Marx is often credited (incorrectly) with saying: "Religion is the opium of the masses." Isn't it revealing that wherever there is a 'fly in the ointment' of civilization...religion isn't far away? Religion is such a powerful disability that people who ask outspoken atheists why they bother to attack religion don't even begin to get it! Religious belief really can resemble drug addiction in so many ways. It numbs the pain of life when it comes, as it so often does, and it produces dysfunctionality exactly like drug addiction with all its denial and rationalization. It can simulate ecstasy. It even carries withdrawal symptoms when it's renounced. Is it fair to classify religious practice as a mental illness? If so, is our First Amendment's "separation clause" just the Constitution's framers way of immunizing their new nation against religion's viral effects?

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Well, excellent way to introduce yourself, Larry! While I don't know much about mental illnesses or even the Amendments, I do know your analogy is as good of one as I have ever read.
Thanks. However, I'm not exactly introducing myself in AN. I've been around commenting in here pretty regularly for a while.
Yes, I agree with Atheist Andrea.  Good analogy.

Well if religion is like drug addiction, I hope the group "RR" (recovering from religion) uses a better strategy than "NA" or "AA" - The 12 step program is equivalent to religious virulency  :)

Nah. Not really. I'm sober 31 years in April in AA. Ironically, I found the "courage to change" while sober in AA and became an atheist!
That's interesting, because don't they use a 'religious-like' mindset to overcome alcoholism?
It is true that the principles of recovery known as The Twelve Steps, codified by Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA, on a rainy night in Cleveland, Ohio in 1935, were undeniably similar to the basic codes of Christian morality. I'll also concede that AA often takes the form of religious practice for many, but it's not religious per se, preferring to keep the name of everyone's various 'Higher Powers' as anonymous as the names and identities of its members.

As I've said in other comments, it took 10 years in AA for me to begin thinking clearly...another 10 years to find the courage to act on this new found clarity...and another 10 years (for a total of 30 years clean and sober) to realize that I've been an atheist-in-denial for 50 years!

Is Religion Really Like Opium ?

I've tried opium but have never been religious so cannot give a complete answer.

I have long said that religion is an addiction, much like an addiction to opiates ... and the first problem for some people who lose their religion is, rather predictably, WITHDRAWAL.  People who have become used to the church or temple or mosque providing them with hope and purpose face a yawning void once they've dropped that structure.  They may be further daunted when they realize that any hope or purpose for their lives will have to source from themselves and no one else.  Oh, you can get help from friends and family, but ultimately, what they have to recognize is that each of them, individually, is the author of their own actions, that they alone are responsible for what they do.

I call it, "working without a net."


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