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BILDE
"Birds of a feather flock together." (Proverb).

Cult Lessons

Initial Concerns

Cults Can Breed Insanity Christianity started as a tense cult. Cults have several hallmarks, and hard, bad cults may breed insanity. The other side of the coin is that many insane guys "under the hood", so to speak, may gravitate to cults that match their imbalances, disorders and stupidity.

There are many bad cults around. In the United States there are 5000 cults in the estimate of Professor Margaret Singer (2003:xvii). Other estimates range from a thousand and up to 5000.

There are also many kinds of mental disorders, and different degrees of them. Synonyms for madness abound, definitions vary. (EB, "mental disorder") On another page ten disorders are delineated. The listed signs of disorder in it, were used used by professionals until revised versions appeared. [Link]

Being artistic, and getting sound, cognitive treatment might be boons in many cases of mental derangement.

Many psychopaths and neurotics are officially Christians, if it matters

As for peculiar "Christian madnesses", maybe neuroses talk: Something that is taken to be a sign of insanity in a single person, may be a criterion of a cult member, or maybe "just a Christian" - according to Jesus in some of the gospels, for example (Matthew 9:12-13; Mark 2:17; John 10:14, 27, 21:16) .

Psychopaths are strangely influential, clever, subtle, scheming, and of devious mind. In the United Kingdom, psychopathic disorder is legally defined as "a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including significant impairment of intelligence) which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned."

Some psychopaths can be next to impossible to ferret out. Often it takes years, and some may escape being diagnosed and sedated altogether. In such cases the near ones are typically made victims of their various forms of nastiness, Professor Tollak Sirnes finds, and besides, "You don't have to be ill to be a doctor". Against this good idea there is "It takes one to know one," just to balance it, as the case may be if it serves quiet reflection. Simply: "After watching ape-programs on TV, you don't have to be an ape to understand the ape more or less imperfectly." (Sirnes 1968; Toh; Langfeldt 1976)

Now, the term 'psychopathy' denotes chronic immoral and antisocial behavior, and is often used interchangeably with sociopathy. The term 'psychopathy' is often confused with psychotic disorders. It is estimated that approximately one percent of the general population are psychopaths. They are overrepresented in politics, law firms, and in the media. It is possible for psychopaths to become successful in many lines of work.

Mental health professional rarely treat psychopathic personality disorders, for they are considered untreatable.

In sects of various kinds, psychopaths will often cause long-term harm, both to their co-workers and the organization as a whole, due to their fraudulent behaviour.

It may be fit to lend ear to experienced guys when they speak candidly of what they have actually experienced, such as, "The teachings of SRF about teaching the original Christianity of Jesus is charlatanry."

Some Nuts

Think twice about selling out on your freedoms based on distortions and forged teachings. Jesus taught he was only for ill and depraved Jews.

"I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." (Matthew 15:24)

And when he sent out disciples, he said,

"Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach . . . (Matthew 10:5-7, cf. John 11:51,52)

Unless you are of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribes stemming from Jacob the Deceiver, what John tells does not apply to you. And since the Jews did not receive him, it shows up he did not die for them either.

The missionary command at the end of Matthew is a later-added piece of forgery, says Joseph Wheless. Dr Geza Vermes puts it this way:

Item During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark (Mark 16:15), which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Vermes 2012).

Psychopaths may feel an inner attunement with deceptive ones, but not fair guys. Compare in passing these teachings of Jesus: (Matthew 24:9-11; Luke 12:51 etc.)

Don't like to be victimised by psychopathic terror, or be fooled by marring teachings, including,

Truly, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these . . . You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12, 14) ", and "Everything is possible for him who believes." (Mark 9:23)," and "If you have faith ... Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:21)

The point: Great-looking sayings can be used for psychopatic terror or control against realistic checking, for example like, "What are the odds for that to happen in such and such circumstances?" It is really easy to find out! Statistics helps too.

Gold from Harriet B. Braiker

Against being manipulated, Who's Pulling Your Strings? by Harriet B. Braiker contains sound counsel against coercive influence, and goes against being a target of manipulators. In its third chapter is a rather informal self-test made of sixty questions. "I want everyone to think of me as a nice person", is the thirtieth item them (2004:30). It may be used against us.

