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Coming our way: Christianity as mental illness

persecutionChristians 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 cultideology” 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

Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.

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Amen

I want to be filled with and lead by the Holy Spirit. He will lead us into all truth.

How about the Book of Revelation: John's visions from the Lord were not always "peaceful, calming nor temperate. In your estimation, was he crazy also?

Mercy Pastor T,

I will keep you in prayer.   There is nothing God calls us to that is unhealthy.   The friend of yours may have had other issues and been in a different place.  When it comes to others, each circumstance is different, as is each walk with Christ.  I know I will never get too much of my Heavenly Father.   Even if a person has mental issues that are born in their genetics all things work together for good to them that love the Lord.   So even for those who have mental illness, if it were God's plan he has a reason.   There have been some who think they hear from Holy Spirit but there is a mixture of selfishness, greed, and other issues mixed in.   Why it is so important to allow God to clean you up.  Let Him point out what needs repairing.   Some may say I am crazy too.  I have come to lean heavily on the Holy Spirit for my guidance and direction, I stop and ask for confirmation before moving.   

There was a situation just yesterday.  My daughter is studying with a friend who had self-esteem problems.  She was hurting.    The Holy Spirit has moved on her life.  When she wants to do something not healthy or not pleasing, the Holy Spirit speaks to her.   She has come a long way-not perfect but healing.  Yesterday my daughter was preparing to go with the Bible Instructor for study.    I heard the Holy Spirit say call the mother and invite her.  The daughter had said my mother listens to nothing about God.   My daughter called the mother, and the mother said she could not attend, but will get information about the study from her daughter, and was so happy my daughter called to invite her.    That is how God operates.  Had I not listened, had we not called, what would that be, a missed opportunity.   The door is open for the mother now and we will try again.

But the Holy Spirit has not failed me yet, so I will continue to put my trust in him.

Psalm 34:5

For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

But to use this as a reason not to have a close personal walk with the Father is beyond me.   Especially when it will help you with your salvation.  

Please listen to the Holy Spirit.   He wants to talk to you on this matter.   We cannot save you, only Jesus saves, so please pray deeply about this as I will pray for you on this matter too.

Heaven help us Pr T 

I guess what I am saying is that the feeling of intense passion for spiritual relationship may not always be healthy. 

Is this indicative of the general attitude of most pastors? Those who are supposed to care and feed the flock. If this is the case we will soon be sleeping in the bosom of Babylon. 

One would think that The Holy Spirit does not approach all the same way. We can find examples in the Bible of various ways that the Holy Spirit works. 

yes, that is true both from the scriptures and from people's walk with The Lord; there are different ways that revelation is given and received; still small voice is common, feelings, pain as in ministering healing to know where the pain is in subject being healed; visual, audible, or just a knowing...

Revelation may vary by type of reception (visual, still small voice etc.) not just from person to person, but even from time to time or incident in one individual. I have received usually still small voice or a knowing, other times a feeling, other times visual. This is also true with all types of revelation; word or message of knowledge, word or message of wisdom, discerning of spirits.

For "church" leaders of any type not to be experienced in listening to the Voice of The Lord and operation of the 9 manifestations of holy spirit means that the leader is spiritual blind as far as really knowing what is going on in his area of responsibility as far as revelation is concerned, and with no ability other than what he can perceive through the 5 senses with his carnal mind, as the written word does not cover individual unique situations you may encounter as far as guidance and knowledge and wisdom of what to do. Further more that leader would not have any ability to deal with spirits of the Devil, no ability to heal or prophesy or do perfect prayer. Basically, very limited and no miracles for the most part.

Thus, the above is "normal" for modern Christianity. Hearing the Voice of The Lord and operation of the 9 manifestations is considered "abnormal" or "mentally ill," or "counterfeit," [including speaking in tongues which is Biblical, unless you want to cut those sections out of the scriptures as though they never existed] for that which The Lord considers not only normal behavior, but expected and desired, to bring to pass deliverance to God's people according to the Great Commission and other scriptures.

Thus, multitudes of people are oppressed, influenced, demonized and even possessed by various devil spirits with no relief or viable deliverance through the churches of modern Christianity for the most part. The leaders are spiritually blind, deaf and dumb, and have no clue of what to do or how to proceed, not willing or able to listen to the voice of The Lord, to operate the 9 manifestations of holy spirit to bring actual deliverance to God's people by healing, casting out demons etc. by the power of God and by guidance of the holy spirit.

In desperation, people turn to astrology, other gods, rely completely on medical treatment or drugs legal or illegal, or alcohol to calm their nerves etc. Prophesy which we are supposed to covet to, is seldom heard, and sometimes if heard, it is not from God. When heard and from God, it is denounced as counterfeit because it is maybe critical of the church leaders, or indirectly they feel threatened by it, as it could effect the coffers of tithes and other offerings which are the most important element of modern Christianity so called. The cash cow cannot be effected, just as the money changers were most upset with Jesus whipping them out of the temple and overturning their tables.

God has need of real leaders who are obedient and loyal to God than to man-made religions. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon (money).

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