Posts Tagged ‘violence’

The Brains Of Psychopaths May Be Wired Differently Than Yours Or Mine

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Better understanding of how psychopaths’ brains work could pave the way for better treatments. In particular, approaches to addressing other disorders characterized by impulsive decision-making might be worth a look.

For example, the ventral striatum is also overactive when people with substance use disorder are exposed to drug stimuli. Strategies aimed at changing their behavior could potentially be applied to psychopaths as well, Buckholtz said.

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This vision of the world reduces everything to a battle between good and evil, between God and Satan.

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

From Pope’s Confidantes Pen Blistering Critique Of Steve Bannon’s View of Christianity:
Spadaro and Figueroa accused this group of misinterpreting verses in the Bible to fit their own political stances on a wide range of topics ― from war-mongering to climate change to the idea of America as a “promised land” that is to be defended against all odds.

The authors wrote that these evangelicals and Catholics “condemn traditional ecumenism and yet promote an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.”

………………“Francis wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and Church. Spirituality cannot tie itself to governments or military pacts for it is at the service of all men and women. Religions cannot consider some people as sworn enemies nor others as eternal friends. Religion should not become the guarantor of the dominant classes,” the pair wrote.

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10 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About Psychopaths and Sociopaths

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Married a psychopath? Friend dating someone you suspect to be a sociopath? Those aren’t terms to throw around lightly, as they both carry some significant weight. But if you can read the signs and try to make an educated assessment, it will only help to know the facts. Knowing what you’re dealing with and coming to terms with the psychological disorders of those around us can make things easier for everyone.

Of course, terms like psychopath and sociopath make people uneasy. We generally use them to refer to people who act out of sorts or even violently. They’re used to describe manipulative, difficult people. Folks most of us want to avoid. But a lot of what we assume about these disorders is wrong — and can actually make it harder to interact and connect with those who have them.

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The Invaluable Lessons Of ‘Watership Down,’ A Dark Classic

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

“Readers like to be upset, excited and bowled over,” Adams continued in his 2015 interview with The Guardian, remembering his early literary preferences. “I can remember weeping when I was little at upsetting things that were read to me, but fortunately my mother and father were wise enough to keep going.”

Of course, not all mothers and fathers are. Many want to shade their kids from the harsh realities of life, a natural instinct hardly worth criticizing here. Some children come face to face with loss regardless ― be it physical, financial, psychological. They are forced to understand grief and resentment firsthand. They are forced to understand that hard work and persistence and focused belief don’t always yield epic outcomes. But others, nestled safely, are not.

Fiction, thankfully, can give us the gift of empathy. The kind of empathy your protective parents might not be able to impart.

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The Key Predictors of Divorce

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

For 40 years, the University of Washington psychology professor and his team of researchers at the Gottman Institute have studied couples’ interactions to determine the key predictors of divorce — or as Gottman calls them, “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.” The first sign is contempt, followed by criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling, a term for emotionally withdrawing from your partner.

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As a Holocaust Survivor, I Know This Small Action Is the True Antidote to Hate

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I am very concerned when I see presidential candidates fanning the flames of animosity. In the ’30s in Germany, Jews were the target, but the dangerous rhetoric of today is focused on Muslims and particularly Syrian refugees. Like the anti-Semitic tirades of decades ago, many of the same ingredients are present in the speeches of candidates who hold surprisingly high levels of support from the American people.

It is an all too familiar recipe: Strip away individuality and wrap everyone in the group into an amorphous and frightening entity. Speak about what they will take from us and add in a strong nationalist sentiment that allows people to justify their hatred as patriotic allegiance. It was this lethal combination that sent my family to Auschwitz, my father to the gas chamber, and me, a boy of 16, to a slave labor camp where I was forced to build railroads on starvation rations. The SS guards were able to do this to us because they lost sight of our humanity and of our individuality.

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If You Want To Stop Violence Against People, Stop Violence Against Animals

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Denise and Bray are right to be concerned. From Colorado to Australia, research on predictors of child abuse, domestic violence and other criminal behavior increasingly points to a link between animal abuse and violent crime.

Now law enforcement and animal safety experts — as well as veterinarians, social workers, lawyers, judges and even the FBI — are working together to redouble their efforts to identify and prosecute perpetrators in cases of animal abuse. Keeping animals safe, they argue, helps keep people safe, too.

