Thesis statement: People who are extremely religious can be diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and should be treated as mentally ill patients who should be separated from normal members of society.
Argument: According to the DSM-IV criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia, the following conditions must be met in a patient:
3. Social or occupational dysfunction: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care, are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset.
4. Significant duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least six months. This six-month period must include at least one month of symptoms (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).
Furthermore, schizo sufferers often are very paranoid and have some sort of savior complex.
Example: George W.Bush is a good example of a famous person who was self-described as being highly religious. Let's check the criteria...
1. Delusions - Bush believed that there was an invisible being judging him and all people who sent his "son" 2000 years ago to be killed so that mankind can be "cleansed from sin"
2. Hallucinations - Bush claimed numerous times that he actually "spoke to God" and that He "told him" to do certain things, such as invading Iraq.
3. Job Impairment - It's unquestionable that these delusions caused a severe drop in Bush's job performance, as he went on to make many poor decisions because God told him to (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc). Many historians have marked him as one of the worst presidents of all time.
4. Duration of symptoms - Bush has had his extreme religious conviction for many years.
Furthermore, Bush was highly paranoid and believed terrorists were always out to get us and come destroy the USA. It was this paranoia that led to the Iraq/Afghan invasions and is the reason why he created his color-coded terror alert system.
Also, Bush had a savior complex in believing that God was directing him to guide humanity in the right direction despite how much people hated and opposed him.
Conclusion: Bush is just one famous example, but my point stands that extremely religious people are really just suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and should be treated as such. Believing that the earth is 6,000 years old and that we are here because a girl named Eve ate a a forbidden apple is truly sad, and these people deserve proper medication and therapy just like all other schizo sufferers.
Think of the tragedies that could have been prevented (9/11 for instance) had these poor mentally ill patients received the proper attention they need.