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can religion help mental health
October 30, 2000
5:04 pm
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i'll try to start a journal, as u said, i'll write what i'm feeling and why i think i'm feeling this way. this is nice. it feels a good thing to do. i'll also let it be known in the group therapy session. thanks tez ..

i just asked myself what i am feeling. the answer was i'm feeling blank. after sometiems i said i'm feeling hopeless and guilty that i've wasted all these days doing nothing. i had a big project and havent done much about anything yet. then i think i should start studying so that the guilt wll go away, but the feeling comes that i cant study and i'll fail. why do i think i'll fail? cause its happened so many times before, that whenever i tried i always failed in consistent studying.
i dont know where to go from here. what do i do next?
i think ok, i should give it one more try, or try to get some motivation in me. but i dont know how to do it.
then came the thought about a girl who i like very much but she doesnt. i feel hopeless again. i tried but it failed.
am i going on the right track which u said? what do i from now?

October 30, 2000
8:04 pm
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all i'm thinking is: i'm a failure, i'm a failure. nothings gonna work, nothings gonna work. what do i do now?

October 31, 2000
11:00 am
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Cici
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I was readin gup on Buddhist scripture teh other day adn I came accorss a very interesting passage, which discussed the theory of anatman, or "no self."

The point was, how can you be "yourself" when your body is shared by billions of microorganisms. I thought this was interesting because of some research on parasites and microflora that I have been doing. Certain parasites can control emotions in their hosts, and certain microflora, or lack thereof (healhy intestinal flora like L. Acidophilus and Bifidium) can cause mental illness, most keenly, depression or bipolar mood disorder.

Toxoplasmosis can be contracted through chaning litterboxes or any contact with the feces of domesticated cats. These little parasites are supposed to infect the brains of mice or other rodents. Once infected, it increases the risk taking behavior of the organism in whose brain the parasites form tiny cysts. In humans, the cysts increase risk-taking behaviors as well. Those infected tend to bemore outgoing and take more risks. Although fewer Americans are infected, it is theorized that this is more common in Europe, especially France.

Microflora in your digestive tract secrete acidic and anti-bacterial substances that control yeast and E-Coli. As well as other nasties. The ratoi in a healthy human is 80% good flora to 20% "bad" flora. Taking antibiotics can permanently throw your system out of whack. The good microflora also secrete vitamins B and K, essential for healthy brain functioning and coping with stress. Vitamin K is found in trace amounts in food, not enough to sustain the human.

Many with depression, anxitey problems and chronic illnesses have responded well to probiotic therapy, which is actually takin capsules filled with billions of the good microflora. For some, the psychiatric symptoms can completely disappear.

Which is why now many doctor are recommending probiotic replacement during and after treatments using antibiotics.

I think a major drawback of modern therapeutic technique, from Freud to Piaget, is that it is too coldly rational. There is no place in modern psychological theory, for religion. But religion has existed far longer than psychological theory. And from talking to my uncle-in-law, who is a devout minister who ministers to teh poverty-stricken in war-torn Eastern Europe, he said about 70% of his work is therapy. The priest or monastic community were the first social workers.

There is a certain instinctual urge to help others, at least in some. How do you explain religion and teh great religious figures like Mother Theresa and Mohandas Ghandi?

November 1, 2000
12:56 pm
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I think that if someone really believes that religion is helping them in the mental state then it will because they ar taking the initiative to overcome their illness.

November 2, 2000
4:52 pm
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Cici.

Your response of the 31-Oct-00 consisted of two parts.

The first made the point that our physiology greatly affects our state of mind and in particular our emotions. I also acknowledge the effects of parasites, etc as being lumped within the category of 'physiological effects' on our brain. However in regard to the emotions, there can be no doubt that cognitions do also have a large effect upon the state of our emotions. One major difference between us and the other animals is that we have developed our forebrain to the point wherein we can, with knowledge, insight and lots of practice, use our cognitions to control our emotions. I doubt that other animals can do this. Since the majority of human beings seem not have the knowledge, ability or inclination to do this at this stage then doctors are taking the only course open to them; namely to use drugs. My argument is not directed towards this majority but towards the minority who have the insight and realisation of the nature of this cognitive/emotion interactions and who choose to live a drug free life where practical.

Your second point was that "There is no place in modern psychological theory, for religion." Rightly so. Psychological research has as its basis the philosophy of science. Religions have as their basis the teachings of some guru, shaman, prophet etc which have, I suspect, been distorted by interpretation, limitations of written communications and time.

In validating religion, you said, "But religion has existed far longer than psychological theory. " And so have wars. What does this prove?

And, "And from talking to my uncle-in-law, who is a devout minister who ministers to the poverty-stricken in war-torn Eastern Europe, he said about 70% of his work is therapy." You are trying to argue from the particular to the general. I don't deny that a minister can also be a therapist and vice versa. I don't see this as relevant either way. Individual human beings seem to be able to compartmentalise their beliefs avoiding cognitive dissonance by denial. We are discussing the compatability of organised religions (as opposed to spirituality) and mental health (as defined by the branch of science called psychology). The benefits of spirituality is another issue altogether. I hope you make this distinction between religion and spirituality.

And "There is a certain instinctual urge to help others, at least in some. How do you explain religion and the great religious figures like Mother Theresa and Mohandas Ghandi?" I would not contend that there is not some good that results from the actions of certain members of organised religions. The motivation to help others is not the preserve of religions anyway. What we are discussing is the general effect of religions on mental health. My contention is that the notion of sin, guilt and fear of eternal damnation, full personal and moral responsibility for all one's intentions, cognitions, emotions etc to a judgemental god that demands worship, placation and conformity is unhealthy. Many wars were and are fought with differing religious beliefs as their justification. The very notion that a god has a chosen race or chosen religion, is in itself a sick one.

