Mental Illness and the Hammer of Faith

asylum2
In a world where faith is labeled virtuous, billions use it as a means to examine life, neglecting the sciences and psychology that have helped us redefine how we perceive illness. As we start our journey, we begin by traveling
across miles of ocean, to a dusty medical office in Nigeria, mid afternoon sunlight illuminating cracked panes of glass, spreading spiderwebs of light to all who would notice.

The front door blasts open as paint flakes jump from the walls and drift to the uneven floor. Bursting through the ensuing dust and crunching the fresh floor trimmings under worn leather boots is a tall man, forehead perspiring and gray touches in his hair.

“Where is he? Right now! WHERE IS HE?”

Through wide eyes and under a traditional white nurses cap the woman at the front desk looked up and silently, yet rigidly, pointed to the first door to her right; the first of three in a dark hallway lit only by a clear hanging bulb with an orange filament glowing in protest to the sands of time.

Reaching for the door knob the man notices a small family huddled in the waiting area, hands joined, eyes wet with recent tears, mumbling something about salvation. He opens the door with a swift stride and closes it resolutely, taking a long deep breath.

“Are you comfortable? Do you know why you are here? Do you know your name? What day i…”

He was cut off by a raised hand, the other man in the room, slouched between two serious looking “assistants”, looked up from a low metal framed bed with dull eyes and spoke.

“I know the answers to your questions, I understand my family’s fears, I see your open apprehension, and yet here I sit. Calmly and eagerly I want to help you understand that I am quite alright.” His hand went down but his eyes remained locked on the expression of the man with the power to change his life.

Flustered the older man stammered “I…I have seen this before, you have a disease, you have multiple people in your mind, personalities that are not real, and one or more of them may be a demon that hates the almighty loving god!” Breathing heavy, the man stepped back, with a sense of fear in his eyes, as if he could catch the demon too…

The man in the bed looked down and touched his palm to his face, dragging his fingers down to his chin and exhaling he looked to the window, rusty metal bars on the other side of the glass.

asylum3“In my entire life I have never seen the miracles but I have seen the squalor and poverty. I have never seen the aged and sick rise from the touch of the faithful but I have seen children collapse after drinking filthy water. I have never heard the voices of god and the angels but I have heard the screams of young girls dragged away never to be seen again. I have never felt the happiness of the spirit because my body and mind could only fear the martyr’s trench coat bombs… “

“You tell me I am the crazy one, you tell me I have a “challenging psychological condition”, but I ask you: Have you ever seen the face of god? Have you ever heard him speak? If not, why is it me in this bed and not you?”

His eyes drifting back to the open hands in his lap and a small tear rolled down his cheek. “This is what I get” he thought, “This is what I get for trying to tell the truth…”

With this in mind, the fear campaign attacking this man in Nigeria, we analyze. The evolution of the the mental and psychological sciences have progressed it far from the dark and inhospitable dungeons of the clergy in the late middle ages, at least here anyways it seems… We have clean facilities designed to help with the rehabilitation, if possible, of people truly in need and for the comfortable life of patients beyond the scope of current cures.

Recent scientific findings have started to unravel the mysteries of the mind and the physical functions of the brain to the accuracy that some can now control complex prosthesis arms, legs, hands, and feet. These advances, while slow in our personal concept of time, have been happening at an amazing rate in less than the last hundred years. A mere blink of an eye when considering the abuses and lobotomized horrors of the 5 thousand years prior…

asylum5The progress is substantial in the length of human life and its overall quality, to people who have access to this care that is. We have a discord in the political world, a clean break between social atmospheres and understanding of science, a gap of intellectual free inquiry that is driving the wedge of fear into the mind of the flock.

The Hammer of Faith, broad and imprecise, prescribes fear and ignorance over that which can be explained by science, accurately and consistently.

Recent news stories such as the man in Nigeria, beaten and forcefully admitted to a hospital against his will for the “challenging psychological condition” of an atheistic “side-effect of suffering a personality change”. Here we see a clear case of the faith, reminiscent of its old roles, relegating anything against its dogma to the horrors of mental illness.

The social taboo of a sickness of the mind, achieving complete fallacy with appeals to an expert who is not an expert on psychological afflictions, they do have a psychiatry department listed on their home site but I will contest the validity of their training to be little more than faith practices.

The issue at hand is the lack of brevity in the dismissal of such accusations, the claims that to disagree with a religion or cult is so inconceivable that it must be a psychosomatic condition. The beginnings of a perversion of the sterility of science with the bias of god and the many who would take advantage of it.

The socially charged “political correctness” arguments that decry our revulsion and apprehension that people can be imprisoned for apostasy is what delays the human rights of this man. All religious views and theology, in the end, must respect the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of personal happiness thus with small cases like this we must make our stand. We here at Atheist Analysis wish to remind you that the rights of the many are won by the few.

 

As an active unbeliever in a world of woo Chris has decided to record through blogs his rants, raves, rage, and destruction. Having never been a believer Chris was raised openly by a jew and a presbytarian. Early on he saw the hypocrisy, inconsistency, and most of all, the absurdity of a supernatural explanation for “Life, the Universe, and Everything.” As a practicing Engineer and a self professed man of science, with a perverse love of the literary bizarre, Chris entreats thee; journey with him into the realm of the mind.

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