My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Last Saturday, Christoffel Groenewald found it hard to believe he had waited so long before visiting Soweto. “There’s a vibe here you just don’t get when it’s white people alone in Pretoria,” he said before the game. By rugby standards, he was modestly dressed, with only wildly oversize blue sunglasses to enliven his wardrobe. He had boarded a bus that morning, crossed the racial divide and come to an epiphany: “Black people are better at accepting white people than white people are at accepting blacks.” Mr. Groenewald, a 37-year-old engineer, was standing in a stranger’s crowded front yard. He continued his thought: “If black people came to our stadium, white people wouldn’t be as welcoming. White people wouldn’t be selling them beer, inviting them into their yards, grabbing them by the arm and asking them to come meet another white person.” – The New York Times on the Orlando Bulls extravaganzaBACK TO TOP