Demonic Possession And Physchology

I agree. Some biblical examples were quite extreme, including superpowers. Some seem to be cases where there is a medical explanation.

I have sometimes wondered how easy it would be to identify a demon-possessed person today?

I have not seen a single case that would resemble the extreme cases in the Bible. Once I saw a strange case but even that was probably just some rare mental reaction to the presence of praying Christians (the person was a non-Christian), No superpowers etc. but the life of the person changed totally when the Christians prayed for her while the person was in that strange state. Probably someone of the Christians also commanded in the name of Jesus (it happened many years ago so I don’t remember the words that were used). She became a believer, told to her non-Christian relatives about Jesus and invited them to see how she was baptized; in that culture leaving the other gods(idols) and being baptized is the critical step that may lead to persecution.

Yeah, there is “demon possession” alright but the demons have flesh and blood and bones, names and addresses and phone numbers!
I have had occasion to speak with a few people on the net, who suffer psychotic episodes, and both were abused as children. One of them was sexually assaulted and the other one was thrown out onto the streets by an older brother, at the tender age of around 11 or 12 years old to fend for herself after both her parents had died. Both of them have been diagnosed as bipolar 1.

What it appears happens in these people, from what they have said, is the following. People in their lives, people they know and know well but who are inhumane are able to exploit past circumstances. Possibly they may have been involved in the past or have gained knowledge of what the victim had been through.

At times where there may be difficult or adverse circumstances in their lives, these related, inhumane people take advantage of the situation. They move to crush them underhandedly and hence over-ride their authority for a time. During the episode they may be presented with various ideas that may be seriously distressing or cause them to have hallucinations or become paranoid.

Mitchell…I was wondering if Scott Peck’s name would come up here. I did read People of the Lie a long time ago, and yes it had some chilling moments.

As for the original question (essentially) made by Peter (above) — I think he will find that this site has people holding a variety of views on how their faith or the biblical text fits into the assertions of various branches of science… combining spiritual truths with human observation and/or discoveries.

It is possible that science describes, in its own vocabulary, some of the sorts of things that the Bible discusses, using other terms. That is: a real evil personality (unseen by us) who troubles/influences humanity — and sometimes indwells someone. That may be the case in some instances, but not in others.

We are allowed to explore these different phenomena and their relationship (or not) to some biblical concepts. .God gave us that freedom.

One might equally assert that disbelief in the existence of demons is a result of other beliefs, not based on science. It’s not a question that science does much to answer, one way or the other.

The talk was ca. 25 years ago, more a presentation of his experiences than a systematic explanation of his views. He did not regard the demonic as a general explanation for psychological issues, even those with aspects relating to spirituality. Rather, as best I can extrapolate from what I recall of the talk, he would see the demonic as a possible explanation to consider when the standard psychological approaches did not work.

As an added complication, “psychology” includes both more clinically or experimentally supported aspects as well as quite unscientific claims (such as much popular Freudianism) or even outright quackery. Humans are quite complex and extremely susceptible to placebo effects; it’s understandable that psychology often has difficulty getting clear results. It can be difficult to define a condition, much less to get clear clinical assessment of the results of a treatment. A lot of those headlines about “science is not replicable” prove to refer to psychological studies. Psychology can be quite useful, and no doubt a lot of psychologists deplore the nonsense of pop psychology. But there is appreciable risk of biases swaying or driving psychological claims – people tend to have prior beliefs about topics related to mental health and social behavior, more so than about, say, my field of mollusk evolution. The difficulty of deciding “should _____ be considered a psychological problem to be cured, or a part of the normal spectrum” illustrates one challenge. Science doesn’t tell us that; it can only say the frequency of a phenomenon and whether it is correlated with anything that is agreed to be a problem.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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