I no longer have to wait to be convinced that the line between being a genius and being insane is indeed a very delicate one. In this present era, and also in a developed society, someone claiming to have the ability to hear directly from the supernatural being would instantly be ignored and tagged mentally ill by majority of us, especially if he approaches us with the look, traits and acts often used by the old time prophets as explained in the holy books.
However, and not minding their approach, the old time prophets, seers and soothsayers were then and still being regarded as set of beings having the supernatural powers. What has changed so far? Indeed, and at this very point, I can’t just seclude myself from the fact that I’ve been living in accordance with the precepts proposed by some of the old time prophets. But the advent of the expression “Mental illness” makes me curiously beckon for more studies.
Prophet, Isaiah, claimed the supernatural one told him to walk around naked and barefoot for three years. Ezekiel, another biblical prophet claimed God told him to lie on his left side for 390 days, the other side for another 40 days; he also said a supernatural voice asked him to bake cake using human waste, all as symbolic gesture to highlight Israel and Judah’s sins.
What about Hosea, who claimed God told him to marry a whore?
Prophet Mohammed, who was born in 470AD also claimed to have spoken directly with God, but researchers found out he also displayed disabilities that are today categorized as either epilepsy, schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder.
Experts claim such traits now being diagnosed for various mental disorders were needed in those days to gain attention – The South African pastor that made his congregation to eat grass is a case study.
After thorough examinations, more of the prophets have been recorded to have displayed some signs of various mental disorders like schizophrenia, bi-polar, affective disorder etc, they however succeeded in inspiring and reprogramming the thinking pattern of believers of then and now, since no one had the idea of what mental illness was.
And we are all aware that today’s religions all exist by virtue of visions of those ancient prophets, that mental health experts claim exhibited some signs of mental disorders.