The author thinks that "Anyone and everyone is potentially vulnerable to the control of a skilled manipulator," and many are more vulnerable than otherwise during transition phases (2004:1). That is common psychodynamic knowledge.

Erik H. Erikson speaks of eight phases and seven transition periods, each with their challenges and outcomes. [Erikson's phases]

Some people are extremely vulnerable. Regardless of that, there are ways to get good at being self-assertive. [More], [More], [More]

There are accepted sociopaths and psychopaths in this world

Sound individuals tend to seek and go for concord more than discord, and try to make the conditions for their children better than good for derangements. With psychopaths of inflexible, maladaptive, or antisocial behaviour it is not like that.

Tune in to the wider perspective:

There is no simple definition of mental disorder that is universally satisfactory. This is partly because mental states or behaviour that are viewed as abnormal or pathological in one culture may be regarded as normal or acceptable in another, and in any case it is difficult to draw a line clearly demarcating healthy from pathological mental functioning. (EB "mental disorder")

People with mental imbalances may be good on the surface for a long time, if their conditions favour just their kinds of imbalances.

Hallmarks of Psychopathology

Among laypersons and professionals there is much confusion about the meanings and differences between psychopathy, sociopathy, antisocial personality disorder and so on.

Even if there is no clear-cut understanding among professionals as to what is mental disorder or not, various hallmarks are used for determining it in a lot of cases. These criteria have to be used with discretion. Even so, there are hundreds and thousands that get a wrong diagnosis only in Scandinavia each year. This is in part due to the fact that so-called abnormal conduct can be rooted in the person involved, in the interplay between that one and close others, significant others, such as in-groups, and the large society too, with the estrangements, nervous troubles, and abuses of others that accompany some sides of it, but not all of them.

To the last points, it is observed in The Prophet, a widely read book of twenty-six poetic essays in English by the Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer Kahlil Gibran (1883–1931): "When the black thread breaks, the weaver shall look into the whole cloth, and he shall examine the loom also." The Glasgow-born psychiatrist Ronald D. Laing (1927–89) strongly emphasises that point, and finds it very fit to suspect that if a person "snaps", turn insane, it could be the loom of family and other contacts - or lack of them - that is to blame. The warp could be unfit, askew, or suffer from other defects. More specifically, Laing thinks much insecurity may prompt a defensive reaction that can make ill by turns. In Laing's view many mental illnesses may be induced by relationships with other family members, and what is called madness could be a strong "miming" reaction to a more or less common state of alienation. (EB "Laing, R. D.)

To enlarge on the subject of insecurity:

Shyness among adults is now escalating to epidemic proportions, according to recent research by Dr. B. Carducci in Indiana and my research team in California. More than 50 percent of college-aged adults report being chronically shy (lacking social skills, low self-esteem, awkward in many social encounters). [Philip G. Zimbardo]

Dr. Bernardo Carducci has written Shyness: A Bold New Approach (2000). Philip Zimbardo is professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University. [◦More]

From bad to worse

It could be that individuals who initially suffer from insecurity and/or estrangements may be set adrift on the way to psychopathy through neuroticism that gradually worsens.

And sociopaths may come to consider their deviant behaviour as natural, feel no guilt when they harm and ruin others, and resist therapy - or getting away from the sect or cult that have made them like that. They can be very sly and submissive to such ends. Others may get explosive, overly excitable, procrastinating, persistently promiscuous, and paranoid. Strange lack of humour marks some of them.

Not a few criminals suffer from a personality disorder. Some mental disorders involve preoccupation with fantasies. Lack of concern seems to be a key element involved, and much and unsound immodesty also. The expression of symptoms of personality disorders often tends to get less intense in middle and old age.

Psychoanalytical diagnosis work and outcomes

If we are good at diagnosing, it may be ethical and decent to diagnose others and perhaps maim their reputation thereby. If we are not well qualified, there is a risk of mislabeling and inflicting long-time harm on others - it could be people who are very different from us, or far from us in time and space. In such cases the risk of warped descriptions may rather easily be increased unless we are sharp and alert. Psychoanalysis of others may be resorted to without personal contact, but usually such diagnostic work is less rewarding without consulting and paying clients (patients).

