Of Sociopathy and Christianity


A few days ago, I came across a blog post with this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DakEcY7Z5GU#t=752. This video is actually quite disturbing, so, if you watch it, be forewarned. In the video, a preacher named David Wood talks about how he became a Christian. I’ve decided to respond to the video.
He begins the video with this passage: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” Proverbs 16:25. Which way is this? Is it any way a man chooses? Because then men really shouldn’t be allowed to make choices. Unless…we do all die in the end. So…is this passage just pointing out that we die? What is the intended meaning of this passage, because the vague language makes it possible to interpret this any way we want.
The first thing he does in the video is use his transit card to let himself through the train gates, then he uses the same card to let the camera man through. This is illegal in every city that I’m aware of. He just committed theft. Isn’t he, as a Christian, supposed to avoid sinning? Or is it okay because he’ll just be forgiven later anyway.
Then he compares atheists to people living underground and never visiting the surface. So…we’re mole-people now? Isn’t it presumptuous to assume that, because you have an unprovable belief, I must be delusional for disagreeing with you? This is actually the first of many red flags that went off for me. Throughout this video, he makes it clear that he has psychological issues. I believe he’s a sociopath, and I will explain why throughout this post. The reason that the claim that atheists are delusional for disagreeing with him is a red flag is because sociopaths believe themselves to be the standard. They believe that they are right and assume that anyone who disagrees with them must be wrong. Sociopaths cannot imagine themselves as anything but perfect. He then reveals that when he was 5 he felt no emotions upon learning that his dog died. This is the second sign that he is a sociopath. Sociopaths cannot feel empathy. They don’t feel sadness when others die. He thought that his understanding that crying over someone’s death wouldn’t bring them back was an amazing insight that others didn’t understand. This further demonstrates the second sign that he is a sociopath. He very clearly is incapable of empathy.
He says that he thought he controlled the weather in 10th grade. I’m pretty sure most people have grown out of such silly beliefs well before they get into 10th grade. I don’t know how much I’d trust the thought capacity of someone who held such beliefs at such an age. This isn’t to say that he wasn’t intelligent. Most sociopaths are actually highly intelligent. However, many sociopaths also suffer from delusions. That makes this the third sign that he is a sociopath. He claimed to feel no emotional reaction after hearing that his friend in high school died. Again, he clearly has no capacity to feel empathy. He thought his lack of emotion was because he “had evolved to a higher stage of humanity.” Sign 4 that he is a sociopath. Sociopaths generally have huge egos. He believed that he was different because he was superior. Most people believe that they are flawed for being different. Sociopaths think this makes them superior.
He says he began committing crimes. This is another sign of his being a sociopath. Sociopaths live for adrenaline and pleasure. They see no reason to follow the rules unless the rules benefit them. He thinks that thinking “I don’t care about the people in that house, so why am I going out of my way to avoid stepping on their vegetables” is philosophising. This is just silly. Philosophising means thinking deeply. It means coming up with a well reasoned and logical argument. Philosophising is not thinking “why should I care?” while running from the police. He believed that his unwillingness to go through someone’s garden was because society was manipulating him. To a certain degree, this is true. Society tells us that going through someone’s garden is bad. Why? Because we live in a society that values private property. But the fact that society convinces us that these things are intrinsically wrong is not a bad thing. The fact that something is manipulative is not necessarily a bad thing. But sociopaths look for any reason to do the opposite of what they are told to do. He believed that doing the opposite of what he’d been told made him free. This is a misunderstanding of what freedom is. A person who follows the law is far freer than someone in jail.
At 18 he decided to start building bombs. He decided to go into chemistry in university with the intent of building better bombs. This is another sign that he is a sociopath. Sociopaths are extremely impulsive and can stay calm in dangerous situations. Bomb building would be a fun challenge to a sociopath. But he thought that blowing up strangers was too easy. He thought anybody could kill strangers. He wanted to prove to himself that he was stronger than most, so he decided to kill his father. Yet another sign he is a sociopath. He believed that anybody would and could kill. This is simply not true. Nobody with a normally functioning brain could kill someone with any degree of ease. For most of us, killing for fun isn’t an option. And killing for need is difficult to comprehend. But a sociopath wouldn’t find either difficult. And they wouldn’t assume that anyone else would find it difficult either.
