Religious Addiction? Real or Fabricated?


#1

Here is an article which desribes a condition of 'religious addiction,’ its signs and symptoms, and how to cope with people who are affected by it.

The author seems to pigeonhole any adherence to an absolute moral code as a symptom of addiction. My favourite quote:

It’s okay to affirm that you don’t care or these aren’t the issues. You don’t need to justify your beliefs to a drunk or druggie.

Now it seems that militant secular humanism is actually trying to label us as diseased.
I can just imagine the religious persecution of the future having us locked up in asylums. :eek:

So what do you think? Is there such a thing as religious addiction? If so, is it how this author describes it?

P.S. this idea seems to have caught on in academia, with studies being published to promote it.


#2

What about transhumanism? Is that a disease too?


#3

Under this criteria, the ‘sickness’ seems to be contingent on a moral belief system:

This paper acquaints one with and examines critically the reality of religious addiction.
…] The religious addict seeks to avoid pain and overcome shame by becoming involved in a belief system which offers security through its rigidity and its absolute values.


#4

Now to seriously address the topic without any reference to cyborgs, transhumanism, or the singularity, I do think religion can be a form of addition.

The feeling that God created you with a purpose would (probably) be more efficacious than an SSRI. (I doubt it can trump MDMA, but that is rather dangerous.)

Remember Marx’s apothegm: religion is the opiate of the masses. It seems to give people hope in a hopeless pointless world. The sentiments of intense love and a rapport with a divine being is rather powerful.
(I too have some beliefs that provide this function, and they are ostensibly based on science.)


#5

My first thought from reading the article is, is this guy an addict himself? Maybe he’s has an academic addiction?

I would say it seems plausable that there are some that can be exactly as he says, but it seems me that he is mixing it up with a straw man. Just because someone argues for a certain position – ex right to life – that doesn’t mean he is addicted. As he says in that case, the best thing to do is to not debate. Being on this site, especially this sub-forum, will give you ample examples of people who will debate the topic, and not just throw out any arguements counter to the point.


#6

This paper acquaints one with and examines critically the reality of religious addiction. It describes some of the defining characteristics and symptoms. Rigidity, black and white thinking, low self-esteem, magical thinking, judgmental attitudes are but a few of the symptoms of this complex phenomenon described by myself as destructive soul work. The religious addict seeks to avoid pain and overcome shame by becoming involved in a belief system which offers security through its rigidity and its absolute values. This paper is not definitive in its scope. It’s purpose is to explore and examine with the goal of gaining insight and awareness into the topic of religious addiction.

Yup, sounds like me, lol, except for rigidity and “black and white thinking.” You should read how many posts I referenced “the Singularity” here over the last week.

I don’t associate with other “religious” people though. Maybe I should join the discussions on a transhumanist message board.

Now, back to reality, I am also interested in pharamceuticals too. (also expressed in some of my posts). That provides more intellectual stimulation that ruminating on “transhumanism”. Transhumanism isn’t a belief system; it is an aspiration to improve life.


#7

interesting I was on a retreat with a priest from Mexico a while back and he addressed this very issue, in terms of various ways one’s spirituality can be compromised by unhealthy practices, listing them and their cures in terms of classic Catholic spiritual direction. (chap 2 of the Dark Night as an example). he used the word addiction to describe several problems that afflict the scrupulous for instance, or the practice of multiple devotions adopted as avoidance tactics against daily life problems.


#8

What is an addiction? I think it is something that people do or practice which they can not escape. I guess I am addicted to breathing and eating and sleeping and will not be able to control this until I die. Maybe these are not bad addictions. Scrupulosity seems to be an addiction certain religious people suffer. It is a sin. Devotions do help us deal with life’s problems. Sometimes they make diffucult situations bearable. They help us get through difficulties. They keep us focused on God and allow us to view problems presented by life through a spiritual lens.


#9

What is an addiction? I think it is something that people do or practice which they can not escape. I guess I am addicted to breathing and eating and sleeping and will not be able to control this until I die. Maybe these are not bad addictions. Scrupulosity seems to be an addiction certain religious people suffer. It is a sin. Devotions do help us deal with life’s problems. Sometimes they make diffucult situations bearable. They help us get through difficulties. They keep us focused on God and allow us to view problems presented by life through a spiritual lens

People are naturally addicted to pornography… it is part of human nature. Many sinful things (that Catholics deem) can be attributed to our biological programs… I do not know what can be gained by rebelling against them.

imminst.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=18740

It is discussed in that thread…

No, I am not… I am interested in other subjects…


#10

The word has a technical meaning, which means a substance which causes the body to modify its metalolism in such a way that withdrawl of the substance will cause physical symptoms. There is also a psychological craving for the substance, and the need to take larger does to obtain the same effect.

In common speech it is also extended to compulsive behavioural disorders such as gambling. Hygiene, exercise, food and religion can also become occasions for obsessive disorders. It is also useful to think of homosexuality as an addiction, when someone say he has a “homosexual orientation” it means he is addicted to same sex stimuli.


#11

What could be gained by sublimating our base appetites to our will? In secular terms - immense power and self-mastery.

I recall a passage in one of C.S. Lewis’ books where he explains that to struggle against ‘sins of the flesh’ is often a safer thing then to truly overcome them and become tempted to more malicious sins, motivated by the naked will rather than concupiscence. That would be like replacing the ‘animal self’ with the ‘diabolical self,’ capable of much greater damage to oneself and others. The most notorious sinners of history - Adolf Hitler, for one - are often noted for their extreme, even obsessive and neurotic, asceticism. Ascetics makes one powerful. This is why Christianity has, as an essential element, the war against self-pride, and emphasises humility as the mother of all virtues.


