How do we distinguish a psychological disorder from demon possession?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The short answer to this question is that the Bible does not speak to distinguishing between demon possession and a psychological disorder. Because God chose not to equip Christians for this task, ...

July 01 2013 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20160825 6966 rhyaou John Matthews Retired Professional Singer, Conductor and Seeker
A psychological disorder, that which deviates from normal accepted behavior, does not signify demon possession. An example would be Turrets Syndrome. Is it demon possession? No. It is a malfunction in the brain. A brain tumor can also cause deviant behavior in an otherwise sane and devout Christian brain. Demon possessed? Not hardly.

Please do not misunderstand. There is definitely evil in the world; cold, calculated evil. But it can certainly be argued that most evil is not caused by a mental disorder. There are many other reasons for such evil. 

To simplify and lump mental disorders with demon possession, in my very humble opinion, is ill-conceived and ill-informed. They are not the same malady. I would be hard-pressed to say that anyone was demon possessed.

Mr. Houdmann's answer about mental disorders not being discussed in Scripture is accurate. But to solve mental disorders or psychological problems with Scripture alone is likened to trying to share the Gospel with someone who is starving. That person will not hear the words of Jesus unless his hunger is quenched first. The Christian act of giving that person food will go a long way in helping them find Christ.

November 13 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Steve Schneider Deacon in The Lord's Church
We have heard it said, "He is an evil person." What we're really saying is that person has done some evil acts. Charles Manson has done some evil things and he even looks as though he is possessed. But to say that someone is possessed is to say that they have no control, that they have no ability to turn from their ways. Is this even possible when the entire foundation of Christianity is having the freedom and ability to choose Christ, stop sinning and follow Him?

Can someone be so far into sin they seem to be hopelessly entangled therein? Can that person appear to be demon possessed? Yes, but these people are there of their own free will. Jeffery Dahmer was said to have repented of his son and was baptized into Christ while in prison. 

Rom 2:15  says, They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. This may be a little out of context but the implication here is that we have a conscience and we instinctively know when we are doing something evil. I think Cain knew that killing his brother was wrong even before he did it and I believe that many today make lifestyle choices that they know, in their hearts, are wrong. 

Being possessed does not align with Christians having free will choice. It would be like Satan running around saying, " I'll take that one and that one," as he cast a demon, or directs a demon into a person. 

We have to be in control of ourselves or Christianity does not work.

In response to biblical examples of possession in Matt 8:28-34, two men possessed with demons we healed by Jesus. 
1. Jesus cast the demons into a heard of swine. But I believe the purpose of this exorcism was for others to believe on Him. Even though the city folk ask Him to leave their region the news of His miracle spread far and wide. 
2. Jesus, the apostles and those having been been given gifts by the apostles were the only ones that had miraculous gifts. No one today has these gifts. 

Witnessing demonic possession is not walking by faith it is walking by sight. Meaning that if I see demon possession I then have sight into the spirit world and now my faith has been caused by what I have seen.

April 02 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining