Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Demon Possession or Mental Illness?

Demon Possession

The bizarre events of the past week got me thinking about this topic.

I was called in by a neighbor to join in prayer for a young girl who was believed to be demon-possessed. I got there and was a bit startled. Not only was she unnaturally aggressive, she was talking with multiple voices and in perfect English. This girl could barely speak English on a good day. The spirit inside her went on and on boasting about how it was Satan himself and how it was going to kill the girl and a number of other people. According to the neighbor, their home had been under spiritual attack a few days prior to this in several ways including being invaded by a swarm of flies. When the girl was asked about the files, she answered. “I did not bring them; they came to visit me as their boss”.

We immediately started praying and this girl became even more aggressive...threatening, punching people, writhing on the floor, screaming, and climbing on walls (I kid you not!). We bundled her to the church where a special team proceeded on what turned out to be an intense 7-day deliverance session.

A friend of ours who is a psychiatrist, heard about the events and felt strongly that the young lady may have been exhibiting symptoms of Schizophrenia.

Read: Schizophrenia: The mental disorder people call “madness”

There is no doubt that this is a strong possibility, and I understand why modern medicine would be hesitant to accept a spiritual explanation for anything. What I do wonder is why modern Christianity is very quick to do the same. 

There are a number of examples of demon possession recorded in the Bible: 1 Samuel 16:14-15; 18:10-11; 19:9-10; Matthew 9:32-33; 12:22; 17:18; Mark 5:1-20; 7:26-30; Luke 4:33-36; Luke 22:3; Acts 16:16-18. In some of these passages, the demon possession causes physical ailments such as depression, inability to speak, epileptic symptoms, blindness, etc. In other cases, it causes the individual to do evil or to know things beyond their own learning. There are also those extreme cases, like the demon-possessed man of the Gadarenes where the victim shows superhuman strength and behaviors typical of what we would call "madness".

Do we believe that the biblical accounts of demon possession are accurate or would we write off many of these instances as "mental illness"? It is a fact that there is a long string of cases where seriously ill people have been wrongly assumed to be demon-possessed and this has often led to tragic consequences. But does this imply that demon-possession is not real?

What do you think? We would like to hear your opinion.

Update: The girl is today fully recovered and living her normal life. She regrets whatever harm she may have caused anyone when she was “not herself”.

Do you believe a person can be possessed by a demon?

1 comment:

  1. benjamin spence guffey25 October 2014 at 12:09

    How ridiculous. Best part was the "evolve fish" advertisement below. I think it's time we grow up and read another book already.