Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Religion as disease and addiction

NPR had an interview on Fresh Air on June 23rd recently on the topic of "Compass of Pleasure" why things feel so good. It was about addiction, from sex to junk food. Researcher and Editor in chief for the Journal of Neurophysiology, David Linden talked about the science of pleasure and addiction. Usually I try to be tight and one step in front of the other, but I'm going to just throw some things out there this time, so don't take it too seriously; but it should be interesting....

It was his contention that we do not find someone has heart disease, and then treat them as criminals or defects. Rather we educate them and treat them for their issues and expect them to take care of their situation in order to continue living a good and full life.

So too, he said, we should treat addicts. Once they know what their situation is, we should expect them to be responsible enough to seek the right way for them to make it through life. If we apply this same theory to those people who believe in religion, and it is very much a similar kind of thing, perhaps we can get them the help they need in order to make it through life without living their delusion so they can then become stronger and more productive Human Beings. When you look at how many take on religion to replace things like addictions, exchanging one for the other may seem like a good thing, but there is a downside.

Fred Previc who wrote, "The role of extrapersonal brain systems in religious activity", said: "...the final expansion of DA could have prompted the rise in abstract reasoning, human creativity in the form of art and music, and religious behavior....Both abstract reasoning and religious thought involve an emphasis on nonvisible (distant) space and time, and both are linked to the upper field....It might also seem strange that two ostensibly antagonistic processes--religious behavior and abstract (scientific) reasoning--may have co-evolved....both phenomena are concerned with abstract concepts and comprehensive frameworks with which to comprehend spatio-temporal events in the external environment".

This is something I've been alluding to for some time now. Though I've proposed it goes back further in time and evolution as to the beginnings and what sparked this to begin in the first place. 

So, in taking another route beyond the creation, to it's abuse, one has to ask, "is Religion a disease"?

Dis-ease? Is it an addiction? Do you receive dopamine rewards by believing? Is it the energy of God the religious feel? Or, does believing in something outside of yourself, thus abdicating yourself from all responsibility because of the "Will of God", simply give you a rush, or flush your nerves with chemicals? Consider how pleasant religion makes the religious feel. Have you ever seen the face of a "believer" in church, in the "raptures". Kind of looks like a heroin addict just after they shoot up, doesn't it? Now, consider how leaving it, leaves one in withdrawal.

Try, being a severely religious person, then stop it. Look to the Middle East. Consider that those suicide bombers, may very well have been "losing their religion" and so, the only way out, was suicide and hey, why not take out as many "infidels" (and other "True Believers") with them.

So try being a religion addict and suddenly stop. See what happens.

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