Quote of the week

My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?

Nathaniel P.Morris
Scientific American
17 May 2007

Jerry Falwell, homophobe, is dead

The Televangelist, Jerry Falwell, died this week. He was quite a nasty piece of work – even for a Televangelist. Some of his choice quotes:

“Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions”

“Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them”

“If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being”

“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals”

After the September 11 attacks Falwell said, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.”

“[Homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

The writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens, who has just published a book against religion called God is Not Great: How religion Poisons Everything, appeared on CNN after Falwell’s death and delivered the most extraordinary broadside against him and against religion. He points out that Falwell was anti-semitic and homophobic and says people like that should be in the street with a cardboard sign selling pencils. A must see for people who are sceptical of religion, so I post the clip below. Not for the religiously squeamish…

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