Sure, Christianity as a whole has come around to the realization that many women burned as 'witches' were in fact mentally ill. They also realize that when someone says they heard the voice of God telling them to murder someone that the person is psychotic. Most of them believe L. Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith were crackers.
And yet they believe Moses really did see a burning bush and hear God's words through his external senses, not through some kind of seizure, migraine, or hallucination (assuming he existed at all). They believe the dream "science" of the Old Testament was legitimate. They believe Noah really did receive instructions from God on how to build a boat. Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus was the act of a real supernatural entity affecting the mind of a sane person in a miraculous way. Mary really did hear God telling her to do the nasty with him and she'd have a holy child. Abraham's god really did speak to him out loud telling him to kill his own child.
Some of my Facebook friends are on the political and religious right. Since the shooting of Rep. Giffords et. al. turned out to be the work of someone with a 31-bullet clip of ammo and a high powered handgun, they are denying that mental illness affected behavior even in that case. No, we shouldn't restrict access to this kind of weapon for everyone -- people need to take responsibility for themselves -- guns don't kill people, people do, etc. They are completely oblivious to the reality that mental illness in society virtually guarantees that there will be people who can't take responsibility for themselves, or who will act on "voices" or ideas as strongly heard or felt as those heard and felt by Biblical figures. They also make the assumption that nobody who is "good" could be driven to do something like that. (That's why you can put crosshairs on maps and let any schmoe have a high powered weapon)
If you want to say that Moses, Abraham, Mary and Paul all had legitimate mental experiences, you are naturally prone to think that you can put guns into the hands of any random citizen because god would never tell someone to shoot at dozens of people within 10 seconds.
But there have been many cases of parents killing their children because they believed them to be possessed, or that God told them to do it. Where are these right-wingers when this happens? Why aren't they posting to Facebook how God must have known that those kids were no good, and that the world is better off without them? Why do those parents go to jail or the nut ward instead of being feted on the 700 Club and FOX News?
You just can't have it both ways. Either mental illness is real, and the Biblical stories of revelations, dreams, and voices were bronze-age explanations for what we now understand, or there is no mental illness and Hinckley, Manson, Loughren and baby-killers are God's warriors.
This supposedly unchanging God, stopped speaking to people and giving clear signs. Instead, he tells sane people to do what they wanted to do all along, and tells crazy people to do crazy things.
Shouldn't a God that speaks to people 1) be a little clearer 2) speak to psychotics and sane people the same way and 3) tell psychotics to take their medication?
When Judge Roll was in Mass minutes before his murder, why didn't God tell him to hang out with the priest for 20 minutes before going to the Giffords' event? Why didn't God tell the mother of the little girl to change her mind about letting her go? Or even better, why didn't God give the little girl a case of food poisoning and put her in bed for the day?
The inevitable answer to the question of God speaking to people is: It's all in the mind. It always was. It always is. It always shall be. There is no revelation, no divine intervention, no answer to prayer from any supernatural source.
Loughren's mental illness follows the course that many first psychotic breaks do: they begin gradually, become more and more overwhelming, psychosis takes the form of whatever the person's interests are, and the resultant personality change reflects their culture, personality, background, and the nature of their psychosis.
Ditto for Abraham, Noah, Moses, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, John, Paul, all the psychotics who made up these stories, and all the psychotics who see "visions" or "hear God's voice" today.
Because our culture puts tremendous pressure on people to believe the dominant belief system, I don't think it's delusional to go along with it. Most of us are force-fed this crap diet without having any say in the matter.
But adults, please, think about it. If someone were to come down from Mt. McKinley today and say they'd seen a burning bush and they had ten rules from God for you to live by, would you believe it?
No, you wouldn't.
That's reason enough not to believe it really happened and really was God 5,000 or so years ago. Grow up and have compassion for the mentally ill instead of worshipping them.