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Fri Aug 10, 2012, 03:35 PM

Best religious insanity defense ever?

This trial just concluded earlier this year...for those who might gripe that this happened a long time ago. I just saw it this week on one of the true-crime shows.

Basic facts: November 2010 - Rusty Sneiderman, father of two kids, was dropping off his 2-year-old son at a preschool in Atlanta.

His wife's boss, Hemy Neuman - wearing a really bad disguise - walked up and shot Sneiderman to death.

Neuman was a mild-mannered senior manager at General Electric and just about the last guy you'd suspect of being a killer.

At trial, Rusty's wife Mrs. Andrea Sneiderman said Neuman was an obsessive stalker who was madly infatuated with her. She had never reciprocated with any affection, telling Neuman repeatedly to leave her alone.

That was before some witnesses popped up who saw them sharing hotel rooms and lip-locking in bars. After Neuman's trial, Mrs. Sneiderman was arrested for possible involvement in her husband's murder.

Now let me make it clear I'm not poking fun at this case per se - it's a horrible tragedy. Two families have been devastated, since Neuman got a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

What I want to poke fun at is Neuman's defense, which is at least...original:

...Neuman believed he had been visited by an angel resembling Olivia Newton-John and a demon resembling Barry White, who told him that Sneiderman's children were his and that he needed to protect them by killing Rusty Sneiderman.

He actually tried to sell that. In court. O.J. Simpson and Mary Winkler must be kicking themselves...

http://abcnews.go.com/US/dunwoody-daycare-shooting-prosecution-rests-hemy-neuman-murder/story?id=15813712

33 replies, 4023 views

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Best religious insanity defense ever? (Original post)
onager Aug 2012 OP
cbayer Aug 2012 #1
trotsky Aug 2012 #2
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #3
trotsky Aug 2012 #4
struggle4progress Aug 2012 #5
trotsky Aug 2012 #6
struggle4progress Aug 2012 #8
trotsky Aug 2012 #10
skepticscott Aug 2012 #21
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #7
struggle4progress Aug 2012 #9
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #11
rexcat Aug 2012 #12
onager Aug 2012 #13
cbayer Aug 2012 #14
trotsky Aug 2012 #16
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #17
Heddi Aug 2012 #18
trotsky Aug 2012 #19
skepticscott Aug 2012 #20
RobertEarl Aug 2012 #22
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #23
RobertEarl Aug 2012 #24
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #25
EvolveOrConvolve Aug 2012 #26
skepticscott Aug 2012 #28
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #27
rug Aug 2012 #29
skepticscott Aug 2012 #30
rug Aug 2012 #31
skepticscott Aug 2012 #32
rug Aug 2012 #33
dimbear Aug 2012 #15

Response to onager (Original post)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 03:58 PM

1. Found guilty, but mentally ill, and sentenced to life without parole.

This has nothing to do with religion.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:17 PM

2. There's an important question here, though.

Which religious claims are we allowed to verify, and determine whether they are false?

Many non-believers here are routinely slammed for asking questions and pointing out absurdities in certain religious beliefs. Why are they not allowed to do this, but this man's claims can be dismissed?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:22 PM

3. Reminds me of my favorite Sam Harris quotation:

 

“The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.”


If someone were to come in to Religion and post a wonderfully heartwarming story about seeing an angel and it told them to love their Grandma and they did and then she died the next week and without the angel they never would have reconnected with G'ma in time, I couldn't count on both hands the number of people that would respond with how wonderful a story that was. Make that angel ONJ and have it tell you to kill someone and all of a sudden that person's insane. At least you, me, and the other atheists are consistent that we don't buy ANY of them.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:30 PM

4. Yes - exactly.

Of course, now you've brought up the name Sam Harris, so any discussion on this topic will now cease and we will be treated to displays of outrage at Harris and previous things he's said, and probably arrogant statements against his intellect.

But yeah, at least we're consistent. Others get outraged but can never quite explain why it's so selective.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:31 PM

5. Exactly which particular religion do you think this is?

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:38 PM

6. Does that matter?

Who are you to judge what is a valid religious belief?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:46 PM

8. So you can't support your claim that involves a religion

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:50 PM

10. Are you saying that your god could not, if it chose,

send an angel to visit you in the form of Olivia Newton-John?

Or that if a Christian somewhere DOES believe that their god could do that, it's not a valid Christian belief?

Again, I repeat: who are you to judge?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #10)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 10:12 PM

21. Apparently the answer to your question

 

could not be found in a Google search. No wonder your correspondent seems stymied.

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:46 PM

7. Let's say it's Mormon?

 

Is it OK to dismiss it?

What if it's Southern Baptist?

What if we say that people who think they talk to angels, regardless of whether they have warm fuzzy conversations or dark ugly ones, are not really talking to angels and are probably dealing with some psychological need and/or problem?

