Coming our way: Christianity as mental illness

persecution

Christians are already identified as potential terrorists by the Obama regime’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Now a British science writer named Kathleen Taylor, is advancing a provocative and politically incendiary idea — that “religious fundamentalism” (whatever that term means) may one day be treated as a mental illness.

The (UK) Times refers to Taylor as “a science author and research scientist at the University of Oxford.” But Taylor describes herself as “a freelance science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford,” who had “trained as a neuroscientist after doing a first degree in philosophy and physiology at the University of Oxford.” She specifically states she is not a “therapist”. And yet she’s tossing claims about “religious fundamentalism” being a “mental illness”!

(Note: I’ve spent most of life in academe, beginning as an undergraduate student to eventually being a full professor, but I have no idea what a freelance writer “affiliated” to a university means. I am retired from my university and although I’m no longer employed there, I am “affiliated” to my university as a professor emeritus. In Taylor’s case, however, her “affiliation” to Oxford carries no title. It appears what her “affiliation” means is that she was a student at Oxford U.)

The (UK) Times‘ article on Taylor is titled “Science ‘may one day cure Islamic radicals’,” and attributes to Taylor the claim that “Muslim fundamentalism may one day be seen in the same way as mental illness is today and be ‘curable’.”

Curiously, Huffington Post‘s account of Taylor makes no mention of radical Islam but refers only to a vaguely generic “religious fundamentalism.” According to HuffPo, Taylor was speaking at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales when she was asked what she foresaw as positive developments in neuroscience in the coming years.

She replied: “One man’s positive can be another man’s negative. One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated. Someone who has for example become radicalized to a cult ideology – we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance. In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage. I am not just talking about the obvious candidates like radical Islam or some of the more extreme cults. I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children. These beliefs are very harmful but are not normally categorized as mental illness.”

Links between extreme faiths and mental health have been made before, with former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Dr Dinesh Bhugra, highlighting recent religious conversions being more associated with a developing psychotic mental illness. In a paper entitled ‘Self-concept: Psychosis and attraction of new religious movements’, he points to data from studies which shows that patients with first onset psychosis are likely to change their religion.

The HuffPo article got more than 5,700 “likes” on Facebook.

So who decides what constitutes “religious fundamentalism” or “a cult ideology” or “beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage“?

Today, Kathleen Taylor says radical Islam fits the bill. But once the idea of religious beliefs being a form of mental illness catches on, who’s to say that Christianity won’t be “diagnosed” as a mental illness?

The problem is the vagueness and ambiguity of terms such as “religious fundamentalism,” “cult ideology,” and “beliefs that do a lot of damage” — a vagueness of which Kathleen Taylor seems blithely unaware.

That same obtuseness to the importance of clear and specific terminology is also displayed in a “Meet the Author” video, in which Taylor talks about “brainwashing” — which includes religious brainwashing — in a distressingly vague way that any self-respecting scientist should eschew.

In the video, Taylor seems to define “brainwashing” as “the extreme end” of changing a person’s beliefs. By “extreme end” she means the employment of “coercion,” “force,” and “psychological torture.”

But what is “coercion”? Does “coercion” include children being taught the Bible by their parents, church, and parochial schools? Does “coercion” include our soldiers’ sharing of their religious beliefs being labeled as “religious proselytization” and threatened with court martial?

In case you don’t know, religious believers were incarcerated in mental hospitals in the Soviet Union, as well as in the People’s Republic of China. Just ask the neo-Buddhist sect Falun Gong, whose adherents have been and are still being hounded, arrested, tortured and killed in China today.

H/t FOTM reader Jasmine.

~Eowyn

30 responses to “Coming our way: Christianity as mental illness

  1. They can stick it in their ear!

  2. Commies will be happy with this…

  3. Then I am happily *sick* being with my savior!! :o)

  4. Another category of people who won’t be eligible for a gun permit.

  5. Surfer- Kids today use the work “sick” to describe things they really like or think is really good, so I’m with you, happily “sick” in love with my Savior too!