Psychoanalysis is an attempt at diagnosing and also treat mentally suffering persons by asking them to talk about past experiences and feelings in order to try to find explanations for their present problems. Childhood experiences may slowly come to the fore as the client seeks to relax and tell.

The Swiss psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger's study, "The Case of Ellen West" by Binswanger in 1944–1945 depicts the illness and suicide of a young woman, as Binswanger understood the person and process. He attempted to synthesise existential philosophy and therapeutic practice in the case study based on her diary writings only.

However, psychoanalytical telling about others have been taken much further than that. The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, applied it to Greek myths as well, to fiction persons he had not met. As a result he came up with such ideas as the Oedipus complex, taking off from the old Greek story of Oedipus, the mythical king of Theben. The father of Oedipus, Laius, had been told by the Oracle at Delphi that his son would kill him. So Laius left Oedipus on a mountain to die. However, a shepherd rescued him. Oedipus returned home many years later but did not recognizse his parents. He slew his father, and as the new, honoured king he married his mother Jocasta.

Years later he learnt that it was his own father he had killed, and his own mother he had married. Where did it take him? For years Oedipus lived in peace, unwitting; but then a great pestilence and famine fell on the city. In his distress the king sent to the Oracle at Delphi to know what he or the Thebans had done to be so sorely punished. From what the Oracle spoke, he learned the truth. Jocasta died, and Oedipus took the doom on himself and left Thebes. Blinded by his own hand, he wandered away into the wilderness. [The story]

The story fuelled the Freudian idea of the Oedipus complex, which is about theorised feelings of sexual desire that a boy has for his mother and the jealous feelings towards his father that this causes. In the psychoanalytical world of ideas there is an Electra complex too, about a young girl's psychoanalytically claimed unconscious sexual attraction to her father.

"You think Oedipus had problems? Adam was Eve's mother."

Getting conscious

In 1909 Sigmund Freud Freud visited the United States along with Carl Jung and Sandor Ferenczi. He had been invited by G. Stanley Hall to present a series of guest lectures at Clark University, where Freud and Jung introduced the then little-known psychoanalysis. Freud and Jung also spent about three months touring America.

The American psychologist William James commented on Freudian (psychoanalytic) ideas in a letter to a friend at a time when James was fatally ill,

I hope that Freud and his pupils will push their ideas to their utmost limits, so that we may learn what they are. They can't fail to throw light on human nature, but I confess that he made on me personally the impression of a man obsessed with fixed ideas . . . obviously 'symbolism' is a most dangerous method. (Hergenhahn 2005:487)

It appears that James believed that psychoanalysis had little value and was perhaps even dangerous. Freud on his part rounded up a lecture tour in the United States with a conclusion:

America is a mistake; a gigantic mistake, it is true, but none the less a mistake. (In Hergenhahn 2009:504)

Again:

America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success. (Sigmund Freud, in Goidel 2014:47)

To contrast it: Freud also saw that "Time spent with cats is never wasted."

Freud had initially hoped that there might be a future for psychoanalysis in the United States. Yet he was puzzled and somewhat distrustful, not pleased, by what he had seen. American cooking irritated his stomach, and the free and easy informality irked his sense of dignity, writes Baldwin Ross Hergenhahn further (Ibid).

After his trip to the USA, Freud's ideas became popular, and he got many disciples, even though some of them broke with him on different grounds. They included Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung. Many early colleagues came to believe that Freud overemphasized sex as a motive for human behavior, and eventually went their own way. Freud on his part saw himself as the founder and leader of the psychoanalytic movement, and he would tolerate no ideas that conflicted with his own. If a member of his group insisted on disagreeing with him, Freud expelled that member from the group.

Freud's theorisied, main ideas have a groundword that includes notions of id, ego, and superego, and of ego defense mechanisms. Freud discerned between three forms of anxiety, including both neurotic and moral anxiety. Since anxiety is uncomfortable, the organism seeks to reduce it, and that is the job of the ego, he postulates. Unsound ego defence mechanism operate to reduce conscious anxiety. Repression, projection, rationalisation and reaction formation are some of these forms of defence.

