Belief as dependence. Religious fanaticism – threat to public and personal safety

Belief as dependence. Religious fanaticism – threat to public and personal safety

In the broad sense of the word fanaticism is the extreme devotion or worship to something or somebody, as well as emphatic rejection of other beliefs and values. In religious concept fanaticism appears as absolute infatuation for religious activity with forming the cult of it, worship and unconscious coming after the group of associates.

This phenomenon comes from initial claims of every world religion for possessing the ultimate truth about the world’s essence and origin, about reasons of death and resurrection of the whole humanity. In all ages including our times religion appears to be the most dangerous and powerful kind of fanaticism. The history has many examples, when religious fanaticism had destructive influence on the entire nations. It turns a group of people into a herd, living according to forced rules, deprives every person of his individuality and inner freedom, transforming them into the means of assertion of these or those postulates of belief.

Reasons of religious fanaticism

Fanaticism in religion can be regarded as a form of severe psychological addiction. A man, who once got involved in it, doesn’t belong to himself anymore; he thinks and acts according to dogmas, imposed on him “from above” (by the spiritual leader of the religious sect, for example). The addict can’t imagine other life except the one he lives under the religious direction.

So, what makes the individual a wild religious fanatic? Of course, many reasons lay in one’s personality pattern. The psychologists revealed people, who are liable to fanaticism, including religious fanaticism, most of all. They are:

These people can be easily forced into the net of religious fanaticism. Ready-made ideas and opinions are easy to place into empty consciousness, and they allow the person to feel his own significance, to become a part of some great team.

By the way, almost all religious fanatics are not really religious and moreover – not pietistic. But they are ready to protect own ideas by any means. To feel a part of their group and be against those, who don’t share their opinions (up to wars and murders) – is the most important thing for such people.

Signs of religious fanaticism

One religious fanatic will hardly ever do any harm to the society in whole or a single person. The threat is constituted here by a group of fanatics, addicted to religious dogmas. So, what are the typical signs of a religious fanatic?

1. Intolerance to other religions. Evident hate and aggression towards the followers of other belief. Mass fanaticism is dangerous for atheists and not very religious people;

2. Religious fundamentalism, which doesn’t accept anything new. Fanatics have extremely narrow thinking and treat the judgements, not corresponding to religious doctrines, very negatively. By that fanatics may even not understand the sense of “hostile” ideas.

3. Rejection of criticism. Even if the addict’s beliefs can be easily disproved by scientific and logical arguments, the orthodox devotee will insist on his opinion anyway. Debates are not possible with him. Being in the heat of the passion, the religious fanatic often fights battles for his rightness to the bitter end.

4. Calling names. The obsessive about religion man likes to give definitions to his “enemies”, for instance: «a pagan», «a blasphemer», «a heretic». This way the addict humiliates the opponent and makes him give up. The general task of fanatics in controversy is to win in verbal duel (and sometimes in hand-to-hand fighting too), but not to establish the truth about “whose God is true”.

Nowadays religious fanaticism is mostly typical for Islam. The indications of that are acts of terrorism, Sharia law, jihad. There is an opinion, that this way fanatical Muslims fight against infidel people. In actual fact political and economical motives often hide under a mask of religious fanaticism, which are far from Islam and religions in whole.

Is it possible to cure religious fanaticism?

Religious fanaticism – is not only a psychological dependence, but mania, and it needs long and intensive psychotherapy. Of course, in hopeless cases the treatment is not only senseless, but also impossible, for example, when the addict hides from his family in the religious community. But sometimes the assistance is worth a lot.

For the person, dependent from the sect and its religious postulates, the method of deprogramming can be used. This method develops creative, critical and flexible thinking, gradually delivering the patient from false view concerning religion and the cult. By questioning of the patient, the psychotherapist reveals the reasons of fanatical behavior, and as a result the addict realizes his previous behavior and activity as false.

During the treatment the addict tries to understand what is wrong with him, and when this moment comes, the situation becomes more difficult. The fanatic realizes he lived a dull life, but the thought of how to return to previous himself follows him. He is going through psychological withdrawals.

Successful therapy is possible in conditions of support, provided by the patient’s relatives and former members of religious community. The powerful and friendly team of the people, ready to help each other in fight against religious fanaticism and fight for free and independent future – is recommended.

Generally speaking, religious fanaticism therapy – is an extremely difficult task, hard to perform. Thus, many patients fall into a deep depression and try to commit a suicide, because during the times of their fanaticism they were programmed for self-destruction. The patients must understand it quite clear – they are not responsible for what has happened to them, they were manipulated, and now they return to normal fulfilling life.

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