I have just begun reading Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Its a great read, although I can understand fundamentalist believers being offended. Hitchens certainly has a way with words and can write strongly and with humour. I don’t feel it has the scientific rigour of The God Delusion and find myself wondering of some if his assertions may be exaggerations, or even unreliable.
However, I can personally affirm one of his interesting claims about the “Jerusalem Syndrome.”. He describes how:
“In the city of Jerusalem, there is a special ward in the mental hospital for those who represent a special danger to themselves and others. These deluded patients are the sufferers from the ‘Jerusalem Syndrome.’ Police and security officers are trained to recognise them, though their mania is often concealed behind a mask of beatific calm. They have come to the holy city in order to announce themselves as the Messiah or redeemer, or to proclaim the end of days.”
I visited Israel 10 years ago and during a tour of Jerusalem our group came across the pictured character. Our guide described him as one of these deluded people (although as he was collecting money I commented to her that he seemed pretty sane to me). She told us that this was a problem for Israel – a proportion of tourists every year had to be detained and treated in mental hospitals because of such religious delusions.
This did make me wonder:
What if all the mythology was true and that Jesus Christ did come back?And what if he chose to appear in Jerusalem?
What if the second coming has already happened? Is Jesus Christ detained in one of these hospitals? If so, how would we pick him out from the other patients?
A national anthem recognising diversity?