Psychiatric medical assistance is declined in favor of prayer

As per a report by Theos, a Christian think-tank, exorcisms now constitute a thriving industry in the United Kingdom . The principal patron of such practices are immigrants and done by Pentecostal churches. The report stated that a substantial majority of individuals who underwent exorcism actually need psychiatric assistance. The report minutely analyzed the relationship between mental health and Christian theology. It noted that the Pentecostal churches are extremely open when it comes to their exorcism services.

Ben Ryan, the author of this report and a researcher at Theos, said that the Anglican church has renewed its focus on exorcisms partly due to greater demand. The church now gets a steadily increasing number of inquiries on the subject. He pointed out that exorcisms are a booming activity outside the formal confines of a church, saying the sheer number of stickers and fliers are easily noticeable- they are everywhere.

The report published by Theos, titled Christianity and Mental Health: Theology, Activities, Potential, is not dismissive of the possibility that demons may actually possess a person. It says that the Bible clearly states that demonic forces can be dangerous. It pointed out Jesus himself instructed his disciples to “cast out demons.” It also warned that there is a requirement for serious caution. One danger, the report said, is of “Christian over-spiritualizing.” This is the proclivity to ascribe almost everything to spiritual causes while ignoring its actual medical cause. It admitted a possible overlap may exist between issues related to mental health and demonic possession.

A particular chaplain, who described himself as a “Bible-believing evangelical” told Ryan, “in all their experience with a mental health trust they had ‘never seen anything I would say that looked like demonic possession, but I’ve seen plenty of people who have been told that’s what they’re experiencing by other Christians’.” The report continues on to say medical professionals are frustrated as many people with genuine health issues go off their medication after they are told that prayer is sufficient to cure them. The relapse into mental problems becomes a possibility. This is a kind of psychological abuse.

The Church of England (CoE), through its spokesperson stated the CoE takes the deliverance ministry extremely seriously. It said that each case is treated individually with a private and pastoral manner. Any exorcism instance would be tackled at the local level via the diocese. The CoE added its guidelines state there is a need for caution when caring for a disturbed or distressed person. 

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter