Mental Illness VS Demonic possession
In Jesus day, he expelled many devils from possessed people. Do we today, confuse demonic possession for certain forms of mental illness? I believe there is a difference, but... what would you say is the difference? How does one know the difference?
Since I do not believe in demons and devils, teh mentally ill have mental problems and can be treated, this spooky spirituality that a lot of people have here, is just plain garbage.
its also dangerous 2 blame on a demon rather than treat an illness. People r easily inspired, exorcism was all but dead til the exorcist came out in the 70's, then a rash of possessions went across america and the world. its used as an excuse
please tell me your kidding. this is the silliest, strangest question i've seen on here yet. you ask how one knows the difference, bud , you need a reality check. i know i'm sounding kind of rude but come on, demonic possesion. wow.
I have worked in the past with the mentally disabled and it is so sad to hear some label them with a demonic possession. Many medication or therapy gives them a full and productive life. I really do not know much about the demonic possesion though. God can heal thats for sure. In Bible times mentally disabled was not a term used. Jesus just healed them. I think he heals many disorders and calls them "out" of us persay..So many miracles such as cancer, tumors that were not there after much prayer. This is just my thoughts.
i have no definitive answer, but while in college, doing a paper on comparitive religions, i was allowed access to some restricted books on possession written hundreds of years ago. the books and their translations were available because the school i attended was a college and monastery and the founders of the school brought these materials from europe in the 1700's.
i read descriptions of exorcisms which included all the effects seen in the movie the exorcist plus some other more bizarre occurences. these accounts were written primarily by priests and monks and while truly unbelievable, were consistent in their descriptions.
I suffer from severe depression as well as anxiety disorter N.O.S. and I am seriously insulted that you would postulate that I could be possessed by a demon. Victims of mental illness are no different than victims of other disease such as diabetes or cancer, depending on the severity of the diagnosis. There is a serious stigma in our society today that separates the mentally ill from others and it makes me sick. I am no different than you. Please stop ostracizing me.
OF COURSE there is a difference.
I mean no offense, but I think that this question is absurd and ignorant. I also find it confusing, because I am not sure whether you are suggesting that people who are mentally ill are actually possessed by demons or that people are commonly seen as possessed by demons in modern times. Regardless, I think that you are making the assumption that these two things can overlap, which is a dangerous mindset that can lead to dehumanizing PEOPLE who have mental illnesses.
To ask for an explanation of the difference between mental illness and demonic possession is to presume several things, all of which are highly debatable: First, that demonic possession is possible; Second, that everyone thinks that demonic possession and mental illnesses resemble one another enough to be confused; and Third, that Jesus actually expelled devils from people.
I, for one, have never actually thought that a person who is mentally ill has been possessed by a demon. I thought that he or she was mentally ill, and that some sort of chemical imbalance was causing him or her to act differently. I have also never thought that Jesus actually did a lot of things that were written into history, including expel demons and be born.
Again, I am offended by your question, and I think pondering it in the mindset you currently seem to have will simply lead you to unknowingly dehumanizing people with mental illnesses. Mental illnesses are categorized, treated, and researched. They fit into categories because they are caused by chemical imbalances which cause a lot of pain for the person who has the mental illness and the people who love them. By asking whether they are actually possessed by demons, you are misunderstanding that people with mental illnesses are not some freak of nature, or weak soul, but a person just like you. Unfortunately, you are also planting these ideas in others' heads, further alienating people who are already suffering.
The long and short of it is this: The chemicals in your brain cause you to act the way you do, not devils.
Yes, we do confuse them, and it is horrifying and awful. People have died because of such things. Even people who aren't thought to be possessed (blind and deaf people, for example) are prone to being stopped on the street by people who think they can 'help' them. One deaf guy as a kid was taken to a revival where the preacher laid hands on him to drive spirits out. And when that didn't cure his deafness, the preacher blamed the kid, saying the kid was unholy or some such thing. What a toxic thing!
Of course I know mental illness is a legitimate condition and has nothing to do with demonic possession. I meant not to suggest they are one in the same.