He also believed that everyone was reading his mind. He began thinking that ants were manipulating us, then that animals read our mind, then he thought that he had magic powers, and now people are reading his mind. He’s clearly delusional, which was one of the signs of his being a sociopath. He has some very obvious mental problems. I don’t think he should be listening to his own thoughts, let alone that anyone else should. He eventually beat his father with a hammer. He said he didn’t feel anything any more. Another sign he is a sociopath. Again, lack of empathy. Thrill seeking. Going against societal norms. He said that he was an atheist while doing this. This is where my next issue lies. He said he knows most atheists live normal lives, but he doesn’t understand why. Of course you don’t: most of us aren’t sociopaths. Very few people could do what you did, and we don’t need to be religious to see why it’s wrong. We understand the advantages to following societal norms and being good people. He says that humans are feeble, selfish, self-destructive lumps of cells with the delusion that what we do is important. This mirrors many of the Chrstian views I’ve heard before. That humans are broken and flawed, or that atheists should think that humans are just meaningless lumps of cells. It’s sad that so many Christians have such a low view of humans. It’s sad that so many Christians view themselves as so pathetic. And it’s sad that they feel the need to imprint this view on everyone else. But this is not how most atheists think. For one, we are human. How could we think we are nothing? How would it be in any way advantageous for us to think so little of ourselves? It wouldn’t influence us to keep living and reproducing. It wouldn’t influence us to help each other. Evolutionarily speaking, thinking of ourselves as meaningless lumps of cells isn’t a useful trait, so we wouldn’t find many people developing that belief. However, evolutionarily speaking, sociopathy is a flaw. Sociopaths don’t see any intrinsic values in humanity. They wouldn’t help others for any altruistic reasons. To them, we are just meaningless lumps of cells. So it makes sense that a sociopath would assume that an atheist should feel this way.
He says we might as well do whatever we want because the universe doesn’t care. I don’t do what I do for the universe. That isn’t sensible. I do what I do because I care. I do what I do because others care, and those others have an influence on my life (as I have an influence on theirs). The universe may not care, but that is irrelevant. The fact that he dismisses the relevance of other people and assumes that there must be something greater to care is another sign that he’s a sociopath. Sociopaths can’t see the value in accepting other people’s opinions. They find it difficult to to see how they affect society and how society affects them. And they are only concerned with how they might be impacted. He asks who says murder and violence are wrong. Again, we don’t need God to know that these are wrong. A sociopath can’t really understand that because sociopaths can’t empathize. However, we live in a society with other people. We have a social contract: don’t do bad things to me and I won’t do bad things for you. For the most part, this contract works out. But there are some people who cannot comprehend the value of this contract. He assumes that the only way anything could be wrong would be if humans have intrinsic value, which he doesn’t think is possible without God. There are atheists who believe that humans have intrinsic value. I think we have the value that we give ourselves, but, as humans, it’s in our best interest to take that value as intrinsic.
He says our society is decreasing the urge people have to kill and slaughter. For one, very few people have this urge. For another, Murder rates are decreasing. Why is that happening if we live in a society that makes people more likely to want to kill? This claim goes against the evidence. Religion is not the only reason to be a good person. He said that he spent his time in jail considering how to avoid getting caught in the future. This is fairly common. Jail is not good at rehabilitating people, nor is it good at punishing them. It is only good at removing them from society for a time and creating worse criminals. He becomes determined to murder everyone who he felt had slighted him in the past. Even back in kindergarten. Another sign he is a sociopath. Sociopaths hold grudges. They also manipulate and lie, as well as their inability to empathize. It’s not uncommon for sociopaths to intend harm towards those they haven’t seen in years.
He shows a clear misunderstanding of science. He uses the usual “atheists believe that the universe came from nowhere” line. Many people believe that because they aren’t convinced by the science, or because they don’t understand it, that atheists haven’t thought things through. This is not the case. Your not understanding some element of science, or your not accepting it, does not affect my thought processes. We disagree on many things. Does my not liking your favorite flavour of ice cream mean that I haven’t thought that through too? No, it simply means that I disagree. But this man when to university to learn chemistry. He’s not an idiot. But he is a sociopath. Sociopaths lie. I believe he’s lying about what he thinks atheists think. I think he understands the Big Bang, and understands why atheists accept it. But I think that, since it doesn’t fit his world view, he finds it necessary to lie. I found this bit funny: this sociopath who is clearly unable to feel empathy believes its a lie to say that morality comes from societal indoctrination. He has no morals himself. He has made that very clear. Who is he to say where morals come from? Morals require empathy, or the understanding that our actions have consequences. Most of has have both. Some people only have the second. He clearly has neither.
