In the 1860s, 8% of asylum patients were admitted due to “religious excitement.” While that’s no longer a diagnosis, 24% of schizophrenic patients in psych wards today report having some form of religious delusion. But religious delusions exist outside the psych ward, too. Religious fanatics are willing to blow up buildings and murder to please their God; anyone who doesn’t agree with them is wrong and deserves to be punished. But why does someone become a fanatic? And is it really possible to be “touched by God”?

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