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Religion and Health: Do we have a cure?

adiyaen_at_hotmail.com
Date: Sat Apr 07 2001 - 20:23:05 PDT

Dear Friends,

  As a person involved in Neuroscience for the past seven
years,adiyEn has attended a number of neuroscience meetings targetted 
at updates on current progresses in managing neuro disorders. One
such meeting (AANS97) highlighted the effect of religiosity on the 
functioning of temporal lobe (which is responsible among other things 
primarily for memory) of the brain. There were posters suggesting
that increasing religiosity would be a cure for Temporal Lobe
Epilepsy (TLE).Actually similar results have been obtained even in 
1838.

  Subsequently during an annual meeting of Psychiatrists the topic of 
TLE and religiosity was brought up. Surprisingly majority of 
psychiatrists opined that religion has more pathological effects on 
the brain. Number of renowned psychiatrists like Sigmund Freud,
Albert Ellis, Wendel Watters, Louis Rose etc.., have consistently 
supported this fact. Albert Ellis in his 1988 landmark paper 
identified the following pathological characteristics of religiosity:

 1. Religion discourages self-acceptance.
 2. Religion discourages self-interest.
 3. Religion discourages self-directedness.
 4. Religion tends to make healthy human-to-human relationships 
    difficult.
 5. Religion encourages intolerance of others.
 6. Religion encourages inflexibility.
 7. Religious people have difficulty accepting and living in the real 
    world.
 8. Religious people have difficulty accepting ambiguity and 
    uncertainty.
 9. Religious people use scientific thinking only until it conflicts 
    with their religious beliefs, after which they begin 
    thinking irrationally.
10. Religious people are prone to fanatical commitments, in contrast 
    to emotionally healthy nonbelievers who commit passionately but 
    not fanatically.
11. Emotionally stable people tend to be risk-takers in what they 
    recognize what they want and take appropriate risks to achieve 
    their goals; in contrast, religious people are too suffused with  
    guilt to pursue their goals, because their worldview 
    requires self-sacrifice.

While Im trying to trace the original source of this paper, methinks 
the population involved were predominantly non Hindus let alone 
Sri Vaishnavas. 

 The question is 
 A> How many of these are really pathologies? Esp. for those caught 
    between the Eastern and Western world
 B> How are these managed in our sampradAyam?

 Appreciate knowledgeable and level-headed ppl in the forum to
address these issues in a scientific and sampradaic manner. I would 
strongly encourage them to not only share their opinions within this 
forum but also to publish in journals which address Religion and 
Health. The Health Care Industry is desperately trying to find 
remedies to these problems and Alternative Therapies are being tried 
out atleast in preventive medicine. Maybe we have a remedi! Lets
share it with the World.

With Kindest Regards
adiyEn
Rajagopalan Srinivasan


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