He thinks atheists just want to make fun of others, he believes we don’t want to put in the work of carefully examining the evidence. This isn’t true. Yes, some atheists mock theists because they believe their beliefs are dumb. Some theists mock atheists for the same reason. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t put thought into our beliefs. It is clear that this guy didn’t: he thought he couldn’t be wrong, and he couldn’t defend his position in an argument. Two signs of not putting thought into your beliefs. But that says nothing of the rest of us. He thought he was the smartest person ever, but was shocked that a Christian could put forward a convincing argument for their beliefs. This is another sign of his being a sociopath. He had a huge ego, and he thought he was always right while those he disagreed with were wrong. Keep in mind that being defeated in an argument doesn’t mean being wrong, it just means you weren’t as good at arguing. He tried to defeat his cell mate anyway he could because the cell mate made a fool of him. Another sign he’s a sociopath. Sociopaths turn everything into a competition, and hate being defeated. They will look for ways to beat people at anything. This is seen further when he studied the Bible while on suicide watch to try and out smart the Christian.
This is the point when he says he became a Christian. He bought into the argument for design first. I have to say, this is a silly argument to buy into first. Personally, I would have to be convinced that the Bible is true before I could be convinced of the design argument. Then he was convinced that the apostles must have seen Jesus rise from the dead, because otherwise they wouldn’t be willing to die for that claim. This is also silly. For one, we don’t know who wrote the New Testament, but there is evidence to suggest that it wasn’t the disciples. The New Testament was written well after Jesus’ death, and the disciples were largely illiterate. Paul never even met Jesus. So, for all we know, the stories in the New Testament were written as fables, or they were written by those who believed them, but were not witnesses to the events. Therefore, we don’t have to believe that anybody ever witnessed Jesus’ resurrection. However, we do have historical cases where people were thought to have been dead, but they weren’t. These people appeared to come back to life, but they had just been in a coma. Some even died mere days after appearing to come back to life. This could have happened to Jesus too. That could have been what the witnesses saw. There isn’t just one answer.
He then said he went from thinking he was the best person in the world to thinking he was the worst person in the world. This man is a sociopath. He has done terrible things. But to say he’s the worst person in the world is silly. Others have done far worse things. He said he had no magic switch to make it possible to care about other people. Again, he’s a sociopath. It’s a mental disorder. He needs drugs, not Jesus. He said he was either violent, selfish and uncaring, or there was someone who could help him. Either or? He’s clearly selfish and uncaring, and he was violent. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be helped. He said that only Jesus could help him. Or, you know, a psychiatrist. He said he prayed to God and then no longer wanted to hurt anyone. I doubt this is quite true. He probably simply gained a reason to believe that his consequences have actions.
As I said, this person is a sociopath. However, this man committed violent crimes. There are many sociopaths out there who have never and would never harm anyone. Many sociopaths come to the understanding that if they follow societies rules, their lives will be better. This man never learned that, and I don’t think he was ever officially diagnosed as a sociopath. He believes he can only be good so log as he’s a Christian. As such, I hope he stays a Christian. However, he makes the assumption that atheists should think like him. He’s not the only Christian to think this way. Atheism is not sociopathic. Atheists are not sociopaths. Assuming that we are or should be is flawed. This man is also a well-known preacher, and he’s been accused of deceiving people for money. Sociopaths are charming and deceitful. If you follow this person, please be careful.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/11-signs-dating-a-sociopath_n_3780417.html
http://www.naturalnews.com/036112_sociopaths_cults_influence.html
http://www.businessinsider.com/questions-that-diagnose-whether-youre-a-sociopath-2013-7?op=1
http://illnessquiz.com/sociopath-test/
http://www.sociopathworld.com/
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201305/confessions-sociopath
http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Someone-Is-a-Sociopath
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Wood_%28Christian_apologist%29
http://www.acts17.net/

