One of the arguments our favorite Creationists troll par excellence Zdenny has made in recent weeks is that God’s love is perfect, and if you believe in God (and are a True Scotsman), then even a chemical imbalance in your brain will keep you from doing horrible things to your friends, family and children.
So why did this religious woman who was afflicted with post-partum depression kill, dismember and eat the brains and several body parts of her 3 1/2 month old baby? Because Satan told her to.
The scene was so gruesome investigators could barely speak: A 3 1/2-week-old boy lay dismembered in the bedroom of a single-story house, three of his tiny toes chewed off, his face torn away, his head severed and his brains ripped out.
Officers called to the home early Sunday found the boy’s mother, Otty Sanchez, sitting on the couch with a self-inflicted wound to her chest and her throat partially slashed, screaming “I killed my baby! I killed my baby!” police said. She told officers the devil made her do it, police said.
Let me make this perfectly clear. Being religious did not directly lead to Sanchez’s psychotic break. She was suffering from post-partum depression and had been in psych wards several times recently, coupled with the fact that her baby’s father had moved out just a week prior. The problem here is not that religion leads to psychosis. The problem is that religion teaches you that supernatural omnipotent beings like God or Satan exist, and that they talk to people in the Bible and impel them to do things.
When you start to hear voices in your head commanding you to do things nowadays, it is known that you are suffering from some kind of chemical imbalance and that certain medical treatments are available to fix them. However, if you are brought up to believe that these voices are possibly commands from some deity or another, you might just do what they tell you to do, or try to maim or kill someone that you think is being influenced by some demon.
The other two examples given in this article are illustrative of this:
Andrea Yates drowned her five children in her Houston-area home 2001, saying she believed Satan was inside her and trying to save them from hell. Her attorneys said she had been suffering from severe postpartum psychosis, and a jury found Yates not guilty by reason of insanity in 2006.
In 2004, Dena Schlosser killed her 10-month-old in her Plano home by slicing off the baby’s arms. She was found not guilty of reason by insanity, after testifying that she killed the baby because she wanted to give her to God.
I’d like to think rationalists like myself, who believe in evidence and proof and do not believe in supernatural deities, who understand that our mental state is concomitant with the neurochemical processes that happen within our brains, would seek help immediately if we start hearing voices. I can’t say for sure that I actually WOULD — I mean, my brain chemistry will have been compromised in such a situation — but I certainly hope that I’d be cogent enough to recognize the signs and seek medical help before I hurt someone. I mean, what’s the likelihood that “probably no god” will start speaking to us?
Hat tip to Friendly Atheist.