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conversations with God

Psycho Fan Stalks Shawn Johnson

Shawn JohnsonThere was a story in the news today that Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson was being stalked by a psycho fan, who has since been arrested. The man left his family and drove from Florida to California where Dancing With the Stars was being filmed in hopes of being with Johnson.

Evidently, his car contained two loaded guns, duct tape, zip ties, a “map to the victim,” and love letters. He believed he was meant to have a child with Johnson.

Why did he believe this?

Documents also indicated O’Ryan “believes that she speaks to him personally through the television set and through ESP.”

I’m not sure what the psychological diagnosis is for something like that. It’s probably not schizophrenia, but that’s what pops into my head. It leaves no doubt, however, that the guy definitely has some mental health issues.

After reading the story, my initial reaction was that he was pretty crazy and that it had to be pretty nerve-wracking for Johnson… and I believe that.

My next reaction is the point of this post. If you take away the duct tape, zip ties, and the loaded guns (or maybe not in some cases), you basically have a guy that’s considered crazy because he was hearing a very specific voice speaking only to him.

How is that any different from people who claim that God speaks to them?

I don’t think that’s an unreasonable comparison. Christians routinely talk of having conversations with God and some actually say that they hear God’s voice. In religious circles, this is viewed as a wonderful, spiritual thing… even when God commands someone to kill his son.

Hearing someone else’s voice, however, is seen as a sign of psychosis. Sometimes even hearing God’s voice is seen as a sign of psychosis when “God” is telling the listener to commit a crime (outside the bible).

It seems that hearing voices is considered spiritual in some cases and psychotic in others, regardless of the speaker. How do religious believers know which is which? Supposedly God told Abraham to kill his son. Was Abraham psychotic? Some murderers have claimed that God told them to kill people. Are they psychotic? The book of Genesis says that God told Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge. Was Adam psychotic?

In each case of supposed divine communication, someone hears one or multiple voices. Christian interpretations of these incidents are completely inconsistent. Some claims of godly discussions are seen as wonderful… others as dispicable and crazy. Shawn Johnson’s stalker heard a voice, too, so for Christians to see him as crazy seems disingenuous at best. Their religious stories are chock full of people hearing voices.

Personally, I’ll chalk it up to insanity.