Organized Religion Impedes Moral Development producing Psychopaths?
Russians, English, French, German and American psychiatrists got together to collaborate information on Psychopaths. They found that there are three kinds of Psychopaths. Psychopaths are people who appear to have no moral conscious. First there are Psychopaths who rape and kill or are serial killers or steal. Second there are Psychopaths like the generals in the Bosnia Government who kill men, women and children without feelings or Hitler, Hoss and Stalin who killed Jews. The Russians found a Third kind of Psychopaths by checking a large cross section of the general population. These Psychopaths are quite likely to get promoted in business and industry. They are absolutely loyal to those with more power and join the bosses church, and do everything possible to be with bosses. They treat those below them, their wives and children like dirt. If you have worked for very long at a large business, you have probably worked for or dealt with Psychopaths.
When a Psychopaths is shown a picture of a chair there is only activity in the back of the brain and the electrical activity quickly subsides. When they are shown a picture of a child being beat by a baby setter, their brain has the same activity as when showed the chair. In a normal caring person the brain activity is much longer when the baby is shown being beaten and both the front and back lobes become very active.
Lawrence Kohlberg wrote a book on how moral growth is developmental. It proceeds from a desire to enhance oneself by any means as long as one escapes penalties (stage I), to a willingness to do for others if there is a clear reciprocation (stage 2), to a need to conform to peer expectations (stage 3), to a need to follow the law uncritically (stage 4), and finally to concern for the rights and humanity of every person that is not bounded by conditions (stages 5 and 6). At the highest levels, moral judgments must be justified on rational moral grounds rather than by appeal to the order of nature or to religious authority or revelation. Healthy people normally move from one stage to the next, progressing as each stage is understood. Only about 20 percent of the population reaches the levels of stage 5 or 6. Adults who accept the basic doctrines of the Christian faith are less apt to reason at Kohlberg's highest stages. Christianity and other god-fearing religions produce Psychopaths by arresting moral development at a very low stage in some individuals. A study he conducted in Turkey found individuals in a strict Muslim community demonstrated no high moral 5 or 6 stage thinking. Freud ( 1949) suggested that religion served to undermine moral responsibility while promoting fanaticism. He contended that people who behave morally only out of fear of a supernatural penalty would be unlikely to respect and care for others from an altruistic perspective.
The Bible, and most other religious books, contain numerous examples of low-level moral reasoning, and this makes them poor vehicles for moral development. Consider the popular Sunday school story of David and Goliath. In the tale, David becomes enraged at the taunting challenge Goliath makes to the Israelites. After volunteering to answer the challenge, David brutally kills Goliath and becomes a tribal hero. To the literal understanding of most children and inmates, the story teaches that violence is an appropriate way to resolve conflict and its use will gain you respect among your peers. Inner city youths use the same level of moral reasoning when they commit drive-by shootings against those who have offended them.
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