Category Archives: Angels & Demons
Here is another academic research paper I did this semester. It too is rather lengthy, but not as lengthy as the previous. I won’t give you any spoilers this time so you’ll have to actually read it yourself. But I promise this paper is much better than the last. You might actually enjoy it. No doubt there will be many people who will disagree with this paper and also many people who will agree with it. If you don’t agree with this, perhaps I’ve raised enough question to warrent your own personal research into the topic. After all, your faith is not your own until you’ve doubted and learned it for yourself. Otherwise, you’re simply believing the things someone told you to believe. That’s not good enough for me, and I hope it’s not good enough for you either. I also want everyone to realize that this paper is not a criticism of the Mormon belief system or the Mormon church, rather it is simply an objective critique of Joseph Smith’s revelatory claims.
Please note that the following material is copyrighted by me. Do not use or cite without permission. My sources are listed at the end. Please go to the sources rather than trying to quote me. This paper reflects an objective opinion based upon my research, and is not necessarily the opinion of NOBTS, its students, or of the professor. Please feel free to refute, but do so in an objective scholastic manner.
There are four pages to this article. Look for the Page number links to progress. They are at the bottom beneath the share buttons.
THE MENTAL HEALTH OF JOSEPH SMITH
A Research Paper Submitted to Dr. Robert Stewart
Of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements of the Course
PHIL5300-01 Christian Apologetics
Division of Theological and Historical Studies
B.M., William Carey University, 2002
November 29, 2011
Joseph Smith, Jr. was born in 1805 to parents Joseph, Sr. and Lucy Smith. They lived in the western New York area, primarily near the town of Palmyra. Joseph’s experiences at the age of twenty-one would turn the Christian community of that time on its ear and set into motion one of the greatest religious movements in history. Joseph Smith, Jr. was the founder of the Mormon Church, today known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But does anyone fully understand what happened to young Joseph? Either he was telling the truth about his experiences, or he was the greatest conman who ever lived. This has been the position of many Mormons seeking to defend their faith, citing basic questions concerning Joseph’s motivations as evidence that he was not a conman. If he were a liar, why put his family through so much persecution? How could a man like that perpetuate a lie so convincingly for so long, even unto his death? No rational person would think Joseph was a liar, and so he must have been telling the truth. Serious errors in the translation process point to Joseph as not being legitimate as a translator, calling into question his other claims. Legitimate or not, Joseph believed that what he had to say was the absolute truth.
There is another possibility worth exploring that allows for both positions to exist together. Perhaps, Joseph suffered from a high-functioning form of schizophrenia, and was thoroughly convinced of the realness of what he claimed. Skeptics in the past have tried to pin various forms of psychosis on Joseph Smith, but were dismissed by Mormons because diagnosis of a mental illness is impossible without having the patient present. No doubt this paper will be likewise dismissed. However, there are legitimate clues in Joseph’s story that point to some form of psychosis, and at least the idea is plausible. These things should be taken into serious consideration. If Joseph’s mental health and claims are questionable, then his entire religion is also questionable. Mormons who are serious about their eternal souls, owe it to themselves to take these clues and explore them to their utmost, testing Joseph Smith’s legitimacy until it breaks down or weathers all scrutiny undoubtedly.
About the time that young Joseph was an early teen, revival broke out in the land. This outbreak may have been in part as a response to the pervasive superstitions of the region. Each denomination had its own revival, and there wasn’t a community or family in the region that was not faced with the religious teachings.
Young Joseph became anguished at the varieties of religious teaching. His family inclined toward the Presbyterian beliefs, but Joseph himself inclined to the Methodist teachings. Joseph retired to a grove of trees where he lay down in anguished prayer. This is the point, sometime between the ages of twelve and sixteen, at which Joseph Smith had his first experience. Various accounts give different ages. Joseph Smith himself seemed to not remember the exact time, and during different writings or tellings of the story, the age would fluctuate.
