Religion and mental illness

image of an Italian monk wearing

An Italian monk wearing funeral attire

I have many religious friends who are clearly not mentally ill. They like to fool themselves into acceptance of their religion by denial that their religion promotes unethical and at times horrific actions, not to mention the acceptance of supernatural occurrences without a smidgen of evidence.

There is a wide range of this self delusional behavior. Some claim secularism yet support the authenticity of their holy book. My Muslim friend claims that the Qu’ran is a book of high moral and intellectual instruction, as long as we can ignore the horrors that it teaches. I instruct him continuously; I think he’s coming around.

My strongly religious Christian friends and family members simply refuse to discuss the horrible immoral teachings and examples contained in the Bible and practiced by their adherents. I’ve always wondered, at what point does this attitude become mental illness? I recently came across this article written in 1997 by Jason R. Tippet, “Religious Fundamentalism As Mental Illness.” I certainly don’t agree with everything he writes, but that’s okay. The point is obvious. There is a certain point where the religious cross the line into mental illness.

To close, I’d like to share with you a Humpty Dumpty prayer. Everyone hold hands…or something:

From The Humpty Dumpty Gospel: “The Hump’s Spell”

Holey Holey Hole in the bread I sat on a wall and now I am dead Holey Holey Hole in the bread

The Big Hump on the wall his days numbered three they didn’t let him down not even to pee – Holey Holey Hole in the bread I sat on the wall and now I am dead Holey Holey Hole in the bread.

Browns passed by and scolded The Great Egg on high shouting death to your white death to your good for quite soon for the worms you’ll be food (pronounced “fud” in days of yore). Holey Holey Hole in the bread I sat on the wall and now I am dead. Holey Holey Hole in the bread.

The Fall was foretold by the Father; oh Great Cock in the sky and kitchen: “whence he shall rise as the one and true and divinely tasty Spring Chicken.” – Holey Holey Hole in the bread I sat on the wall and now I am dead. Holey Holey Hole in the bread.

To answer the obvious question that follows: No, I don’t do drugs.


  1. Humpty-Dumpty

    You’re a rip Acharya! 😆

    1. Thanks, Mike, but I can’t take credit for this one – this post belong to Freethought Nation guest writer J.H. Chrestos.

      I need help with this Joomla website to make such things more obvious…

      I did, however, edit the piece a wee bit and add the image, which I thought was rather humorous, in a pathetic way.

  2. Oh Great Cock in the Sky and kitchen may you always rise to the occasion! I love the wit and intelligence in JH’s postings. I hope this becomes a weekly/regular posting/ Thanks for bringing him to our attention Acharya!

  3. I feel the same way about how people get emotionally wrapped up in political figures, completely disregarding fact and logic. If it feels good, vote for it/believe in it!! If it makes you think, waaaah, it’s too hard, and makes me mad. No wonder the aliens aren’t revealing themselves yet. We’re still a planet of children.

  4. I read a very short, but to the point book by Henry E. Jone, M.D called “Religion: The Etiology of Mental Illness”. He argues religions, at least the ones we know, are a mental illness.

    1. I agree, Amy! I mean, if i showed up demanding that Santa Claus be revered as the one and only true god; and I ranted and demanded you follow my “knowing” of Santa Clause: I would be carried off!

      We force the rest of us to live inside this nonsensical make-believe authoritarian context around us, reciting nonsense, practicing our submissive subservience. No wonder we can’t seem to get anywhere in our civic existence!

  5. :dry: I’m afraid the whole world is mad ! u see it only takes one freak to toss the whole crowd into a panic…like spookin a horse ! The media does this all the time …now you say you can’t see the insanity ? that’s because your conditioned into a certain way of perceiving things …no doubt your still subconsciously very religious ! ask yourself if you really don’t believe there’s a god .no ifs or maybe’s …what’s your answer ? see….you don’t know …i guarantee you if you didn’t turn a blind eye to
    the evil that religious education is…half your friends would take offence and avoid you like the plague ! come come child …lets not kid ourselves here …you are a wishy washy Mr in between …no good for making a stand …a coward … 🙁

    1. NO gOD
      There is a probability that I will be struck by lightning 100 times to day. This I understand but it won’t prevent me from going outside. But that probability is higher than the probability that there is a god. Don’t adopt a position of until you have thought of each possible alternative and then disregarded the most implausible. The final hurdle to understanding the god question is Time. Simply falling back to a completely indefensible position is wrong. Replacing a Multiverse with an all-powerful being still leaves the same question “who or what created him/her.” Why not save a step and say the Multiverse has always been. The big question is “Who or what started this whole thing.” Time is the juxtaposition of events as they are perceived in our minds that we measure and then call time. There is no beginning and there is no end. The Multiverse continues to recycle and has always been. There is no need to invoke a god. I can absolutely say that I understand the answers to the questions that have always been answered by the conclusion “god did it”. And I can absolutely say There is NO gOD, in the same way that I can absolutely say that I will not be struck by lightning 100 times today.