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42 responses to “Of Sociopathy and Christianity

  • CJ

    You very clearly missed the point of his video and his argument. David Wood was ADMITTING to being a sociopath. The point of the video was to demonstrate that AS A SOCIOPATH, atheism and its non-dogmatic confines allowed him to rationalize monstrous behavior. Christianity, on the other hand, saved him from sociopathic thinking. He is implicitly touching on an (actually very famous) moral argument for the existence of a god (if objective moral law exists, then god exists). A sociopath who lacks the ability to empathize may see no reason or logic to follow objective moral truths (much less believe that they exist) when they embrace atheism as the logical conclusion to certain types of atheism is that morality is relative. His logic and thinking as an atheist+sociopath were very similar to a famous atheist philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (who famously declared that “God is dead”). It should be noted that Nietzsche is credited for influencing Nazism and Hitler. Strangely enough, you can find similar stories to that of David Wood in Russian literature where Nietzsche’s philosophy (and the Russian version of it) is explored. A notable figure also influenced by Nietzsche was Ayn Rand. It is extremely possible, given David Wood’s background, that he might have been greatly exposed to the literature of Ayn Rand, which would lead very much to thinking of himself as a sort of superman (or as Nietzsche would say, Übermensch).

    If you are going to run a blog on atheism and in support of it, and criticize others who criticize atheism, please get more familiar with philosophy in general. It seems the lack of background has caused you to completely misinterpret David Wood’s video. Otherwise, you would recognize the subtle points he is making and be able to argue against them robustly. As of now, you’ve swung and missed.

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    • CJ

      As a followup to my comment, I expect better of fellow atheists. Since the passing of Carl Sagan, it seems the atheist community as a whole has gotten intellectually lazy. I know you’re just some random blogger whose blog I happened to stumble upon (and no Richard Dawkins), but please increase the intellectual rigor here.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      Lol. If you actually read further, you would know that I’m a Philosophy major. At no point in the video did he clarify that his argument is meant to be taken in the context of his sociopathy. He merely argues that atheism makes it possible to excuse even the most vial of behaviours, which is blatantly false.
      As to your Nietzsche comment, a lot of people read his work. He was a very popular writer. But he was also a product of his time. Nazism wasn’t so much influenced by Nietzsche’s work as it was influenced by Social Darwinism, which Nietzsche himself was influenced by. But that’s not really an excuse for accepting Social Darwinism, is it? Especially not in this day and age. And it doesn’t make Wood’s behaviour any more deplorable, which I can and will criticize.
      As I said in my post, if Wood needs Christianity to keep him from doing terrible things, then he should stay a Christian. I will say the same to anyone else who for some reason needs to be threatened with burning for eternity in order to be a decent person. But you can be a good person without being a Christian. What’s more, you can be a sociopath and still be a good person without religion. To say otherwise is a lie. And even a sociopath can understand why selfishness is not a good philosophy to follow. Or rather, they can understand why they can’t just be selfish. You act as though a sociopath would simply read Ayn Rand and think “I should do that” as if they are robots unable to think any deeper than that. Perhaps you should actually learn something about sociopathy before you make such assumptions. And perhaps you should actually look into a person’s background before you tell them that they don’t know anything about their own field of study. I’m also a history major, and your lack of understanding of history is deplorable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CJ

        You obviously do not take criticism well. But I’ll offer you another healthy dose of it. Don’t use an appeal to your own authority as any sort of valid argument (it is, in fact, a logical fallacy). No one cares whether or not you’ve declared yourself a history or philosophy or dimwitted studies major. Intelligent readers only care about whether or not you can a) write and b) think. Given your posts, this is questionable.

        If you want to claim that Nietzsche didn’t influence Hitler, you may, but in doing so, you’ve proven yourself to be a very bad student of both history and philosophy. It is quite well known that Elizabeth Nietzsche (Nietzsche’s sister) took a leading role in promoting her brother’s work after his death. Her association with the Nazi party is undeniable (Hitler even went to her funeral). The Nietzsche Archive received both funding and public support from Hitler’s government. The historical ties are undeniable. The influence of Nietzsche on Nazism was a complete given until some later 20th century scholars tried to refute how much of an influence he actually had, but even their arguments run along the lines that Nietzsche’s concepts were distorted. Of course social Darwinism influenced a great number of people, including both Hitler and Nietzsche, but that is beside the point.

