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Author Topic: God or Mental Illness?
canadian
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I have a friend who thinks he's destined to lead the Army of God in his lifetime and so he "prepares" himself by exercising, keeping fit, working on his swordplay, etc. He's very charming and a good communicator and he actually has some people half-believing him.

Personally, I know he has a mental illness.

I remember one Christmas when I was living in the middle of nowhere at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. He called me at 11 at night. He was in a small town in the pass from Alberta to BC and needed me to pick him up. So I started the old sh*tbox I was driving at the time and drove through a blizzard for an hour to pick him up.

He was in bad shape.

He was wearing a home-made poncho cinched with a length of rope for his jacket and he had haunted eyes. He kept looking over his shoulder, saying he was being pursued by demons.

I took him home and fed him and tried to "normalize" things for him by chatting about the weather and books I'd been reading, etc.

After about a week he was feeling better, and a day later he was gone with my can of emergency money and some of my clothes.

That was the last I saw of him for a good five years.

In that time he had ended up in a psych ward, and was out again on his own recognizance.

But he still believes in his marshal destiny. Only now he's proceeding sans medication, and sans apparent craziness, and he's building a following.

This is just one snippet from the many, many people I've known who believe god talks to them, or has a mission for them.

So, what's the difference?

Why do people believe in prophets, but spurn the guy who claims to know God's will?

Is it God or just Crazy?

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MattP
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quote:
Why do people believe in prophets, but spurn the guy who claims to know God's will?
Some people are more charismatic than others.
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Omega M.
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Much Madness is divinest Sense--
To a discerning Eye--
Much Sense --the starkest Madness--
'Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail--
Assent--and you are sane--
Demur--you're straightway dangerous--
And handled with a Chain--

---Emily Dickinson (#435)

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canadian
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So, can we safely say that all claims of God communicating with man is simply...misfiring neurons?
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PanHeraclitean
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What do you mean by safely?
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MattP
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What do you mean by misfiring?
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Adam Masterman
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What do you mean by "is"?

Adam

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Wayward Son
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quote:
So, can we safely say that all claims of God communicating with man is simply...misfiring neurons?
No, there is a difference. It's always madness unless God is actually communicating with the person.

[Smile]

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Pete at Home
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Who says that God can't communicate with nut-jobs? [Smile]


As George Bernard Shaw says in Saint Joan, the rational way to deal with this is simply to ask if the course of action the person is recommending a logical course of action. Simply defer the question of whether God is really talking to someone or not. That's not a falsifiable question, so leave it alone. Deal with him according to whether his actions seem rational or dangerous.

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Wayward Son
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Ah, but Pete, if the action is logical, it wouldn't matter if it came from God or not. Reason alone could derive it. We only need God to deal with the a-rational, or the meta-rational.
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TomDavidson
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A world in which all God-influenced actions appear rational is a world in which God is unnecessary.
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Pete at Home
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George Bernard Shaw was an atheist. If you don't believe in God, then that's the rational way to deal with religious people.

The only rational reason I could envision to focus on someone's religious beliefs to determine whether that person was rational, would be if you believed in God, and thought that God was irrational.

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canadian
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Madness moves in mysterious ways
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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by canadian:
So, can we safely say that all claims of God communicating with man is simply...misfiring neurons?

Well I dunno about all claims of direct communication with God. Then again, I can't think of many documented cases of people who are demonstrably sane making that claim [Smile]
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Omega M.
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quote:
I don't believe in Hippie Jesus, Philosopher Jesus or Savior Jesus. I believe in Schizophrenic Jesus. What I have read about his speeches and his behavior seems to me very much in keeping with accounts of other schizophrenics. But he launched a set of memes that, two millennia later, are only gaining strength. I'm living in a country, the most powerful in the world, whose culture is increasingly founded on mental illness.
link (just someone's personal Web page, nobody you need to take seriously)
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Colin JM0397
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If God is talking perhaps s/he can only do so by manipulating the neurons in your brain?

What looks to medical science as a chemical imbalance or rogue neurons is simply God's voice physically manifested.

But we're still stuck. Can't prove that either way.

On that note, there is a growing body of folks who think something big is going down pretty soon. The Mayan calendar has an end date of Dec 21, 2012.

Some computer simulations and philosophers have identified roughly the same date as a "zero point".

If something big happens - Armageddon, shift to higher consciousness, the rapture... whatever you chose to call it, if that is in fact coming, and many folks feel it is, then it stands to reason there will be those who embrace it and those who oppose/fight/reject it.

If you have opposing sides, it stands to reason there will be a war of some sort. If there's a war of some sort, it stands to reason some folks might be preparing themselves for it. Some might even think their realizations and ideas come from a higher power and it's their duty to prepare.

To an unbeliever, the true believers will always appear mentally ill for if the unbeliever understood and accepted the believer’s faith, then they themselves would be a believer.

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Wayward Son
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Interesting anaylsis, jm--but I don't believe it. [Wink]
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rightleft22
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We create what we fear, what will the tipping point be?
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NSCutler
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I just wonder why the creator of the universe can't come up with a more effective communication system. Like maybe a monthly newsletter with a catchy title like 'The Burning Bush'.
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Jordan
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quote:
NS:
Like maybe a monthly newsletter with a catchy title like 'The Burning Bush'.

Then God would be referred to as "the liberal media"…
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0Megabyte
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Hmm. Jm, people have believed that "something big" was coming in every century.

In the 19th century many believed the same thing, that something "big" was coming soon, like the rapture or whatever. There's a whole bunch of stories about that. And that's only one century.

If all the previous predictions of "something big" like the rapture coming were wrong, why do we suppose they will be right this time?

Boy who cried wolf thing. Then again, maybe we'll lose our sheep one of these days...

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canadian
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Chatting with god, the other night...he said you're all nuts!
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MattP
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I said no such thing.
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Richard Dey
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I'm god, Matt. You say what I tell you to! [Big Grin]

Emily Dickinson is right.

Even those who presume that God spoke to those who compiled the Jewish testament are mad; it's bicameralism. Worse, it's second-hand bicameralism! That means that it's not only madness but it's vulgar.

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Colin JM0397
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OM - of course. In every era in recorded history there have been people and groups of people thinking "the big one" is coming soon.

I was just pointing out that someone who says they are a warrior for God and gathering an Army for the coming storm might not be 100% delusional - they might simply have bought into the latest doomsday scenario and is taking logical steps to take care of themselves.

Based on my "neo-pagan" views, I speak to and hear from God regularly. If God is an intelligence and force that eminates from all intelligence, life, and all things, then I am God.
You are God.
We are God.

To look deep within yourslef is to commune with God. To meditate on a problem and get to an answer or clairity is to talk to and receive direction from God.

Now, before you say HEY, that sounds silly...

Just think, to someone who's never heard of Christianity, how silly is it to worship a man nailed to a cross and practice symbolic canabalism of him? [Razz]

FWIW, I was raised Lutheran and still consider myself, at base, Christian... I look at it as a Christian-plus these days. Hey, if people can be a hyphanated American, why not a hyphanated Christian?

Oh, the blasphemy!

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KnightEnder
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Funny you should mention Mayans, since they've recently discovered that building all those temples to their "Gods" is what caused their demise.

(They found a jillian temples in the Rain Forest using satelite imagery. The limestone in the buildings caused the plants growing over them to glow a different color than the surrounding forest.)

KE

[ January 11, 2007, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Pete at Home
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Oh?

Link me, please!

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EDanaII
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I'm not sure that a transcript is available, however, it was this weeks Nova ScienceNOW. I don't know about Nevada, but I believe it will play again this Saturday here in Arizona.

Ed.

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EDanaII
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I just realized that, even though the transcript is not available on-line, the video is. You'll find it here , Pete.
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Adam Lassek
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quote:
Is it God or just Crazy?
Plenty of otherwise mentally healthy religious people talk to god.

The one who get a no-kidding direct answer are probably crazy [Smile]

On a side note, this guy's story really reminds me of Daniel Johnston. Ever heard of him? A really good documentary was just released about his life.

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canadian
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I'm not sure about this issue, to be honest. If I was talking to my friend Harvey, people would say I was nuts. If I say, no...not Harvey...uh, God...yeah, I'm talking to God, suddenly I'm sane again.
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canadian
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Thanks for the link. Now I'm going to have to find a few hours to spare.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
Ah, but Pete, if the action is logical, it wouldn't matter if it came from God or not. Reason alone could derive it. We only need God to deal with the a-rational, or the meta-rational.

That's right. I forgot that all people are innately reasonable at all times and have access to all the facts in the universe.
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TomDavidson
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I'm not sure what your reply is meant to argue, Pete. The point here is that if people obey the commands of God because they're "logical," then they might as well do the "logical" thing in the first place.
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Colin JM0397
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Mayan demise? I thought it was because SSM and their proactive war of aggression on the dreaded Toltec-o-fascists?

Very cool stuff on that Nova link – thanks.

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