I stumbled upon this article, which reminded me of our previous discussion about circumventing the ethical and jumping to the absolute. While this guy did not have a divine revelation, on the simple fact that there was no earthquake, it did stir a few thoughts and questions in my mind. I wondered specifically about the motives of this man and why he would subject himself to jail time, public humiliation, and speculation about his mental sanity. Could he be a victim of Dostoevsky’s preoccupation with asserting one’s free will at the expense of one’s own well being? I don’t think so, because he mentioned it was God’s message that he was relaying to the world. So, he must actually believe he had divine contact, or else he wouldn’t comment or maybe he would if he was acting irrationally.
We tend to dismiss people that do something bizarre as mentally unstable, but only when they do something to catch the attention of many. But not everyone who is mentally unstable engages in behavior based on their impulses. So why would this pastor jeopardize his life in this manner. If his job was just to warn people, shouldn’t there have been further instructions? What are people supposed to do with just a mere warning?
While the story of Abraham is understandable given the premise of God speaking to Abraham, this story is not, because God told him to warn people, not ruin his life. Wasn’t there a way a better way for this guy to follow God’s supposed instructions? Perhaps this man is just that mentally unstable, but to me it is not making sense. Furthermore, this isn’t the first incident of this kind, apparently another man who was classified as mentally challenged hijacked a plane in a similar fashion, which makes me wonder how these 3 realms apply to people with a mental disorder. Are they skewed or do they follow an entirely different pattern. After all, people with mental handicaps can often times make rational choices that sane people make, but a few large scale irrational choice classify an individual as insane. I guess the big question I am trying to get at is, why is it that we as humans are confined to asserting our free will in very controlled and unnoticeable manners? Doesn’t that essentially limit us and confine us to society’s norms and expectations that only allows for a rather small window of actions that are irrational?