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Do Baptists believe someone with multiple personalities has multiple souls? What if someone has two personalities, like the dissociative identity disorder and one has accepted Jesus as their Savior, and the other has not? Would these be two souls judged independently, one going to Heaven, and the other to Hell? The movie “Jonathan” though it is fiction, really got me thinking about this.

Note: I edited the question to make it clear I am asking about the real disorder vs. the movie.

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    "Jonathan" is fiction. However, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder is not fiction and shows that such disorder exist. I suggest you base you question on this. – user43409 Apr 22 '19 at 23:05
  • Good thought! Thanks, and added! – Jonathan Apr 23 '19 at 1:29
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    . Personality is not equivalent to soul. Nebuchadnezzar for example was only one soul even though his personality was that of a beast eating grass like a bull for 7 years. When a child is born they are a living soul even though personality has not yet developed. – Kris Apr 23 '19 at 12:14
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The first thing that has to be said is that the movie 'Jonathan' is fiction. There is no indication that the story is intended to be based on anything resembling real life. Christian theology does not deal with fictional situations, and so it is not really useful to ask what the Christian theological approach to an unreal situation is.

Multiple Personality Disorder does exist in real life, but looks very little like the movie. Where it occurs it is not seen as 'multiple people inhabiting a single body' by anyone, either medical professionals or Christian theologians. Instead it is seen as a single person exhibiting differing personality traits, and it is a disorder of the (one) mind that inhabits a body, and can be treated. There is no question of them having 'two souls'.

What is possible in Christian theology is that of a second spirit entering and sometimes taking over the body of a person - called 'possession'. Note that I carefully say 'possible' because most Christians would consider it a largely theoretical possibility, occurring only extremely rarely if at all, and that ancient (or modern) descriptions of possession were almost invariably instances of multiple personality disorder.

If we accept possession we must note that again there is no question of multiple souls for a single person. The possessing spirit is a separate entity from the person whose body it is, and can be cast out. The person has a single soul

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  • Thanks for the detailed answer! I am not fully sure if I agree, the person I know says that is pretty close to their reality, minus the scheduled time part. Will wait a bit and see if anyone else answers or there is further discussion. – Jonathan Apr 22 '19 at 21:22
  • I do agree demonic possession is a thing, and demons can be cast out (like Jesus did for the possessed man). I don’t know how often that occurs though, and I don’t think it is the case for everyone with multiple personalities. It likely is the case for some though. This really gets me thinking! I doubt that’s the case for someone I know, both personalities are nice. – Jonathan Apr 23 '19 at 1:41
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    If you are trying to get advice about a real situation absolutely do not get it from random strangers on the internet. Talk to an experienced counsellor or a leader in your church, or someone in a similar position. – DJClayworth Apr 23 '19 at 3:15
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I think some other answers are better aligned with the juxtaposition of medical and theological perspectives represented in the original question. However in understanding the difference between the body and soul, I believe it is also important to include the following quote from George Macdonald (sometimes erroneously attributed to C.S. Lewis):

Never tell a child, “you have a soul.” Teach him, “you are a soul; you have a body.”

This quote highlights the difference of paradigms. Medicine views people as bodies, but theology views people as souls. Thus, it is a contradiction to say that a single person might have multiple souls.

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  • Was MacDonald a baptist though? And that quote does not reflect traditional Christian theology, including baptist theology, as the Mere Orthodoxy article you linked to explains. A human being is a soul-body union and it is a fundamentally unnatural state for a human to be disembodied. – curiousdannii Jan 30 at 23:28
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    George Macdonald was a Methodist. Admittedly there is wide variance in Baptist beliefs (so it's pretty much impossible to nail down all baptists with one doctrine), but I have observed this sentiment repeated in Baptist churches. I quote Macdonald, because, to the best of my research, he was the originator of a thought that many Baptists would hold. Regarding disembodiment, is that not exactly how Paul describes death and our new bodies in 2Co 5:1-9? One might argue, far from being unnatural, there is nothing more natural than being at home with the Lord. – Tim Jan 31 at 17:58

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