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Hyperreligiosity: Identifying and Overcoming Patterns of Religious Dysfunction

Press Release:

"Hyperreligiosity: Identifying and Overcoming Patterns of Religious Dysfunction," written by R.S. Pearson, was recently published by Telical Books of Seattle, Washington.

The definition of hyperreligiosity is mental illness taking on a religious nature. The new book "Hyperreligiosity: Identifying and Overcoming Patterns of Religious Dysfunction" was written to examine examples of it in the thinking processes and how to overcome them. Psychologists developed the term hyperreligiosity yet there is no one agreed upon spelling of it. It can either be spelled as, "hyper-religiousity," "hyper-religiosity," "hyperreligiosity," or "hyperreligiousity," and each spelling is used by doctors, which can be found via doing a Google search.

Religions say the true spirit of God is loving and charitable, and this is one very positive outcome of the religious life. But, it seems to many people, they do not experience religious people as loving, but instead as harsh, judgmental, and even paranoid. Often people deep in religion pursuits do not have as their goal what Jesus Christ said was the true aim of religion: helping widows and orphans in their affliction. This book explains why dedication to religion often does this to people and possibly what can be done to change that. The author seeks to help ease the burden of being religiously obsessed for -- what seems to many as -- the wrong reasons.

Psychiatrists see hyperreligiosity in someone having psychotic episodes or epileptic fits in which they experience God. Politicians see hyperreligiosity in the way terrorists use religion to justify murder and other criminal acts. The author's view of hyperreligiosity contains these definitions but also sees it as any religious activity or thinking pattern that obscures the virtues of a healthy spiritual practice. The author says mental illnesses are sometimes on a type of spectrum, in that, many of us at some time or in some way, have these problems in a lesser form. Hyperreligiosity is no exception. Hyperreligiosity is easy to recognize when it is extreme and against social norms, but when it is hidden, the person having it can also at a disadvantage.

The author, R.S. Pearson, admits that he himself has had hyperreligious traits on and off for some of his adult life. "I had it starting in my teens. It took different forms, from a Christian version to one into Eastern philosophy and New Age thinking. And then it would even go back and forth between such ideas. Spirituality is very important to me so I wanted to experience what the various paths said I could," Pearson says. "To make sure I obtained the benefits of given to those who really seeked, I believed I had to do a lot of work."

"I still highly value my spirituality." He is quick to mention. "I say in the book that Mother Teresa and Albert Schweitzer were not hyperreligious. Hyperreligiosity can be understood by how it is a personal problem. It doesn't produce anything of social value. Religious saints and even members of monastic organizations often provide or provided some social value. When hyperreligiosity strikes a person, it doesn't give any them value, in fact, this is why religion, as we can see in destructive cults, sometimes does more harm than good in a person's life. There are psychological reasons why this is. Like most educated people today, I value many aspects of Western psychology. Many religious teachers and writers from all different faiths do as well. The book contains important psychological wisdom in it that has helped me overcome the hyperreligiosity in myself."

"After I started identifying that my problems were not based on the fact that I wasn't good enough, that certain things weren't happening not because God wasn't rewarding me, but just because we all have certain limitations as people, I began to outgrow many of my hyperreligious traits. This book contains the insights that have helped me the most."

Like anyone with a basic college education, Pearson could have written a book full of quotations and references from other books, but his intent wasn't to write an academic book. "I think books that need to reference other books every few sentences have a way of scaring away less educated readers. We are in a period now where people reading books, at least in the U.S., is not at an all time high. I wanted to write a book that anyone could read. However, I did not want to simplify too much of what I was saying. I think it's important that the general public understand psychological concepts as much as possible. I did take out the need to reference basic psychological concepts that have become second-hand knowledge to most psychologists anyway. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I believe that they can have a healing affect on people when administered correctly."

The author was born and raised in New York and resettled to Seattle in 1982. In 1992, he started ParaMind Brainstorming Software, which is a software product that uses the idea of "exhausting the interactions of words" to develop new ideas related to the user's typed-in sentence.

(End of press release)

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For a book on a related subject, see The Experience of Hallucinations in Religious Practice by R.S. Pearson.

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