Rational Response Squad: Kelly's Blog
Kelly of the Rational Response Squad is writing a year-long series to address theist talking heads in the media. Kelly is a Psychology major, co-host of the RRS Radio show, and has been featured on ABC debating Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. Here, we reprint select articles with permission.
January 13 - Still Don't Think that Theism is a Mental Disorder?
Wow. A whole barrage of nonsense came at us in the past two weeks or so. First off...a man cuts off his own hand after seeing the Mark of the Beast on it. With a circular saw. And then microwaves it. And then calls the authorities. A quote from one of the sherriff's deputies states, "That kind of mental illness is just sad." I couldn't agree more.
Now, I know what you guys are going to say--"It's not BECAUSE of religion." Actually, I don't think that a case could be made either way. Was he likely vulnerable to delusional behavior? Yeah, I'll concede that one. The fact that religion is unique in its ability to seep into the crevices of your mind so pervasively that this theme plays out in our society over and over again isn't addressed by that statement, though. How do the appeasers and framers answer that? Maybe it only manifests itself in those already prone to mental illness, but isn't that akin to excusing and perpetuating a belief system that preys on the weak? What exactly is it that causes atheists to feel this compulsion to cover for a malevolent, archaic belief that has caused mothers to kill their children, countless cases of child abuse, seemingly endless wars and violence, and self-mutilation and flagellation that can be traced back to the very foundation of the religion?
One doesn't need to delve too deeply to uncover the singular thread that has persisted throughout religious history--violence. Violence against others and oneself. Internally or externally expressed; it's there from day one. Ignatius of Loyola makes an interesting case study demonstrating the way in which religion exploits this predisposition to self-loathing and delusional disorders. The esteemed founder of the Jesuit's autobiography details graphically the man's obsession with self-harm, his hallucinations, and his severe depression which would at times lead him to drastic measures such as digging a hole in his room at college deep enough that he hoped to end his life by jumping into it. All that to escape the demons that he felt were tempting him with indecent, ungodly thoughts. Sometimes that would lead to an insatiable desire to harm himself in order to purge this evil from his body, simultaneously punishing himself for not having the strength to resist thoughts that were likely normal human doubts and concerns. His life as a beggar on the streets, living only off of the good-will (and pity) of others, as well as an extremely hazardous trek from his home in Italy to Jerusalem soon after his conversion on which he embarked with nothing more than the clothes on his back all coalesce to form an image of a man haunted by the great spectre in the sky and his impending wrath.
Augustine also suffered from some degree of guilt after his drastic conversion; either from his previously debacherous lifestyle, the fact that his father was never "saved", or the fact that he stole fruit from a tree as a young teen, the almighty, supposedly omnibenevolent, god has stricken people with fear, guilt, shame, and remorse severe enough to permanently alter their lives--and often those of the innocent people around them.
Next up in "Nutter News from the RRS", we have the pope (yeah - Ratzi again) urging people to pray for clergy members who sexually abuse children. I assume he doesn't think that removing them from their posts is the most pragmatic solution and would rather leave it in the hands of god--or in other words, do nothing. He's actually ordered every parish and diocese to set up prayer teams for round-the-clock vigils to help support the pedophiles in their midst. The most disturbing quote, one that I'm hoping was merely a nuance of translation, was, "The pope asked Roman Catholics to pray for the 'mercy of God for the victims of the grave situations caused by the moral and sexual conduct' of clergy members in daily prayers of penance and purification, The Times of London said Monday." Hold on...could you run that by me one more time? He wants them to pray that god has mercy...on the victims?! I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto--we've been transported straight to bizarro world.
Let me give the church some advice since I still possess the faculty of reason: Stop covering up for these people!! Either they are mentally ill or just sociopathic and have no business in a congregation, school, or possibly even in public. The church's willingness to cover for them (note the use of the words "sexual conduct" instead of "misconduct" from the pope) obviously persists to this day and likely will never stop. Any person who willingly leaves their child in the care of these men of god is as delinquent and delusional as the pope apparently is. (On a side note, I find it especially ironic that the first empire in search of global domination was in fact the catholic church, and now Ratzinger issues an encyclical highlighting the dangers of globalization. Flip-flop much? When are you going to outlaw mass in the vernacular and start burning bibles in any language other than Latin? We all know how much more powerful the church was when nobody could understand that nonsense.)
The third, and final, course of irrationality that I'm going to serve will be the petition floating around the interwebs demanding the removal of drawings depicting Mohammed from Wikipedia. The text states that, "In Islam pictures or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and other holly figures are not allowed, but on wikipedia they has published some pictures that are showing not only a body with white face but an image that has a complete face.. that is even not allowed by SHITAT fact of Islam.
i request all my brothers and sisters to sign this petition so we can tell wikipedia to remove them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad specially this image http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Maome.jpg ."
First of all, work on your spelling. It's hard enough to read this without having to cringe internally with every other word just from the grammatical errors. Secondly, Wikipedia is not run by Muslims, and therefore has no obligation to adhere to your silly laws. The rest of us are free to depict him however we choose. Just for good measure, I've included some pictures of Mohammed. Feel free to start a petition to have my blog removed from the internet, barbarians.
Anybody who would like to donate to help us increase security due to the likelihood of psychopathic idiots coming to chop off our heads with rusty machetes may do so here. If they can get 34,000 signatures on their petition, we should be able to get a grand for some guard dogs, right?
You can read Kelly's original blog post and other great entries at RationalResponders.com