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Jerusalem syndrome and delusions

Started by mburke, 01/02/2003 06:43AM
Posted 01/02/2003 06:43AM Opening Post
Below is a quote from Amos Elon an Israeli Journalist.

I think it illustrates that the inherent self-delusion of man is what allows religion to overtake some people, and shows the danger of the acceptance of scripture as the inerrant word of God. It is a safe assumption that the Protestants referred to are those that accept the Bible as the absolute word of God. It should come as no surprise that these people make up the bulk of those afflicted with Jerusalem syndrome, given the inherently strong self-delusional trait that led them to their beliefs in the first place.

"Local psychiatrists now speak of a Jerusalem syndrome. A hundred-odd pilgrims and tourists are treated each year at Kfar Shaul Hospital, the government mental-health center serving the Jerusalem area, for breakdowns related to this syndrome, which involves messianic fantasies and delusions of being Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, or other biblical characters. They are mostly Americans and almost all are Protestant. Many have a strong grounding in the Bible. In Jerusalem, they suddenly take off their clothes or shout prophecies on street corners, only to revert to normal after a few days' treatment."

-- Amos Elon, Jerusalem: City of Mirrors, 1989, p. 147

Posted 01/02/2003 04:36PM #1
Very interesting Mike. I seem to remember reading somewhere once that in certain forms of mental illness a belief that one is Jesus Christ is not particularly uncommon. I don't say this to be provocative, but only as a point of information, in context with the quote you provided by Amos Elon.