        As for David Wood’s video, he was obviously using his experience to show how Christianity changed him. Anyone with a brief understanding of antisocial personality disorder can identify David Wood as a sufferer given his testimony. So, your post continuously calling him such was rambling nonsense.

        I will not be back to this blog as I can clearly see you lack any will to make thoughtful arguments.

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        • hessianwithteeth

          Well at least this time you made a far more interesting attempt to make a thoughtful argument yourself. Though I would be careful bandying about informal fallacies such a the appeal to authority. It’s only a fllancy when your appealing to an athurity which does not have knowledge in the revlant feilds. You made a blanket claim about our knowledge of philosophy, we are both philosophy undergrads (soon to be graduates) so no we are not clueless, we can be wrong, we can be mistaken, but in this case there is no fallacy in claiming we have some authority in the field of philosophy when we in fact do have the relevant training and knowledge.

          It seems we where at least partially wrong on Nietzsche/hitler connection although we knew there was some connection although I didn’t realize it was a deeper connection. Though I’m the biologist on this blog not the historian, and either of us are 1900 buffs.

          Now you really seem willing to claim a lot of things you have experice in, Philosophy, History, and perhaps even psychiatry. Could be, but it seems you’re really only attempting to pay one ups on us rather then really start a discussion. So don’t bother coming back if you think that’s the way you have meaningful discussions with other. Clearly you have your view, but rather then really contending with the post you have just been saying is rambling nonsense, so did you really expect us to engage with you respectfully? You set the tone, so why are you surprised we reciprocated in kind?

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    • Sha'Tara

      I had to go watch the video, then read the article-didn’t realize it was a year old and I wasn’t following this blog then. Comments took me by surprise, I thought my “follow” didn’t work anymore! To the article, “There is a way that seems right… etc.” must be taken in context: it means simply that “a man” cannot know the right way; that he must follow in the dictates of “the Lord.” I claim this as an x-Christian with some biblical studies. OK, nuff on that. History shows over and over that organized religions attract sociopaths because there was a time religion was the number one power ruling this world. Now sociopaths are more often attracted to government, the military but especially to investment banking. Faith in some sky wizard is no longer the main attractant, but can be as in the case of this Wood character. Wood remains a sociopath and a more dangerous one than ever because now he can claim that what he does, should he decide to start killing again, is ordered from God. Nothing new in that, but if ordered from God, he can kill many with impunity and immunity from God within his own mind where before, as an individual he tried to kill one and got caught. There’s a great advantage for any sociopath to join a powerful movement – take Scientology or Mormonism as examples of modern oppressive religions, IMO, that is. Anyone want to demonstrate this isn’t so is welcome.

      I’m not an atheist and I find defending either atheism or religionism rather a waste of time. I have nothing to defend; I sense there are no absolutes to rely on-we fly by the seats of our pants day by day and ultimately what I choose to think or do has to be the best for me. I certainly can’t trust religion or government, and even less “society” as any sort of guide if I understand what history tries to teach. So I rely on myself mostly. I call it self-empowerment. I was troubled when I heard Wood describing his thoughts because much of what he implies of necessity is in the mind of the self-empowered. But then I realized it’s how one uses that empowerment that makes such a huge difference. I think of Ghandi, of Mother Teresa and others who, even if wrong in some of their personal choices they imposed on others who didn’t understand, did try to do the best they could to make their society into something better. Powerful but empathic, not sociopathic. Is it a fine line? Perhaps. But the empathic being leans towards self-sacrifice for the benefit or another, or others: they come first, whereas the sociopath comes first, is first and acts as if other don’t matter: they’re just there as the mouse is to the well-fed cat: playthings to be made to suffer, to experience fear.

      Well, this is an inexhaustible subject. For those interested in ponerology, (Hitler, Stalin, George Bush types) they should read “Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes
      by Andrew M. Lobaczewski.”