To those offended, my apologies, my intent was not to paint all people with mental illness as being possessed, certainly I am referring to severe and rare cases of unexplainable behavior and not well known mainstream conditions that many of us deal with on a daily basis. Forgive me, I thought that was quite obvious.
Many of us are just a job-loss or an uninsured illness away from a complete break-down. As one who has myself fought severe depression in the past, I know well the debilitating condition of such things. It never dawned on me someone would see the question beyond my intent.
However, from a Biblical view, Jesus cast out many devils from people whom the bible described as having lunatic-like behavior.
Jesus also healed people with mental-illness and who were not possessed with devils - they were simply ill. The bible paints a scenario where the people of the time knew the difference. I am asking how did they know the difference?
There are volumes of history and cases dedicated to demonic occurrences and contact. So, because you don't believe in such things they are suddenly discounted? There are many people who will tell you they have lived through such experiences and encounters with such things. Are they all lunatics?
Why does your personal disbelief in such beings supersede their experiences? One's scientific and educational background does not automatically supersede the witness of everyday people of sound mind and good reputation. Just because you don't believe in devils and demons does not completely discount the empirical witness of those who have experienced such things. To villianize me for innocently presenting the question is unjustly assumptive.
There are cases both historically and modern that fall unto this possible category and it is merely those cases of the unknown of which I speak. I say, to put one's "separation of church and state-educated head in the sand to a mere possibility of something they know nothing about is unjust. Regardless, all comments are welcome.
Certainly, I am no better than anyone.
I thank you all for your answers thus far, positive and negative.
The people here who think this is such a bad question are usually the ones who have no faith. You can't prove a God but that is what faith is, believing in what cannot be proven. The question itself is a relevant one if you believe in God.
If you don't have faith then you don't need to answer the question. Easy as that. The Vatican has recognized possession as a threat in today's world and has given some stipulations or requirements for a case to be possession. The two can be mixed up very often and that's why this is a good question.
If someone has knowledge of things that they can't possibly know and strange phenomena occur then it may be possession. For example, a person speaking a language they don't know or giving personal details of anyone present.
If it's not a case of possession then it's most likely a case of mental illness.
If you don't have faith then possession is not an option and you don't need to participate. The question is posed to those who believe in both.
harlan,... not every one missunderstands (or pretends to miss understand) your question.
to the rest of those who imediately jump on the band wagon to mock what you do not understand,... grow up.
mental illness and demonic posesion are very different things, but both are very real to those who believe,.... 99 out of 100 cases are mental illness,... i say this as one who has family and myself suffer from mental illness,... but i am also of faith... able to seperate the two readily.
the secular world is quick to dismiss demons and the devil along with god,... but equaly quick to become devoted fans of such shows as "ghost hunters" and "ghost adventures",.... which will it be please,... make up your mind.
Call me crazy (I know some will), but I believe mental illness is a symptom or result of either demonic possession or demonic influence. Hear me out for a second!
Let's say someone develops schizophrenia because their mommy abused them and locked them in a dark room... Isn't the illness developed as a result of evil? If one believes that evil originates with demonic forces then couldn't they say that at least some mental illness is the result of demonic forces?
Well, if you believe in the Christian theological view (and even the occult view) of a system of hierarchy then one could easily state that mental illness is under the authority of the demonic forces which caused it.
Does that mean that the mentally ill are possessed? NO! What it means is that mental illness is caused by a hierarchy of influences and what is behind those influences is a matter of personal interpretation. Of course, a hierarchy of influences could be construed as the same as possessing something, since we usually influence the things we possess.