    2. Really Chuk?
      To assume that you know how someone else thinks and/or to project your thoughts onto them and then declare them to be true is exactly what religion has done for centuries. I for one have no illusions or hesitation; I do NOT believe that there is any spiritual/mythical creature or man or woman who is overseeing our lives and controlling us like puppets on strings. Have you read Acharya’s books? Or are you one of those who simply log on here looking for people to attack? Are you so afraid of what you might find that instead of doing research you rant and rave and accuse others of being cowards? Time to look in the mirror Chuk. The real cowards are those that never grow, never have any desire to learn and do not even attempt to think critically. Instead they lash out at those they fear and call them names like little children. Really? A coward? For thinking? Stating his beliefs? Let’s not kid ourselves here- he took a stand. You may not agree but there is nothing wishy washy here- other than your choppy phrases and false assumptions.

  6. Stuk Chuk
    Thank you dear jesus for bestowing upon me the highest gift of all – I do indeed enjoy being a crossbred human/reptilian demigod. I claim my birthright and I stand before you entitled to all the corrupted fruits of your holy labor.

    Do you know what is mad my learned friend? Accepting false paper gods, religions, governments, parties, countries etc. God did not make borders, and he’d be pretty angry with you for adhering to them if he existed.

    I fear the people’s ability to believe in political figures, nationalism over humanism, and fake corporate media springs from a lifetime of indoctrination in lies and religious propaganda perpetrated by… hold on… our parents. My parents were too lazy to be christian, I was lucky. They were too lazy to teach me, they sent me to read instead, I was lucky.

    Chuk, I love you, and I forgive you. Let us say a prayer for the dying.
    It’s time to rhyme…

    I have given up embarrassment for the sake of enjoyment. I live vicariously through myself and in a two party system I prefer the after party. I love the fantasy of paying rent as between my fingers run the sands of Megiddo. The only thing worse than prophesy is self-fulfilling prophesy. Religion impedes progress but god is my foreign policy. You cannot be saved if you do not play the game. I am the Doctor of Doubt and the virgin birth is the only proof I need. The jews killed jesus and I vote bible. I have overburdened my argument with ostentatious erudition and I need to quote great men because I am not one. Thomas Jefferson said “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man,” but god forgives Amerika. The man and the office are one and the same. Although I have 60 votes, I only need 51. Power is the only anarchism and the Narodnichestvo says there is no room for grey in a black and white world. Human beings are an endangered species. Why do they hate us when we are so good?


    Rachel Corrie shall live on in hearts and in our minds.

  7. perhapz i was a little provocative ! still ..nothing ventured nothing gained .you see growth is my middle name ! it’s try before you buy …not any one elses sales pitch ! i talk from years of experience when i say things Josephine sweety . if you want a decent human being he must be strong sexually and so must his wife ….this is where true love lies ! in the growth of fleshly pursuit…hence the other side says the ways of the flesh are at enmity with god ! this is Judaism at its finest MR ZILVER ! NO DIFFERENT FROM THE CHRISTIAN VERSION ! NOW IT TAKES COURAGE to face the other side, if your weak ! if you don’t know the game ! so i say brains will win sure …this is why we give you the knowledge you need to finally beat every sadistic mind game they throw at you ! to be free is a state of nature you should strive for …because only then can you contribute for you species with a full deck of cards . why ? there are varying degrees …but a straight arrow will help us all flow out of the stone age .and what are you doing Josaphine ?never mind about Aliens …though they must exist ..chances are we have never been visited . our universe is so vast space travel is not probable for anything close ! from what i’ve seen on the subject …they are ridiculous lies told like gypsies and fortune tellers .if you want a good earth …GET RID OF THE SMART CROOK …THEY ALL PUSH RELIGION !

  8. Upchuk
    No offense chuk but by chance are you mentally ill? It’s as if you are posting comments and calling names based on some other article. How in the world can you conclude that I am in any way wishy-washy? Perhaps your the type of person that is incapable of understand satire. One would think the plethora of double entendres were a dead giveaway. But you still don’t get to start throwing insults around. Stepping out on a limb with one’s own creation whether it is a poem, an article or whatever is certainly not cowardice. It is the opposite. So, while you sit back and tear down others in an attempt to elevate yourself why don’t you take a quick look at the dictionary definition of the word coward and don’t be surprised if you see your own picture staring back at you.


  10. Religion is insanity
    Amy: ” I read a very short, but to the point book by Henry E. Jone, M.D called “Religion: The Etiology of Mental Illness”. He argues religions, at least the ones we know, are a mental illness.”

    There is no doubt in my mind that Henry E. Jone M.D is right on the button. Delusional belief is an insanity and the reason that we don’t see this clearly is that we live in a culture where this insanity is ubiquitous. It is sort of a socially programmed hypnosis of the masses where it is difficult to tell the sane from the majority of insane. The simple fact is that if one person believed in a flying tea cup rotating around a planet, prayed to it, demonstrated over it, spoke with it, killed for it,etc., we would have him committed to a mental institution. It is only because there are so many of them that their condition is accepted with the comment ” but it makes them feel good so let them do it, or think it.” And I might add that those who know religion is insanity and are subject to its cruelty and irrationality, but do nothing, deserve to be called insane too.

  11. first class Tony ….no offence is ever taken by any one trying to put tags on me ! as long as you push for a religion free world … fascism will cease !i don’t pretend to have come from mars and not been victimized from childhood by the western versions !nor would i say i’m the full quid or didn’t follow idiots up the garden path .but i will say ….i learned from my mistakes and now i’m fast becoming free from them !lets leave it at that,i am happy to support and challenge any what i and i say i …would consider a little wishy washy . cowards is just a word , tomorrow you may not run away from what you once feared …this is my learning .if you look will see my critical s are positive ….they are not meant to offend but push you into a higher field of en-devour .look closely at yourself Chrestos …A PSEUDO intellectual laughing at suckers ,happy to mix with pretenders …where are we in the grand circus mate ?you won’t pull the wool over my eyes…i have seen the coming of the Lord you know .

  12. :s criminal insanity , in my book …is those that know, but do not try to preach that religion is bastardization ! that wait till you are retarded enough to prey on !that set a trap for little children not old enough to think for themselves , and fill them full of superstition …to ruin their entire lives !let us be unmerciful

  13. Thnx Tony, I couldn’t agree more!!

  14. Chuk, look below, it’s a clue
    Chuk, please purchase a dictionary and work on the grammar. Your punctuation is atrocious and you have yet to make your point. I get that you hate me for reasons yet undisclosed. I have made it clear which side of the debate I am on as I attack religion at every opportunity. I also promote reason, intellect, and science at every opportunity. I am an atheist as I have exhibited on numerous occasions and in many articles posted here on FTN. Finally, I highly recommend you put down the bottle of gin, it is clearly not serving you well.

  15. though they seem personal …..they really are not …they are universal . what is punctuation in the grand scheme Chrestos…are you a greek ..?
    i guess they’re entitled to say it’s all greek to me ! hate ? come on …i don’t know you from a bar of soap ! :unsure: :woohoo: what fascinates me …is how you claim not to see the insanity in your religious friends !
    everybody else seems to recognize it .only mad people can’t tell .sorry mate…perhaps you would like to reconsider making that ridiculous comment ? it would undo the knot in your stomach you know .

  16. as for Abraham silver ….you must be joking sport ! you know what a genius is ? …..ME ! you know what you are ? A BLOODY TWIT !

  17. This discussion makes me think back to a church service I witnessed a few years back. It was freakish to say the least. Hands held high, crying, some people kneeling in front of the pulpit. It was very unsettling and I got out of there pronto. All this is to say that I understand and don’t necesarrily disagree with the underlying them of this post.

    What I feel compeled to add is that sites and forums like this one, at times, come off equaly disturbing. Most of the posts come off pious of all things. The rest are angry and demeaning, lots of name calling. Is this the enlightened alternative to the religions you so love to hate ?

    While not espousing that olde time religion be forwarned the “free thought” touted here is neither free nor thought. It is as manipulated and contrived as anything the vatican has ever come up with.

    We are breaking free of the old cycle only to ensnare ourselves in a shiny new one. One that matches our times and sensebilities. By all means, let us proceed.


  18. there must necessarily be what u see here fuey …don’t be over alarmed ,, years of oppression are being released here ! frustration and finally free expression as a new flower blossoming in a new spring !ows that mate ?

  19. the gist
    The krux….God throws adam and eve out of the garden for

    having sexual thoughts which we are supposed to believe are

    evil and caused them to be ashamed of their nakedness ! thus

    the gods are supposed to be apposed to nature ! and we are

    supposed to castrate ourselves back to the kingdom of god or

    gods that have overcome their natural drives ! thus one

    becomes actually unfeeling , insensitive and numbnutsed !if

    one believes scriptures one becomes backward immature and full

    of guilt about ones self !this is psychological sexual abuse

    and the beginnings of serious mental illness and degradation

    of the human race into slavery ! i would estimate most mental

    illnesses and irrational phobias would be the result of early

    religious indoctrination by parents and schools !so i figure

    the system which i was under owes me millions in monetry

    compensation ! don’t you ? 🙁

  20. Bokertov ! as a RABBI i feel Talmudically inclined to suggest God may have become sexually excited when seeing Adam naked in his natural realm and enraging Eve with jealousy , fought to control himself and threw them both out !Shalom .

  21. Confused
    There seems to be alot of confusion on this site. As the paster of my own church i would like to invite a few of you on a camping trip. maybe i change some of your minds. FM

    1. It is you that is confused padre
      Dear Father Mike

      If you want confusion perhaps you should try reflecting on the reasons for your belief… let me refresh your memory…A woman made out of a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat an apple and then trick her mate to eat the same apple from a tree that her god forgot to put a fence around. For some reason this was wrong and for some other reason this is your and my fault. So, god’s son, who is also a god, had sex with his mother to have himself, came to earth on a suicide mission so that everyone who is at fault because of the apple offense, doesn’t have to suffer eternal fire and torment.

      Who is confused father? I UNDERSTAND that it is you.

      Stop believing and start UNDERSTANDING!!!

  22. “self delusional behavior” – thank you – that’s exactly what I have thought for years

  23. Many Christian faiths emphasize the raising of children as a priority in a marriage. In Judaism, marriage is so important that remaining unmarried is deemed unnatural. Islam also recommends marriage highly; among other things, it helps in the pursuit of spiritual perfection. The Bahá’í Faith sees marriage as a foundation of the structure of society, and considers it both a physical and spiritual bond that endures into the afterlife.[9] Hinduism sees marriage as a sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations.incorporated into the ceremony. By contrast, Buddhism does not encourage or discourage marriage, although it does teach how one might live a happily married life and emphasizes that marital vows are not to be taken lightly.

    Different religions have different beliefs as regards the breakup of marriage (see divorce). For example, the Roman Catholic Church believes that marriage is a sacrament and a valid marriage between two baptized persons cannot be broken by any other means than death. This means that civil divorcés cannot remarry in a Catholic marriage while their spouse is alive. In the area of nullity, religions and the state often apply different rules. A couple, for example, may begin the process to have their marriage annulled by the Catholic Church only after they are no longer married in the eyes of the civil authority.

    Most Christian churches give some form of blessing to a marriage; the wedding ceremony typically includes some sort of pledge by the community to support the couple’s relationship. A church wedding is a ceremony presided over by a Christian priest or pastor. Ceremonies are based on reference to God, and are frequently embodied into other church ceremonies such as Mass. Customs may vary widely between denominations. In the Roman Catholic Church “Holy Matrimony” is considered to be one of the seven sacraments, in this case one that the spouses bestow upon each other in front of a priest and members of the community as witnesses. As all sacraments, it is seen as having been instituted by Jesus himself (see Gospel of Matthew 19:1-2, Catechism of the Catholic Church §1614-1615). In the Eastern Orthodox church, it is one of the Mysteries, and is seen as an ordination and a martyrdom.

  24. Confusion …
    Methinks you confuse confusion with exploration, Father Mike. And what, pray tell, even though I’ve been down this lane a number of times, would you change some of our minds to? I, for one, am pretty sure that I have already seen that rabbit pulled out of that hat. And, seriously, why would we need to go camping with you to have our minds changed? If what you have is self-evident truth, out with it! It will reveal itself and we won’t have to put up with burnt marshmallows, mosquitos and singing Kumbaya.

    Personally, regarding mental illness and standard fundamental wingnuttery, I think it’s more a matter of degree rather than at what point it becomes mental illness. I think it’s all mental illness, but, in the beginning, not severe enough to be identified and made an ingredient of the fruitcake. I’ve known a number of fundamentalist Baptists, being from Texas and all, who seemed relatively normal until they started talking about being followed by the FBI and CIA. Fundamentalism does breed its paranoia.

  25. So New Agers Claiming To Be God Are Mentally Ill?
    Well if people that try to emulate their God concept are mentally ill, then New Agers that say they Are God are Acutely or Ultra Mentally Ill , then that is what the MDs are getting at. It does make a lot of sense. I have always thought the Deity in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible is Especially Nuts…and the Jesus of the New Testament is a Rival of the Old Testament Deity and No Way Its Son…Of course the Sanhedrin called Jesus and His mother , Mary, nuts in scripture, but I just think They were being Anti-Semitic ,if the Sanhedrin acted that way today they would get sued by the Anti Defamation League. But just in case Jehovah , YHWH is Jesus’ Dad, there are Deployed Cosmic Marshals to take YHWH into custody for his countless crimes against the Cosmos and Humanity…


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