In defense of Byron Katie, you wrote:
[Say whatever you want to, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Since ideas can't hurt people...]
It looks like you're no longer here but just in case, I figured I'd reply. As another poster already pointed out, ideas can absolutely hurt people. And Katie's ideas CAN hurt someone. For example, asking someone to think of herself as the abuser rather than the man who repeatedly raped her as a child, can (and statistically is likely to) lead to further psychological harm.
Byron Katie is right that we should never avoid questioning our own assumptions about reality. In fact I've been reading about Buddhism and her ideas are extremely similar. However, a potentially very harmful part of her methodology is that she expects you not only to consider
a different way of looking at something, but to immediately accept
it as the 'real' truth, with no subsequent questioning of her line of questioning (an omission which you yourself correctly criticize in another post). She turns a person's reality on its head and then tells that person to accept HER version of reality and stop there. And that can in fact cause direct psychological harm. LGATs do this also, and while many say it does wonders for them, many have also ended up having psychoses and mental hospitalizations as a result. [caic.org.au
] As another poster said, "Convincing people that they do not feel what they feel, don't want what they want, don't think what they think can cause severe depersonalisation. (I am a licenced counselor)."
In regard to the Israeli woman whom Katie counseled to overcome her fear of war, you wrote:
[I've never met anyone who isn't under the daily threat of death. Show me someone who isn't.]
Yes, we could all die at any moment from a myriad of causes. But the crucial question in regard to this issue is, "what is the level of one's conscious daily awareness of this?" People like the Israeli woman living in a place where mass premeditated deaths frequently occur (some of which they have most likely witnessed) will
have a different mindset and fear level than people who live in a place where events like that are rare.
A friend of mine grew up in NYC. He witnessed the 9/11 attacks because he was in the lobby of the WTC when they started. His level of awareness of the threat of death changed drastically. He got PTSD and ended up moving to Florida. Of course in Florida he's at risk of death from many factors including very bad driving, gator attacks and hurricanes (I'm a Florida native). But these threats to his life aren't part of his daily consciousness and so he doesn't experience that same level of fear as he did in NYC after 9/11.
If our fears were based on statistics, we could all justifiably have PTSD or at least severe anxiety. But they are more often born out of our personal experiences and environment.