Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jerusalem Syndrome: is this a "turn of phrase"?

James Davila mentions an article from Emunah magazine heralding a decrease in "Jerusalem Syndrome." I think Jim's right that the fundamental problem—differentiating reality from fantasy—remains, even if this particular malady is on the decline. But I point out Israeli psychologist Gregory Katz's description of at-risk groups:
“The majority of patients that come into the psychiatric clinic with religious delusions were already suffering from psychological problems before they arrived in the holy city.” He says that those most susceptible these days are extremely religious persons who are ninety-eight percent Christian. They normally come from remote rural areas and in most cases and are traveling abroad for the first time in their lives. (emphasis added)

Ninety-eight percent Christianity, apparently, isn't enough. You need to be one hundred percent sold out to Jesus. Then you can safely visit the Holy City without fear of transmogrification into the Virgin Mary or whatever.

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