Thank you for the input, Lois. I’m going to read that article. It looks interesting already, and it’s based in psychiatry. That Wikipedia article on religious delusion was good; I agree with it. Your clinical psychologist friend is right, and I would add that not only does religion attract crazies but that religion can turn people crazy (psychotic or manic). Seeing and hearing about people in religious ecstasy sounds a lot like a psychotic manic state, and I don’t think there’s such a thing as a genuine spiritual experience, meaning that all of them are probably experiencing psychosis or mania
I read about the Jerusalem syndrome where people who go to Jerusalem sometimes experience psychotic episodes and think they are Jesus or pregnant with the son of God, among other delusions. The Israeli psychiatrists disparage these people as merely psychotic and not having genuine spiritual experiences, as if the people in the Bible like Jesus and Moses were not psychotic. I wish psychiatry would update its diagnostic criteria to include the truth about spirituality and psychosis, but political correctness gets in the way. I know that people don’t want to be offensive, and I don’t either. But it’s possible to tell the truth in a kind way. I’m open to the possibility that people are having genuine spiritual experiences, either with God or aliens or whatever, but I don’t know how to distinguish them from the false ones.