Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: Meeting of the three mad Messiahs


Slate hat einen superinteressanten (und ebenso superabsurden) Artikel über ein Experiment aus den 50s, als Psychologe Milton Rokeach drei Geisteskranke, die alle davon überzeugt waren, Jesus zu sein, zwei Jahre miteinander in einer Klapse unterbrachte. Da in der Bibel steht, es gäbe nur einen Sohn Gottes, ergaben sich ein paar Komplikationen. Liest sich wie ein langer Witz im echten Leben inklusive Psychologie (die ersten Kommentare auf Reddit erzählen ein paar davon: „First guy: I'm Jesus Christ and God sent me on Earth to save humanity. Second guy: No, I'm Jesus Christ and god sent me on Earth to save humanity. Third guy: Shut up, guys. I know damn well who I sent and it wasn't either of you.“)

In the late 1950s, psychologist Milton Rokeach was gripped by an eccentric plan. He gathered three psychiatric patients, each with the delusion that they were Jesus Christ, to live together for two years in Ypsilanti State Hospital to see if their beliefs would change. The early meetings were stormy. "You oughta worship me, I'll tell you that!" one of the Christs yelled. "I will not worship you! You're a creature! You better live your own life and wake up to the facts!" another snapped back. "No two men are Jesus Christs. … I am the Good Lord!" the third interjected, barely concealing his anger.

Frustrated by psychology's focus on what he considered to be peripheral beliefs, like political opinions and social attitudes, Rokeach wanted to probe the limits of identity. He had been intrigued by stories of Secret Service agents who felt they had lost contact with their original identities, and wondered if a man's sense of self might be challenged in a controlled setting. Unusually for a psychologist, he found his answer in the Bible. There is only one Son of God, says the good book, so anyone who believed himself to be Jesus would suffer a psychological affront by the very existence of another like him. This was the revelation that led Rokeach to orchestrate his meeting of the Messiahs and document their encounter in the extraordinary (and out-of-print) book from 1964, The Three Christs of Ypsilanti.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: In the late 1950s, three men who identified as the Son of God were forced to live together in a mental hospital. What happened? (Bilder via Spursfan_Ace, Zakvta, Mike52ad)

Somehow related: Jesus skating a Cross.