Religious Fixation: Hyper-Religious Mania


Religious Fixation: Hyper-Religious Mania



The word fixation is very familiar in psychology and psychotherapy. It is a persistent focus of the id’s pleasure-seeking energies at an earlier stage of psychosexual development. According to Sigmund Freud, Fixation could happen main in three ways. Oral Fixation, Anal Fixation, Phallic Fixation.  According to Freudian Psychotherapeutic understanding oral fixation can lead to nail-biting, smoking, gum-chewing and excessive drinking. Anal fixation can leads to or may grow to be overly obsessed with orderliness and tidiness or negatively it can create very messy and disorganized adults.  Phallic fixation (Oedipus complex) can lead to adult personalities that are overly vain, exhibitionistic and sexually aggressive.
I personally believe religion should be a freedom of choice not a birthright. Back home in India many State's passed anti-conversion bill. There is a corporate and political attack against minority religion for political gain. There is a dichotomy in this scenario, the anti conversion bill is called freedom of religion bill. How come the freedom of religious bill requires a person to take permission of a district magistrate before one changes his or her faith. It is also a grave danger when the dalits in India are being dehumanized by the religious people. When we think of structural persecution we think immediately about middle east, China and few other countries. How about the world's largest democracy?  In the past few years six or more Indian states have enacted laws that effectively ban conversions from birth religion to any other religion.  In other words religion is a birthright not a freedom of choice. Even today religious freedom is questioned here in US based on the LGBT right. 
What I mean by religious fixation is also same like fixated at childhood with unfiltered religion and religious practices. People become fanatics of any religious traditions but not rationalized in the adult life. It is a religious belief that does not depend on any reasons, this include religious beliefs, interpretation of religious texts and attitude of one's own religion and others.  This can also have other dimensions like irrational fear of God or Theophobia. Many religions around the world we don't see just like how it is in Christianity treating your God as your friend, brother, father and mother. They were treated many times as a powerful entities as a distracter, sustainer and creator.   

The glue is needed only when things are broken. The Islamic State terrorism, radicalization of religion and Pakistani state sponsored terrorism are hot discussion in the global platform of our time. Even in our political dialogue this is a very serious issue. Unfortunately the religion which suppose to bring peace and harmony is susceptible to bring conflict. All religions have their accepted dogma, articles of belief, that followers must accept without question. Even though many of them are outdated and are the value system of thousands of years old customs. This can lead to inflexibility and intolerance in the face of other beliefs and practices. After all, if it is the word of God, how can one compromise it or rationalize it? At the same time, scripture and dogma are often vague and open to interpretation. Therefore, conflict can arise over whose interpretation is the correct one, a conflict that ultimately cannot be solved because there is no arbitration and mediation when it comes to dogmas. 
The winner is not one who is on the just side but generally is the interpretation that attracts the most followers. In this context how will you apply the hermeneutics of suspicion. Hermeneutics of suspicion is a phrase coined by Paul Ricoeur, to capture a common spirit that pervades the writings of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche. When we are dealing with things that we don't have control over the subjective realities we need to have a tool in our tool-box called "school of suspicion." The scientific advancement and postmodern enlightenment should rationalize our faith and dogmatic practices. Paul Ricoeur said, all hermeneutics involves some form of suspicion. It involves basically three things such as saying, explaining and translating. 
Freedom from religious fixation is also a journey to find out the metanarrative. Metanarrative is a term developed by Jean Francois Lyotard to explain a theory that tries to give a totalizing, comprehensive account to various historical events, experience and social cultural phenomena based upon the appeal to universal truth or universal values. It is an abstract idea that is supposed to be a comprehensive explanation of historic experience and knowledge. You might be born in a christian family that is your birth privilege just like american citizenship. No one is a true christian by birth, you must be born again to be a true Christian. As Jesus says to Nicodemus: You must be born again. John: 3:1-21.  
Binu Peniel (C) October - 2016

Dr. Binu Peniel

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