Thinking Disorder or Faith?

I am reading this book that tracks the history of a certain denomination.  Each chapter starts with a quote.  Many are from Anthony Storr Feet of Clay.

They have made quite an impression on me.  I think his book would be very thought provoking.

I first read
“One man’s faith is anoth man’s delusion….”
By itself is stands alone with a message.

In full context it adds additional elements and overtones, but the following paragraph is likely enough:
“Whether a belief is considered to be a delusion or not depends partly upon the intensity with which it is defended, and partly upon the numbers of people subscribing to it.”

Last night this excerpt was at the beginning of a chapter and it really struck a cord with me:
“Critical examination of the lives and beliefts of gurus demonstrates that our psychiatric labels and our conceptions of what is or is not mental illness are woefully inadequate.  How, for example, does one distinguish an unorthodox or bizarre faith from delusion?…
    Gurus are isolated people, dependent upon their disciples, with no possibility of being disciplined by a Church or criticized by contemporaries.  They are above the law.  The guru usurps the place of God.  Whether gurus have suffered from manic-depressive illness, schizophrenia, or any other form of recognized, diagnosable mental illness is interesting but ultimately unimportant.  What distinguishes gurus from moreorthodox teaachers is not their manic-depressive mood swings, not their though disorders, not their delusional beliefs, nor their hallucinatory visions, not their mystical states of ectasy: it is their narcissism.”

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