have delusions with a religious theme, some do not. the percentage of schizophrenics with delusions of a religious nature is on average proportional to the cultural religious population. to say "schizophrenics have illusions of religious nature" gives the wrong impresson of schizophrenia and of the nature of religious expereince.

    you are saying the connection between religious people and schizophrenics is they both have primitive menatlity. that is not true religious people are neither primitive or not primitive they encompass all sections of the populace. similarly with schizophrenia, there is no primitive mentality or intellectual capacity that can be asscoiated with schizophrenics, it can affect anybody of any intelect or socio-economic heritage.

    i have read julian james book on consciousness and th bicameral mind and while i respect his work i dont think it is conclusive that the mystics and religious people of the past would be diagonsed with schizophrenia. of course, there may be some whose expereince fall under the criteria of psychotic symptoms but to conclude that the ancients where schizophrenic is a big assumption based on remants of manuscripts and cave paintings.

    that is not ture either, there are no precursory cultural practices which lead to schizophrenia.

    yates was obviously a troubled women, is your problem here with god for telling her what to do, or with yates for blaming god?

    we are not discussing the history of schizophrenia. the claim is that religious expereince and schizophrenia have a Deeply Manifested Relationship. what is this deeply manifest relationship?

    becasue that is what religious expereince is! it seems you are saying that people who have religious expereinces are schizophrenic. that is not true and there are recognised psychiatric procedures to identify if an expereince is religous or psychotic

    what you call "delusional dreaming" is to others religious experience. if you seek the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual's definition of delusion you will note that an article of faith or cultural religious expereince does not qualify as a delusion.
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  3. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    I don't think you'll find there's evidence for the idea that the proportion of schizophrenics whose delusions are religious matches the proportion of religious feelings in the population as a whole.

    The delusional, like people who are troubled for different reasons and with different cause, are more likely to be religious than the population as a whole, but that is just a fact of life.

    In fact, that is the literal meaning of the thread title. However, it's clear to me that the implication has been that "Religious delusions are common symptoms of schizophrenia, therefore religious people are delusional and schizophrenic." That, of course, is nonsense.

    Schizophrenics who hear voices in their heads are experiencing something outside the normal world of reality. They are directly experiencing something that is not natural, indeed something that is "supernatural". It's hardly surprising, then, that many of them interpret the voices in the context of the one supernatural world model within which they live, or to which they have the easiest access to. Thus, they believe that the voices are "God" or "devils", or occasionally, I suppose, the voices of the souls of the dead.

    In this sense, they are hardly delusional at all! They have heard voices which manifest inside their heads; which are not spoken by anybody in their vicinity; which are not transmitted by an artificial means such as a telephone. Therefore, since the voice is outside the realm of normal reality, it is practically an natural piece of deduction to attribute the voice to that of God.

    That's tragic, mis-t, and I truly feel for you. But the point to remember is that your mother would have suffered the disease whether there was religion in the world or not. "It has nothing to do with religion" is not a statement denying that religion is the basis for how the schizophrenic interprets what is happening to them. It just means that the person would be sick in any case.

    I don't understand, then. What were you trying to prove? Since the only people researched were those with religious delusions, it's hard to understand what they are supposed to have learned about the religious aspect of the delusion itself. The forms the delusions take arise out of the culture within which we live. Even the nature of the delusions have nothing to do with Religion in a major sense - no Bible quotations, no theology. Simply the concept of a known supernatural entity called God, or other supernatural entities known as Angels and Demons.

    Hearing a voice and believing to have some kind of external reality, such as God, actually talking to you is a delusion, doubly so if you act upon it. Suffering a condition in which your brain interprets some kind of anomalous input as a voice in the head is not delusion. There is a difference. Just because something is being "heard" and interpreted by your brain as speech does not make it a delusion. Your brain is, after all, "hearing" something, so something must be causing that hearing. Therefore there is a root physiological cause to the problem. Think of it as something like a loose electrical wire in an apparatus, which causes sparks occasionally. This aspect is what appears to be ignored by the profession, primarily because the majority of people who report the symptom really are genuinely delusional. But not all of them are.

    The "voice in the head" only appears to contain meaning to the "hearer" because the brain filters everything in terms of meaning, which is why we can believe all sorts of nonsensical rubbish in our dreams, etc. I myself occasionally suffer from hypnogogic hallucinations (that is, hearing voices or other specific sounds, when on the point of falling asleep) which I interpret in one, impossible, way, but which were caused by some normal sound in the house.