  6. Looks to me like she’s kind of cuckoo, herself, wouldn’t you say?

  7. So… Homosexuality is no longer labeled as a mental illness, Gender Identity issues are no long a mental illness. They are working to remove Pedophilia from the mental illness category. However, believing that a all powerful, loving God created us and this wonderful earth will be considered a “mental illness”. SMH.

    I pray that more will become aware of the agenda to take away our souls and Godly discernment by using the “Politically Incorrect” argument. From the beginning, Christianity was politically incorrect. Jesus was politically incorrect during his time. Stay strong Sisters and Brothers in Christ. The time is coming when you will have to take a life or death stand.

    Being saved by the blood of Jesus, I would rather cut life short on this earth and live eternity with the loving God. This world is already gone however, we have eternal life in Christ.

    Every generation believes it will happen in their “time”. It IS happening in our time. Stay strong, stay dedicated and stay true to the living GOD.

    • First time posting….. Didn’t realize the Icon could be changed. I don’t like the default. Truly does not complement my message. Also.. I see a grammar correction..First sentence should read ….. mental illness. Gender Identity.

    • What do you mean exactly, when you say that this god has “created” you, and your world? Do you mean to say that your god is the measure of all things? Is it sort of like, that the light has been turned on in the attic, without which nothing else can exist because it can’t be seen? So, do you mean that turning on this light is like being “created”? So you mean, conceptually created. Sort of like energy turning into matter, or something like that. Is that what you mean?

      I don’t believe in Jesus, because I’m not jewish and I’m not north-european. I do tend to think that Christianity is a kind of psychological issue, very much like low-self-esteem, or drug-dependency, etc.

      • 1. “I don’t believe in Jesus, because I’m not jewish and I’m not north-european.”

        2. “I do tend to think that Christianity is a kind of psychological issue, very much like low-self-esteem, or drug-dependency, etc.”

        Re. #1: Most Jews don’t believe in Jesus. There are millions and millions of Christians across the world who are not North European, but look like you. Oh, by the way, Jesus wasn’t a North European either.

        Re. #2: Despite your demonstration of your abysmal ignorance and plain stupidity in #1, you have the gall to play armchair psychiatrist.

        You are an utter embarrassment to yourself. I cringe for you.

      • “News flash” – Jews don’t believe in Jesus.

        Facts are tough, huh?

      • Alethessophia, if you want to research some really interesting events, check out the appearance of Mary at Guadalupe, Mexico in the 1500’s, or her appearance at Fatima in 1917. 70,000 witnesses to the Miracle of the Sun at that one.

        Seriously, spend fifteen minutes reading about them. They’re both tremendously exciting. Best wishes.

  8. I pray for Obama. For his sake, and ours.

  9. I feel that her vague eye glancing and inability to look at her audience is one of the tell signs of a sociopath or pre-psychotic. I think I should call the police and let them know she’s on the loose….

    MY opinion is just as valid as hers. What a crock’a!!

  10. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this most professional and intellectual post. Anyone who is a scientist, a neuro-scientist or social scientist worth their salt knows that it is absolutely imperative to be specific and definitive, knowing that vagueness as set forth from this “woman” is terribly dangerous indeed. Dr. Eowyn’s arguments against her assertions lay any of her conclusions completely lost and without merit.

    Frankly, in listening to her and watching her mannerisms, I question her own mental status. I find her extremely scary.

  11. Reading the Gospels always helps me when I wonder if I’m the crazy one. Jesus was maligned and finally murdered – by those who thought they were doing God a favor. So we’re in good company, those of us who love our Lord and live like it. Stay by His side and all the other sides won’t matter. God bless all….

  12. Thank you for being there for us, Dr. Eo – we depend on you for the REAL news!

    • Full agree, pnordman. I need my daily dose of FOTM and Dr. Eowyn.

      • To pnordman and Doc’s Wife, two great ladies:

        .

        • My dearest Eo!

