Monday, July 16, 2007

Belief in demons still rampant (part one)

Are we fighting a losing battle? When are people going to get educated and understand truth...the truth as we understand it in this 21st century? When are "loving" Christians going to realize how much they are even further harming the hurting brothers and sisters in their midst? When are they going to seriously look to Christ as their example?

A couple of years ago someone tried to help me by giving me Neil Anderson's Victory Over the Darkness to read. Anderson is probably one of the most popular deliverance ministers today. Many Christians--including some from my own church--look up to him and listen to what he says about counseling people with emotional problems by delivering them from demonic influences. Deliverance ministers believe that it is demons that are behind our inability to stop certain sins. If we are to be emotionally well, we need to cast these demons out.

I read this book with great reservation. And the more I read, the angrier I became. Anderson blames all emotional problems on spiritual problems - on not being right with God. As I read, I thought of the many people with mental health issues who might have been given this book to read. There was nothing there to suggest that such illness might be caused by medical problems. If I was reading this before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I would for certain think that my symptoms were caused by demons.

Think of the damage this book may be causing people! Think of the number of people who would as a result not go to a doctor for help! Not only are these individuals suffering painful symptoms, they are also made to live thinking their unconfessed sins are making them sick or that they're possessed by demons.

I have a friend who has been deeply depressed for five years. Medications don't help and ECT's haven't helped. She often feels tormented. She tells me she feels like there is something evil inside her. She feels under attack.

With no other avenue open, and in an effort to help her, I decided to re-visit Neil Anderson's writing. "Perhaps there is something there that is true for her," I thought. "He's a Christian. Surely some of what he says might be useful." I decided to read another popular book of his: The Bondage Breaker: Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Irrational Feelings, Habitual Sins.

(to be continued)


Dream Writer said...

Well, I didn't read the book and I am curious to know what does Anderson mean by "Emotional Problems." Is he specifically talking about mental illness?

I do believe that when people are "Emotional Involved" in their problems they do have "Spiritual Problems."

BUT..PROBLEMS doesn't necessarily mean Mental Illnesses.

I know so many people who cannot seem to get over the past, cannot get over mommy and daddy issues, cannot get over whatever...and in turn they have no sense of our "Father."

They are wrapped up in their "Emotional Problems" that they NO spirituality.

BUT again...this isn't about Mental Illness...

So was Anderson talking about depression and mental illness or other "Emotional Problems?"

marja said...

Thanks, Dream. This is the thing, he doesn't make a distinction. There is no suggestion anywhere in his books that there might be cases where people should go for medical help. This is what I consider so dangerous about books like this.

I agree, many people DO have spiritual problems. I'll try and talk about some of the things you bring up here in my next post.

Emilija said...

When my illness became overwhelming, I lost my faith. No, I didn't get sick because things were not right with me and God. Things were not right with me and God, because I just kept getting depressed, and prayer didn't seem to do anything to change that. And I couldn't imagine a loving God when I was living in such hell that I wanted to be dead.

marja said...

Emilijah: Thanks for visiting. What you said truly saddens me. My faith has helped me so much with my bipolar problems, especially the support of my friends at church. These friends showed me what God's love is like at times I wasn't able to feel God's presence. God IS good.

I hope one day that you will be able to get your faith back. I hope you haven't totally given up on God.