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?
[Princess Diana] was in Angola on her landmine campaign, and there was a hushed, reverent BBC commentator. And he said, ‘The thing about mine fields is that they’re very easy to lay, but they’re very difficult and dangerous, and even expensive to get rid of’ – the perfect description of Prince Charles’s first wife. – the late Christopher Hitchens, on CBS.BACK TO TOP