          Wow, I really needed this today – thank you, thank you, thank you! We got word yesterday that my favorite niece and her husband have lost EVERYTHING in the CO fires. Fortunately she was out of the house because she had a stroke last year and has trouble getting around. Another niece wrote and said that the fires were so rapid they probably would not have been able to get Elizabeth out of the house in time. Wow – and we think WE have problems! There are some things that leave us speechless!

          Thank you so very much for this, Eo – very timely! I love FOTM, now the first site I open in the morning (used to be Drudge!). Please stay healthy for us who so need you!

          In His love and my enormous gratitude!

          Patricia

          ________________________________

  13. Odd….this was my FB post a few days ago……..on the same topic….”short story” from several years ago…

    “Do you want to think; I mean stretch and analyze? …….

    A couple of days ago, I posted an NBC article about using brainwaves to control a drone….here’s part of the article, “Five test “pilots” recruited by Bin He’s bioengineering lab sat at a desk in a gymnasium wearing a skullcap with 64 electrodes, and took turns individually flying the machine up, down, sideways, and through vibrant orange hoops strung from the ceiling.

    The pilots didn’t watch the drone. Instead, as if in a video game, they watched a screen to see what the copter saw via a camera installed on the front of the machine. They controlled the direction of flight by thinking about moving their limbs in the direction they wanted the drone to fly. Thinking about clenching the right or left fist turned the copter in that direction. Thinking about clenching both fists made the drone fly up, and thinking about neither made it drop.”

    NOW, dwell on this “short story” published in “Nature”, a scientific journal. Dr Henry Gee is a British paleontologist and evolutionary biologist. He is a senior editor of “Nature”; specifically, the Futures science fiction section in “Nature”, and he’s proud to have published a story by Shelly Li.

    “THE END OF GOD
    by Shelly Li

    It’s just common sense …

    Dear Heavenly Father: the plans I tried to carry through have failed. My mind has become my prison, betraying me to help them sever my connection with you. My family has been forced over to the other side, and I’m hurting, Lord. They hunt me by using my brain against me, and they do not stop. So all I ask for is hope, Lord.

    Give me a plan.

    The rustling outside the little shack makes my body tense up, and I rise to my feet, ready to run again.

    My legs tense, my arms ache. And my heart, it has long depleted all longing. These things cease to become important when you are fighting for your identity against a monster that never sleeps.

    Thirty years ago, when I was a child, and the World Trade Center hadn’t been bombed, and the brain-signal satellites hadn’t been set up, and the Common Sense Law hadn’t been passed, prayers were beautiful. Prayers did not do things like activate the parietal lobe area of the brain and send messages to the satellites that an abstract idea was forming.

    Prayers helped refocus my world.

    Now, as I stumble to the back door, I see a world in which everything beautiful has blurred into a fog of grey.

    God, you will help me through this, won’t you? All is as you will it to be, and I know that you will protect me.

    Taking a deep breath, I yank open the door, expecting to step back into a cradle of chilling darkness.

    Immediately a piercing white light hits me, robbing me of every trace of hope.

    I try to close the door, but a strong hand forces it open and someone steps towards me.

    A young man in police uniform appears. Behind him others follow as the white light from outside slices across their expressions, uniformly cold and faithless.

    But when the young officer speaks, his tone fails to match the hardness of his gaze. “Sir, please come with us,” he says, beckoning. “We will take you to a hospital and treat your ailment.”

    I look from officer to officer. They are nothing more than hunters. “Who are you to tell me whether or not I am allowed to be a child of God?”

    “You’re sicker than most, at this point,” the young man says, and the others close in, moving to encircle me. “We could tell when we picked up signals of an abnormally excited IPL. We are here only to help cure you of your … delusions.”

    “By forcing me to conform?” I let a laugh escape despite the tears pooling in my eyes. If this is a test, God, let the heathens deliver to me all the humiliation and fear they wish. In your name, I can absorb any pain.

    JACEY
    “In accordance with the Common Sense Law, Sir, we must take you in and convert you. Please don’t fight it.”

