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Religion. The one word, next to politics, that is sure to get a rise out of a group of people sharing in a heated conversation. Everyone's beliefs are different and yet everyone has a point to make when the word religion comes up. So what does this have to do with mental illness? Plenty.
It could be because 'religious' people tend to engage in beneficial mystical techniques such as meditation on a regular basis.
The effect of meditation on brain structure: cortical thickness mapping and diffusion tensor imaging
reply to post by Stormdancer777
Humans are rational beings, we need a higher purpose to feel a sense of well being. Spiritual people have it. Others get cognitive dissonance and to counter that their cortex gets thinner, simply put they operate more lower animals like.
One thing I have noticed in my 40+ years here on this Earth is that God isn't here to help us. All we got is each other.
reply to post by Stormdancer777
] During human evolution, the hominid brain tripled in size, peaking 500,000 years ago.
Wiki has failed to mention that along with this tripling in brain size,
our brain then evolved to become smaller from neanderthals to modern man.
reply to post by parad0x122
Rationality and reason are higher functions, and they are part of what separate us from the animals. They keep us from acting on mere instinct and emotion ... like the animals.
See also: Origin of language and Myth and religion
Religion requires a system of symbolic communication, such as language, to be transmitted from one individual to another. Philip Lieberman states "human religious thought and moral sense clearly rest on a cognitive-linguistic base". From this premise science writer Nicholas Wade states:
"Like most behaviors that are found in societies throughout the world, religion must have been present in the ancestral human population before the dispersal from Africa 50,000 years ago. Although religious rituals usually involve dance and music, they are also very verbal, since the sacred truths have to be stated. If so, religion, at least in its modern form, cannot pre-date the emergence of language. It has been argued earlier that language attained its modern state shortly before the exodus from Africa. If religion had to await the evolution of modern, articulate language, then it too would have emerged shortly before 50,000 years ago."
Another view distinguishes individual religious belief from collective religious belief. While the former does not require prior development of language, the latter does. The individual human brain has to explain a phenomenon in order to comprehend and relate to it. This activity predates by far the emergence of language and may have caused it. The theory is, belief in the supernatural emerges from hypotheses arbitrarily assumed by individuals to explain natural phenomena that cannot be explained otherwise. The resulting need to share individual hypotheses with others leads eventually to collective religious belief. A socially accepted hypothesis becomes dogmatic backed by social sanction.