Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Could It Be Mental Illness After All?

I remember going with a minister to a home in Idaho once where the woman heard the voice of God often in her head. She had a young baby so the minister asked me to tend to the baby while he talked to her about her visions and voices. The baby had not had a diaper change in a pretty long time, so I took care of that in the kitchen while the minister tried to help her. Seems she was killing chickens on the farm and trying to resurrect them…without much luck. We never made any connection to the danger and I doubt either of us understood the symptoms of schizophrenia, but I do now.

After that, I returned to Ambassador for my last year and was reading the LA Times in the lounge before breakfast. My eye fell on a small article about a woman in a small town in Idaho who was found sitting in her car on a mountain top waiting for Jesus to return. I knew the name. They found the baby dead in the backseat. Or should I say, still dead.

It was my first wake up call to the dangers of missing the symptoms of delusional thinking with religious content. There was nothing spiritually wrong with the woman. She was clearly mentally ill and no one was smart enough to spot it before it was too late.

Moving right along...

From the Bible we find a man once laid on his right side for 390 straight days and then flipped over for another 40 because the voice in his head told him to. He drew Jerusalem on clay and lay siege to it with an iron pot (Ez. 4). He even cooked his food with human waste or was told to but begged off that.  Some think he was to mix it with his food as human dung does not burn.  (Ez. 4:9) and dug a hole in his own home and squeezed himself through it with his possessions on his back (Ez. 12).

His name was Ezekiel. Maybe he was traumatized by the captivity or the destruction of the symbol of all that was holy and stable to him, the temple. He died forever ago and lots of the stuff he said was going to happen never really did far as we can tell. I hear a lot of minister types quoting him 2500 years later as if you can read the news and immediately see what Ezekiel was talking about.

 I know most will say that God told him to do these things….but think about what you are saying. Would you say that about Andrea Yates who God told to drown her kids , The Son of Sam or Mijailo Mijailovic who killed the Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, saying when asked who told him to do it, "I think it was Jesus. That he has chosen me”?

An Old Testament character, Moses, went up into the mountains a few times because the voice in his head that no one else could hear, called him up for a meeting. He said it was God, but when he came back down the mountain carrying , what he said were the rules from the voice in his head, he ordered the murder of 3000  men women and children for not patiently waiting for him. And these people had already had a pretty tough time getting out of Egypt doing what the voice in Moses's head told him to do. He had friends killing friends and families all because the voice in his head told him to.

It all started with Moses running across a burning bush through which he was quite sure he could hear the voice of God talking to him.

Yet again, an Old Testament figure called Abraham, hears a voice in his head telling him to kill his only son and decides to do as he was told. So he lures his son into the appropriate mountain and breaks the bad news to him as to just what the sacrifice is going to be.  The voice in his head intervenes in the Isaac of time and I imagine that was the end of any real and trusting relationship between Abraham and his son from then on.  Mrs. Abraham, like Mrs Lot, evidently didn't even seem to mind what hubby was up to and I can't imagine Isaac not telling her how the day had gone.  (It never happened but it's quite a story.)

There was a prophet (was he given a double portion of the spirit to fight a cold?) who married a prostitute because the voice told him to. We had to drop the standard laws of marriage for this one, but its ok if you are doing it for God. Man was his wife mad about that! The guy even began to think he was a reincarnated form of the guy before him who talked to the bush. Tons of people obeyed this guy for a time, but usually not for very long. Hosea I think.

The more I think about it, the more I have to admit that voices in the heads of people I never met, and no one at that time could hear themselves, have played a really big role in who gets the final say in religion. When you think of it, those of the Christian faith think nothing of believing whatever those thousands of years before are recorded to have heard broadcast inside their heads as being from God. How could one ever know what really happened or even if it did, but to question following what they are said to have seen or said or been told to do comes easily for most who never think about what they are actually believing and doing.

Paul in the New Testament, it is said,  fell off a donkey when he heard a voice in his head about giving Jesus a hard time in his old job. He even saw a flash of light in his head, brighter than the sun and it was already noon when this happened! That’s pretty darn bright! When people in the Bible light up, it’s ALWAYS brighter than the sun. You’d think more people would notice. The others either heard the voice but did not see the light, or saw the light but not the voice, stood up, or all fell down depending on the story your read in the Bible. The voice in Paul’s head told him it was time to change jobs and he’d get his vision back if he did what he was told. Today we might say he had all the symptoms of heat exhaustion or maybe even temporal lobe epilepsy where voices and flashes are pretty darn common along with an intense sense of morality that others must get in tune with. It's a medical problem in the brain.

