Monday, April 18, 2011

Modern Day Jesus

How would Jesus have fared if he had been born in today’s world? Psychologists would likely have diagnosed him as having multiple disorders and complexes. They would have placed him in on-going counseling sessions. They likely would have recommended that he be institutionalized as a danger to society and himself. The most severe diagnosis would have been Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He exhibited a constant defiance to authority figures, frequently condemning and defying the rulers and religious leaders of the country. He refused to cooperate with them, and at times was even hostile towards them. They would have concluded that he had an anti authority bias Occasionally he exhibited signs of having Intermittent Explosive Disorder because he sometimes flew off the handle, such as when he whipped legitimate businessmen in the temple courts. He had problems with anger, as was shown in the account of his healing of the man with the withered hand. The psychologists would have recommended that he attend anger management classes to learn how to control his temper. Along with these problems, he had identity problems, seen in his attitude towards his own nuclear family. He denied them, questioning whom his mother and brothers were. His connection with reality would have been severely questioned when he called people around him his mother and brothers. He had poor social skills, calling King Herod “that sly fox” and repeatedly calling the Pharisees and scribes “hypocrites, open sepulchers and vipers”. He was politically incorrect and intolerant towards others.

They would have said that Jesus suffered from a Delusion of Grandeur. He kept vacillating between thinking of himself as man and as God. Several times during his lifetime he referred to himself as God or God’s son. He often spoke of God as his father. In this, they would have found him delusional, unable to comprehend reality, as when he told the high priest that he was the Son of the Most High. At the same time he also had a messianic complex, believing that his mission was to save people from their sins. He equated himself with the popular messianic title “Son of Man”, saying that he had come to seek and save the lost.

Like many of those with psychological disorders today, he was homeless, claiming that he had no place to even lay his head. He wandered from town to town, taking advantage of those who were willing to support him. He associated with the riff raff of society, a variety of outcasts such as prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors and the like. His friends were the type of people that reputable society shunned. He led a band of fisherman, tax collectors and zealots who followed his every word. On top of all this, Jesus was a charismatic figure, always drawing a large crowd willing to listen to his rants against the authority figures and his self delusional identity with God. He was a polarizing figure. This would have reinforced their conclusion that he was dangerous, to others as well as himself and must be dealt with. Towards the end of his life he was known to have a death wish, desiring to die a most horrible death.

If Jesus had come today, how would we have responded? Would we have found him troubling? Would we have institutionalized him, locking him up as dangerous to himself and others, and then thrown away the key? Fortunately he came at the proper time in history, so they merely nailed him to a cross and executed him. How would we have treated him?

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