      Liked by 1 person

  • brianbalke

    I’ll ignore the “Christianity” part and focus on the “Sociopathy”: exposing sociopathy in any context is a great public good. Thank-you!

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  • caelesti

    Agreed- sociopaths can be of any religion or no religion.
    I was in a creepily authoritarian religious group once (a “cult”) and the leader exhibited some sociopathic traits. Not sure if he was or not for sure, but yeah very scary when those folks get into powerful leadership roles. Thanks for not doing the let’s label religion a “mental illness” thing, I get really sick of people doing that, and equally so when people say atheism is a pathological problem of some sort. (Or my favorite- autistic people are atheists because we are missing the “god part” of the brain. Extra ignorance sauce with your science much?)

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    • hessianwithteeth

      As somebody with a mental illness, it really bugs me when people say that religion is a mental illness. There’s already enough stigma about mental illness, and it seems like a way to merely dismiss religion.
      I also find the whole “atheists are autistic” argument annoying. Again, there is enough stigma, and it’s a way to simply dismiss atheism. Autistic people can be atheists, but it’s also possible to be religious and autistic. And autism isn’t something to simply dismiss. Autistic people are people first.
      People annoy me sometimes. I don’t understand why they find it so hard to understand why these arguments are silly and offensive.

      Liked by 1 person

  • The Gospel of Barney

    I would agree you described a ssociopath but disagree with your blanket assertion “athests are not sociopaths! Give me emperal evidence.Joseph Stalin killed moe
    Roe of his own people that Hitler did! ITE an accomplishment. For an avowed atheist,

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    • equippedcat

      I don’t think that a statement was made that no atheist is/was a sociopath, nor was the statement made that all Christians were/are sociopaths. It seems to me that one particular case was being discussed about a person who certainly seems like might be a sociopath. I’d bet that some sociopaths are atheists and some sociopaths are theists, and I can guarantee that there are both atheists and theists who are not sociopaths.

      Liked by 1 person

    • hessianwithteeth

      I was making the claim that atheists, as in the group as a whole, are not sociopaths. I never said no individual atheist could be a sociopath. I was talking about the assumption that atheists can’t have any reason to be moral because we don’t have gods. If atheists couldn’t be moral, and couldn’t find a reason to be moral, without gods, then we as a group would be sociopaths.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Gospel of Barney

        Agreed, but then you have to define you absolutes for your morality as situational ethics in of themselves are sociopathic as they allow individuals to determine what is and is not moral based on their personal view. There has to be a cohesive moral framework for society to function. that construct would be you God or worldview!

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        • hessianwithteeth

          No that’s a false choice, absolute morality vs. relative morality is not a real argument, nor are they the only options. Otherwise the philosophy of ethics would be laughed at.

          The other point is I don’t think you can actually offer an absolute frame work, even allowing for your god, since you can’t know his objections and approvals to everything. So you have to work with in a non-absolutest frame work anyway.

          But Not absolute does not equal relative. There are real shades of grey here. Like even consequentialism can avoid retaliative status by making use of rules with net positive effects (like treating others well, which most of the time is a net + for everyone)

          ” There has to be a cohesive moral framework for society to function.”

          Yes no one here is arguing that, but to be cohesive doesn’t men it’s absolute. It means the majority of society agrees to some set of rules. This rule can be monstrously unjust in many ways, but that can still lead to cohesion like with Nazi’s. And all societies do break down eventually, though nasty ones tend to break down faster.

          You can also draw many different distinctions about which sort of system is better, by defining what you think is good or right, and create a frame work around that as well. Each of these thing is itself a deep and complex area of thinking, so try not to over simplify it down to absolutes. We have a lot more wiggle room then that.

          Withteeth

          Liked by 1 person

          • equippedcat

            Absolute morality is an iffy proposition. Consider that society frowns on robbing a bank. God seems to frown on robbing a bank. It sounds like robbing a bank should be “absolutely wrong”. But say the bank decided that it was in its own best interests to confiscate all the contents of all the safe deposit boxes it held. Would “robbing” that bank (to recover your wrongfully stolen assets) be wrong?

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          • hessianwithteeth

            Where you replying to me or Barney here?

