Being sociopathic is not necessarily inconsistent with being religious. An addictive spiritual high frequently accompanies the practice of religion. Like tantric sex, denying yourself certain things intensifies the pleasure of your indulgences. Religion is a good beard and a prosthetic moral compass. For some, it can also be a welcome respite from the sociopath's legendary feeling of emptiness, at least as much as any other opiate. Plus it's not that hard -- sociopaths are used to keeping up appearances. In short, the benefits of religion for a sociopath can and often do exceed its costs. I asked one of our sociopath readers to describe what role religion plays in his life:
In order to understand my religious upbringing better, you'll have to understand the back story of my life. I was born in a small town in Florida. My mother was an Adventist and my father Agnostic. Me and my mom would go to church every Saturday, and me being little at the time, I couldn't care less. When I was eight years old, my parents divorced, mostly because my mom hung out in these places on this new thing called the internet call chatrooms. She met a guy, divorced my dad, and we moved to Montreal. A few months later, she had enroled me in a Catholic school, and married my stepfather. She quit being religious at the time, but was more than glad to send me to a private school because of Quebec's language laws at the time- I could only go to a public french school.
When I was fourteen, my stepfather died. At that point in time my stepfather had become a heavy smoker and a total drunkard. One beautiful Friday morning, he broke into my room with a butcher's knife as I was getting dressed for school. He was drunk and therefore easy to subdue. A few well placed punched to the ribs and he was out. He had to be hospitalized for his injuries. He died that day. And my mom blamed me for his death. The police also thought I killed him, they escorted me out of class that day, and in my opinion, they could have shown more discretion. My mother decided to have him cremated, and under Quebec law, you need to have an autopsy before you do something so irreversible to a body. Luckily for me, it revealed that he had lung cancer, and that it had spread to his brain. That was my first major religious experience. I was not sure whether his death had been ordained by God, or if it was His way of laughing in my face.
A few months later me and my mom had moved back to Florida. At first we were living with my father. We arrived in time for me to finish the last week of school in the Florida calender. Summer had come and gone, and because of the moving process I had failed a grade because I missed so many days of school. On top of that, The States have one more year of high school compared to Quebec. So instead of graduating in 2006 as I had planned, it was 2008. To add insult to inconvenience, because I wasn't around for the FCAT testing, they put me in remedial classes.
It wasn't until I was 20 that I moved back to Montreal. When I first arrived here, I found myself in the middle of a Jewish neighborhood. I always wanted to have a sense of community. I did my research on Judaism vs Christianity, and found that I rather prefer the monolithic portrayal of God. I fabricated a little story about how my grandmother practiced Judaism, but never converted. My first time at the shul, and I didn't even have a yarmulke (head cap). I was quickly welcomed into the community, and after a while, I realized that they have resources I don't have, and that it would only be a matter of time before my parents quit supporting me. I made sure to attend the social functions, and mingle. At first I thought that I would have to manipulate them to get what I need, however I've learned since then that they are good people.