Source: The Guardian
If someone told you, in all seriousness, that they talk to invisible beings who control the universe, you’d probably back away slowly, nodding and smiling, while desperately looking for the nearest exit or escape route. If this person then said they wanted to be in charge of your life, you’d probably do the same, but more urgently, and with a view to finding the nearest police officer.
And yet, this happens all the time. Arch Brexiter, unlikely Tory leadership candidate and human Pez-dispenser Jacob Rees-Mogg recently blamed his extreme and unpleasant views on his Catholicisim, which was seen as a valid excuse by many. Current placeholder prime minister Theresa May has made a big deal about how her Christian upbringing makes her suitable for the role. And despite the lawful separation of church and state, every official and wannabe US president has had to emphasise their religious inclinations. Even Trump, whose enthusiasm for maintaining the noble traditions of the presidency can be described as limited at best.
That’s interesting in itself if you step back; many people have attempted to pin mental health diagnoses on Donald Trump (unwisely, in my opinion), but his more-recent claims to be a representative of an all-powerful invisible deity who created the Earth in six days have been dismissed as just cynical pandering. Does that not seem … inconsistent?
Well, it shouldn’t be, because as they say, “You talk to God, you’re religious. God talks to you, you’re psychotic.” That’s a line from the TV show House MD, delivered by the eponymous acerbic medic played by Hugh Laurie. But variations of this comment have been made many times over the years. However, while it is seemingly intended to highlight the double-standards inherent in accepting someone’s religious views as fine while dismissing similarly unscientific claims as signs of mental disturbance, there is a valid reason for this apparent inconsistency.