Freud also considers that sexual pleasure goes through different stages of development as we age and cope - oral, anal, phallic (of sexual organs). The most significant events that occur during this stage are the male and female Oedipal complexes, say Freudians. The next two developmental stages according to Freud are the latency stage and the genital stage. The latter one lasts from puberty through the remainder of one's life, it is held. (Hergenhahn 2005:487-92, 500, passim)

Critique of Freud's ideas can be founded on this: "many, if not most, of Freud's concepts were too nebulous to be measured . . . psychic energy, castration anxiety, penis envy, or the Oedipal complex". Science calls for measurement, and many of Freud's concepts are not measurable. (Hergenhahn 2005:499-500)

As influential as Freud's theory has been, much of it has not withstood the rigours of scientific examination, and much of it is untestable. Despite the criticisms, many believe that Freud made truly exceptional contributions to psychology, and also that psychoanalysis is one of the best way to understand and treat neuroses, Hergenhahn sums up. (Hergenhahn 2005:500-03; emphasis added)

Baldwin Ross Hergenhahn (1934–2007) was an American psychologist, historian and Professor Emeritus at the Department of Psychology at Hamline University, and known for his work on the history of psychology. Its latest edition, with Tracy Henley, is from 2013.

Affirm your predominant developmental needs as life unfolds

Freud contended that the basis of religion as he knew it - "so patently infantile" - is the human feeling of helplessness and insecurity. To overcome these feelings, we create a powerful father figure who will supposedly protect us, a father figure symbolized in the concept of God. Since Hinduism has a different outlook on heavenly matters, and a panthenon of gods and goddesses, his view does not apply to Hindu believers - and hardly to Buddhists either. Most Buddhists nowadays do not believe in a God, no matter how odd that sounds in the light of the first texts of Buddhism, where it is stated that Brahma, the Creator, asked Buddha to teach what he had realised. As a result of the request, Buddha complied, and taught for forty years too. That is what the Scripture tells. After Buddha's Awakening,

DHARMA WHEEL the gods including Brahma and Indra, ask Buddha to preach the Law. By morning he agrees to preach . . . On the way . . . Buddha comes to the River Ganges, and the ferryman refuses to row him across without payment. Buddha flies across the river, and the boatman faints. Buddha arrives in Benares . . . Then Buddha preaches his first sermon, which sets the "Wheel of the Law [Dharma]" in motion. - Lalitavistara Sutra [1]

Thus, in the words of John Powers, "God Brahma appeared before him and begged him to teach what he had learned for the benefit of those few beings who could understand and profit from his wisdom. Moved by compassion for the sufferings of beings caught up in the round of cyclic existence, the Buddha agreed, and for the next forty years he traveled around India, teaching all who cared to listen." [2]

The search for meaning and self-esteem rises well above Freudian thinking

Most [Western] people would never be able to rise above the religious view of life, Freud thought. He was largely pessimistic about human nature, but although pessimistic, wanted people to live more rational lives. To this end they had to understand the workings of their own minds: "Turn your eyes inward, look into your own depths, learn first to know yourself!" he said. And he hoped that religious illusions would eventually be replaced by scientific principles as guides for living. (Hergenhahn 2005:492-939)

Freud's once follower Carl Gustav Jung, found higher levels to life and theory than merely physical ones. He introduced concepts like individuation, and wrote a lot of books that reflect Jung's search for meaning and much else. [Jung and Jungians: A Collection]

What might help some of us is affirming our inherent worth and manifest it as fit self-esteem, and that is shown through an "I'm OK" frame of mind that keeps manifesting in sincere dealings over and over to remain healthy. Within our limitations we simply are to like who we are as we keep on improving where we can. Also, personal development needs to be well guarded against downfalls. The chances are that if you like yourself at bottom, you feel less need for copying others. Maybe you need to take some small risks to nurture yourself, and maybe you need to take a little rest rather often to resist common propaganda.

The meaning behind all the above is that it is your worth that brings about straight self-esteem. If you develop massively you may also need grace to escape acts of violence and abuse by other persons who would like you to remain static, as it suits them. Your moral development may meet with both rewards and punishments by tamers, but a healthy self-esteem is its own reward, sort of. Sound humour and laughter is not so bad as you go on treating yourself with enough respect for your healthy uniqueness. Books, music, and films should be able to give you experiences to appreciate or enjoy, lovely sunsets, stories, and much else. A book that mentions things like these and offers concrete surveys of things to do to boost self-esteem, is Boosting Self-Esteem For Dummies by Rhena Branch and Rob Willson (2009).