I believe the mind, body, and spirit are all intimately connected and you can't cure one without effecting the others (same belief as those who practice holistic medicine). It is my position that mental illness is a symptom of something much darker lingering behind the scenes; furthermore, you can't cure someone simply by treating the symptoms.
you're crazy, demonic possession is an archaic ritual or belief (like alot of religion) It stems from times when mental illnesses were not fully understood like today. People have died from so called exorcisms, when it was most likely some mental
To Mandrake, I say "Touche". (Too-shay)
Believing that one is under demonic control is a symptom of mental illness. It has no reality, like the focus of many other mental health conditions, but is an obsession that seems very real to those experiencing it. The people at the time of Jesus had no understanding of mental health issues, so believed anyone behaving strangely was under the influence of the devil
People with mental illness need help and probably are more likely to seek it than the possessed. I also think that any demon that desires to exert influence over people or events -or simply seek to wreak general havoc in the world- is going to do their best to appear "normal" in the human they are exerting influence through.
===the secular world is quick to dismiss demons and the devil along with god,... but equaly quick to become devoted fans of such shows as "ghost hunters" and "ghost adventures",.... which will it be please,...
first, i'm a scientist but i enjoy science fiction - i KNOW what the difference is - so the popularity of vampires, zombies et al. in entertainment is completely irrelevant
the secular world doesnt dismiss quickly -- only after investigating alleged claims of possession do we come to the conclusion that it, like ofher paranormal claims, just can't stand up to the fresh air of free inquiry
No demonic possessions, just bad eggs created by a combination of Nature and Nurture. Stop the nonsense, or prove me wrong. Science has moved us beyond this "The Crucible" way of thinking. Until other wise proven, I am going with science on this one.
A demon in Hebrew Mythology IS a mental illness/disorder much like present day bipolar disorder. it like any viral attack on th individual makes them 'loopy'.
I was noted to this recently, by DH, and invested some time into finding out. Sure enough, the 'demons' cast out of people by Immanu El, were NOT ENTITIES aka fallen angelic beings, but were symptoms of irrational thought --a sickness, like any other sickness of leprosy or excessive fatigue/depression, schizophrenia.
FYI, a severe emotional trauma has the exact same effects on a person as was likened to demonic possession. Note the case of he person who attacks the 'false apostles'.
Mental illness is not an example of evil, and therefore it cannot be demonic possession. Mentlly ill individuals have run the spectrum from believing themselves to be anyone from Jesus to the Lucifer, but many times their conditions can be treated with medication and therapy.
On the other hand, the two men that robbed, raped, and murdered the two Petit girls and their mother back in July of 2007 are an example of evil incarnate. Both were found to be mentally sound to stand trial. I think it naive to say these two are simply the products of broken homes who are victims of poor environment.
I don't believe in demonic possession. I only believe that people can have a mental illness. After all the brain is what controls us.
I see that many people have gotten very offended over this question.... I think that every person should have the right to ask what's on their mind without people getting so bent out of shape. I think the very fact that people get so easily offended today is the reason we have so many liberties being taken away from us in America (the land of the suppose to be free).
With that said, I do believe there is a difference. Jesus sometimes healed the sick and sometimes He cast out demons. And it says in the Bible, as He did, we should do also. With that said, people need to know that Satan having his hand on something, influencing something, is NOT possession. (I am not talking about "ghosts" or "paranormal activity" like the shows on TV) His (Satan's) entire job on this earth is to deceive us and to keep us from living the blessed, abundant life God had willed for us. He can do that without actually possessing a body.
Can you tell the difference, most of the time but not always. In all honesty, to the Christian who is dealing with the situation, it doesn't matter, because all authority in Heaven and earth was given to Jesus and then He gave it to us, His children. No matter what the situation is, we, as Christians, have the authority over Satan to heal the sick and to cast out demons. The verbiage would be so similar that if you are unsure of what you are dealing with, you address it pretty much the same. I could go on but that is really a whole other topic.
The biggest issue with this topic is that many Christians do not believe that healings and such, still can and do take place today. They lack the faith or don't realize the power that Jesus gave us.
Either way, I think that maybe the real question here is (if you are a believer), how do you take your God given authority and heal someone, no matter what the issue is.
Have a blessed day!
I think you've got it backwards. It is the idea of demonic possession that is false. There are no demons. There are, however, many, many different types of mental illnesses. One may be having a mental break and hallucinate horrible things or they might be hearing voices, but the visions they see and the voices they hear are not demons, they are simply that person's brain reacting to mental illness.
as a physician I'd place demonic possession right at the bottom of my differential diagnosis of behavioral disturbance
Personally, I neither believe nor disbelieve that demonic possessions and the like are possible. I DO believe that back then we thought it happened more often, because things like severe schizophrenia can come on so suddenly in such a normal person.
I think that many of the people who were previously thought "possessed" were actually experiencing schizophrenia, or something very similar. The symptoms of this, contrary to popular belief, are not limited to paranoia and seeing things that aren't there. They can also get physically sick, have fevers, talk in a manner that doesn't make sense or sometimes in a "different language" (which might sound like latin or demonic to someone who doesn't know those languages, but is actually just babbling) and they can become catatonic for many days at a time. (Meaning that they just sit in one really awkward position and don't move at all.) They may also remove their clothes, attack people, see and hear things that are there, not see and hear things that are there, and a number of other things.
Diseases like this can hit someone slowly or suddenly, and there is a wide variety of diagnoses of similar things in many people.
Additionally, since people were more religious (as a generalization) when these things were popularly happening, that leads me to believe that just as today the paranoia in schizophrenia leads many people to believe that they are being chased with people who have guns, etc, those people believed that they were being pursued by demons, even when, perhaps, they realized they were becoming sick and did not understand what was happening. Thus, making it easier for their minds to distort what was happening and communicate as though this was what happened.
This is based on superstition which stems back to the middle ages. Though some religious faiths and indigenous cultures do still practice rituals regarding these beliefs. Fact is that Science has taught us that mental illness is a neurological and biological disorder in which 'genetics' play a vital role.
Hard to tell the difference.
But I feel so sad for those who have mental disorders and yet they are accused of being demon possessed. They need real medical attention, not judgement.
A demon fights the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit do? He witnesses to Jesus Christ (John 16:14). Demon possession will inevitably debunk the character and work of Jesus. There are many forms of mental and emotional illness that do not attack Christ. I'd be loath to call them demon possession.
I'm agnostic, so I can't really give a thought provoking answer, but back in my church heydays, my pastor would talk about those Jesus healed as having mental illnesses. And they weren't all mental illnesses. I specifically remember him talking about casting demons out of a girl with Epilepsy.
And isn't that "faith healers" claim to do, is to cast out cancer causing demons and the like?
This is a very, well... controversial subject. It really depends on what the health care facility believes in, of course science and religion do not mix, at any level, but as someone that is open minded, I would believe this could happen. The case of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" (the movie), of course the movie is exaggerated and not completely factual, but there is some truth to it. If you want to learn more, look the real book up. Although the 'real' girl's name is not Emily Rose, so do extra research. I had the book but cannot remember the name as it was years ago that I read it. In any case I do not think you really could tell the difference as there is SO many mental illnesses, and of course, so many different 'non-proven' cases of demonic possession. I would have to say that you wouldn't be able to tell unless the person starts speaking in tongues they've never studied, or knew things they would have never known--in a million years. This question is an intriguing one, but no one--in this world--would be able to answer this definitively. Thanks for making my mind work today!
Demon possession and mental illness are completely different issues. Some very ignorant, and unbalanced fanatics will look at those who have schizophrenia or suffering from psychosis as demon possessed because their behavior can be strange. They may hear voices, be paranoid, delusional etc. In no way does that mimic the demon possessed as you see it in the Bible.
Like many others posting on this forum, I think the question you pose is offensive and as someone else pointed out, ignorant. As someone who has had some problems with mental illness, it only adds to the stigma, myths, and fears surrouning mental illness. One day I was sitting in church. I was having a real hard day and was a bit teary, but certainly not behaving strangely. A well meaning but very confused friend came up to me and said, "Do you think you could be demon possessed? We can get some prayer partners over here to pray for you." I should have been offended. But knowing this woman very well, and knowing her tendency to be easily mislead, I took her aside and explained to her that the devil cannot reside in the place where Christ dwells. Christ dwells in my heart. I then told her demon possession does not show up as depression, tearfulness, anxiety etc. I gave her some scriptures to study. I went home shaking my head.
