most of us already assume that the Religious, at least the devout, are a little nuts. most Christians pray, and hope that their prayers are answered. i think that's about the extent that the majority practice. however, this article highlights those who seem to believe that God/Jesus talks back to them. we know of certain "celebrity" Christians who claim this, but it is unlikely that many take them seriously. personally, it seems most likely they use this as a way to gather fortune or fame. but what about the everyday Christian who believes that they converse with the Almighty?
it appears as though this is relatively commonplace with Evangelicals. conservative (no pun intended) estimates peg the number of American Evangelicals around 70 million (some studies suggest as many as 100 million). do we really have nearly 1/3 of the populace conversing with an imaginary friend? assuming the cutoff for having a invisible buddy is around 7 years old, that still leaves nearly 60 million adolescents and grown-ups that practice this kind of thing. ok, i'm sure not all Evangelicals do this, so chop the number in two and that's still 30 million Americans who are...insane?
and that really is the question. how mentally stable is one if they truly believe that they have direct conversations with a supernatural entity? this article seems to think that this is a good thing. my impression of the author is that she is decidedly not religious (although i could be wrong), yet she extols this type of childlike behavior. perhaps she wanted to be fair and balanced, and not ridicule her subjects. too bad - that would have made for an interesting article.
people who practice such absurdities should be ridiculed, not praised. she settles on imagination as a virtue, which indeed it is. so long as it is put to good use. in this case it is wasted on delusion. i'll give a pass to our "presidential candidates" and televangelists who claim God talks to them. they are known charlatans and can be easily dismissed. the everyday person though presents an unknown danger. when you have a massive number of people who think that God talks to them, who knows what he's telling them to do? i think this is as dangerous as it is absurd.
perhaps i should buy stock in a publicly held mental facility/facilities.
I'm reminded of a statement made by Sam Harris (and I'm paraphrasing here). "If someone is talking into a hair dryer and claiming he is having a conversation with god, he's hauled off to a mental hospital. Take away the hair dryer and put him in a building with a cross on top, it's considered normal behavior." The author, Ms. Luhrman, does leave one wanting an explanation of her last statement. In essence, she states that all the work that goes into making yourself believe you really are talking to your imaginary friend "can be useful." Really?! How so?!
While the California beach girl Ms. Luhrman referred to wasn't sure whether to ask Jesus if she should paint her toenails (seemingly harmless enough), the "Son of Sam" claimed he was communicating with a demon possessed dog, and innocent people died. And, it's not just American evangelicals who practice this delusion. Evangelicals, devote Muslims, and Messianic Jews all have, as part of their doctrine, a belief in some version of eschatology - end times. The 2nd coming of Christ, the return of the 12th Imam, the coming of the true Messiah. Let the delusional mob in any one nuclear armed nation (America, Israel, Pakistan, and probably soon, Iran) push their leaders who pander to these fantasies far enough, because of what their imaginary friend told them, and the consequences for the rest of us don't look too good.
agreed. i think the author went out of her way to be as inoffensive as possible. the commenters seem to have picked up her slack.
Eschatology or scatology? It amounts to the same thing IMO - people talking crap.
Most fundies believe at least by praying, the holy spirit will guide their hands and direct their minds by helping them think holy thoughts. Only the nuttiest (Hello Mr. Robertson) believe that got speaks to them directly, openly and in their native tongue (instead of French a la Izzard)
But these people do exist, and the average fundie never contradicts or dismisses them. They say "Who am I to say God isn't speaking directly to them?".