Who is to decide about insanity?

Today, hallmarks of various key disorders are listed in manuals. Also, the term insanity serves as a legal term - so the judge or jury in court cases is allowed to make the final decision about the person who stands trial and pleads insanity or is accused with it.

For example, the Mafia boss Vincent Gigante pretended for years to be suffering from dementia and was often seen wandering aimlessly around his neighborhood in his pajamas muttering to himself. However, informants and surveillance showed that Gigante was in full control of his faculties the whole time, and ruled over his Mafia family with an iron fist, so his insanity was deemed to be feigned.

The informal-looking 'crazy' might be taken to mean 'confused'

If others that you depend on are not just nervous and unfair but obviously crazy too, abstain from investing trust in them. How can we discern the crazy ones? It is not always easy. An ancient Chinese philosopher says:

THINKER He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool; he who knows he is confused is not in the worst confusion . . . the biggest fool will end his life without ever seeing the light . . . And with all the confusion in the world these days, no matter how often I point the way, it does no good. Sad, is it not? (Watson 1968:139-40)

We take many other reminders by Chuang Tzu into account as we go along. Some may appear to be crazy due to handed-over, ceremonial plots or rituals, like those who like to tell listeners that the long gone dead will rise again - sometimes - just wait, and wait some more . . .

It is better to discard unfounded faith for the sake of good observations accompanied by measured, rational handling, for that approach does not go against having a sound mind. Those who give harmful commands to others, may also say, like Jesus, that healthy ones do not need them. Jesus was only for ill Israelites, was his words.

Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. . . . I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:12,13; cf. Mark 2:17 and Luke 5:31)

Christian hypocrites in vast numbers

According to the Deal of Deals for non-Jewish followers (the Apostolic Decree), real Christian sinners have eaten blood food, even unrepenting. (Acts 15:28-29, and 21:25] The Bible holds the eating of blood food for a grave transgression, or something too wicked. "None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood." (Leviticus 17:10, 12, 14). [More]

Those who have eaten wrangled chicken, have broken with or ignored or been plain ignorant of the Deal for Christians too, and the same goes for the other two of the four requirements in a lot of cases. The four requirements for Christians were to replace the Law of Moses for non-Jews, That is what Acts 15 shows. As for the long row of commands of Jesus, he said he taught and served Jews only, which further confirms that the four pillars of the Apostolic Decree in Acts 15 is what non-Jews have to take as their requirements.

Against it, a misled Christian is

a man who behaves like everybody else. Our professions of faith have no longer any discernible bearing either on our public conduct or on our private state of hope. The sacraments do not work on many of us their spiritual transformation; we are bereft and at a loss where to turn,

writes Heinrich Zimmer in Philosophies of India (1969:13-14). In contrast to all who are backed up by the Deal for non-Jews - that is, the Apostolic Decree of ca. 50 CE - many seem to be mere quasi followers of Jesus. "Quasi" because they tell they have faith, but without most of the hallmarks of the faith Jesus talks of. "Quasi" because they are not Jews. Most Christians do not live up to all the Jesus-commands anyway. They do not take to self-molesting, and seem to imagine that as long as they don't do as Jesus tells, but in large, large numbers, he will not condemn them as he has promised to do connected with his "Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46]"

Well, his teachings are only for Jews, he tells (Matthew 15:24; 10:4-9; Vermes 2012). But to hypocritical Jesuans he makes this point, "I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Among those "evil-doers" you might find folks who have prophesied in his name, driven out demons and perform many miracles - and maybe lots of so-called good Christians (Matthew 7:22-23).

Faking may become hypocricy, which Jesus condemns at length. Hypocricy goes against genuineness, and if genuineness is dwarfed, not updated, and hurt, much may go worse that it had to.

But a poor, floundered "Jesuan-Christian" had better understand what the New Testament actually tells: Jesus and his teachings were not for non-Jews, and besides, Christians are given far greater freedom; Acts 15 is about that. The four canonised gospels were edited and enlarged upon later.

Get Away from Cults and Psychopaths

In order to confuse people, false guys who play on inexperience, decency and good may cause later nervous disorders, and they may get progressively worse.