Sadly, this is not uncommon in churches. Many in the Church either don't believe in mental illness, that it's just a spiritual problem, or that the person is demon possessed. Absolutely absurd. I encourage folks out there who come up with this stuff to actually read the Bible, and educate yourself on mental illness.
OK, I'm one of those people who believe that some illnesses are demonic possession. There are people walking around getting checks because they're "crazy" and take medicine to suppress it but in all actuality, its an evil spirit. I once witnessed a man at the store hissing like a snake as he talked. Its was so bad it seemed like a nasty habit. As he did it he kept starring at my mom (my mom goes to church regularly). She noticed him and quietly prayed to herself and he stopped.
I've heard so many stories about "binding out" demonic spirits in people and afterward the person would be fine. I had a friend tell me that she went to church with some family members and ended up witnessing an exorcism on her sister in law. My friend didn't like her sister in law because she had a "funky attitude" all the time. The day they went to church it was her sister in laws first time ever going. She was ok but when the Preacher started speaking her sister in law kept making weird noises to interrupt. The family was asking her was she ok she wouldn't respond but as soon as the Preacher would start preaching again the sister in law would start up again. So pretty soon the Preacher made all the kids and the younger adults go into a separate room so he could do an exorcism. Everyone could hear the lady screaming and voice changing. From the way it was described it was like something out of a movie. Afterward the lady was fine and from what my friend tells me is that her sister in law isn't the sister in law from hell anymore.
So not to veer from the question, I do believe a mental illness can be demonic possession. I don't know the difference because I believe that for some people mental illnesses are a state brought on by themselves and their negative way of thinking, such as depression, and instead of trying to move from it they decide to feel sorry for themselves and bathe in the negativity.
Mental illness, demonic possession, and bath salt abuse. Any one of those three things could be confused with the other. I say, throw holy water on it, and if it doesn't work, call a healthcare professional.
Hi there Harlan Colt!
First of all, I'm Bipolar and I have seen the devil when I was absolutely psychotic and fighting 'my demons' in isolation. Being monitored by 4 cameras, getting crazier by the minute, they finally shuffed a big needle into my behind, with a huge cocktail of anti-psychotics. I was out for 24 hours in a row and woke up after not having slept for 3 whole weeks! Chemical inbalance yes it was.
Am I offended by your question? Not at all:-) It's 2011 and everyone has the right to display their doubts in a question like this, to find out more and to get some more information. The way you ask your question, obviously provokes anwers with mixed emotions. Thereby most mentally ill people, have a lot on their mind, fighting their mental illness the best way possible. Questions like these, trigger the sensitivity to defend themselves. You apologized in the beginning so that seems only fair.
But S_Little states at the end of her answer:
"So not to veer from the question, I do believe a mental illness can be demonic possession. I don't know the difference because I believe that for some people mental illnesses are a state brought on by themselves and their negative way of thinking, such as depression, and instead of trying to move from it they decide to feel sorry for themselves and bathe in the negativity."
I voted her answer down! The mere fact, that Miss S_Little doesn't know the difference, as she says so herself, should make her think twice, linking personal responsibility and self pity to a mental illness, such as depression.
Depression, Mania and Psychoses are the three stages I went through several times and with all do respect Miss S_Little....if positive thinking would have kept me from whatever mentally ill state of mind I've been through, Bipolar Disorder wouldn't have been a serious mental illness for which I need to take life long medication.
So, I am much more taking by surprise, by someone responding in such a hurtfull way, to all of us having dealt with major depression, than her believe in demonic possession and thinking Bipolar Disorder is all the same.
However I always expect the other to respect me. Linking personal responsibility and self pity to depression, is a major way of disrespecting the mentally ill people...such as myself. For the rest I think your question, came up with some interesting answers:-)
I am totally agreed with the Multiman,
Hello........people, we are living in the 21st Century and for everyone's kind information, Jesus did not wrote the Bible itself.
I am a student of Psychology and I support the mental illness that we can deal with it as its a very delicate topic rather than merging it with some Demonic stuff. If you do not educate some one then pls do not misinterpret which is out of your knowledge.
