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The Unseen Relationship Between Schizophrenia And Religion

            The Unseen Relationship Between Schizophrenia and Religion.
             The nature of schizophrenia, and other forms of psychosis, is still a largely debated topic. The Old Testament uses the same term in reference to madness sent by God to punish the disobedient, as well as to describe the behavior of prophets (Rosen, 1968). Many of the symptoms of acute schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder, such as delusions and hallucinations are often expressed in religious form (Smith, 1982). The physical objects of existence are things such as food, clothing, shelter, pleasure etc. The spiritual objects of existence are determined by each creature's knowledge of the divine, such as divine joy, divine love and so on (Chimento, 1997). The relationship between psychosis and mystical or religious experiences is worthy of discussion. .
             To begin to understand schizophrenia and mysticism, one must first have a functional definition of both. Most experts on mysticism cite the same qualities when attempting to define mystical experience: experience of unity, intense affective experience, time/space distortion, "noetic" quality, ineffability, and a sense of holiness or sacredness. .
             Likewise, one must have a functional definition of schizophrenia. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual IV ([DSM-IV] 2000), the characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia are "a range of cognitive and emotional dysfunctions that include perception, inferential thinking, language and communication, behavioral monitoring, affect, fluency and productivity of thought and speech, hedonic capacity, volition and drive, and attention". As David Lukoff (1985) sites in his writing "The Diagnosis of Mystical Experience with Psychotic Features," the criteria for the label "psychotic" includes: "The phenomenology (imagery, cognitions) of the psychotic condition shares many characteristics with dream experiences (Hall, 1977), hallucinogenic drug trip (Kleinman et al, 1977), spiritual awakenings (Assigioli, 1981), near death experiences (Grof & Grof, 1980), and shamanistic experiences (Halifax, 1979).

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