Illusions of grandeur - on behalf of oneself and maybe vicariously - are among the signs of psychopathy, and so is hostility and telling lies wilfully. Maybe a few "rotten eggs" or psychopaths who claim to be God, suffer from megalomaniac disturbances and "destroy the whole basked", that is. Some mean guys of vicarious sacrifice are the butchering of innocents, are needy underneath, whereas suitable and decent people can be cosy and nice to be with.

Soundness is not a matter of conformity alone

"Look to the best, and not the rest" is a Norwegian proverb. Sjå på dei beste, og ikkje dei fleste.

The essence of the proverb is that healthy individual are not average Joes, and many sharing similar symptoms, do not show what health is either. That is part of what Abraham Maslow saw after studying outstanding persons for a long while. He wrote books about it too. (1964, 1968, 1987).

Look out for painful or distressing symptoms, and impairment in one or more important areas of functioning. Is there rigour, lack of frivolity and of so-called free will? The church is in part for all that.

Both the church (a cult grown large) and a smaller cult can have an effect on every aspect of a person's life, including thinking, feeling, mood, and outlook and such areas of external activity as family and marital life, sexual activity, work, recreation, and management of material affairs. Church and cult impair or severely limit mutually rewarding relationships. Baits to hook members are many, but not really classy at bottom, as the claim that vicarious sacrifice is glorious, nay, a means of salvation. Ask in line with Dr Erich Fromm while at it: "Saved from, saved to?" Add, "For how long?" to get a check that could be vital.

The pyramid of needs that Abraham Maslow devised, may help us to discern what needs murky plotters and manipulators play on. If you aim for self-esteem, it should help to be aware that "Self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves," and that emotional problems may be due to low self-esteem also (Sutton and Stewart 2009:44-50, passim)

Some may fondly think that the effects of a deceiving church on persons is not so bad, that a faith based in part on forgeries is OK, devout and useful to all who profit from it, for most part. For example, the faith that long rotten and gone corpses will rise again "some day", is fit for freak shows and scary films. Therefore, try at least to suspect that faiths that are impressed on people can serve ulterior ends, probably control of members - even masses.

Tracing Jesus

What does Jesus stand that is so offensive? To other than Israelites that were morally ill, he and his commands probably mean nothing, on his word in some Matthew-passages. So have at least the good sense to stay permanently away from a church that wants anyone to go for a wicked kind of living for Jews. They did not fall for his teachings, but rejected him to stay on the safe side.

To enlarge on that: when someone says you are guilty of sin if you have not done anything yet, it could be good to smell a rat. If you have had only an urge for sex with someone that is not your partner, for example, the mutilator tells you to tear out your "offending eye", hand, foot or member. Before you get all blindfolded, consider it was aimed at Jews solely and drop it if you are no Jewish Jesuan, to show a minimum of respect. The Holy Spirit and all the disciples did not include any of the commands of Jesus for Gentile followers - that is, for Christians - and kept only four requirements (Acts 15; 21:25).

What is insanity? First, it is a label you give someone you want to get rid of. A whipping Jesus might have learnt that too late. Some who are called insane, are too troublesome in their environment. Then even their relatives want to get rid of them, for example by pushing them to death from a cliff, just as the relatives of Jesus wanted to do to him after he told his villagers that they would not get healing from him:

All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. (Luke 4:28-29)

One may figure the brothers and other relatives of Jesus were among the people in the synagogue too.

Not farcical but tragic

What is being insane? It can be what judges in court call you to put an end to a long, expensive case. There is a memorable case from Norway. A local sheriff found a man too troublesome about some significant matter. Bureaucrats put away the man in a mental hospital, where he did not quite fit in. So they called him bad and furnished him with some insanity label. They called him bad, and worse and worse because did not conform, and then shooed him from the mental hospital as a branded man.

It was then he started peaceful "protest camping" in a tent outside the gate of that institution, Gaustad, and came to be quite a celebrity through it.

Notable psychologists came to his rescue too late, and the same did facts from when things started to go wrong - Now psychiatrists stood up and said he did not seem mentally ill at all. His case ended in court, where one expert said he was insane, and the other he was sound. Finally the judge - who was not an expert on mental disorders - decided he was unsound. As if he could know.

