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September 30, 2013
Added Psychopathology in Religious Ideation: The Case of Death by Proxy (2013) by Michael Moore to the Psychology of Religion page under Theism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
A large body of data suggests a causal relationship between religiosity and psychopathology. One illustration of such a connection is the delusional belief in "death by proxy," such as Greek orator Aelius Aristides belief that he could appease the Greek god Asclepius by sacrificing two of his foster sister's children in place of himself, 16th-century Jewish scholar Yosef Caro's belief that, although he was condemned to death, the death of his first wife and three children substituted for his own death, and psychoanalyst Carl Jung's belief that his doctor's death due to septicemia substituted for his own death, allowing him to survive an illness that would have otherwise killed him. Belief in death by proxy presumes that a divine being takes oneself to be so important that another human being can be sacrificed in one's stead, approaching what DSM-IV labels delusional disorder—grandiose type and bordering on the psychopathological.
September 27, 2013
Meant to plant the seed where it needs to be planted most--with readers who might be believers--DeSio's award-winning debut novel, Rose's Will, is a fictionalized account of the bizarre circumstances surrounding her mother's death and the Bulgarian Holocaust survivor her mother left behind. Incidental to that, atheist and humanists should find it refreshing to see themselves in DeSio's characters. As the author puts it: "I imagine that even atheists like to read a novel once in a while, especially when it contains atheist characters that are portrayed in a positive light."
September 16, 2013
"By most religious reckoning, history is and always has been a foregone conclusion. All wisdom, all grace, all law was bestowed upon human beings long before the arrival of any now present, and so there is nothing for the living to do but fulfill someone else's plan for them. We are relieved of the burden of free will and responsibility for our misdeeds by a simple act of repentance. In effect, God finished us, and long ago. When a human being rejects this conception of the universe, they simultaneously reject the hubris and vanity required to create it in favor of a universe where real choice reigns, along with real possibility, opportunity, discovery, maturity and the right to know."