Sunday, 4 March 2007

Watch where you're pointing that thing will you!

There's a growing tendency amongst atheists to use the psychiatric lexicon whilst describing the religious. A collective delusion we may say. Psychosis, even.

As we've already established however, this language is as slippery as a fish. It's a language of morality and conformity. It shifts and writhes as our cultural norms develop.

Invoking these dangerous constructs against people with whom we disagree, places us firmly in the camp of witch hunters and inquisitors. We're using half baked and blurry ideas to condemn people. Perhaps ducking stools and public floggings will work equally well.

Now, I know from first hand experience that psychosis is a very real thing. I've known people lost in their tormenting realities; ravaged by persecuting voices, bitten by snakes and stalked by murderers. These same people have disintegrated right in front of their families.

Often, our society has compelled them to accept aggressive treatments - chemical straight jackets, in the name of recovery. We're protecting the individual and the general public apparently. In doing so we may rip away their spirit, hope and self-respect. It can take years, decades even for people to recover from these experiences. Often, the very treatment itself damages the person more than their psychosis. Some never recover.

The religious may have beliefs that cannot be substantiated by the consensus reality. However, most are not tormented and disintegrated by true madness. They are far from ill.

It upsets me when dangerous words are used willy nilly. As I've said, words can kill. So don't waggle your linguistic shotgun about without the safety catch enabled. Please.

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