Thursday, April 26, 2012

Abraham: prophet or psychopath?

I highly recommend John Krakauer's book, Under the Banner of Heaven.  After reading it again recently, I was struck by the fact that no one gave any serious consideration to Ron Lafferty's claim that "God" told him to kill Brenda Lafferty.  

Jews, Christians, and Muslims recognize Abraham as one of their preeminent prophets, and yet Abraham would be institutionalized today if he tried to sacrifice his son at the urging of voices in his head, regardless of whether he carried out the act.  Anyone who has seen Frailty or read Under the Banner of Heaven appreciates the danger of allowing so-called prophets to act out the impulses of their mental illnesses.  Why do we not apply the same standards to Abraham and other religious leaders? Rather than revering Abraham as a paragon of faith, we should condemn him as the psychopath that he proved himself to be.  Of course, all of this assumes that Abraham actually existed, which is unknown.

                      

A casual stroll through the insane asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
                                                                         -- Friedrich Nietzsche

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