Here's a brief definition of epilepsy:
Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It is also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells in the brain signal abnormally, which may briefly alter a person's consciousness, movements or actions.
One particular e-mail I've received during Epilepsy Awareness week contained a list of "famous people" who had epilepsy. The list came from the Epilepsy Foundation website. Two names on the list, in particular, caught my attention: St. Apostle Paul and Vladimer Lenin. In the e-mail they were listed as "successful and famous people who had epilepsy".
Hmmm. I was quite curious about the Apostle Paul so I did a little Google search to see what was being said on the subject. The thought seems to be that the account of Paul in Acts 9:1-9 (But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But arise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.) was describing a seizure. It is also thought that the "thorn in the flesh" Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 was referring to epilepsy.
It seems to me that to believe that Paul had an "epileptic seizure" on the road to Damascus would negate his conversion to Christianity. I also think that saying that Paul had epilepsy (without any actual evidence of it) is taking a modern idea and concept, smashing it into a few details from the past, and then calling it a fact.
I also thought it strange that Vladimir Lenin was listed as a successful and famous person as if he was someone to emulate. Vladimir Lenin founded the Russian Communist party and is considered the father of the communist worldview. An article on prominent Russians said this about Lenin:
Lenin was by all means a great politician, if greatness is measured by the power of will and the scale of damage. He destroyed one powerful empire to create another based on extreme violence. In many ways he defined the development of world history during the 20th century. The first dictator of the century, he was not the last and paved the way for Stalin, Hitler, Mao and many others. However, his victory in 1917 was at the same time his defeat, as his “great” cause was doomed. It took 70 years and millions of lives to put an end to Lenin’s era.
Well, I suppose you could say that Lenin was successful......
I share this in a "Workplace Musings" post as a reminder that, for Christians, all information should be viewed through the lens of the Bible. Just because something is presented in an official capacity and as if it is fact does not mean that it is true or that it is biblical.