Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness

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RELIGION 05/31/2013 12:21 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

By Meredith Bennett-Smith

Kathleen Taylor, Neuroscientist, Says Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness

An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.

Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a “science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics,” made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday.

In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said that “One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated,” The Times of London notes.

“Someone who has for example become radicalised 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,” Taylor said. “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.”

The author went on to say she wasn’t just referring to the “obvious candidates like radical Islam,” but also meant such beliefs as the idea that beating children is acceptable.

Taylor was not immediately available for comment.

This is not the first time Taylor has explored the mind processes of a radical. In 2006, she wrote a book about mind control called Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control, which explored the science behind the persuasive tactics of such groups as cults and al Qaeda.

“We all change our beliefs of course,” Taylor said in a YouTube video about the book. “We all persuade each other to do things; we all watch advertising; we all get educated and experience [religions.] Brainwashing, if you like, is the extreme end of that; it’s the coercive, forceful, psychological torture type.”

Taylor also noted that brainwashing, though extreme, is part of a the “much more widespread phenomenon” of persuasion. That is, “how we make people think things that might not be good for them, that they might not otherwise have chosen to think.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/kathleen-taylor-religious-fundamentalism-mental-illness_n_3365896.html

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About ExEB

I'm a agnostic/atheist . Interested in learning more about science. I also am an "ex-member" of a group most publicly known within modern times, as the Exclusive Brethren. Whom are an off-shoot of the original Plymouth Brethren group. I'd say it likely my personality could possibly be described as quirky.You know ,as in being , unconventional , unorthodox , unusual, off-centre, strange, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, freakish, outlandish, offbeat, out of the ordinary, bohemian, alternative, zany I'm sure iv'e been classed as "crazy" . Many times But then, being born into a group like the exclusive brethren. Doesn't lend itself ? to tend to produce things considered as being "very normal" .Does it I escaped the Exclusive Brethren cult as a 15 year old teenager. Even since that time iv'e been trying to adjust to living life outside the cult. With much of my life being lived within the genre of "wild colonial boy" style. In the general sense of a church-rebel picking and choosing from role models who appeared within-life along the way. But as the exclusive brethren cult had traditionally maintained a general church-rule , of need to shun and totally excommunicate any ex member of their group.Treating such people as if they were dead. Thus this situation developed more to do with my need of following traditionally enforced church-rule , as apposed to it being so much about "life-choices". Certain emotional experiences, and parts of life in general, have led to me adopting a sense of low self esteem. Which is a situation i still deal with from time to time. Through my ongoing interest in science. I find i am able to gather more information to help me better understand my situation. Much about life for me, has often seemed like a massive puzzle.With many missing pieces.
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