Messiah complex

A messiah complex (Christ complex or savior complex) is a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief that they are destined to become a savior[1] today or in the near future.[2] The term can also refer to a state of mind in which an individual believes that they are responsible for saving or assisting others.

Religious delusionEdit

The term "messiah complex" is not addressed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), as it is not a clinical term nor diagnosable disorder. However, the symptoms of the disorder closely resemble those found in individuals suffering from delusions of grandeur or that they have grandiose self-images that veer towards the delusional.[3] An account specifically identified it as a category of religious delusion, which pertains to strong fixed beliefs that cause distress or disability.[4] It is the type of religious delusion that is classified as grandiose while the other two categories are: persecutory and belittlement.[5] A poor example of this type of delusion was the case of Paul, who declared that God spoke to him, telling him that he would serve as a conduit for people to change.[6] The so-called Kent-Flew thesis argued that his experience entailed auditory and visual hallucinations.[6]

ExamplesEdit

In terms of the attitude wherein an individual sees themselves as having to save another or a group of poor people, there is the notion that the action inflates their own sense of importance and discounts the skills and abilities of the people they are helping to improve their own lives.[7]

The messiah complex is most often reported in patients suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. When a messiah complex is manifested within a religious individual after a visit to Jerusalem, it may be identified as a psychosis known as Jerusalem syndrome.[8]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "Messiah Complex Psychology". flowpsychology.com. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  2. ^ Kelsey, Darren (2017). Media and Affective Mythologies: Discourse, Archetypes and Ideology in Contemporary Politics. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 155. ISBN 978-3-319-60758-0.
  3. ^ Haycock, Dean (2016). Characters on the Couch: Exploring Psychology through Literature and Film: Exploring Psychology through Literature and Film. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 151. ISBN 9781440836985.
  4. ^ Clarke, Isabel (2010). Psychosis and Spirituality: Consolidating the New Paradigm, Second Edition. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. p. 240. ISBN 9780470683484.
  5. ^ Clarke, Isabel (2010). Psychosis and Spirituality: Consolidating the New Paradigm, Second Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. p. 240. ISBN 9780470683484.
  6. ^ a b Habermas, Gary; Flew, Antony (2005). Resurrected?: An Atheist and Theist Dialogue. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 9. ISBN 0742542254.
  7. ^ Corbett, Steve; Fikkert, Brian (2014). Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions: Leader's Guide. Moody Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8024-9188-6.
  8. ^ "Dangerous delusions: The Messiah Complex and Jerusalem Syndrome". Freethought Nation. Retrieved 25 July 2015.