Essay talk:Get out of jail free

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You're insane, but it's the right kind of insane[edit]

What do you think about the idea that religious beliefs be considered in the same way as any other kind of delusion or mental illness? The Neumanns seem pretty insane to me, but that could be because I don't think that God exists, so the Neumanns may as well be claiming to be receiving help from evolved badgers from the future. Legally we accept varying levels of mental illness, and sentencing normally takes this is to account. The problem is in getting a judge and jury to see the mental illness, when they themselves are suffering from it.-ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 13:45, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Well, it's the old phrase that "when one person thinks it, it's delusion - when many people think it, it's religion". I certainly wouldn't want to see it officially called a mental illness, at least from the viewpoint of the law; there are some practical issues there that I think would be quite difficult to get around. However, if it isn't classed as a mental illness, I'd certainly like to see what is classed as an unacceptable mental problem changed somewhat. And I'd definitely want to see other "beliefs" given the same leeway, as with the vegan example. I.e., you tolerate and respect all beliefs, even the ones that aren't prefixed by "religious", or you tolerate and respect no "beliefs". As beliefs aren't something backed up with objective observation they can't be agreed on by everyone; thus it would be unjust to treat one set differently to another set based on an arbitrary marker like "oh, it's a religion, it's different". Which touches on my other pet peeve of when law makes hard and fast rules out of arbitrary premises. Scarlet A.pngsshole 13:58, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Yup, a clear definition would help. I can understand us having a clear distinction between manslaughter and murder, separated by intent, but religion is too difficult to define. Perhaps it's the result that's important. i.e. it's fine to wander around believing that you've an invisible gnome in your pocket, but it's certainly not a get out of jail free card. I'd expect the gnome guy to receive the same treatment as the Neumanns, and that really should involve some serious psychiatric treatment. I find it reprehensible that parents expressing no regrets are then allowed to retain custody of their children. I don't blame the Neumanns any more than I'd blame gnome man for allowing a child to die. As a society we have to find a way to deal with these widespread delusions. Affording them a cherished status isn't the answer. Very thought-provoking essay. Ta for writing it.--ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 14:53, 16 November 2009 (UTC)