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          • equippedcat

            I’m not sure; I was objecting to the concept of absolute morality, because I could not think of anything for which there could never be an apparently moral reason to do it. Since then, I came up with one, so my objection is withdrawn.

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        • hessianwithteeth

          Two things I feel I must respond to as well is this notion.

          “define you absolutes for your morality as situational ethics in of themselves are sociopathic as they allow individuals to determine what is and is not moral based on their personal view.”

          One so we are clear I not actually saying we need absolutes at all. I’m not defining my absolute. it would be more accurate to say I think that it’s quite likely they are unattainable in the first place.

          Second your definition of sociopathic seem much to broad. Making decisions based on a personal view is not being a sociopath. Making decisions with no regard to how it will effect others is.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The Gospel of Barney

            Agreed it is without regard to others that is sociopathic! When personal views have no fixed regard for others is when I see a problem. As it allows people to behave sociopathically and leans toward a Hedonistic outlook.

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          • hessianwithteeth

            Well there are forms of hedonism which are quite so bad they just function around the idea the pleasure is good and pain is bad, and we should maximize or optimize pleasure over pain, though it can lead to some very problematic issues, but I’m quite capable of defending it even though it isn’t my moral system of choice.
            That said hedonistic utilitarianism is not the same beast as being hedonistic, where all your concerned about is your own pleasure which I’d agree is not something we ought to strive for.

            Liked by 1 person

          • The Gospel of Barney

            Although utilitarianism is also known as universal hedonism. Greatest good for greatest number.

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  • transforminglifenow

    So many “Christians” haven’t even read the Bible. They only think what they’re taught to think. Most Atheists have spent a lot of time thinking about what they believe and reading to gain knowledge. I agree with your thoughts that this man is indeed a sociopath.

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  • equippedcat

    What is the “argument for design” and how does the Bible’s accuracy relate to it?

    I’m familiar with the concept of “intelligent design”, which postulates that the intricacies of the physical world and life are so complex that it is “impossible” to happen “by accident”, therefore “someone” caused it to happen that way. Of course, this ignores that 1 chance in a whole lot is still a chance. The Bible presents one limited view of this, which is most likely figurative rather than literal. It is a bit of a leap from “creation” to “intelligent design”, and intelligent design can be completely independent of the Bible,

    Assuming that “argument for design” and “intelligent design” are the same, then it is not unheard of for a person to buy into intelligent design as the first step to Christianity, and even if the Bible is shown to be complete fiction, it would have insignificant impact on the viability of the intelligent design theory.

    Of course, none of this means this fellow is NOT a nut job..

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  • equippedcat

    ” sociopaths believe themselves to be the standard. They believe that they are right and assume that anyone who disagrees with them must be wrong”

    I don’t disagree this is so, but I’m not sure how useful this is as a sign of sociopathy, since an awful lot of people seem to hold this view.

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  • D.T. Nova

    Anyone who says that their beliefs are the only thing keeping them from murdering people scares me, because in my experience beliefs change more easily than core morality does.

    This person’s is debatable, but I’m going to suggest it’s possible that he has been consistently amoral but authoritarian, and he just has such a giant ego that he doesn’t consider anyone less than God an authority.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Elizabeth Melton Parsons

    I’m a Christian and I have many friends, both Christian and non-Christian–but I don’t know anyone who thinks like this. You must know some very strange Christians.
    And the man you are speaking of may be a Christian because he believes in Christ but he’s also insane and is not speaking of any Christian values I was ever taught or believe.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      There are many different types of Christians. I don’t know any Christians like this person, but I do know ones that have made arguments similar to the ones he made. In my experience, those arguments are common among conservative evangelicals. But again, those are arguments, not personality traits. This person has a mental disorder that makes it impossible for him to empathize. Very few people, Christian or otherwise, can’t empathize.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mathie

    It’s such a shame that religion can breed some of the nastiest (to put it mildly) people.
    But I have met my fair share of atheists who are asshats too, and they aren’t immune to mental disorders such as sociopathy just because they are atheist either.
    I don’t think lacking faith makes a bad person any more than having faith does. Albeit some religions are worse for it than others, I have met a Christian lady who stands up for the LGBTQ community and gives food stuffs to collections for the poor, I’m yet to meet a hateful Taoist, and the vast majority of Buddhists are peaceful.
    I suspect it’s the individual that has that power to decide what they do with their faith or non faith. Though to what extent mental health has on this I can’t be sure. However nasty people will find anything to use as an excuse for their own greedy and hateful agenda and sadly some faiths far too easily suit their purpose. I’m not sure the religion is entirely to blame, people do have free will after all, but it does look like there is a trend between those with mental disorders and what religion they are a part of and how that disorder affects what they choose to do with that religion.

    Interesting stuff. Thanks for the read Hessian.

    Like

  • saraharnetty

    Very well written. One question, how do you think that he’s a sociopath and not a psychopath? (I can never remember the difference between the two).

    Like

    • Tree Hugging Humanist

      I’m not sure there is a difference between the two.

      Like

      • sirgb

        There is a big difference!

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        • equippedcat

          Not everyone agrees. If you see a big difference, what is it?

          Like

          • sirgb

            The “big” is relative. Without to argue with getting into origins and description about the extend they both are antisocial, “soulless” creatures capable to commit crimes that normal human mind can’t comprehend, the big difference I’m referring to is the presentation. The most important element for society is to be able to recognise traits, signs when these people occur. The SPh is rather easy to spot – quick to display rage, nervousness, agitation! He/she is impulsive, spontaneous, erratic in behaviour. Non is true for the PPh! He/She is charming, smiling,. a person with charisma, with behaviour totally under control, able to mimic feelings and attachment! To spot a PPh is almost impossible! Well, what is better to have in near proximity, say on workplace? A SPh who behave strangely, so you feel there is something wrong with and you are given chance to take measures, or the other, who you even perhaps like as person, and you have no idea that he can kill you with smile on his face well planned in advance with minimum or no evidence? Still think not a big difference?

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          • hessianwithteeth

            I’m not familiar with the acronyms your using, so while I’d like to dive a bit deeper I’m not sure what your saying. If you could clarify.

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          • sirgb

            Sorry!
            PPh = Psychopath
            SPh = Sociopath

            Like

    • mottyl

      I think the difference is in degree. It is possible for someone to have always been a psychopath (although I believe all disease is developed, not inherent) as well as for someone to have always been a sociopath, but I also believe that the person referred to in the article above graduated from being a sociopath to being a psychopath.
      A sociopath has no empathy, therefore has no regard for others. This usually happens when a person is somehow taught that it is dangerous to love. Because the individual cannot feel love they need constant stimulation, and like a drug, the tolerance to that stimulation increases over time.
      If that person does not somehow learn that it is not dangerous to love, they can become so needy of stimulation and attention that they graduate from no regard for others to an outright disregard for others. In other words, they graduate from being a sociopath to being a psychopath, capable of extreme violence towards others.
      The point you made about sociopaths carrying a grudge for a long time is another example of the sociopath needing constant stimulation to replace the feeling of love.
      It is not surprising that many sociopaths are involved in criminal and risky activities. The adrenaline and the attention are a life source for them. It is also not surprising that many sociopaths are addicted to high energy drugs such as cocaine or that they entertain highly charged and extremist beliefs.
      Oddly enough, they are some of the hardest people to love, almost impossible to love without risking yourself, and yet they are people who are most in need of love – from a distance though.

      Like

      • hessianwithteeth

        As far as psychology is concerned, psychopaths/sociopaths are born. It’s not a disease, it’s a problem in the brain. It’s like any other mental illness. A person can be a sociopath and function effectively in society, it just takes them longer to learn certain skills that most people take for granted. Very few people with psychopathy (the diagnoses illness) become killers. It seems it takes a certain level of nurture to create a killer. As for the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath, it depends who you ask as to whether their actually is a difference. People with the illness tend to prefer to be called sociopaths because there is less stigma, but mental health professionals tend to use the words interchangeably. Society generally views psychopaths as violent and sociopaths as non-violent though.
        I think it really depends on the sociopath where love is concerned. I know a diagnosed sociopath who I find difficult to not get annoyed at, but her family doesn’t even believe that she lies. I don’t have any issue with her as a person either. I know what issues she has and what to be careful of, but I wouldn’t say that she isn’t a good person. But she understands that it’s in her best interest to follow societies rules…mostly, so she can function as a good person.

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