Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Psychopath and the Atheist


[a little light reading]

I just read this on a fascinating website:

Sociopaths lie, cheat, steal and even kill then they move on to the next victim.

If you only know one thing about psychology, you should know about sociopaths. Being aware of sociopaths could help you avoid emotional trauma, ruined finances, even an untimely death.

Sociopathy, also called psychopathy, is a personality disorder characterized by deceit on a scale most of us cannot imagine. These men and women are not crazy; they know exactly what they are doing. Here is how
Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., begins his book about psychopaths, Without Conscience:

"Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret."

Why is it so critical for you to know about sociopaths? Because millions of sociopaths are living among us. Yes, many of them are criminals, locked up in jail. But far more are on the street, hurting people without breaking laws, operating in the gray areas between legal and illegal, or simply eluding the authorities. They can appear to be normal, but they pose a tremendous threat to us all.

Sociopaths exhibit a range of behaviors. In fact, Dr. Hare diagnoses them according to their score on a scale. So just as you could describe someone's intelligence as ranging from smart to genius, you could describe a sociopath as somewhere between sleazy and serial killer. If you see sleazy, he or she may be on the low end of the scale, but they're still bad news.

This web site is dedicated to informing you about sociopaths so you can protect yourself. Learn to spot the behaviors that might indicate someone is a sociopath. Once they are adults, sociopathic men and women do not change. They cannot be rehabilitated. The sooner you can get away from them, the better off you'll be.


It suddenly struck me – what is the difference between a typical atheist and a psychopath/sociopath? Apparently, absolutely nothing

41 comments:

Simon said...

Some quick questions: How much do you know about atheist and what they stand for? If you imagine your self to be in an atheist's position, could you then draw the differences between a psychopath and an atheist. And please do not embarres your self by saying that atheist's is in lack of empaty in their moral "behaviour".
(excuse my english, I live in Sweden, hope you'll get me right..)

jewish philosopher said...

"How much do you know about atheist and what they stand for?"

I am extremely well informed and I was formerly an athiest, from age 12 to 14.

"If you imagine your self to be in an atheist's position, could you then draw the differences between a psychopath and an atheist."

No.

Child Ish Behavior said...

millions of sociopaths are living among us

You do realize that this conclusion must be false. If it were true then society would institute laws that prevent these people from doing these bad actions. The laws of men were created to prevent just such manipulation from taking place. The problem of psychopathic people can not be as prevalent as you make it seem.

Also the diagnosis of a psychiatric condition must be made by professionals and not just people on the street that read one article or book.

jewish philosopher said...

"If it were true then society would institute laws that prevent these people from doing these bad actions."

But, on the other, to micromanage everyone's life would violate privacy, freedom, due process, etc.

"the diagnosis of a psychiatric condition must be made by professionals"

I would like to see people educated from infancy to fear God and observe the Torah and not become psychopaths in the first place.

BlackEyedP said...

Being an "atheist" from the time that you were 12 to 14 constitutes nothing, JP. You don't know what you are at that age and frequently will try on different "hats" to see what feels right to you. Thats what children do. On the other hand, Im real sick of hearing your unfounded comparisons about atheists and sociopaths. I'd like to know what exactly do you think an atheist is? How about a sociopath? While true, an atheist can be a sociopath but it does not mean a sociopath is necessarily an athiest. Presonally, I believe that you are a sociopathic orthodox jew. I think you would be a sociopath no matter what life path you chose.

jewish philosopher said...

“Being an "atheist" from the time that you were 12 to 14 constitutes nothing, JP. You don't know what you are at that age”

I was very precocious.

“Presonally, I believe that you are a sociopathic orthodox jew.”

And I believe you’re drunk.

BlackEyedP said...

cheers!

jewish philosopher said...

P, I'm not buying you any drinks. Only psychopaths take advantage of innocent women like that.

Simon said...

So you really think Atheist's fears God when they don't even believe in one?
And do you really think that studying the torah will make us "sane"?

jewish philosopher said...

Torah education from childhood would probably almost eliminate psychopathy.

Anonymous said...

Come on Jewish non philosopher. I am at best an agnostic and at worst an atheist. Do I go around hurting other people ? I have a normal job and try to make ends meet as best as I can without infringing on other peoples rights. In this case you are way out of your league in trying to explain an atheist.....Avi

jewish philosopher said...

I have only been able to find one well documented case of an atheist who seemed like a decent person, and he seemed to have wished he was a believer.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Jewish non philosopher. At least you can admit to one atheist that you know of who is decent. There are many of them as you well know....Avi

jewish philosopher said...