    “Faith means believing in something when common sense tells you not to,” I reply, looking around. No one is moved. “And faith gives me a warmth that no amount of common sense ever will. Don’t take this away from —”

    Suddenly I feel a sharp sting in my neck as one policeman plunges a syringe into me.

    “I’m sorry,” the young policeman says.

    “Fill out the paperwork, will you?” a male voice says, before its owner clears his throat. “We’ll have it delivered to his home in a few days, after his mind adjusts. Poor guy … lost in a web of false beliefs for so long.”

    These are the first words I hear as my eyes flutter open. Lying on a hospital bed with three doctors huddled over me, I attempt to move, but find that I’ve lost connection with even my fingers.

    Stammering, I ask: “What have you done to me?”

    But I know full well what has happened. The gnawing black hole in my chest can tell no lies.

    “Don’t worry,” says an elderly woman doctor, setting a hand on my arm. I cannot feel the pressure. “The anaesthesia has worn off. What you are experiencing is probably shock. Most religious folk, after having their parietal-lobe area disabled, will feel a little disoriented for a while.”

    “At least you’re all better now, no more illogical abstract ideas.” One of the other doctors smiles down at me in the way that one usually stares at an ill patient. “How do you feel?”

    I try to channel God.

    Dear Heavenly Father, receive my apology. I let them force me, I let them take me in against my will and take you from me.

    My eyes close, as I search for the familiar sense of warmth that sweeps into my chest at His acknowledgement, a reassurance that faith is not something that science can remove. No hacking or cutting from the hands of a mere man can separate me from you, Lord.

    I refuse to believe it — I will not, cannot.

    And yet, there is nothing but the phantoms of silence.

    Tears feel like they are falling from my eyes, stinging the sides of my cheeks. But my face remains dry.

    So this is what it feels to be part of a whole. This is emptiness, loneliness, eating and ripping at the rim of your heart.

    “Did you hear me?” the doctor’s voice bleeds into my thoughts. “How do you feel?”

    I blink and focus in on the reality before me and, realizing that even the surrounding colour in the world has dimmed, tell him: “My God has forsaken me. He has left me defenceless in a world populated by the lost and lonely.””

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7302/full/466150a.html

    Stay tuned…..I am working on a post, rife with documentation, to present to anyone who claims to be an atheist. For the Christian, it will be valuable information but still challenge you to think about WHY you believe…..for the atheist, it will challenge why you don’t believe. ”

    And this was in info on the brain-controlled drone in case you’re interested…….
    “A quadracopter belonging to the University of Minnesota was flown through hoops guided not by a handheld remote control, but by the thoughts of a person sitting nearby.Five test “pilots” recruited by Bin He’s bioengineering lab sat at a desk in a gymnasium wearing a skullcap with 64 electrodes, and took turns individually flying the machine up, down, sideways, and through vibrant orange hoops strung from the ceiling.”

    http://m.nbcnews.com/technology/drone-flies-through-hoops-guided-brainwaves-6C10196995

  14. [Note: I have written the following comment on a few other websites, but this issue is important to me, so I am going to repeat it here. This current article about Kathleen Taylor’s stance against committed fundamentalists, including Christian ones, just confirms for me more than ever that psychiatry is a very dangerous pseudo-science, and those who play with it will get burned!]

    Why do so many Christians uncritically support psychiatry, psychology, and the mental “health” profession when it is evident that many of them view devout Christian faith and obedience as a sure fire sign of “mental illness???” Before I give any example, let the honest Christian reader versed in the Bible take a break for a
    minute to determine how that could be the case for themselves: it really isn’t that hard to figure out. Have none of them ever heard unbelievers say that “Christianity itself is a mental illness” and other similar comments?????

    I even remember during my old public elementary school class that my teacher told us that if anyone truly believed they were possessed by demons, they should be put in a straight jacket and involuntarily committed!!! Demonic possession is a biblical doctrine!!! You either believe the Lord Jesus Christ or you believe men!!! Which is it???? Jesus Christ in His Word revels that demon possessed people need salvation, fasting, and prayer to get better — not psychiatry!!!! The reasoning and actions behind psychiatry are most at home with the children of the dark, not the children of the light — Christians!!!

