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Case Against Religion: A Psychotherapists View and the Case Against Religiosity Paperback – April, 1980


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Case Against Religion: A Psychotherapists View and the Case Against Religiosity + A Guide to Rational Living + How To Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 57 pages
  • Publisher: Amer Atheist Pr (April 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0910309183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0910309189
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By c_binn@hotmail.com on June 1, 1998
Renowned psychiatrist Albert Ellis argues that there is little real difference between the mental states of people in insane asylums and deeply religious people.
Mentally ill people often use religious imagery; Religious leaders are often mentally ill; psychosis is a break from reality; religion is a break from reality; psychotics and religionists generally believe in all-powerful, non-material spirtits or entities which they can interact with through ritualized behaviors, chants, drugs, prayers, etc.
The claims of religionists, goddists, and spiritualists have no more basis in fact than the claims of the mentally ill, states Dr. Ellis.
Parental promotion of religion is guaranteed to have deleterious effects on children, argues Dr. Ellis. In fact, many of his patients were driven to their insanity by deeply religious upbringings.
The root ideas of religion grow out of fear and ignorance, and to be 'succesful', religionists need to destroy the self-sufficiency of a nation; reducing people to childish dependency and superstitious fear through belief in magical ideas. It is an ominous prospect, given the recent upsurge in religiosity among Americans.
While this book is the text of speeched delivered to atheist conventions, thre are other, more scholarly and detailed books by Dr. Ellis which explain his ideas, and provide readers with the supporting evidence for his claims.
People interested in details, or just gaining some insight and understanding the basis for Dr. Ellis' claims, might want to check out his book ''Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy'', or Dr. Gregory Bateson's book, "Steps to an Ecology of mind".
-Brian Lynch
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kaleena Laubach on August 3, 2008
This book helped me to step out of my box and away from the dogmatic views that I grew up with and see religion from a different perspective. I will say that I realized that my belief system is a very individual personal relationship with Jesus and not a traditional Christian or Religious following.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rick Roma on June 7, 2007
As someone who has read a lot of psychology and a fair deal of RET/CBT literature in particular I knew what to expect from this little book. The arguments Ellis makes are not to everyone's liking and this is not really the place to go into that, but Albert Ellis uses this very short book to explain why he sees religion as a damaging influence in many peoples lives. He boils this down to two main arguments; that religion causes us to feel anxious and fearful (about death, sin take your pick), and that religion quite often results in negating of the self. Anyone who has read guide to rational living will be familiar with a lot of what is in this book as Ellis reprises many of his "irrational beliefs" and discusses how religiosity leads to these becoming manifest in our belief systems. This book did put me in mind of Richard Dawkins thesis that religion is a virus of thought, most recently expressed in his book the God Delusion. Besides the main arguments which I have tried to cover briefly, the writing style is typically simple, perhaps even simplistic in parts. But what else would you expect from one of the high priests of mental reductionism? If you have your mind made up that your faith is unshakeable this book is not for you. If you have read Guide to Rational Living and enjoyed it, I reckon it will be likewise for this title.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Epistem Quest on November 27, 2011
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I read a book on ethics written by a Calvinistic Christian apologist. In that book he made the point that the basic underlying choice in ethics is that of theonomy (God as lawgiver), or autonomy (the self as lawgiver). Strangely enough, I'm quite certain Albert Ellis would have agreed with that old Calvinist. However, that would be the only meaningful area of agreement between the two men. For Ellis, and psychotherapists in general, helping an individual to be autonomous is the essence of the psychotherapeutic process. Christians refer to themselves as "bond servants of Christ," or "slaves of Christ." One thing can definitely be said of slaves---they are not self-determining. That is the main point Ellis eloquently makes in these two presentations.

Ellis clearly defines what he means by religion in the very beginning of these two essays. He leaves no room for ambiguity. Basically he sees religion as a belief in a supernatural deity, without any evidence for such a belief. To quote Ellis, "But all religions which are worthy of the name contend that their superhuman entities cannot be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt , or otherwise humanly experienced, and that their gods and their principles are therefore distinctly beyond science."

He lists the basic attributes that almost all schools of psychotherapy agree are crucial to mental health, things like "self-interest," "self-direction," "tolerance,", "acceptance of uncertainty," "flexibility," "scientific thinking," "commitment," "risk-taking," and "self-acceptance." Reading this list, it might seem like religious people do some of these things. However, he makes the case that they substantially don't, due to their religious commitments.
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