Long after the brave man died, it came up that he had been right in the first place, back home, when he first had been put away. It is a sad story. On the 8 November 2005, a bust of the all right man who had been grossly drugged, maldiagnosed and malhandled by the system, was erected at the Gaustad Hospital. (Ibid.) But compare, "Give me a flower when I'm alive; rather than on my coffin." (Wikipedia, "Arnold Juklerød")

Diagnosing mental disorders remains a subjective exercise. Diagnosis of mental diseases often function in a labelling manner, assisted by observation and possibly relevant investigations, all of which do not have to be regular, long, or fair. Many get a wrong diagnosis and get their future damaged by it.

Mental disorders are often wrongly diagnosed
They called Jesus an insane blasphemer and had him executed. Now he is believed to be God, Lord, and Master by many, after the Church came into power in the Roman Empire in the 300s CE.

Mental health disorders are common in the United States and internationally. Some with mental problems go undiagnosed, and some get such diagnoses thrust on them, with or without good reason.

The standard screening tool for clinicians in the United States is the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM contains a checklist of symptoms and the minimum number of them that must be present in order to meet the requirements for each disorder. By standardising the classifications of symptoms, the DSM is intended to ensure uniformity in diagnoses. (cf. Sperry et al., 2015)

That is where labelling sets it - from ticking off symptoms a checklists. Peter Roy-Byrne, chief of psychiatry at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said one big drawback with the DSM is that it offers no clear guidelines about when a symptom really is a symptom . . .

Misdiagnosis is a serious issue. Missed and misdiagnoses can happen to anyone - and they do, because mental disorders are particularly susceptible to errors of bias, ambiguity and lack of diligence. The actual percentages of misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses versus correct, accurate diagnoses, are difficult to determine, although experts put the rate at around 40%. . . . a rate which is remarkable and frightening.

Educate yourself: Learn about mental disorders. When in doubt, get a second opinion or a third. (Main source: Dr Abraham Kuberberg, "Diagnosis of Mental Illness Hinges on Doctor As Much As Symptoms". The Seattle Times / Behavior Health Digest Vol. 11 Issue 4. Online)

When someone is called worse and worse, in the end to be3 thrown out of an asylum, smell a rat. Those who do not adapt well to asylums, may not belong there; they could in fact be sane. Experts in their halting labelling trade diagnose many wrongly.

When someone who is no expert on insanity is put to judge whether you are or not, smell a bigger rat still.

Incompetence in power is troublesome to deal with, like corrupt camaraderie in high places.

"Not so much what you believe, but how, and how many and how influential - that matters"

Jesus was executed as a diabolic trouble-maker, a blaspheming devil or lunatic. Now a few many billions believe it was God himself who was treated like that. It comes from dogmas that were imposed on lots of people after the Church came into power in the Roman Empire in the 300s CE, in part by selling out the old turn-the-other-cheek parts, so that Christians could serve as soldiers in the Roman army from slightly before 400 CE. That did not help the Empire so much in the long run, though. At any rate, bishops saw it fit to let believers fight for more dominance, against alarming words by their "God Jesus". Things change. They also took to indoctrinating children as the centuries rolled by, to get a hold on the goody-goodies who supplied lands, lots of lands out of faith to escape purgatorial pains by trading in such way, and the clergy profited by the upheld faith and got honour and meals and other forms of wealth, including Vatican concubines.

Will the dead rise again? Really? How do you know it is not rubbish?

In Norway the faith of the official state church is that the dead will rise again. If you don't think the dead rise again after hundreds of years in the soil and sand, have the courtesy to quit a church of clowning. This does no deny the possibility of rising recent corpses, where there is something that can get up and going. It is when there is nothing left it may be too far out, even to think about.

Do the dead bury anyone, and is scapegoating healthy?

To believe that the dead are to bury their dead, seems insane. The gospel says Jesus taught it. (Matthew 8:22] Does this mean that all those who bury their dead relatives are dead themselves? Or sick, because they are followers? (Matthew 9:12-13)

One should never fall for the idea that scapegoating of innocent victims, scapegoating that is masked as religious and righteous, is high-standing. [More]

Insanity - Definitions vary

To revert to recognised insanity: In criminal law there are different principles to decide by in different countries. Laws differ, in other words. Also, "Various legal tests of insanity have been put forward, none of which has escaped criticism," says Encyclopaedia Britannica. (EB "insanity")

The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary helps us to circle in on what insanity might be by defining it for us. What can be meant by it:

  • A deranged state of the mind usually occurring as a specific disorder (as schizophrenia);
  • A mental disorder;
  • Such unsoundness of mind or lack of understanding as prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status, or transaction or as removes one from criminal or civil responsibility;
  • More loosely: extreme folly or unreasonableness, in other words something utterly foolish or unreasonable.

