Is It Possible for Psychopaths to Be Religious?
For a very long time, I had thought that psychopaths are people who could cut you up with a chainsaw. Turns out, I was wrong – at least half wrong.
See, a psychopath is an unemotional social predator with the ability to manipulate, using violence if necessary, to get what they want. These agents of evil possess absolutely no sense of guilt and will always disregard the rules of the society in which they live.
That said, one thing always came to my mind: “what do psychopaths think about religion?” Or, more correctly asked, “can psychopaths be religious?’
I’d really like to answer this personally, so please bear with me.
Is There a Link Between Psychopathy and Religion?
Basically, if you ask this question to anyone, most would respond with:
“Are you crazy? Of course, the answer is no.”
Don’t get them wrong, but associating religion with remorseless people does sound a little bit strange.
I mean, they are not like us. Their hearts won’t race for a lover. They won’t empathize with child beggars. They won’t understand those short bursts of joy.
If you add in the element of religion in the picture, some people would say it’s more impossible for a psychopath to be religious than for other people.
I’m not an expert on religion, but many believers can testify that their firm grasp of faith comes from personal encounters and emotional needs.
That being said, religion doesn’t seem to have any connection with psychopaths.
I would like to emphasize here how the key to religion is a firm belief, adherence to religious etiquettes and subservience offered to the Maker.
On the other hand, you’ve got psychopaths who reject the notion of a power or a force being more superior than themselves. What I’m explaining here is how most of the times, psychopaths try to usurp all the power for themselves and show great disrespect to established patterns and norms of behavior.
Coming from this perspective, I can agree that with little or no conscience, the concept of a belief in a supernatural being is beyond psychopaths.
So, is that the final answer?
Hmm… think about this:
If there is no place for religion in the lives of psychopaths, what about Reverend Jim Jones?
Or, the angel-looking David Koresh?
Or better, the famous Adolf Hitler, who was a supposedly a pious Catholic?
Snakes in Religious Disguise
Feeling no love, guilt, fear and having no shame – all that describe psychopaths perfectly but what do you have to say about psychopathic religious leaders?
Read the book “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.” The author found out that clergyman stands at the eighth position in terms of the professions that attract psychopaths.
I can’t say how not having any feelings can be connected with being religious, but real-life examples do hint at a correlation between the two.
Davish Koresh, Reverend Jim Jones and Adolf Hitler have wreaked havoc and destruction and are thus considered as psychopaths by many. Yet, these are the same people who claimed to have embrace compassion for religious beliefs and live their lives in the name of God.
Based on what I’ve learned from many psychologists, religious leaders and psychopaths, this would be my first notion:
Psychopaths would only use religion as a mask.
It’s not hard to believe that they can join religious groups, adopt self-improvement fads and pose as devout believers in order to give a nice and respectable image of themselves.
These are smooth-talking and charismatic snakes in disguise.
I don’t know if this one fits in here, but we can also take ISIS leaders as present-time examples.
I don’t want you to think that I’m associating some sort of religious stigma with this statement, but rather I want to point out how some of these terrorists believed they were “divinely appointed” by God to get rid of people who aren’t suitable to live in the society.
Torturing and taking the lives of countless souls originates from psychopaths believing that they were ordained by a higher power to kill.
In this sense, wars were started and lives were taken in the name of God and religion.
The “God Brain” Theory
Most recently, when I probed for more answers, I came across a new theory called the “God brain.”
This notion might not be 100 % accurate but somehow, it addresses our main question.
Started as a very intriguing argument, some scientists take the position that the human brain has something that can be called a “God spot.”
Does that mean the belief in God is innate in our brains?
I will answer this by first indicating that these are mere scientific speculations yet-to-be-proven-true by researchers from the University of Missouri and then based on studies of spiritual transcendence and a decreased right parietal lobe functioning, many believe that spirituality comes from a complex section of the brain that neuroscientists have yet to prove.
This made me realize that despite their inabilities to feel emotions, religious beliefs may have been hardwired in the brains of psychopaths.
I wouldn’t say I’ve concluded that psychopaths can be religious. Nor am I denying the fact that there is such possibility. Every individual will answer this question differently. Choices are endless as psychopathic personalities are different and endless.