All religions seem to demand adherence to their doctrines or else repercussions; punishment and rejection by a superior power in this and an after life; fear, fear. Perhaps Buddhism, towards which I lean, is an exception. But even Buddhism demands conformity of belief within the sect. I found this out first hand. Thus I am not a Buddhist. Religions seem to use fear as their primary weapon to win converts and to maintain power over their members. The need for power over others is fear driven. Freedom to think for oneself and to challenge their beliefs with rational argument is discouraged by social sanctions of one kind or another. The goings on in Kingdom Hall by the Jehovah Witnesses, the threat of the bell, book and candle of the Catholics... I've seen too much of it to believe otherwise than organised religious beliefs do not foster freedom of thought, self actualisation and high positive self regard; all synonomous with mental health. They would have us believe that we are all sinners unworthy of God's love without the existence of some saviour to make a blood sacrifice in reparation for our sins. Why foster an already low self-esteem and self-worth in the mentally unhealthy person with further talk of the general unworthiness of human nature; it doesn't make sense.

November 2, 2000
5:03 pm
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Guest_guest.

Try thinking " i'm a success, i'm a success. Everything's gonna work, everything's gonna work."

Then, guard against the negative thoughts like, "this is bull shit! It's not true."

You have been conditioned to think negatively. Don't be a 'victim' any longer. Unless you like being that way of course.
There is just as much 'proof' for belief in the 'positive' as in the 'negative'; none in both cases. So why not choose to be positive.

Search for and find a personal belief that fosters this hope and positivity. Don't become a 'god botherer' though. 🙂

November 2, 2000
5:58 pm
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god botherer? whats that?

hmm.. so even if the dialogue "i'm good" seems fake to me, and i'm not beleiving in it right now, should i still keep saying it to myself?
i have a tape thats a sort of hypnotizer, it says +things. when i heard it in the beginning, it used to make an effect on me for soem while. the tape said i should listen to it for 21 days. but the effect started to wear out, until it started to appear like a normal dull robotic routine. so i felt it was useless and shut it down.
so u're saying that i should basically subdue all negative messages even if they appear to be reality (like the tape routine got dull and it seemed it wasnt working on me anymore).

if i get the thought, 'this isnt working', should i say against it that 'it will work' ? and keep saying it? this is quite interesting. just fighting all the negative messages and watching out for them?

November 3, 2000
2:00 am
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why would anyone want to be a victim ?

November 3, 2000
9:04 am
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i think if a person has a strong belief - then yes. if no then he has to find another ways of helping him/herself. for example, psychoyherapy.

November 3, 2000
10:51 am
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Tez, ah-ah. You're going from specific to general, as I was guilty of. You aruge that most religions demand adgerence or eke out punishments. This may be true for western religions, but you neglect Sikhism, the Sufi mystics of Islam, Jainism, Shintoism, Zarathustrism, Hiduism, Confuscianism, which are little known in the West but thriving and strong in the east. Only in the west do we seek to delineate and separate. In the east, it is quite possible to be Buddhist, Shinto and Confucian, with no contradictions seen therein. Sin and "eternal damnation" are not part of these religions. You discount a good 3/4 of the world's population through our generalizations.

You argue that the feelings of guilt, fear and power interfere make religion an unhelpful entity. Yet if you study religion academically, these tenants are never supported by religious ideological founders. These aspects of fear, power, guilt, are instituted by teh individaul cognitive patterns and humanly flawed interpretations. If the individual himself is not driven by fear, they will not be affected by that within the context of religion.

I don't consider the pope, or the religious right of the Christian Coalition of Baptists in America, so be religous organizations or in any way representative of the principles held by the religion. They are political orgnaizations.

What separates human from animals is not necessarily or ability to have higher cognitive powers. Depending on the philosopher you talk to , some may even believe that our "higher cognitions" consist of the ability to decieve ourselves into thinking that we have ultimae control. I say, control over what? The biological entity that fades and falters at every turn? If the soul is merely a passenger in the vehilce that is existence, then what, exactly, do our thoughts come from? And what do they pertain to?

You compare the existence of war to teh existence of religion. But what proof is there that war occured in the time of initial homo sapein development? War is what follows organized, society. Do you speak of confrontation? Unrest? what is your definitaion of war? Martial conflict? I assume the dictionary definition of war, which indicates that it is martial conflict at a grand scale. Religion, it has been evidenced existed even at the hunter-gatherer stage, when war was impossible because humans existed in small, familial social groups which woul make large-scale martical conflict rather unlikely.

The urge to understand what is beyond ourselves ahs charaterized man from our inception. I am offended that youwould compare religion to war.

You speak of religion in terms of human interpretation. We have always been able to stretch the letter of the law until it breaks, ignoring the precepts of the religion in favor of political intrigues. Take the Spanish inquisition, for example. This was the hight of un-Christian behavior. Jesus espoused nonviolent resistence and love toward all. That does not mean Christians today practice what Jesus preached. They practice whatever is most convenient to them.

It is difficult, then to distinguish religion for spirituality. I believe the title of this thread may be inadequate. The word Religion has political connotations stemming from teh actions of the organization, not the individual.

My premise is that belief in something greter than yourself and the persuit of blanace, truth and equity, all of which are the goals of religion as stated by most all of the founders. What is practiced today could be called merely a bastardization of initial intention.

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