The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus helps further by saying insanity is a "grave disorder of mind that impairs one's capacity to function safely or normally in society." That is a good one. having delusions may be a sign of insanity, and so is behaving irrationally, unreasonably. It is seen to be in contrast to behaving sensibly, wisely, rationally, reasonably, wholesomely, then. To seem reasoned, sensible, healthy, sound and clean looking should pay among normal guys . . . A "delusion of grandeur" could be masked or take time to get into the play.

One may enlarge on the subject by "mentally disordered", "demented", "of unsound mind", and pointing out that Neuroticism lets itself be cured, whereas some mental diseases are beyond treatment by today's standard procedures. Besides, understanding of just what is health is not much clear-cut. Compare: [Jivamuktas and Maslowian Self-realisers]

These few inroads to "insanity" may suffice here.

Hard to Deal With

Among the things to be told on the road toward rational maturity in faith matters is that it can be awfully hard and stressful to grapple with indoctrinated faith or decrees. "If you cannot stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Consider yourself warned.

Contents


Biblical cults and the like, Literature  

Braiker, Harriet B. Who's Pulling Your Strings? New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.

Branch, Rhena, and Rob Willson. Boosting Self-Esteem For Dummies. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley, 2009.

Carducci, Bernardo. Shyness: A Bold New Approach. New York: Harper Perenneal, 2000.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica, see Britannica Online.

Goidel, Kirby. America's Failing Experiment: How We the People Have Become the Problem. Plymoth, UK: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014. ⍽▢⍽Goodness! Not all the people.

Hassan, Steven. Combatting Cult Mind Control. 2nd ed. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1990. (Revised version: 2015)

Hergenhahn, Baldwin Ross. An Introduction to the History of Psychology. 5th ed. Belmont CA: Wadsworth, 2005.

Hergenhahn, Baldwin R., and Tracy B. Henley. An Introduction to the History of Psychology. 7th ed. Belmont CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009.

Langfeldt, Gabriel. Abnorme karakterer. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1976.

Maslow, Abraham. Motivation and Personality. 3rd ed. New York, HarperCollins, 1987.

Maslow, Abraham. Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. Columbus: Ohio State University, 1964.

Maslow, Abraham. Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1968.

Singer, Margaret Thaler. Cults in Our Midst. Rev ed. San Franscisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Sirnes, Tollak. - at vi skal elske hverandre (- that we shall love each other). Oslo: Gyldendal, 1968.

Sperry, Len, Jon Carlson, Jill Duba Sauerheber, and Jon Sperry, eds. Psychopathology and Psychotherapy: DSM-5 Diagnosis, Case Conceptualization, and Treatment. 3rd ed. Hove, East Sussex: Routledge, 2015.

Sutton, Jan, and William Stewart. Learning to Counsel: Develop the Skills, Insight and Knowledge to Counsel Others. 3rd ed. Oxford: How To Books, 2009.

Vermes, Geza. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.

Watson, Burton, tr. The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York: Columbia University Press, 1968.

Zimbardo, Philip G. Shyness: What It Is. What to Do about It. London: Addison-Wesley, 1977.

Zimmer, Heinrich Robert. Philosophies of India. Ed. Joseph Campbell. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969.

Notes
  1. Lalitavistara Sutra, episode 5. The compilation dates back to the third century BCE, according to P. L. Vaidya. The Lalitavistara Sutra is a biography of Buddha, with a description of his enlightenment. It is published by Dharma Publishing in Berkeley under the title "Voice of the Buddha: The Beauty of Compassion," as a 2 volumed set. The Lalitavistara in its expanded form came to be known as a Vaipulya sutra.

  2. The story is included in John Powers' "Buddhism. An Introduction,", a chapter in the book Anthology of Scriptures of World Religions, by John Powers and James Fieser, published by McGraw-Hill Publications in 1997.


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