For those of you checking out this post because of the title, you should know that the following is a research paper I did this semester. It is rather lengthy, so I don’t expect all of you to read it. What you really want to know is what my title means…so, my conclusion in essence is that Muhammad had a real experience with a demon. There. Now you’re interested enough to read it all. But even if you don’t agree with my conclusion, perhaps I’ve raised some questions that you should look into yourself. Please note that the following material is copyrighted by me. Do not use or cite without permission. My sources are listed at the end, anyway. You’d do better to go to my sources instead of trying to quote me. This paper reflects an objective opinion based upon my research, and is not necessarily the opinion of NOBTS, its students, or of the professor. Please feel free to refute, but do so in an objective scholastic manner.
Note – there are five pages to this article. Look for the Page number links to progress. They are at the bottom beneath the share buttons.
THE REVELATION OF MUHAMMAD:
EVALUATION, CRITIQUE, AND BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
A Research Paper Submitted to
Dr. Mike Edens
Of The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Course
THEO6333 Islam and the Doctrine of Revelation
Division of Theological and Historical Studies
B.M., William Carey University, 2002
November 28, 2011
Muhammad lived from 570 AD to 632 AD. He spent his life in various regions of the Arabian peninsula, from Mecca to Medina and the trades routes throughout the region. The revelations and prophetic experiences of Muhammad are the foundation for all Islamic beliefs. Without the experiences of Muhammad, the Koran would not exist nor would the Muslim religion. Islam has grown into one of the largest religions and is one of the oldest existing religions still practiced. But does anyone fully understand what happened to Muhammad when he entered the mountain cave and encountered the angel for the first time? Either he was truthful about his encounter or he was a liar. And if he was a liar, then his religion is a fraud.
Send me your story! If I feel it is applicable to my research, I will publish it here on this website.
- Step 1 – Send a summary of your experience in 500 words or less in the body of an email. Please be sure to indicate if there are verifiable witnesses. IMPORTANT! I cannot assume a story is reliable unless there were other witnesses. Don’t bother otherwise, please.
- Step 2 – If I’m interested in hearing more, I will email you back and ask for the following.
- A narrative account of the event in 2,000 words or less.
- The account needs to be as objective as possible. In other words, tell me what you experienced, not what you thought it was. Don’t say you saw an angel or ghost… say you saw the form of a person. Be as descriptive as possible, without assuming any conclusions about what you saw.
- After the objective account, you may then in two to three sentences tell me what you think happened as a conclusion.
- Lastly, you need to include the names and contact information for at least two to three witnesses who can verify your story and your sanity. (This information will NOT be published!) Of course, the more witnesses the better!
Begin by emailing your 500 word summary to kevennewsome [at] gmail [dot] com.
Thank you and I look forward to reading your amazing stories!
Supernatural Theology, or to be more precise the Theology of the Supernatural, is the study of alleged occurrences where the spiritual world has interacted with the physical world, with emphasis on a Biblical Theological understanding of the supposed phenomenon. Within this are several sub-categories, and there may be some overlap during investigation until the specific phenomenon can be identified.
- Afterlife – the human experiences after death. Investigation in this area will include ghosts and NDEs (Near Death Experiences).
- Angels & Demons – spiritual beings created by God to be helpers and messengers. Demons are Angels corrupted during the fall of Satan. Investigation in this area will include demonic hauntings, demonic possession, demonology, angelic help and sightings, angelic messages, and angelology.
- Magic & Power – abilities of humans to manipulate the physical and the spiritual. Investigation in this area will include psychic abilities, voodoo, wiccan magic, and satanic magic.
- Miracles – direct unexplained intervention in rescue or healing by the Spirit of God.
- Special Knowledge – knowledge given by God to one of his followers, either by vision, prophecy, or direct speech.
Why aren’t UFO’s on this list? I’m glad you asked! Well, if UFO’s and aliens are real, then they aren’t supernatural, are they? On the other hand, if they are not real, then they are either: 1) natural phenomenon, 2) government experiments, 3) merely a product of the power of suggestion, or 4) a product of demonic mischief. I will deal with UFO’s only to the point that I rule out option 4, which would be in the category of Angels & Demons. Once that is ruled out, then the occurrence is outside of Supernatural Theology.