    Many psychiatrists/psychologists are very biased and antagonistic toward Christianity — especially the fundamentalists — and could secretly find ways to harass them. Because it is not a science, and there exists no real way to tell the real cases of insanity from the fake, and there is also no due process for the
    involuntarily committed, this would be far easier than most people would dare to realize. It seems so many lack discernment here and will defend evil, even attacking the brave few who would dare question this antichristian tower of psycho-babble!!!

    It is esteemed some sacred cow (idol) that no one better dare touch! To their shame, I include many professing Christians in this category!!!! I am far more sympathetic to the professed unbeliever who loves it!!! I feel Satan truly does not want this stronghold exposed and that is why he works vehemently to defend it, and even uses professing, nominal Christians to do this. This has been a devastating trojan horse upon Christianity!!!

    It goes almost entirely unnoticed and uncommented on! I would not be shocked if this industry is used later on to directly persecute Bible-believing Christians, once this nation and even the entire world has slipped into further depravity than even now. Many, many people working in the psychiatric profession are atheists — NOT Christians!!!! A simple internet search will prove this for those who want a source. By their beliefs and fruits you can know them!!!! I am sure some of them (including the ones who claim Christianity) would diagnose me as a “paranoid schizophrenic” for having this view. I do not buy the “chemical imbalance in the brain” theories for insanity.

    I believe many who are deceived by this are probably not saved either. If Jesus Christ and the Prophet Jeremiah had been around today, there is little doubt in my mind psychiatry would have been used against them, and most people (including so-called “Christians”) would be too rebellious and unbelieving to see it, and would aggressively defend the actions of the evil doers under the sinful cloak of “mental heath” and “safety,” rather than suffer for the truth.

    I have done a little research on the topic of whether psychiatry and Christianity are compatible, and I believe they are NOT. I am disgusted so many professing Christians fail to honestly question this. I feel there is no where near enough being done about this poisonous leaven among those professing the Lord Jesus Christ! I
    also include psychiatry and involuntary commitment here, not just psychology, as most of the warning articles written by Christian ministries online do not properly condemn these former two, but focus primarily against psychology. Many of these articles are good, but they simply do not go far enough! The safest way to combat
    this system is to reject it wholesale!!! Just like so-called “Christian” Contemporary Music!

    I believe people who are not insane at all could be committed “as a danger to self or others” because of a purposeful distortion and/or even an out-and-out lie against their devoutly held Christian beliefs. The article “Christian loses suit over ‘gay’ Jesus case” (Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2005/03/293…) points in that direction for the truly discerning with eyes to see and hears to hear who is willing to connect the dots. Michael Marcavage was lucky he encountered mental “health” workers who either weren’t totally biased or were secretly too afraid to do anything to him. God must have had mercy on him there.

    One reason I put this comment here is for those who believe “we should all lock up the crazies” without discrimination or recourse. You just might be consenting to evil!!!! Be careful who you are really serving!!!!! Oh, and for those of them claiming to love America and freedom, their words betray their hypocrisy!!!! If it is suspected “the crazies” have committed a crime or have made death threats, put them in jail!!! At least there they will be given a trial and not tortured by things like electro-shock “therapy,” mind-altering drugs that can actually create insanity (by default), etc.

    I pray that the LORD will help those few who are trying to bring this evil to the light!!! I believe psychiatry has always been a corrupt tree from its foundation and its root — therefore it does not and cannot produce a good fruit!!!! I believe Christians should definitely avoid it and go to God, the church, or even elsewhere for help!!!! I am NOT a Pentecostal or Charismatic either!!! I am just a Bible-believing Christian woman who actually cares and has the nerve to say it online!!! I am so sick of the lies and compromise among those who should know better!!! I
    am appalled more Christians, especially men in the ministry, do not take this stand!!! The end must be near!!!!

  15. The corrected link for “Christian loses suit over ‘gay’ Jesus case” is at http://www.wnd.com/2005/03/29397/

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