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ANNOUNCEMENT OF MY NEW NOVEL

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

MY NOVEL–
READING THE SIGNS: A PARANORMAL LOVE STORY

Ted Jones, campus chaplain and English Professor in downtown Denver, doesn’t need more problems. His life has been full of them. More than a few of the clergy seem to think of the church as a sex club, and those who administer the English Department are vipers. Yet, at the beseeching of the spirit of an old woman who appears floating near the stained glass window of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Ted soon becomes involved with Sharon, the deceased woman’s grown granddaughter.

Damaged though she is, Sharon responds, trying to return the steadfast love that Ted offers. After her grandmother died, she lost that capacity in herself and couldn’t find it in any of the people who professed to love her.

Although Sharon and Ted’s trials are multiple, their love forms the crux of the novel. Such love reaches beyond time and space as we normally conceive them, to involve intersecting planes of existence that touch both past and future.

*******
While fiction, and centrally a love story, it is essentially true. My experiences teaching at CU Denver and the Episcopal Cathedral stick very close to the facts.

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The novel ends with a vision of meeting Sharon on the fields of eternity:

For a moment, my earthly sight blurred with tears, I glimpsed Sharon and me. We stood on fields of gold, there, where chronos meets kairos, and earthly time rolls into eternity.

Link to Amazon Reading the Signs page. Here you can examine the cover and read some pages of the book.

Signed copies are also available from me. See WRITING page of this site.

The Problems, Potentials Of Mixing Religion And Politics

Monday, May 11th, 2015

But can this potion be used for advancing peace rather than instigating war?

That’s the argument that an A-list panel of experts – including Shaun Casey, special adviser on religious issues at the U.S. State Department – explored on Wednesday (April 15) in a provocative debate at Fordham University that produced some surprising insights.

The goal, as author and moderator Eliza Griswold put it in opening “Beyond Extremism: Reclaiming Religion’s Peacebuilding Capacity in an Unstable World” – was to go beyond the easy optimism that says “religion really has nothing to do with the problems of the world right now.”
………………………
R. Scott Appleby, dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, didn’t mince any words.

“Religious communities, including most religious leaders, are not peacebuilders and indeed have little awareness that they are called to peacebuilding, and what it might take to become a peacebuilder,” he said.

Appleby, a leading expert on fundamentalism and religion and violence, argued that religion in practice isn’t really about building peace, but rather “trying to build and maintain a flock” and “protecting one’s own religious community, even if that means exaggerating and amplifying discord with neighboring communities.”

Appleby’s other three points were just as eye-opening:

For example, he asserted that contrary to many claims, “radical Islam is about Islam” and “until this is understood, religious peacebuilding is an empty promise.” He also said that Hindu nationalism, Jewish “irredentism,” Christian “chauvinism” and other forms of religious extremism are about those religious traditions as well, not entirely alien to them.

While such manifestations by no means form the core or entirety of religions like Islam, they nonetheless are features of those traditions. And they must be dealt with by building up religious institutions, reducing religious corruption, improving religious education and denouncing extremism in one’s own ranks.

Another point: All those lovely interreligious dialogues and ceremonies? They are little more than “the parlor games of those not sufficiently serious about religious peacebuilding, which begins with and should be focused upon intra-religious reform and intra-communal mobilization for peace.”

At best, Appleby said, such events are “useful for building solidarity among elite.” But they have “virtually no traction at the grassroots.”

In addition, Appleby argued that “well-intentioned” governmental efforts to foster religious communities to promote peace, especially after the 9/11 attacks, have actually “undermined religious peacebuilding, robbing it of its true potential.”

More of this insightful article.

Is Religion Inherently Violent?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

In her new book, Fields of Blood, Karen Armstrong argues against the idea that faith fuels wars.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The point, once again, is fairly straightforward: Humans start wars and slaughter their enemies and blow themselves up for complicated reasons. For a book with such an abundance of historical facts and analysis, Fields of Blood seems to be making a simple argument at an ambitiously macroscopic level—it’s an inevitably overwhelming sprint through nearly 7,000 years of history.

But maybe that’s the point: Humans talk in frameworks. People see the world through cultural associations and narratives of history, even if they’re not apparent; that’s why the attendees of Armstrong’s book talks can intellectually understand that religion hasn’t caused all the major wars in history while still almost subconsciously believing religion to be inherently violent. Fields of Blood can’t debunk the rhetoric about religion that has built up over decades, but “the point is to sow a little seed of doubt, to muddy the waters,” Armstrong told me. Perhaps that’s all one book can hope to do.

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Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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