When a delusion becomes widespread enough it can eventually develop into a religion. A set of man made rules and ordinances, most usually accompanied by specific texts which, in the case of Christianity is the Bible. That means that devout, religious followers generally take what is in it as the truth, and quite often, the sole truth, in all matters that it covers.
As someone who is public about their mental illness, it has never sat right with me in terms of what Jesus, his followers and so many ‘modern’ Christians believe about mental illness. Personally, I am used to discrimination, so I will just say it. Many Christians think I am a ‘demon’. Well, they think an actual mental illness is caused or is the manifestation of a mythical creature called a ‘demon’.
Don’t believe me? Then tell me the following “demon-possessed” men from the gospels don’t have the symptoms of a mental illness and not ‘demon possession’ (which does not exist):
When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do You want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have You come here to torture us before the appointed time?”Matthew 8:29
Now I’m going to give the author (all of these accounts of Jesus were written a long time after he was around) the benefit of the doubt because pretty much all illnesses in the new testament are portrayed as “demons”. My discussion today is modern Christianity believing in demons. It’s so ridiculous even Jesus mentions it when speaking of his return:
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’Matthew 7:22-3
For so many hundreds of years, Christians and other religious people across the Earth have been persecuting and murdering people like myself. My bipolar would make me an instant target for religious people and I would most definitely be told I have a ‘demon’. Likewise, my gift of prophecy would also be seen as a sign I am a ‘demon’.
The reality (and irony) is that these religious people who believe in demons are most likely suffering from a mental illness themselves, and at the very least, are delusional. In fact, it seems all religion requires at least a little bit of delusional thinking. Thankfully the worst religious people can do to me in a relatively modern and secular country like Australia is try to have me committed for psychiatric evaluation and not burn me at the stake. So no biggy.
Religion never offered me any answers to my mental illness, but my faith helped me survive. Religion never offered me any miracle cures but modern medicine offered me injections which have helped some of my symptoms. So I am happy for religious people to keep calling me a ‘demon’ because the Heavenly Father has already judged me. I am happy to continue to be pierced with needles for my mental health condition as it makes my discussions with my Heavenly Father all the more clearer.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.Revelation 1:7
As someone with bipolar, I can tell you I don’t have any demons possessing me, I have a chemical imbalance which can affect me in various ways. Strangely those same symptoms have brought me closer to the Heavenly Father also, and have made me end up sitting where I am today, with a purpose and with an understanding that my faith has done just fine without religion and all of its attached bigotry.
Please know that I do not write this way to accuse all Christians of these things, but to express just some of the pain and anguish that religion and religious people have caused to my own personal faith in the Heavenly Father. Thankfully, He and I are usually on quite good terms (despite the arguments).
May the Lord (and Lorde) be with you, and if you ever aren’t feeling quite right, I pray you will find the right professional assistance in your life too. There is unfortunately still a lot of shame surrounding mental illness (I know, I live it) and it has cost me nearly every friend I have ever had, but know my own journey has been filled with spiritual richness from the Heavenly Father and many long and beautiful discussions.