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?
If the process of forgiveness is to be concluded, moreover, it requires of the wrongdoer that he understand that he has done wrong. It must therefore be preceded by remorse and then by self-forgiveness — for surely one can only truly accept forgiveness from others when one has forgiven oneself? Most whites have not begun to take that first step. Former president FW De Klerk, a formidable strategist but not a statesman, set the pattern of evasion that still characterises white sentiment today. There has been no apology — just equivocation and amnesia, followed directly by the blather of the “open opportunity society”. When the issue of responsibility is pushed, Afrikaners and English cynically point the finger at each other for a system from which they benefited together. – Anthony Butler in Business DayBACK TO TOP