Paul went on to write most of the New Testament and continue to tell people nothing about any real Jesus he had ever met. No stories, no miracles, no teachings, nothing about the 12 men Jesus had to follow him, and I would expect to have passed the teachings on to others. Maybe even write something about Jesus, after all there were 12 of them! But alas, they didn’t much and we have no clue what happened to them save made up "traditions".  It’s all hearsay. Some say that they were merely a symbol of the twelve signs of the zodiac surrounding the central sun/son, and not real people, but let’s not go there.

Paul spoke volumes about the one who spoke to him in his head and he saw often in visions. When he gave the instructions for eating the body and blood of Jesus, he said very plainly Jesus himself told him about the details of that. "That which I have received from the Lord, give I unto you.."  Paul never met the real Jesus so I’m pretty sure he meant in vision. When he said, “have I not seen the Lord?” he didn’t mean in person. He meant in his visions. It can also mean "have I not experienced the Lord," which is not the same as knowing any earthly Jesus.   Paul even took a trip to the third heaven, but said the stuff he saw was too much to share at this time.  Typical of a man who wanted to be thought of as special but could not be pressed for details he could not come up with.

We read in  the book of Mark that Jesus mom and brothers came down to Jerusalem to get him because THEY thought he was “mad.” I don’t think they thought he was angry, but rather insane.
Jesus kind of blew them off in a way that would have got me slapped by my dad for being so rude to mom. It was like he didn’t know them. Mary had evidently completely forgotten about his wonderful birth story and all those great things she kept and pondered in her heart. Besides he had to do what the voice in his head said.

Later, other writers who wrote about Jesus dropped this hot little tale and told a really cute story about how Jesus came to be. God himself had visited her, well no, I guess the Holy Spirit did. You know the third thing in the Trinity and she was pregnant by no less than the Deity. She burst into song about this in Luke and seemed to know that Jesus was literally “fully God and fully man”, whatever that means. I can understand one thing being fully something, but not two things being fully the same thing but different and coequal but not. Church talk. I guess it’s one of those mysteries we hear about when one story leads to the next and we tie ourselves in a knot, wrapped in a enigma and all that.

Matthew tells a great story of Jesus birth, different from Luke’s, but at least they cleaned up that embarrassing tale about Jesus being hauled away by his family for being insane. Mark must have been mistaken according to Matthew and Luke, but Mark was the embarrassing story and came before the cute story, I suspect it had a ring of truth to it, at least as local rumor had it.

Sometimes I wonder if Jesus was so anxiety ridden not to know who his real father was ("we were not born of fornication") that he took mom literal when she got tired of him asking and said “God is your father. Now wash up for dinner” Who knows?

Some say his cursing trees for having no fruit at a time of year when there is not supposed to be fruit, or attacking the legitimate money changers in the temple who really were simply changing pagan money into temple scrip for the purchase of sacrifices, were not good signs of quality mental health. That last act probably got Jesus killed by the Romans, though somehow it ended up being the Jews fault. I guess it was easier and a bit wiser to blame the Jews who could not hurt you, rather than the Romans who could kill you. We give these stories a pass too easily.

As long as we are on the topic... I always found it interesting that the poor seizing child in the New Testament who threw himself in both the fire and water often, or maybe just fell in them when this hit him, cried out, foamed at the mouth and then recovered pretty quickly when the demon was put out, had all the symptoms of infantile epilepsy. Every one!

 No one knew what that was back then anymore than any other mental illness or even the concept of mental illness. Up through the Middle Ages beyond, the Church labeled everything either of God or of the Devil.  You could lose your head or go up in flames over having the wrong answer.  I wonder how people back then would treat a kid with epilepsy! It runs its course in about 30 minutes so it would sure appear that the old demon was banished but I bet it returned and could easily be prevented with one taking their Dilantin.  It has also been found that Canabis Oil can drive out a seizing demon.

Jesus had a hard time doing this stuff in his hometown because a prophet has no honor in his own town or with his own family.  They know you pretty darn well and got so concerned they came down to retrieve you for your own good, if you believe Mark. Of course he blamed the weak faith of the group, but maybe that’s because they all know you so well and aren’t easily convinced. I mean, if Jesus was God, really, really, really GOD, would the force be thwarted just because the neighbors who knew you as a kid had a hard time accepting that? I think not! Since when does being God in the flesh depend on the acceptance of the people who know you best?

Jesus also got rid of a whole legion of demons in a man that lived in a cemetery, naked breaking out of the chains used to bind him.  Chains were the medication of that time.  Anyway, aside from this man having every symptom of schizophrenia, or at best, severe mental illness, all the demons in him  were cast into a herd of pigs and they ran down into the sea from a town no where near the sea and drown. Kind of a marathon run and by the time they got there, they’d be skinny and pooped out pigs. Bible geography gone bad.

Some historians say the story of the swine was really the true story of Titus driving the Jews in to the Sea of Galilee in a campaign against them and sending his men into the water to spear them, thus becoming  "fishers of men."  I don't know...

Anyway….What about the author of Revelation? . Whoa…those were some good drugs! Whoever wrote that was one angry human being and hated both the Apostle Paul (the false Apostle the Ephesians called out) and the gentiles.   Death, destruction, fire, plagues, trombones, vials and all sorts of stuff pour out on everyone! This Jesus is not such a nice guy.  The one in the Gospels can’t possibly be the same one as in Revelation, but that’s what they say. The one in Revelation seems like an end stage psychopath gone amuck. I’m not sure I could be comfy in heaven or the kingdom with one who could be so freaking mean to everyone except those special ones. I always felt a few seminars or maybe a refresher type program would send a kinder gentler message, instead of all the butt kicking, death and destruction. Maybe a nice lunch between encouraging sessions and a Luau in the evening where we could all marvel at actually meeting the real God and Jesus. And hey…if the presenter is really God or Jesus come down…I mean really really…I’d listen and be good. But alas, this Jesus in Revelation is a case…maybe literally. It’s just one big vision in someone’s head hearing voices again that others can’t hear and seeing things others don’t see. Yet, good folk eat it up and read as if they also hear the same voice in their head.

Someone once asked what’s the difference between a Bible Prophet or Christian fundamentalist and a paranoid schizophrenic? Well, one hears voices in their head, has a heightened moral code, is judgmental yet can be very deceptive and manipulative, has delusions of being on a mission from God, sees things that no one else present sees, hears things that one else hears, sees lights in his head, is the center of the universe and has special knowledge that must be kept secret until the right time an then can only be understood as explained by the one. The other, of course, is a paranoid schizophrenic.

I had a close friend in high school who in college came down with the classic symptoms of schizophrenia. Very intelligent but all of a sudden was overcome with the chemistry of schizophrenia that comes mostly between 18 and 35. He simply could not function in this world. His perceptions and his reality were far different than even he could understand. He died in his chair, alone in a dingy apartment.  I wish I had gone to see him. I suspect he took his life but no one will talk about it.  His sister took her life a few years later. She was living unknown to me in SC and I wish I had been able to go see her.  Something ran in the family.

What if those strange but dedicated characters spoken of in scripture , or alive today seeing themselves as the reincarnation of these prophets and kings are simply mentally ill?  When these modern day prophets and dreamers tell us what their God tells them or shows them, how can anyone trust that?  Why would you?  How could you?

We know more now than we did 3000 years ago. And yet when it comes to the Bible and those who declare themselves the special men of God, we go as blind as Paul claimed to go on the road to Damascus. (Even though Paul himself never says this was the mechanism of his conversion. Perhaps even worse, like Jeremiah and Jesus, he was called before birth in the womb as he notes in Galatians.) Pretty darn special! And yet we can allow that kind of perspective to be religious when today, we would get very uncomfortable with a real person saying that about themselves.

What seems ok as long as it is in the distant past becomes freaky if in the present. Many who turned away from Paul or an Ezekiel may have had that gut level discomfort. I doubt anyone today would feel a religious zealot who cooked dinner with or in his own dung would be anything but twelve short of a dozen.

