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Paul suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Paul suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

According to 2 Corinthians 12:6-9, Paul, in the Bible says:

“But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,  or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:6-9.”According to ‘Saint’ Paul, God sent a Messenger of Satanto teach him the reality of grace. If it is a Messenger from God,why then, does Paul call it a Messenger of Satan?Since it is from God, shouldn’t it be a Messenger of God? Since Paul calls Messengers sent by Christ to teach him grace, Satan, and since Paul is tormented and Christ is unwilling to remove the ‘Messenger of Satan’, then we must conclude that Paul was a man possessed by some demon.

Devil tempted Adam, Eve got them out of gardens of bliss , tempted Jesus Christ but was rebuked:
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”[Matthew 4:10]

The disappointed Satan later got Paul in vision [as did David Koresh and Jim Jones] and possessed him. The dubious VISION of Paul and conversion story  is exposed due to conflicting account at Act, chapters 9,22 & 26.

St Paul and temporal lobe epilepsy:

A Research Article: “St Paul and temporal lobe epilepsy” by D Landsborough was published in “Journal of Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry”. In the article Evidence is offered to suggest a neurological origin for Paul’s ecstatic visions. Paul’s physical state at the time of his conversion is discussed and related to these ecstatic experiences. It is postulated that both were manifestations of temporal lobe epilepsy. The article can be viewed athttp://goo.gl/eCpz0v
It is embedded below:-



Paul converted by epileptic fit, suggests BBC:

A documentary about St Paul has infuriated Christians by suggesting that the apostle’s conversion on the road to Damascus may have been caused by an epileptic fit or a freak lightning bolt. In one of the Bible’s most dramatic stories, Paul was transformed from a zealous persecutor of Christianity into one of its most powerful advocates after being struck down by a blinding light. The documentary, presented by Jonathan Edwards, the athlete and evangelical. It challenges the belief that Paul’s conversion was caused by divine intervention by quoting scientists who link religious experience with epilepsy. It suggests that the Paul’s reference to an ailment which he described as “a thorn in the flesh, which acts as Satan’s messenger to beat me, and keep me from being proud” could be the condition.
Professor Vilayanur Ramachandran, the neuroscientist who delivered this year’s Reith lectures, told the programme that patients who suffered seizures often had intense mystical experiences like Paul’s.
An even more bizarre theory, suggested by Dr John Derr, an American earthquake expert, is that Paul could have been struck by a bolt of electro-magnetic energy, similar to ball lightning, released by an earthquake.
The programme quotes scientists saying that such an event could have triggered what Paul would believe to be a mystical experience, as well as leaving him blind for several days. Paul’s conversion is thought to have occurred around AD 35, and his apostolic journeys took place from AD 47 until he was arrested in Jerusalem in AD 58. According to tradition he was beheaded in Rome.

Paul and Epilepsy-3
St Paul was born Saul of Tarsus at the beginning of the first century. He was a Jewish Pharisee who persecuted the Christians throughout his early life.7 At some point between the years AD31 and 36, while travelling from Jerusalem to modern day Syria, Saul experienced a dramatic event on the Road to Damascus:”As he neared Damascus in the course of his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed round him; he dropped to the ground and heard a voice saying to him “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you?” he asked. “I am Jesus” he said “and you persecute me. Get up and go into the city; there you will be told what you are to do … ”. Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open he could see nothing; so they took his hand and led him to Damascus. For three days he remained sightless. “The key features of Saul’s experience were that he saw a bright light suddenly flash around him, he fell to the ground, he heard a voice, arose blind and remained sightless for three days. Following this experience Saul underwent a profound conversion to Christianity and became a key figure in the promotion of the new religion.It has been suggested that the experience described by Saul is very much in keeping with an attack of TLE.  It is possible that the visual disturbance and the falling to the ground were ictal phenomena that are often seen in this form of seizure. It is important that, although Saul described flashes, he did not mention seeing any formed images during the experience. This is consistent with the visual hallucinations that occur in TLE and which differ from those of occipital lobe seizures where formed visual images occur. Although auditory hallucinations do occur in TLE, the conversation described is more elaborate than the simple voices that are commonly heard. However, the three biblical accounts of this particular experience are secondhand and were written by Luke rather than by Saul himself.  Although Saul is likely to have heard voices, Landsborough suggests that the full conversation was an embellishment of the actual voices he heard and that the details of the story were likely to have been altered over time. Additionally, postictal blindness is a rare but well-documented consequence of a TLE attack. In 1903, Ashby and Stevenson described blindness in children following TLE seizures. In all but one child, sight returned within days to weeks just as Saul’s blindness had done However, unlike the gradual resolution of blindness that would be expected, Saul’s blindness is said to have returned suddenly ‘like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again’. Again, it is difficult to know whether this inconsistency is due to an elaboration of actual events or whether Saul’s sight truly returned in such a dramatic fashion.

Taken alone, the single event on the Road to Damascus would be insufficient to diagnose epilepsy, which by definition requires the presence of recurrent seizure episodes. However, there are numerous other references to ‘a thorn in the flesh’ that plagued St Paul throughout his life. He often described how this thorn would visit him at inconvenient times and cause him great embarrassment in front of others. Although it is widely agreed that St Paul suffered from some sort of chronic illness, the exact nature of the ailment remains unknown but may well have been epilepsy.

In addition, religious ecstasy is a widely accepted feature of TLE. Dewhurst and Beard described six cases of religious conversions in TLE patients.15 Case 2 describes a young man who was taken to church regularly as a boy but whose interest in religion dwindled by the time he reached his twenties. Immediately after a TLE seizure at the age of 23, he suddenly felt ‘God’s reality and his own insignificance’ which compelled him to live his life since then as a devout Christian. The religious ecstasy associated with TLE may also have contributed to St Paul’s decision to devote his life to his faith.

It is important to stress that the diagnosis of epilepsy does not detract from the religious significance of Paul’s conversion. Religious scholars have embraced this diagnosis as evidence of a divine hand acting through physical means to achieve miraculous outcomes while others have argued that his experience was simply the result of a biological phenomenon. The evidence hitherto presented does not favour either argument and merely suggests that, regardless of the underlying reasons, epilepsy played a part in events that day on the Road to Damascus.


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