“In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying,’Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm.” Luke 4:33-35
This post is the eleventh in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:
Harmful Effect #11: Psychological and physiological conditions blamed on demons, preventing believers from seeking medical care for themselves and their children.
This particular item is really just to a combination of Harmful Effect #8 and and Harmful Effect #9. This tells me that the author of this list had a difficult time contriving 40 harmful effects. Since I’ve already addressed #8 and #9, I will not explore #11 very thoroughly here. I will point out that during biblical times, the modern notion of psychological illness simply did not exist. For the vast majority of church history, there were no psychiatrists to visit for mental health treatment. Such practitioners simply did not exist.
During less advanced times, demons were not the only theorized causes for psychological and physiological illness. In fact, in time past, it was thought that erratic mental behavior was caused by the moon. Hence, until this day, mentally ill people are referred to as “lunatics”. There are any number of superstitions such as this that cause any number of people to make irrational judgments. Christianity is not a religion of superstition but one that is grounded in rational thought. The superstitious belief that mental illness and physiological maladies are caused by demons is not a Christian one. Harmful Effect #11, like #8 and #9, falls short as a critique of the Christian worldview.
One thing that bears mentioning is that the author of this list, being an atheist, presumes that demon possession is not real. It is real and if you ever encounter it, all the medical treatment in the world will not be able to break the spiritual bonds of demon possession.
In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:
Harmful Effect #12: People disowning family members for leaving their religion.
[Contributed by Seth Dunn]
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.