Mad or God?
Jesus: the healthiest mind of all
“An important contribution to the evidence that Jesus is, as he claims to be, the incarnate Son of God. I am sure it will help to open many readers' eyes to the wonder of the person of Christ, and refresh and renew their faith and strengthen their confidence in him.” (Professor John Lennox)
Two leading psychiatrists give a robust defence of Christ’s mental health & stability.
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says that he is a poached egg – or else he would be the devil of hell. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
It was the famous quotation above – C.S. Lewis' “trilemma” – which inspired experienced psychiatrists Dr. Pablo Martinez and Professor Andrew Sims to write Mad or God? When Jesus was alive, the Gospels tell us that his enemies accused him of being “demon-possessed and raving mad” (John 10) and that even his own family feared that he was “out of His mind” (Mark 3). Over the years, the claim that Jesus was insane or mentally deranged has been used time and time again – especially by the New Atheists in recent years – to mock and discredit Jesus and his followers. Yet, many would agree with Bono when he said in an interview about his faith, “I cannot believe that a madman could have touched and inspired the lives of millions of people”. In response to these allegations against Jesus, the authors write, “we cannot remain silent when our professional experience enables and equips us to offer a robust defence of Jesus' mental health”. After all, Jesus' mental state is crucial in determining whether we can trust his words and the source of his authority – and indeed the whole basis of the Christian faith.
In this book, Martinez and Sims take us on a journey through the life of Jesus - as seen through psychiatric eyes. They examine his character, his life (in terms of his words and his deeds), his relationships, his reaction to adversity and his influence on people (both in his time on earth and afterwards) - these five areas are often combined by psychiatrists to provide an accurate assessment of a person's stability. Drawing on Bible references and psychiatric case studies throughout, the authors show how common features of mental illness are not evident in Jesus' life and how, while his words were compelling and often puzzling, this was not due to him being mad but rather to him speaking on a different level from his listeners. At the end of a thorough and convincing investigation, they conclude that “no mentally sick person or no evil man would ever have been able to speak or behave in the impeccable and influential way that Jesus did, unless he really was what he claimed to be: God” and that Jesus had “the healthiest mind of all”.