Why is this an issue? Because a minister, maybe sincere, and maybe simply mentally unstable or delusional can hide in the ministry much better than he can hide at IBM. A minister that is prolific, charismatic while also dictatorial and delusional looks spiritual and obedient. The quirkiness is mistaken for spirituality and obedience to God.

They have the ability to be deceivingly compassionate one minute and intensely angry at anything and everyone the next. They don’t like to be contradicted, corrected nor have their mental processes questioned. They NEVER take personality tests! How is it that normal human beings, who have accurate perceptions about the mental instability of some at work, then lose that instinct at church? The quirkiness at work becomes the spiritually desirable trait in church! Go figure!

When Alexander Haig declared himself in charge of the government after the Reagan shooting, he was torn to shreds for his misstep and is still trying to explain it. But when a pastor type declares himself a “Watcher” or an “Apostle” or a Prophet or incredibly more special than the average human, it gets swallowed hook, line and sinker?

What if the behaviors recorded thousands of years ago that has been the basis for so much religious zealotry is simply better understood in the context of mental illness? We always say if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and swims like a duck, there is a good chance we may be dealing with a duck. When it comes to religion however we change our perceptions. If it walks like a narcissist, if it talks l schizophrenic and if it has all the symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy, it must be a man of God!

We need to be both compassionate towards the mentally ill and vigilant in spotting it in the delusional type leaders that have arisen from the implosion of the Worldwide Church of God.  Mental illness in religion can take you far.


Anonymous said...

I am really getting concerned about Dennis' stability.

Anonymous said...

If you believe that Christianity is all nonsense, why this lengthy and similar articles. Why not enjoy your remaining years playing golf, gardening, traveling, yachting etc. You know, the usual stuff that oldies do.
Hmm, how about finding yourself a nice (ideally rich) widow and travel the world. I've heard that Disney Caribbean ship cruises are popular.

Minimalist said...

Paul of Tarsus was one of the greatest philosophical innovators of history - sure a deeply delusional fanatic - a harmless pacifist? Unforeseen, his radical supersessionist theology would bathe Europe in blood for 2,000 years.

Anonymous said...

When I was growing up I had a friend who was the son of a pentecostal preacher and my friend would tell me about his dad's weird "visions" of the future of HIS church which after 4 decades latter these "visions" never came to pass and my friends dad a few years back took his own life after losing his battle with depression. But, that doesn't mean just because someone is religious suffers from some type of mental problem. I have known of atheists who were mentally unhinged.

Steve D said...

Yes, schizophrenia is characterized by delusions and hallucinations. Yes, some mentally ill people believe they have heard the voice of God. Yes, some in power in churches are narcissists. But, does this mean that God can't speak to individuals and call humble, good people to positions of leadership in churches? Is it right to think that all who believe they heard the voice of God are insane, that God can't actually speak to people? There might be a physical explanation for some of the strange events that occur in the Bible, but does that mean that a physical explanation is the only possible explanation? Confirmation bias tends to lead some people to see the hand of God in everything they experience, such as God finding them a parking space when they needed it in a hurry. Others deny God's hand in everything. Seeing is believing, they say. So is believing seeing. I visited a lunatic asylum in West Virginia that was closed down some years ago (no, it wasn't a reunion of former patients). They offered nighttime ghost hunting tours. Those who wanted to find evidence of ghosts found what they were looking for. Others see Bigfoot in the woods. It is sad if leaders in the WCG did not recognize mental illness for what it was. Perhaps they thought that psychotic behavior could only be explained as demon possessions and discouraged medical assistance to the suffering victims. Is if your view that when some people study a subject, let's say medicine or astronomy, the more they learn the more humble some people get? They realize that they really know so little of what there is to learn. Yet others, like some of who graduated from AC, who learned so little of what there is to know in the field of Theology, the more arrogant they got? Two of the traits that I've seen in the churches of God that distress me the most are ignorance and arrogance. It's all very sad.

Anonymous said...

Notice folks, how God is punishing America with hurricanes for departing from the inspired writings of The Chosen Apostle Mr Herbert W Armstrong.

As my former minister use to expressed it "If you follow the Chosen Apostle, everything else in life will naturally fall into place."

Dennis Diehl said...

New CoG folk come to Banned all the time. They won't go search these reminders of what might be going on with RCG and PCG types. Don't read it if it annoys you. New posts on other things from Gary can't be long in coming. If others of you start writing helpful insights into your own views for scrutiny I will stop writing my own and just quietly lurk. I promise

I understand but how does one know who is who? Buy what fruits does one know the difference between of God or just delusional?

Dennis Diehl said...

But too...I do agree I tend to repeat my self. Gary provides the meat of the COG menu and I the entertainment based on my ministurdial experiences and theological interests which have been lifelong.

Thanks for the reminder..

James said...

My first introduction to mental illness was when I hitched my wagon to the WCG. It took a while to realize what the hell was going on. From that point I really had to take a look at myself and see where I fit in. I didn't fit in so I quit. Everything was bogus and I allowed myself to fall into a con mans dream. Never again. In politics you find the same entrapment. Political cults.

Good article Dennis. I'm sure that the armstrongites will take this article as an opportunity to put a knife in your back once again. Such is their brand of Christianity.

Byker Bob said...

Side-stepping the religious aspects of the people who were mentioned in the original posts, what principle do professionals in the mental health field share with us today? They tell us that it is potentially dangerous for those without credential, education, or years of experience in their field to attempt to diagnose mental illnesses. Complicating the matter further, how could one adequately make such a diagnosis without even having met the individuals involved? This is something about which we can speculate and discuss, but really, that is all it can ever be, based on terse literary descriptions of people who are thought to have lived thousands of years ago.

And, finally, our criteria for making judgments on what might have happened in the past is based on what we see happening today in our daily life situations. We've watched "prophets" who claim God as their sources get everything wrong, and because of their errors, we know that they are either lying or deluded about their source of inspiration. It is only natural to extrapolate backwards and to assume that those same conditions were present throughout the history of mankind. The Bible seems to differentiate between true prophets and false ones. Was there an age of miracles? Did God work through people back then in ways in which He does not today? Does the fact that our lives were manipulated by narcissistic lying false prophets influence our thinking regarding the patriarchs?

It is good to analyze these things, but there is much guess work involved. Half the time, there is speculation that these people whom we are diagnosing as mentally ill may have never existed in the first place, that they may have simply been myths. We've each got to decide for ourselves what it all means, and how literally to take it all, what to do with it in our own daily lives. As goes prophecy, we're also dealing with dreams, symbolism, and interpretation, and guessing about nations which may have morphed, or may not even exist today. Are there even any credible teachers who actually know what they are talking about? We've only experienced the bad ones.

I've said for years that it would be much better to be involved with an organization that based their teaching on good living principles and family values to be practiced in daily life. Faking the gift of prophecy has ruined too many peoples' lives, and has also caused some to depart from balance, to lapse into various delusions and mental illnesses today.


Anonymous said...

Could it be mental illness after all? I have no idea. Herbert Armstrong was wrong with over 200 specific predictions, but the general trend of world events might possibly be going just as he predicted. He said God would break the pride of the power of the United States. With the rise of China and a rejuvenated Russia, America's stock has declined. And now we have Trump, who is not taken seriously by other world leaders, and is ceding America's leadership role even as he blusters about improving it. Nature abhors a vacuum, and it is easy to see how a united Europe could arise from the chaos of American Trumpism and the European Union in order to fill that vacuum and act as a counterweight to Russia and China. And if that united Europe does arise, could it someday become a nuclear power hostile to the United States and England (which is departing from the European union, just as HWA predicted)? Not tomorrow, not the next day, but perhaps the middle to last half of the 21st century? And during all that time the weather will get wackier and wackier due to climate change, just as HWA predicted, with ever more destructive storms and other consequences. Is the weather merely a result of physical climate change, or is there a spiritual component to it also? Is this sort of reasoning about current events simply the result of confirmation bias? Or mental illness? Is it just a way to make sense of random events? I really don't know. My mind is open --- not so far that my brains fall out, but far enough that I am intrigued by the way things are shaping up. Time will tell.

Opinionated said...

Byker Bob : I've said for years that it would be much better to be involved with an organization that based their teaching on good living principles and family values to be practiced in daily life. Faking the gift of prophecy has ruined too many peoples' lives, and has also caused some to depart from balance, to lapse into various delusions and mental illnesses today.

I agree. There are balanced people out there in 'Satan's world' as the lcg and the rest of those clowns call it.

nck said...

One thing we know for sure!

No biblical character can be diagnozed with mental illnesses for having been badly influenced by HWA or the WCG experience, go figure!

I love the angle Dennis.
If there will be a World Tomorrow it should be in the library there.

I'm with Baradanikto. HWA was completely right since he was privy to the blueprint laid out for mankind. It will be good, it will be peaceful but it might not be democratic as we understand it now. But it might be tuned in to our inner needs though. The World Tomorrow will be like a giant computer Cookie tuned into your personal Algorythm.


Steve D said...

How does one diagnose demon possession and distinguish it from mental illness? How can you tell if someone has the Holy Spirit? We have thermometers to measure temperature; hydrometers to measure humidity; blood pressure cuffs to measure blood pressure. Wouldn't it be something if we had an instrument to measure the Holy Spirit? Imagine if we hade something like a tire pressure gauge and we could know for sure if someone is filled with the holy spirit. That would be a very useful tool to use when someone seeks ordination. Perhaps one way of determining if someone is mentally ill, rather than demon possessed is to see if they respond to antipsychotic medication. If they respond, then perhaps they are sick and not possessed. I can't imagine a responsible minister ruling out mental illness and discouraging someone from seeking medical assistance.

Gerald Bronkar said...

I have heard that mental illness is not required to be a preacher or religious fanatic, but can be of great benefit. It can provide an edge.

Why don't we hear of great and wonderful miracles today like those reported in the Bible? The answer is simple, liars are more readily exposed. Most people are rightfully skeptical of fake miracles.

Anonymous said...

There are miracles. Some examples. Half of Europe (including half of the hard working Germans) were given to the commies after the war to discredit communism. This involved a series of miracles, including the worse winter in 130 years, which kept the Nazis out of Moscow, speeding up the Russian advance.
In recent times, 9/11 incited America to foolishly invade Iraq. This removed the block to expansion of Iranian power, the prophecies king of the South.
Pearl Harbor and 9-11 (ie Americas reaction) were both God inspired military blunders.
There are constant smaller miracles, but they are not mainstream.

True Bread said...

Dennis reminds me of my atheist friends who watch my bible studies and then attack me on youtube and FB...I always wonder why they even watch....??? Why do you keep attacking scripture Dennis, if you don't believe in it..are you trying to get me and others to surrender our faith...?? Maybe you need to reflect on that...

RSK said...

I dont think that compares to sundial shadows turning backwards, bodies of water parting, showers of fire and drop-dead plagues at a moments notice. You're describing things that occur under more mundane conditions.

Anonymous said...

Well, True Bread, people like Dennis and I attack scripture because it messed up our lives and is messing up the majority of people's lives. It's messing up the whole damn world, at least the Western part of it, and other religions just as ridiculous mess up the rest of the world, and they have for millenniums now. We're just hoping to get people to take a long hard look at the whole mess and conclude that it is the ridiculous mess we now understand it to be. I quit wasting my time, my life, on it decades ago and rejoice in the freedom and peace of mind I now enjoy.

Allen C. Dexter

Anonymous said...

Claiming that Revelation is written by some one 'on good drugs' is blasphemy.
A All powerful God is above and man is below. It's wise to chose ones words carefully.

Arno said...

Dennis: Great article! I'm so with you on every single point/example you've touched on. Bible Fundamentalists, BibleGod devotees etval should really stop and THINK what they are actually selling themselves to. Sure,I be was there as well...once upon a time. I do believe in "God," but BIBLEGOD? No WAY, NO MORE.

Steve D, and Biker Bob: also appreciated your well thought out contributions re. this topic.

Please don't stop contributing, Dennis šŸ‘Š

Anonymous said...

People don't simple attack scriptures. They attack conscientious Christians who harm no one. Abusive people both inside and outside the church are left alone, but harmless Christians who rather build up others, are constantly attacked, There are darker motivations at work rather than your 'scriptures messing up peoples lives.'
All serious Christians know this from personal experience.

Anonymous said...

Steve D, you ask, "How does one diagnose demon possession and distinguish it from mental illness?"

Problem is, you are assuming there's such a thing as "demon possession"

Then you ask, "How can you tell if someone has the Holy Spirit?"

Again, the problem I see is that you are assuming there's such a thing as "the Holy Spirit"
Even among those who are convinced that they 'have it', there's an extremely wide variety of very differing beliefs among those folks- even when simple measures like, "Have they been blessed?" seem to give an affirmative answer.

Lastly, hypothetically, I fail to see how - even if 'demon possession' were real - that to "see if they respond to antipsychotic medication" would be a useful determining test.
I doubt that any doctor worth his salt would profer the idea that the state of current psychiatric medications are anywhere near the all-encompassing degree that your post infers.
It also reminds me of "tests" that have been used in Salem Massachusetts, and also various tests given by Priests of the Catholic Church through the centuries.

I agree with you when you say, "I can't imagine a responsible minister ruling out mental illness and discouraging someone from seeking medical assistance."
A problem is that many such ministers' and historical figures' break from reality has given them wealth and/or positions of power (even if delusional) and psychological "perks" for which there's no incentive to abrogate.

Byker Bob said...

Uh, accountability, maybe?

Most people who base media efforts on scripture are not simply advocates of private and personal Bible study. They attach their own agendas and manipulation to it. Somebody must expose the agendas and hold these people accoubtable for that. Sounds like that's what your accountability partners are attempting to do for you on youtube and Facebook. One hopes you appreciate their time and efforts!


Anonymous said...

Reading this blasphemous article, I kept thinking to myself "why no fear of God, doesn't Dennis know how dangerous the world is?" Then it hit me. No, he doesn't. Dennis like most ministers doesn't comprehend the real adult world. All they understand is the ivory tower world called church-world. The ministers went to AC as teenagers, then went into the field and were treated like royalty and with kids cloves by the members. So the ministers do not have a feel for the real world.

I noticed that Arno in encouraging Dennis in his blasphemous ways, has chosen his words carefully. Even Arno and similar senses the danger, but noooo not Dennis.

RSK said...

If you buy into the notion of "church eras" (wasnt CO Dodd the prime mover on that?), do you ever wonder what Pergamos, Thyatira, et al actually thought about the book of Revelation? Did they run around frantically trying to recast it in the light of every event they ever heard of in their time? Did self-appointed "prophets" and other assorted doctrine nerds get ideas that only they knew what it meant and start annoying others with it?

Dennis Diehl said...

832 I know plenty about the real world and the "like most ministers" line is bull shit. Typicall shallow and arrogant, as if you know , judgement. Wanna chat on the phone? Just ask.

Dennis Diehl said...

832 I'll see you using 14 sheets to cover the exploded parts of a suicide in front of a semi on interstate 85 and raise you plugging the hole in a blown out skull with my fingers of a teen who played Russian roulette for family ..badly.

How about spending every Sunday after church from age 5 to 18 visiting my brother in the state hospital in Newark N.Y. in his blind, deaf and speechless world?

Wanna talk drug and alcohol issues or 14 year old family killed by a train?

What part of the ivory tower you wanna talk about? Let's chat about all this and more this evening ok? 7 pm.864 905 9506 PST. I look forward to it.

Anonymous said...

"People don't simple attack scriptures. They attack conscientious Christians who harm no one."
For the most part I call bullshit on that statement. Conscientious Christians gave us the nightmare of Trump. They want control of everybody else's life. They deep down want a christian sharia and a religio-fascist state. I fully realize many of them don't, but far too many do, especially across that still confederate south and the ultra fundamentalist mid section of the country.

Allen C. Dexter

Anonymous said...

No, I don't fear "god" __ any of them. I don't fear demons either. There are no such things. Never were. Never will be. And, yes, I once fell for that crap. Even spent an evening in a room with Clarence Huse and someone else I don't now recall bedsitting a poor girl who had had a mental breakdown on an amusement ride and was diagnosed by the idiots in charge as being demon possessed. Been there. Was an idiot for being there. But, I came to my senses.

Allen C. Dexter

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mitigator said...

8:52 WOW! I musta hit a nerve or something as I though my comment was rather bland and inoffensive but I guess not! I have no idea why doubt tends to energize and comfort someone, but I guess surrendering to hopelessness is an option but it makes no sense to me and I refuse to go along with it. And by the way, the fiery hell doctrine is totally false, there is no such thing if one makes the effort to do a bit of research on the subject. The hell doctrine is a man made tool that has served abusive churches quite well for centuries to keep the minions in line and the income flowing. The LOF was the WCG's version of hell that served the same purpose. Your atheistic point of view and my perspectives will never come to any sort of common ground, so lets just agree to disagree OK?

NO2HWA said...

I have no idea what happened to the comments!

mitigator said...

Yeah, my original comment suddenly vanished after I published by rebuttal to a critical comment to my earlier post! Strange goings on!

NO2HWA said...

I have no idea what happened to many of the comments from the last few days. When I signed on this morning there were around 20 comments on several threads that appeared to be deleted. There is no way to recover them. If I were Almost-ordained Thiel or Pharisee Malm, I could blame this as an attack on this great work from Satan....

if anyone has the comment sent to them in digest from over the past 4 days, send them to me and I can repost them.

Anonymous said...

"why no fear of God, doesn't Dennis know how dangerous the world is?"

Did it occur to you that this is exactly the same mechanism by which it is believed that primitive religion came about? What wondrous lights in the sky! what horrifying earthquakes, storms, and floods! Why do these bad men we've never seen before randomly show up and kill us? Why does the weather turn cold and the day light shorten? It must be gods at work! perhaps we can win their favor somehow...

mitigator said...

This is a repost of my earlier comment as the original seems to have entered a temporal rift and vanished into a parallel universe. For what it's worth....

I may be straying a bit from this mental illness topic, but there are a few issues that have me wondering about some of the posts that I've seen here that seem to be based on an atheistic perspective.

One thing I've never been able to understand is the evangelical fervor of some agnostics or atheists as they proclaim their non gospel that either God is dead, or God never existed. Why would anyone want to trample on a believers faith, a faith that there is an afterlife, that there is a better world coming, when all the atheists can offer is an eternity of non existence? To me this sort of thing makes absolutely no sense, so is it an ego thing on their part or what? I do agree however, that it is important to try to educate and inform anyone who is trapped within the clutches of the demented splinter cults, but what message should such people be receiving? Will they be positively impacted by those posts that either state outright or infer that there is no God, no Redeemer, and that the whole Christian shootin' match is a hoax, or would it be better for them to remain within the confines of faith, and to hear instead about grace and justification? Those two issues are anathema to the COG's and it's those very issues that need to be expounded upon!

Personally, I have long understood that the Bible is a very flawed book, and I have had no issues coming to terms with that. But from the time I was a child, I have never wavered in my understanding and faith about the reality of a Creator and a Redeemer. From my engineering background, I have always marveled in the incredible complexity and design in creation, the amazing and fantastically intricate interrelationships between various lifeforms, implanted (programmed) instinct, the unbelievably complex pre-programmed DNA molecular structure, conscious existence, and the very miracle of life itself. And all of this is in stark contrast with the fallacy of random selection that is based on nothing but a series of accidental mutations. To me it would be far more plausible to believe that a tornado tearing through a scrapyard could leave behind an intact 747, ready to fuel up and fly away than to believe in atheistic dogma that everything just “happened”, without any conscious design behind it. It seems that we have all become in a sense blind to the miracles of creation all around us; we all tend to see, but rarely perceive!

But lets assume for a moment that the atheist or agnostic is right on about the fact that this life is all there is, and just like that old Schlitz beer commercial I recall seeing on TV years back: “You only go around once in life, so give it all the gusto you can!” So then what difference does it make what anyone believes, as long as one's brand of faith isn't impoverishing them, or causing them to fear spending an eternity in a fiery hell (a false doctrine by the way) if they believe in an angry vindictive god? If their faith isn't enslaving them, and in fact giving them hope, they why try to “educate” them that there is indeed no hope. If the atheists are right, then absolutely nothing in this life matters anyway, because after we pass on, none of us would have any consciousness or awareness that we had ever lived!

My point is that many of the posts dissing Christianity serve no purpose whatsoever. Sure there's a lot of contradictions and myth in the Bible but so what! Christianity isn't defined by a mere book, a book that isn't to be held in adoration, like a literary golden calf that is practically worshiped by some Bibli-idolaters. God simply cannot be crammed into a book even though some fundamentalists never stop trying; God's a bit too big for that!