#12

That doesn‘t seem to be what the author of the referenced article is talking about. He seems to simply presuppose that the only conceivable reason for holding religious beliefs is to be able to „thank God that I am not like that sinner over there“.

If evidence were lacking that „those who don‘t stand for something will fall for anything“, this guy‘s ideology has provided some.


#13

Let’s be honest: these quotes from the article are scary:

First point: he gives out a dose of “don’t think.” That is to say, he’s not arguing for convincing with this article. Essentially, what he’s looking for are people who already agree with him, turning that head nod into repeated action and then saying to them “don’t open your minds to legitimate intellectual discussion. close them and pretend your side is the only side of the issue.” Ironic that the very thing he PRETENDS to promulgate is the one thing he tries to destroy amongst those who agree with him.

Point number two: He dismisses social issues… this country is too sick to deal with a major social problem? NO! I reject ever accepting social catastrophes in the face of weak statements like that. Essentially, he’s providing an excuse for his own readers to plug their ears and hum lalala (or do whatever else it is that atheists do whilst ignoring vast social problems)

Point number three: the dehumanization process. He paints all christians who happen to (oh so inconveniently) disagree with his POLITICAL views as unthinking automatons. He paints them with the brush of diseased. Creates them as the problem in our society… as though the religious are a cancer. What he doesn’t realize (or maybe, with more sinister intent, DOES realize) is that he’s creating this form of cancer in his own kind… and the last time someone did that, let’s not forget what followed closely after: holocaust.

SOMETHING needs to be done to blow the top off the world’s anti-religious fascism so that the little hitlers of today never have the chance to reach places of power where they can once again use the language of “disease”, addiction, and hate speech to promulgate the murder of millions.


#14

What will the Ivory Tower come up with next?

I’d have an easier time believing “religious addiction” was a real phenomenon if it weren’t being peddled by pathological religiophobes.

I think you’re right on when you note the stink of relativism in this.

In the meantime, I’ll keep taking that vitamin G-O-D.


#15

“The Fairness Project : A Space to Create Equality for All People” is the website name. All people except us, apparently.

So a homosexual lifestyle is okay, but a religious lifestyle is a destructive addiction. Gotcha.

I think I’ll say a rosary for this guy.


#16

Usually, I wouldn’t make a move to call something well-adjusted an “addiction”. Most people who follow a religion are well-adjusted. It seems to function in a positive manner in their lives, not a destructive manner. Perhaps this man is only trying to talk about people whose lives are being destroyed by some behavior of theirs?

I didn’t really get that impression from the article, though. It seemed almost like it was concerned that certain beliefs (like pro-life) are in themselves signs of disease. I’m not sure, though. I’d need more data on this man and his beliefs.


#17

In related news, oxygen also has been declared addictive. Over 99% of respondents surveyed state that oxygen is so important to their lives that they don’t feel like they could live without it. Experts therefore urge the public to stop using oxygen immediately.


#18

I see some of the thinking I recognize from college in his suggestion that vague expressions such as “a seldom-used late-term procedure” and “equal rights for all” are somehow more straightforward and clear than “partial-birth abortion” and “gay rights”.
In reality, the clear and “exactly what it is” terms would be something along the lines of “dismemberment of half-born babies instead of a C-section” and “acceptance of homosexuality as normal”, but I’ll go with the more common, easier-to-say terms.


#19

Humanity’s general addiction (not accusing anyone here) of being addicted pornography is side-effect of the evolutionary necessity for self-preservation. (Or rather the preservation of our genes.)

However, I am not endorsing pornography or condoning in that statement…

Wanna know why oxygen is so addictive?

O[sub]2[/sub] + 4e- + 4H+ ----> 2H[sub]2[/sub]O

E´0 (V) = 0.82 V

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=stryer.table.2497

Electrons are derived from foodstuff… the electrons from food are transfered to NAD+ and FAD to form NADH and FADH[sub]2[/sub] respectively. Laconically the high energy electrons from the aforementioned reducing agents and the energy produced from reducing water is used to pump protein against a gradient thus driving a molecule ATP synthase to create a high-energy phosphoanhydride bonds in the ATP molecule from ADP and phosphate.

Got a better electron acceptor than oxygen that we can use?

What could be gained by sublimating our base appetites to our will? In secular terms - immense power and self-mastery.

I recall a passage in one of C.S. Lewis’ books where he explains that to struggle against ‘sins of the flesh’ is often a safer thing then to truly overcome them and become tempted to more malicious sins, motivated by the naked will rather than concupiscence. That would be like replacing the ‘animal self’ with the ‘diabolical self,’ capable of much greater damage to oneself and others. The most notorious sinners of history - Adolf Hitler, for one - are often noted for their extreme, even obsessive and neurotic, asceticism. Ascetics makes one powerful. This is why Christianity has, as an essential element, the war against self-pride, and emphasises humility as the mother of all virtues.

I always thought self-mastery to overcome our animal instincts was an extremely virtuous aspiration.


#20

A better take on this may be found in Jeff Vanvonderen’s (yes, the guy from “Intervention”) book “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.” My wife found it particularly helpful as we crossed the Tiber, she from a Pentecostal community where such abuse was common.

Wouldn’t classify it as “religious addiction” as rather “unscrupulous pastors who manipulate their flock to keep the bucks rolling in.”


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