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #7)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:48 PM

9. Are you confusing the Mormons with the Southern Baptists?

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 04:55 PM

11. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

 

I'm saying what fucking difference does it make what religion it is. He thinks he had a conversation with a devil and and angel. Sounds like a biblical story to me. But you and everyone else in here are going to talk about how this isn't religion; it's mental illness.

To borrow a phrase from someone wise: "Who are you to judge?"

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #11)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 05:21 PM

12. I don't think obtuse...

is the correct term but my pledge not to make personal attacks limits me as to what I can say at this point so I won't say anything.

There is also some interesting correlatives with the religion/mental illness debate but this is not the forum to discuss this.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 07:26 PM

13. Bullshit. Invoking angels/demons automatically makes it about religion.

n/t

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Response to onager (Reply #13)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 07:27 PM

14. No, it makes it about insanity.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #14)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 07:33 PM

16. Are you saying anyone who believes angels and demons exist is insane?

Or only those who claim to have seen them?

Please clarify because right now there is a giant flashing double standard sign that you're standing right under.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #14)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 07:46 PM

17. If I would have said that about someone posting about their nice encounter with angels

 

I would have been set upon for being a mean ol' atheist.

Why do you get to say it?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #14)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 08:45 PM

18. Wait...you just posted a story about a friend who was visited by the angel of a dead friend

as she was hooking a boat up to a trailer, and THAT recount was religious (or spiritual) in nature. But this person, who states they saw an angel is NOT religious or spiritual in nature.

Please discuss the differences:
Dead friend helping load a boat = religious, and sane.
Bass-voiced Soul Singer advising on paternity = not religious, and mentally ill to boot

How can you have the double standard? Your friend saw an angel, and THAT'S OH MY GOD SO TRUE AND WHAT A WONDERFUL THING. This guy saw an angel and he's mentally ill. Perhaps your friend is mentally ill, too. Did you suggest that to her as you're doing here in this forum, since now you believe that the apparition of angels is indicative of mental illness?

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Response to Heddi (Reply #18)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 08:50 PM

19. Plain as day.

Blatant double standard. Thanks for laying it out bare, Heddi. I doubt any of us will get a response, though.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #19)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 10:10 PM

20. No, we won't

 

This thread illustrates as clearly as anything could the intellectual bankruptcy of the religionists and apologists in this group. Not one of them has even a trace of a reasonable answer for the questions posed here....not remotely. They just hope no one sensible notices that they've gone into hiding, rather than engage in the kind of honest, productive discussion they claim (dishonestly) to want.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #20)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 11:11 PM

22. Ask yourselves this....

 

Ever have a dream wherein a stranger is talking to you, or is talking and you hear them?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #22)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 11:14 PM

23. Please tell me you aren't going to say

 

that = angels.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #23)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 11:17 PM

24. Can you answer the question?

 

Ever have a dream where you hear a stranger saying something?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #24)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 11:20 PM

25. No, I have not.

 

At least not one I remember.

But let's say I did. What's the point?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #24)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 11:21 PM

26. LOL

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #22)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 07:08 AM

28. Ok, I've asked myself

 

And my answer to myself is no, not that I recall.

Do you even have an answer to why your question is relevant, let alone an answer to the more substantive questions raised here? Or are you going to dodge, deflect and avoid like all the others?

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Response to Heddi (Reply #18)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 11:24 PM

27. You were a little more blunt

 

than my "hypothetical" story of a feel good angel posting, but we were clearly on the same track. And neither one of us got a reply! Shows me how much good being less blunt does me.

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Response to onager (Reply #13)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 07:54 AM

29. It would be less foolish if you blamed this on Barry White.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 08:12 AM

30. Speaking of intellectual bankruptcy

 

Right on cue it comes. With no answers to any of the questioned posed. Not even a witty non-response. Just...ewwwwwww

Any bets from the audience whether his (inevitable) response to this will be substantial, or just the usual passive-aggressive pap?

My money's heavy on the latter...

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #30)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 08:18 AM

31. When you are able to coment without extraneous ad hominems I'll be happy to tell you why

 

the insanity defense is based on science and not religion.

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Response to rug (Reply #31)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 08:58 PM

32. Unlikely, and irrelevant in any case

 

since that's not one of the questions that the religionists and apologists are ducking here.

But thanks for your usually deflection. You don't disappoint.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #32)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 09:11 PM

33. Nope, that's not it.

 

Until you can post a single comment without an ad hominem, you're talking to yourself.

Too bad because you really miss the point.

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Response to onager (Original post)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 07:28 PM

15. A more famous example, Martin Luther.

Luther is of course famous for his touchingly sentimental book "On the Jews and Their Lies" and his letter encouraging the German peasantry entitled "The Lying Thieving Murderous Peasants."

Luther is quite noted for his encounters with demons, most famously Caim, or Caym, listed as the President of Hell in the Pseudomonarchia Daemonorum. Luther went so far as to debate Caim, the details of the argument are purposefully omitted from Luther's writings. Is it so unlikely that Caim might have influenced Luther subtly to be so gentle with his fellow men?

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