Proof, please?

Yeshivish Atheist said...

If you truly did think that way about atheists you wouldn't be posting your personal information about where you live publicly for all us psychopaths to see.

Speaking of which, I actually live near you. It's a bit of a drive but it's more than doable. Wanna have me over for Shabbos? :)

jewish philosopher said...

"If you truly did think that way about atheists you wouldn't be posting your personal information about where you live publicly for all us psychopaths to see."

And by that logic, if Sophie Scholl really thought Nazis were so bad, she wouldn't have dared to distribute anti-Nazi pamphlets.

"It's a bit of a drive but it's more than doable."

According to mapquest, it's about 50 minutes. But don't forget, Shabbos is early this time of year!

Yeshivish Atheist said...

That doesn't make much sense, If Sophie Scholl could have distributed them anonymously without getting in trouble, I'm sure she would. She wouldn't expose herself unless it was necessary.

"But don't forget, Shabbos is early this time of year!"

So it's a yes then?

jewish philosopher said...

I feel that exposing myself is necessary.

"So it's a yes then?"

Any time.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"Any time."

See that's my point. If you really thought all atheists were psychopathic murderers no sane person would let them in their house with their wife and children.

The Torah forbids you from putting yourself or your family in harms way.

You're not making much sense. Unless you don't think I'm a Psychopath.

jewish philosopher said...

"all atheists were psychopathic murderers"

Did you even bother to read this post? Or just the title?

"The Torah forbids you from putting yourself or your family in harms way."

Maybe I'm a little off here, but I have a feeling that most bloggers fit in the "computer nerd" category. In case of being attacked, my wife and I may be in danger of laughing to death... ;-)

Can we film it and upload to youtube?

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"Maybe I'm a little off here, but I have a feeling that most bloggers fit in the "computer nerd" category."

Hah, even If I was, you would be surprised what some nerds can do.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/2144503/Nerd-cult-murderer-executed.html

jewish philosopher said...

That serial killer wasn’t a nerd in the American sense. He was reportedly a devoted fan of cinema, including pornography, which is called an “otaku” in Japanese.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

Also you are still not making much sense. Would you let a neo-nazi in your house for shabbos if you didn't think he posed a physical threat? You already compared me to William Joyce...

Anonymous said...

Come on...this is why I'm sometimes not sure this blog is serious. People who adopt a belief set suddenly have an unusual psychiatric condition? Okaaaaay....Odd more psychiatrists and researchers haven't caught on yet...

jewish philosopher said...

"Would you let a neo-nazi in your house for shabbos"

Why not?

"People who adopt a belief set suddenly have an unusual psychiatric condition?"

I think atheists consider religious people to be "delusional".

James F. Elliott said...

Sociopathy is not psychopathy. Please refer yourself to the research of Martha Stout at Harvard. Anti-social Personality Disorder is a serious psychiatric diagnosis and a very real phenomenon -- and one that raises all kinds of problems for the Abrahamic faiths -- but isn't something to get panicked about without some real information.

Anonymous said...

Jewish philosopher. I too wish I were a believer and you know that for many years I was. But at some point the truth must come out. And if I changed my mind about believing and being frum, that does not make me the devil incarnate. I am the same person that I was when I was a believer and am the same person know......Avi

jewish philosopher said...

"Sociopathy is not psychopathy."

It think they are pretty much synonmous.

"if I changed my mind about believing and being frum, that does not make me the devil incarnate"

I am happy to hear that, however you know evil people often believe themselves to be good. To cite an extreme example, I read I believe in "Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich" by Joachim Fest that during his last days, Hitler told his friends that his only mistake was that he had been too kind. Seriously, I'm not making that up.

K said...

You are saying that atheists have no depth of feeling, empathy, remorse if they harm another, etc.

Is that how your father was? Was he a psychopath? If so, that explains a lot about your skewed perspective.

You should look at the American Humanist Association Many of those who join are atheists, and they obviously have moral values.

jewish philosopher said...

"You are saying that atheists have no depth of feeling, empathy, remorse if they harm another"

As a general rule, yes.

"Many of those who join are atheists, and they obviously have moral values."

Or they believe correctly that it is useful to claim to have moral values.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post Mr. Stein!
Bravo!

Demitri

jewish philosopher said...

Thank you.

Masked Offender said...

