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Religious Tolerance logo

Thought provoking questions that
we have received, with our responses

Part 6:

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This topic continues from the previous essay

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Interesting Emails discussed in this essay:

bulletCause(s) of Multiple Personality Disorder

bulletEvolution is false

bullet Who is a Christian? (revisited)

bullet Tolerance and truth are incompatible

Cause(s) of Multiple Personality Disorder:

Incoming Email: "Is Child Abuse the only or main cause of MPD?"

Our response: Please read our MPD menu and its associated essays.

Ever since MPD became a popular diagnosis in the early 1980's, most psychiatrists and psychologists have believed that it doesn't exist in nature. Most have believed that MPD symptoms are an iatrogenic -- physician induced -- disorder which is typically created in a therapists' office by a therapist who believes in MPD and a client who is open to suggestion. However, a minority of therapists became firmly convinced that children exposed to abuse can repress those memories and develop multiple personalities where each personality has access to a portion of the abuse memories.

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSD), was originally the professional association of MPD practitioners. It had a rapid growth in the 1980s, reached a peak in the early 1990s, and has been in steady decline ever since. Belief in MPD has followed a similar pattern as Recovered Memories and Satanic Ritual Abuse, which are often linked to MPD. Few therapists believe in any of these today.

When clients ended therapy, their MPD symptoms gradually appear to dissipate. Sometimes the symptoms dissipated suddenly. I can say this with confidence because I was a volunteer at a local distress/crisis telephone service during the 1980's and 1990's. Shortly after a MPD clinic opened locally, many of our regular callers apparently became clients of the clinic. They started calling our distress center, presenting themselves as different personalities. When they later left the clinic, either because they ran out of insurance coverage or when the clinic closed down, they quickly abandoned their multiple personalities and reverted to their original identity.

In early 2014, Dr. Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and professor emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine wrote:

"Having seen hundreds of patients who claimed to house multiple personalities, I have concluded that the diagnosis is always (or at least almost always) a fake, even though the patients claiming it are usually (but not always) sincere.

In every single instance, I discovered that the alternate personalities had been born under the tutelage of an enthusiastic and naive therapist, or in imitation of a friend, or after seeing a movie, or upon joining a multiples' chat group—or some combination. It was most commonly a case of a suggestible and gullible therapist and a suggestible and gullible patient influencing each other in the creation of new personalities. None of the purported cases had had a spontaneous onset and none was the least bit convincing."

My personal opinion is that MPD does not exist naturally and is always -- or essentially always -- caused by an iatrogenic interaction of a therapist and patient.

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Evolution is false:

Two incoming Emails:

  1. "I believe that evolution is a false theory because they base their "knowledge" on theories that are never really 100% true.

  2. I believe that...God created us like we are today, the way He wanted us to look like not some genetic mutation."

Our response:

  1. It is true that scientists do not know the full truth. This is true of all branches of science, like astronomy, cosmology, geology, biology, etc. Within each field, there is a certain body of knowledge that is accepted as basically true and accurate. But there are always areas of debate on the cutting edges of science where speculation leads to new concepts which are tested and compared with reality. Most of these ideas fail; some become accepted as theories after extensive testing and confirmation; some theories become accepted as laws. But at any one given time, each branch of science is not 100% true; it will contain some errors. Also, scientists must be always ready to reject a well-established theory if new evidence arrives which proves it to be false. Over time, the scientific method is self correcting and eventually leads to increasing accuracy.

    Some people are not satisfied with the degree of uncertainty within science. They seek certainty. This is what hundreds of different religions are pleased to offer. Even within conservative Christianity, there are many, different and conflicting beliefs about the origin of the species and of the rest of the universe. The adherents of each of these beliefs are quite confident that theirs is true, that science is wrong, and that all of the other religiously-based belief systems are also false.

  2. There are alternative interpretations of the creation stories than the one that you suggest. One is that God created Adam and Eve as proto-humans, not as modern-day homo sapiens. They were more animal than they were human in that they had no moral concept of right and wrong. Eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, symbolizes their development of a moral sense; they took one step away from animals towards God. They became fully human. Thus, the story of Genesis and the Garden of Eden can be interpreted as describing how human beings evolved from pre-humans, and advanced morally above the other species to become modern humans.

    Of course, most conservative Christians interpret the same passages very differently, and believe that the Bible describes the fall of humanity.

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Who is a Christian? (revisited):

Incoming Email: "You classify groups like Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Unificationists as Christian. But to be a Christian denotes being disciples of Christ and  following his teachings and the above referenced groups definitely do not even closely adhere to the doctrines set forth by Christ..."

Our response: Please have a look at our essay on "What is a Christian."

bullet Consider a Mormon. He/she has been taught that Jesus founded the Christian Church, but that his followers deviated greatly from his teachings in the late 1st and the early 2nd century CE as the apostles died. They believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reconstructed that original church and is the only true Christian church today.

bulletConsider a Jehovah's Witness. She/he has been taught that their denomination is the only true Christian faith group among all of the Christian faith groups.

bulletConsider a member of the Unification Church. He/she has been taught that theirs is the "true" church and that all of the other Christian denominations are, more or less, false.

bulletConsider a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. She/he believes that his denomination has the truth and that all of the other 1,000 or so faith groups that consider themselves to be Christian are in error to a greater or lesser degree.

In each case -- Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Unification Church member, and Southern Baptist -- their faith group is led by thoughtful, intelligent, devout, caring, studious, prayerful, devoted individuals. Each believes their own faith group to have the truth. Each believes that the Bible teaches the beliefs of their denomination, and that their leaders have interpreted the Bible correctly.

Our position is the same as that taken by many census offices in countries around the world, and by public opinion pollsters: if a person devoutly, seriously, prayerfully, and with conviction believes themselves to be a Christian, then we count them as a Christian. Needless to say, this position generates a lot of angry Emails.

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Tolerance and truth are incompatible:

Incoming Email: "Your home pages states:

'You, and I, and everyone else have two options:
bulletReligious tolerance --to accept the right of other people to freely follow religions that are strange to us, without hindrance, or

bulletTo continue living in a world saturated with religious intolerance. We will then experience more religiously-based wars, terrorism, and civil disturbances.'

Does the mean we are to ignore truth?"

Our response: Tolerance has no direct connection to truth. Imagine a situation where you are a conservative Christian and know that you follow the only true religion. Your neighbor is a Muslim, and he also knows that his religion, alone, has the fullness of truth. You allow the Muslim to freely follow his religion without hindrance. You still regard him as being in error. He continues to regard you as being in error. But you both agree to coexist in peace. Tolerance does not mean that you have to accept other people's beliefs as true, valid, moral, reasonable, or good. It just means that you do not oppress them because they want to follow another religion.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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Site navigation: Home page > Comments > Questions > here

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Copyright © 2002 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-SEP-24
Latest update: 2014-OCT-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

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