If the Christian God speaks to someone, it’s a divine miracle. If a non-Christian God speaks to someone, they’re crazy. Why does America have this double standard?
I was watching something on television that got me to thinking about people who believe that God has spoken to them, and the way mental health professionals, and the public at large, regard them after the event. There seems to be an odd double standard in regards to hearing the voice of a higher power.
If you are a Christian, and you say that God has spoken to you, most will treat you as if you have been touched by The Spirit, and it’s a miracle. If you are not a Christian, and you say the same thing, people think you’re crazy. Why is that? Is hearing the voice of one deity any less of a miracle than hearing another? Regardless of the deity in question, wouldn’t this event be either a miracle or sign of insanity across the board? How does the deity affect the sanity of the person?
It seems that the problem goes even deeper when you bring a mental health professional into the picture. If you have a mental health professional (I’m going to call it MHP from here on) who is of your own faith, they will likely see your experience as divine. If you have a MHP who is of a different faith or no faith, they will likely see it as a sign of mental defect. A MHP, of all people, should be unbiased and either see all communications with deity as either divine or insane. There should be no room for question.
I personally know of someone who was put on medication because they told their MHP that they were being spoken to by their God. It was not the Christian God, so the MHP decided that it was a sign of mental illness that required medication. They never even considered that there might actually be some divine intervention taking place. I myself have also been accused of insanity because I believe that a higher power has spoken to me and given me guidance.
It seems to me that there should be some sort of standard on which to base the likelihood that one’s communication was with a higher power or is a sign of mental illness. There currently seems to be no such standard. One person can say that a higher power told them to get a better education and be deemed insane while another can say that a higher power told them to kill someone and be considered sane. Judgments of sanity in regards to hearing the voices of higher beings seem to run the gamut.
I think anything that could be considered communication with a higher power has equal potential to be insanity or divine miracle, depending on what was said and whom it was said to. There is no way to truly know if communication with a deity actually happened, or what the intent of the message really was. Interpretation of the message and the mental state of the individual can both greatly affect the outcome.
Some standard should be created to deal with these events. Are we all crazy? Are we all receiving messages from deities? Is there a mix? How do we know? Should the religion of the individual be considered as a factor? Is communication with one deity more valid than communication with another? These are all questions that seem to warrant further investigation.