A psychopath is someone who modifies his behavior only to avoid punishment. A religious person is someone whose morality REQUIRES the threat of punishment from a god. Requiring a threat to motivate good behavior is also a sign of someone stuck in the lowest level of moral development. Frankly, if you need god to be moral then you are either a psychopath or have the mind of a small child.

You are a nasty, ignorant bigot, Mr. Stein.

jewish philosopher said...

It's not just my idea.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote in The Brothers Karamazov Chapter VI

"Ivan Fyodorovitch added in parenthesis that the whole natural law lies in that faith, and that if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism. That's not all. He ended by asserting that for every individual, like ourselves, who does not believe in God or immortality, the moral law of nature must immediately be changed into the exact contrary of the former religious law, and that egoism, even to crime, must become not only lawful but even recognized as the inevitable, the most rational, even honorable outcome of his position."

This is often paraphrased as "If God does not exist, everything is permitted."

Masked Offender said...

An appeal to authority? How original! How unlike an authoritarian personality! Oops, there's my sarcasm again.

If you can't figure out morality for yourself, then you're a stupid, ignorant bigot. Don't worry, though, there are plenty of people who have done the thinking for you--not to mention the recent research concerning man's natural sense of morality. Most of those people have done a much, much better job of defining morality than the narcissistic psychopath that you worship. The bible isn't a moral guide; it's a handbook on how to behave like a psychopath and still think you're a good person.

Masked Offender said...

By the way, Dostoevsky got it wrong. The truth is that as long as religion exists, then everything is permitted and probably even required at times.

93% of the members of the national academy of sciences don't believe in god. If god is required for morality, then why aren't the members of the national academy guilty of raping children at an even greater rate than catholic priests? Why haven't we heard of all the great immoral crimes the members of the academy have committed?

You don't know anything about atheists or atheism. I would suggest that your alleged "atheism" was a manifestation of your own psychopathy, to which you now cheerfully admit by admitting that you need to believe in a threatening god to be moral. This is understandable, because you clearly lack empathy and reason, the two essential components of true morality.

jewish philosopher said...

I didn't appeal to authority, claiming that if Dostoyevsky said it, then it must be true. I was simply quoting someone a little more eloquent than myself.

If a person doesn't believe in God and a God given morality, then he will naturally be no more moral than the chimpanzee, the animal most similar to man. Primitive peoples were not particularly kind or peaceful.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/demonicmales.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Before_Civilization

If an atheist does behave well, it almost certainly is the result of habits inherited from parents or grandparents who believed in the Bible.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/12/always-let-your-conscience-be-your.html

Stephen said...

The title of the post doesn't answer the question. This might be one to start with. The atheist has a soul and a Spirit. The psychopath is brain damaged is the best hypothesis to date. They have to learn good morals. Even the BTK Killer was a member of his own church council. He 'Learned" the behavior of moral and ethics, it was not innate. The atheist, on the other hand, has locked his Spirit into a black box and cannot comprehend or "See". He thrives on intellect and cannot possibly know TRUE love beyond it being an emotion. They might think they know, but they cannot POSSIBLY know without having been Enlightened by the Invisible Force that gave them their very brains. Psychopaths thrive to serve basic insticts, Atheist thrive to serve themselves.

chrisjanDL said...

Do you have any idea at all how stupid you sound? In the UK 2/3th are atheists, in the Netherlands 35% is atheist, just because some people don't have to fill a hole because theyre not scared of something they don't know and try to proof and reason except just follow a crowd has no link at all with a mental disorder and you already start being wrong at saying a person with a dsm (mental dissorder) a.k.a a sociopath is the same as a psychopath to start with for example a sociopath getting irritated at a bar might grab a bottle and smash it on their head and feel guilty after while a psychopath would wait outside and coldbloodedly kill them with ou any feeling of guilt afterwards, you sir by talking about atheists like this have a light form of being a sociopath.

jewish philosopher said...

"In the UK 2/3th are atheists, in the Netherlands 35% is atheist"

Probably in North Korea 100% are. Which proves what?

And incidentally, I'm not sure if your statisitcs are very accurate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism#Europe_and_Russia

KatPhilosphy said...

The point is that not all people who affiliate with atheism are psychopaths, but psychopathy is the logical conclusion of atheism. Those atheists who do not appear to follow through with the atheistic line of reasoning are either cowards, intellectually dishonest or simply lacking the intelligence to do so. So which one is it guys? Not that I encourage psychopathy in the least, but at least be consistent please, that is if you really do want to know truth.