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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2008, 23:16 
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Grand High Lord Admiral of Hell
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From The Wild Hunt Blog, lots of links available in text on original page:

Quote:
Does Eclectic Spirituality Make You Crazy?

Australian papers are reporting on the work of PhD candidate Dr. Rosemary Aird, who has done a study on the effects of "non-traditional" religious views on young adults.

"A UQ study has found that young adults with a belief in a spiritual or higher power other than God were at more risk of poorer mental health and deviant social behaviour than those who rejected these beliefs. Young men who held non-traditional religious views were at twice the risk of being more anxious and depressed than those with traditional beliefs. The study was based on surveys of 3705 21-year-olds in Brisbane under the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy."

While Dr. Aird admits that the only common thread in all those surveyed is a sense of "individualism", and that the correlation between mental health and those who hold "non-traditional" religious views deserves "further study", that hasn't stopped the Brisbane Times from making some sweeping conclusions.

"DIY religions cause more harm than good: Meditation, crystal therapy, self-help books - think they're making you happier? Think again. A Brisbane academic has found a strong link between new-age spirituality and poor mental health in young people."


As for Dr. Aird, while she portrays those without a traditional religious home as "cast adrift" and in danger of experiencing "real confusion", she is forced to admit that gathering conclusive data on this topic would be almost impossible.

"While the study suggests a need for further research into the extent that religious change is linked to population mental health, she admits such a task would be enormous. "Research used to look only at traditional religion and used things like church attendance as a measurement. "These people don't go to church - they're meditating, they're reading books, they might be part of a group or just attend courses. "There's no way of measuring all of those different types of things.'"

In other words, there is no hard evidence that young adults who engage in "DIY" religions, or religions that hold "a belief in a spiritual or higher power other than God", are in any greater risk for mental illness or "deviant" social behavior than those who hold to a "traditional" form of faith. This study made no attempt to differentiate between different forms of "non-traditional" forms of belief, and frankly, proves little except the personal biases of Dr. Aird.

"People who are into the new-age spirituality tend to shop around and will often borrow from all sorts of old beliefs, like Wicca, witchcraft or Native American religions. It's a whole mish-mash and changes all the time, where they'll do something for a while before doing something else ... Religion and belief has kind of become mixed up with popular culture. Look at television and the kinds of shows that we've got, like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Medium. They promote witchcraft, special powers and spirituality and the general population and young people especially are exposed to these things and could see them as very attractive."

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Last edited by Hex on 19 Jan 2008, 23:22, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2008, 23:20 
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Quote:

"People who are into the new-age spirituality tend to shop around and will often borrow from all sorts of old beliefs, like Wicca, witchcraft or Native American religions. It's a whole mish-mash and changes all the time, where they'll do something for a while before doing something else ... Religion and belief has kind of become mixed up with popular culture. Look at television and the kinds of shows that we've got, like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Medium. They promote witchcraft, special powers and spirituality and the general population and young people especially are exposed to these things and could see them as very attractive."


I find that some of this is really a disservice to people who find their path and follow it. It seems to me that what they may be more likely to see are seekers, or alternatively, people of differing paths which thus make the whole lot of them seem uncoordinated, or eclectic overall.

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PostPosted: 20 Jan 2008, 11:05 
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I think, and I have no proof so this is just opinion, that the higher levels of mental difficulty found in the subject group are probably derived from a common source with the drive to seek out "Eclectic Spirituality". I think it is more of a variance based on Nurture. In the stated cases, which would be like a person having an increased risk of lung cancer from smoking cigarettes, the persons have mental problems because their life was lacking in some way (chemical or emotional). For the same reason, they seek out a spirituality that will help them to come to terms with these difficulties.

Perhaps the study should have focused on how traditional religious expression failed to help those persons find comfort?


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PostPosted: 20 Jan 2008, 12:11 
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<sigh>

I find her lack of knowledge frustrating (Wicca is an 'old religion'? Do any Wicca's (tm) believe that anymore?) and her bias very visible.

I read a stat once (which I think must be changing) that 97% of people die in the same religion they were born into. I spoke with a pastor who had switched faiths and he explained that his personal belief that people have a tendancy not to think, and thus, not question their parents' religion.

It's been my personal experience that the tendancy to think alone makes life more difficult and painful.

reminds me of what Diana Trent says in Waiting fro God:
Quote:
Diana Trent from Waiting for God:
Diana: Oh, God.
Tom: About time, of course.
D: what?
T: About time you appealed to the almighty.
D: oh GOD.
T: He's probably got that bit.
D: I was not making an appeal to some dubious and probably fictional deity, I was merely saying 'oh god'.
T: oh?
D: god.
T: <looking into the heavens> Might as well forgive her, she knows not what she does or what she says.
D: When you talk to god, why do you look into the treetops? Is god a squirrel?
T: No, he's not a squirrel. You mustn't blaspheme.
D: I just don't believe in god.
T: he's probably got fairly severe reservations about you.
D: It's very hard not having faith. It's all very well for you wiftly waftlies that have faith, you don't have to think any more, it's all solved. Not like us poor sods, who have to figure it all out on our owns. I'd rather have faith. I'd love to go down to the corner Indian and say 'I have a problem with the ultimate destiny of the species, give me a pound of faith, please'.
T: If you went down to the corner Indian you'd probably get the wrong faith, too.
D: There you are, you see? That's the other point. Someones got to be wrong. It's either billions of them or billions of us. There is no god.

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PostPosted: 22 Jan 2008, 07:53 
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Postess
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While there are mentally-unstable people in Paganism I really thinks it's more them being drawn to it rather than it driving them mad. [b6d][i6d][color=orange6d]Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance.[/i6d][/b6d][/color6d]


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PostPosted: 24 Jan 2008, 12:31 
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RnR tends to agree with the article, it seems--- Apparently, the ‘‘easy answer’‘ aspect of it leads to insanity and darkness... Heh.

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