    People who hear voices are routinely diagnosed as "schizophrenics". My view is that not all of them are schizophrenic - ie divorced from reality - and it does them, and science, a disservice to dismiss what they experience as "delusion" simply on the grounds that no-one else can hear what they hear. They're undoubtedly "hearing" something. What causes that something is what needs further and deeper study. In the meantime, posting a thread on "Religion" about the fact that voice-hearing schizophrenics associate their symptoms with religion, with the implication of the opposite - ie that religion causes the schizophrenia - is debasing the truth.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2006
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  5. mis-t-highs I'm filling up Registered Senior Member

    how so!. you would need to eradicate all religion from the world, to see if that was the case now would'nt you.

    it's an easy statement to make, well you cant blame religion, etc...

    rubbish, if religion were never forced down her throat, and the fear of god never put into her, and she then had this mind disease.
    then I could agree with you, however not all of us, can think reasonably, and thing's like god wrath, and do has your god says etc. that to an impressionable mind is very dangerous.

    no sorry you cannot convince me it had nothing to do with religion.
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  7. ellion Magician & Exorcist (93) Registered Senior Member

    i pretty much agree with your entire post!

    just respond to this.

    i would not say it matches or word it exactly how you have done here, but from my understanding there is no greater prevelance of schizophrenia within a religious culture. therefore religion is not a necessary factor in the development of the disorder. delusions become religious or are given religious connotation by the individuals culturally tainted interpretation of their subjective experience

    i have seen results of a study but cant locate it, i will try to find them and post them later.
  8. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    I agree with that statement, although try finding a truly non-religious culture for which it could be demonstrated that there is an exact proportion of schizophrenics. But what I understood your original assertion to be was that the proportion of schizophrenics whose symptoms are expressed in religious form is no greater than the proportion of religiously-inclined individuals in a particular society, and I'm pretty certain that that is incorrect. For the same reason that the proportion of Christians amongst the poor, the poorly educated, the generally disadvantaged and the criminal classes (particularly the prison population) is greater than the whole. I'm not trying to imply that religion is associated only with the vulnerable and is to be denigrated for that reason. If the disadvantaged are more susceptible to the hope that religion provides, that is no reason to chastise religion, particularly when it succeeds in creating a community or family feeling among them that has otherwise been lacking in their lives.
  9. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    From your description it is clear that your mother was very seriously ill. Now, please don't tell me that this illness derived from her having had religion "forced down her throat". I'm convinced that mental illness of this severity has a physiological cause, which your mother would have suffered even in the absence of religion. People who suffer in this way feel compelled to carry out acts even if they believe that the voice is that of the Devil, whom they have been taught is the father of lies and the root of all evil. It's not the symbolic meaning which the individual attaches to the attack which is of importance in determining either the cause or the outcome. The symbolic meaning comes from the culture in which we live, but the illness is common to all belief systems.
  10. geeser Atheism:is non-prophet making Valued Senior Member

    yes because all belief systems indoctrinate there young, poor kids.
  11. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: I really wasn't trying "to prove" anything. I was just commenting on the research done on schizophrenics who were religiously and spiritually delusional. I was not saying that all schizophrenics have religious delusions or that all religious people are schizophrenics. That's what you all read into it. However, a significant amount of psychiatric research has been done on those with religous delusions, so it is not as isolated as one would think.

    I am interested in this particular form of schizophrenic delusion as I have family members and others I have known who have had religious delusions, so I have seen it first-hand. I've also seen some schizophrenics with entirely different delusions, none ever having been religious or spiritual.

    There was a comment earlier, and I don't recall who said it, but they referred to inflammation of the brain. Researchers have identified that part of the brain that elicits religous ideas. So, it could be possible when that part of the brain is dysfunctional, religous delusions occur. I don't know. I'm not a psychiatrist. I'm just interested in neuroscience and brain function.

    I didn't mean to insinuate that religion caused schizophrenia. Undoubtedly, the condition or the predisposition to the condition is already there in the brain -- with the exception of a brain trauma that left the individual with a brain dysfunction that manifested itself into schizophrenia. I've seen that happen, too, after auto accidents and such.

    My intent was to present something for discussion on this forum, and that I did. What I had hoped was to elicit some credible evidence in refutation, but most of you were so trigger-happy, ready to shoot the messenger, that I sincerely doubt there are that many science-minded members on this forum. I'm not specifically referring to you, Silas, because I know where you stand, but the others know who they are. Because they are so biased by their emotional immaturity, they probably shouldn't be on the Religion Forum anyway. Young children could come up with more logical responses than they did.
  12. ellion Magician & Exorcist (93) Registered Senior Member

    i am sorry if you found your self dodging bullets but i was not really taking any shots i was only trying to wrestle the message from the hands of a messenger who had promised a message but would not reveal what the actual message was.
  13. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: I wasn't speaking specifically about you, ellion. The message was simply about the studies of schizophrenic patients having religious delusions as compared to having delusions of another nature. I've read about religious delusions for a few years now, and this came to my attention recently since several Christians on board mentioned hearing God speak to them. I am not insinuating, however, that these folks are schizophrenic. I'm just interested in learning where the line is drawn between schizopathology and religious ferver. That's all.
  14. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    I do. But, then again, like the real Gestapo, I'm intelligent and maniacal.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Stabby stabby.
  15. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    Apologies if I misinterpreted your intention, MW. Like I said, there's nothing wrong with the thread title.
  16. thats called internal monologue. not dialogue.

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