This is a question I have often had for believers, but I’ve never really gotten a straight answer.
If you believe that people can talk to god (like Moses, Noah, etc) and/or jesus after his death (the apostles, Paul, etc)
How do you know who REALLY talks to god, and who is just delusional?
For instance I think we’d both agree that somebody who claims they speak to Napoleon has a serious mental illness.
But if somebody tells you that they speak to god, or jesus speaks to them, how do you know it’s “real” as opposed to a chemical imbalance in their brain or some other problem which really should require hospitalization or at least counseling?
Is it based on WHAT they say (i.e. if it agrees with your understanding of god, then you assume it’s god and if not you assume mental illness)? What if their illness just happens to manifest in an idea that you find to be correct? The whole idea of “even a stocked clock is right twice a day” comes to mind here. Somebody can say something true (or something you perceive to be true), for the wrong reason.
Is it based on how they act? By all accounts Ted Bundy and Dennis Rader acted very normal in their lives. They both also just happen to butcher people as a “hobby”. So seeming normal doesn’t always mean people are normal.
As somebody who doesn’t see any evidence for a god or gods, an afterlife, spirits, etc I would start with the assumption that they are ALL mentally ill if they are talking to dead people or imaginary people, but if you accept that it CAN happen, how can you tell the difference between the real thing, and a delusional person?