I agree that Jesus treated people with illness but during that period people were not aware of mental disorders which can lead them to believe that its a Demonic possessions.
I think this is a great question! If someone I knew were acting "possesed" the very first thing I would do is take them to the nearest mental facility.
I find it amazing how many people on here actually believe in demonic possession,this is a subject if really true that I would much rather be ignorant about.
Many times we are confused between mental illness and demonic possession. I really believe existence of these two states that grips a man. Mental illness is biological and demonic possession is psychological.
It is linguistic not metaphysical. It is the way we construct our discourse. What "is" is what we say it is. We once stated that the "mad" were "possessed" now are state it is "diseased brains". The discourse of madness is context. The idea is of legitimacy verses illegitimacy in conduct not in the existence or nonexistence of demons or mental illness.
I don't think mental illness is demonic possession it is a biological brain disorder that is genetic.
To hear the term demonic possession thrown about is very offensive. I have known of radicals who called people with diabetes "demon possessed" when low blood sugar led them into seizures or comas. Instead of trying to get these people the medical help that they need, they try and heal people through gospel. Yes, religion is amazing and works miracles. However, when someone is having a medical problem, it is important to get them to a licensed medical professional.
Yes, everyone has a different personality and has been influenced by many different factors. Some people are more prone to violence. Some people have mental illnesses (over 90% of which are not prone to violence), but that is no excuse to introduce the idea of demonic possession into the world. After all, they did not recognize illnesses in Biblical times. They recognized all mental illnesses and health problems as works of the Devil.
By taking such views, people tend to shun others as though they are not human. This is completely wrong.
To me demon's are something of a negative energy, and people who are or have this sort of energy tend to wanna get it out of themselves. Being possessed may be an extreme way of looking at this form of energy that may build up within a person. I don't believe there is an existing form of a living or none living being of a demon, but it can be argued by many that there is. This is based on my opinion alone, not research or studies. I think people exhibit many levels of energies that are truly in existence. Positive, negative & neutral all exist within people, so depending on what they have absorbed will tend to be the think that will be displayed, especially if held back long enough. Hope that answers the question a bit.
I heard the catholic church has to prove the person is not mentally ill first, before they do an exorcism.
mental illness is ilness caused by mind irregularity and demonic possession is that bad force or spirit controls you
the difference is in their hearts bro and that is what counts
I would say that possibly those in asylums for the criminally insane could be possessed, many of them have commited such horrible crimes it is truly evil.
Demonic possession is about as real as the Easter Bunny
This is a fascinating concept. I never really linked mental illness to demonic possesions, but from recent reports into schizophrenia; they have linked it, to the mind being possessed somewhat.
This article provides a multi-cultural discussion of how to heal conditions that might be seen as either mental illness, demonic possession, or similar phenomena. read more
In my own experience, the choice of mental illness or demonic possession is more an issue of the worldview of the healer than it is of the client's actual condition. My reply was too long, so I've written a hub about this - please check it out.
Just published my first HUB article: Healing Demonic Possession, Mental Illness, and Similar Challenges http://sidkemp.hubpages.com/hub/Healing … Challenges
I don't know. I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, so I fit one category. I do know from my studies mental illness is complicated. I do believe in the demons of biblical times based on historical evidence. Not sure on science based evidence. However, I can say I truly wonder. I can tell some real good fact based stories of my experiences with psychosis. And it is said perception is reality, until perception is changed.
In the past, yes. I believe just in the last few years we are looking at that. Nobody but christians believed in ghost, demons, ect. With technology, the proof is now here. I believe we have even now, but I believe the tides are turning as far as proof. I believe at this age and time, we are much more open to that possibility.
People didn't understand mental illnesses when the Bible was written and they knew nothing about microscopic viruses, etc. They thought that the only way to get rid of mental illnesses / demons was to perform exorcisms. But now we no longer need these superstitions since now we can actually cure these illnesses. In fact, religion should be classified as a mental disorder. Speaking to imaginary friends is not sane.
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