Epilepsy Foundation

I've been an epileptic all of my adult life, I'm 55 now but was first diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 1 when I had a high fever.  My brother who is a theologian told me several years ago that the Bible says that epileptics are devil possessed.  I demanded that he quote me a scripture that says just that, he couldn't.   Has anyone else who suffers from epilepsy run into this with their religious beliefs?  I cannot find much information online that addresses this subject.   

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The Catholic church (and possibly others) had the view that persons with seizures needed the spirits excised.  That view ceased to exist officially decades ago.  However, every now and then you run across people that still hold that belief.

 

If I remember the reference in scripture, (from memory) it was something along the lines that spirits must be "cast out".  People who denied that seizures (epilepsy) existed would be the ones who TENDED to interpret that seizures were of demonic nature.

 

There was a reference in the New Testament about Jesus healing a man with seizures.

 

Very rarely have I run across people that thought seizures were of demonic nature.  I have never been spoken to by people that held this.

 

--Travis

I actually have run into people that hold such beliefs. I was impressionable and in college when I ran into a person that said that I must have "demonic influences" running in my family since my epilepsy is genetic and the increased myoclonic seizures that I was having was due to those "demonic influences". It made me feel lower than dirt.

 

They didn't outright say that I was possessed, but they might as well have said it. Currently I have run into people that have told me that I am not healed of epilepsy because I don't have enough faith...I won't spend my little energy typing about it.

 

Paul wrote in scripture that he struggled with "a thorn in his side", which some people think might have been epilepsy. You should ask your brother how Paul could have done all of that work and evangelizing for the early church if he was indeed "devil possessed".

 

McCheese

Steve,

I CANNOT believe that your brother would say that to you!!! SHAME on him. If he is a TRUE christian, then he should know that JUDGING others is WRONG. Who is HE to say you are demon or devil possessed??? And it does say in the bible that Jesus healed a man w/Epilepsy, and I think (not positive) it makes a reference to him being healed, by the Lord, of course, but also by FASTING. And that is today's version of the Ketogenic Diet. Fasting puts your body in a state of Ketosis, which is very effective for stopping seizures. It does NOT say in the bible that Epileptics are devil possessed. The fasting for the Lord, "cast out" his seizures. My grandfather(God rest his soul) had a PhD, in Theology.

I am not claiming to be an expert by ANY means, but I was raised in the church, and have been a child of Christ all my life. And i just cannot believe that ANY man of Faith, would attribute a chronic illness, or disorder, to being "possessed by the devil". It is NOT YOUR FAULT that you have seizures! In fact, you could/should look at it this way:

GOD made you the way that you are, and GOD does not make mistakes. He in His Infinite wisdom, has a REASON for ALL things. We, as humans, may not understand those reasons, but that does not mean they are not there.

It is just a shame that there is still those stigma's attached to people who suffer from this disorder. 

~Kelly,mom2Wesley

PS. you might ask your brother: If YOU are possessed by demons or devils, what about my 2yr old INNOCENT son?? Who was diagnosed at the age of 6mo.,and is not yet old enough to know right from wrong? HMMMM? what about THAT?

I am actually curious about what he has to say about little children who suffer from this...

Science has refuted that claim/belief long ago.  I would be offended by that statement, but it is so ridiculous that I am literally laughing.  

 

However, what is not funny is that people actually believe this "demon possession theory."  He can quote the Bible all day long, but all he is doing is proving the Bible is false/fake, which I am sure he does not want to do!  

At the time that we had our first discussion about the matter I did ask him that, what his feelings would be if a newborn someone came down with epilepsy, his opinion was the same, the newborn would in his eyes also be devil possessed.   I told him he was the one that was sick but what concerns me is he has a group of followers like any church, I call his followers "Kool-Aid" drinkers who will believe anything that comes from his mouth, based upon the way he interprets the Bible.   I read an article online a few nights ago about an old man who was a member of a rural Baptist church suffered a seizure during a church service, the pastor quickly came down from the pulpit to the man who was on the floor still suffering his seizure, several decons of the church surrounded the man and all began to pray and attempted to pray the demons out of this old man who died that night in that church.   The church since then has created a new rule that epileptics cannot join their church.   How are they going to know if someone has epilepsy unless the person with epilepsy has a seizure while in church?   That article made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  
Kelly Rummel said:

Steve,

I CANNOT believe that your brother would say that to you!!! SHAME on him. If he is a TRUE christian, then he should know that JUDGING others is WRONG. Who is HE to say you are demon or devil possessed??? And it does say in the bible that Jesus healed a man w/Epilepsy, and I think (not positive) it makes a reference to him being healed, by the Lord, of course, but also by FASTING. And that is today's version of the Ketogenic Diet. Fasting puts your body in a state of Ketosis, which is very effective for stopping seizures. It does NOT say in the bible that Epileptics are devil possessed. The fasting for the Lord, "cast out" his seizures. My grandfather(God rest his soul) had a PhD, in Theology.

I am not claiming to be an expert by ANY means, but I was raised in the church, and have been a child of Christ all my life. And i just cannot believe that ANY man of Faith, would attribute a chronic illness, or disorder, to being "possessed by the devil". It is NOT YOUR FAULT that you have seizures! In fact, you could/should look at it this way:

GOD made you the way that you are, and GOD does not make mistakes. He in His Infinite wisdom, has a REASON for ALL things. We, as humans, may not understand those reasons, but that does not mean they are not there.

It is just a shame that there is still those stigma's attached to people who suffer from this disorder. 

~Kelly,mom2Wesley

PS. you might ask your brother: If YOU are possessed by demons or devils, what about my 2yr old INNOCENT son?? Who was diagnosed at the age of 6mo.,and is not yet old enough to know right from wrong? HMMMM? what about THAT?

I am actually curious about what he has to say about little children who suffer from this...

Stevo - I believe your brother not only misinterprets but misquotes the Bible.

For example:

 

Matthew 4 (NIV)

24 News about him [Jesus] spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25

 

So you see that the demon-possessed and those having seizures are two DIFFERENT sets of people.

 

In Matthew 17, we do see Jesus healing a boy whose seizures are caused by a demon.  This does not mean that seizures or epilepsy are, in general, caused by demon possession.

 

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

   17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

 

I like this last part the best - "Nothing will be impossible for you."  That's really the point of the whole story.



Stevo Reno said:

At the time that we had our first discussion about the matter I did ask him that, what his feelings would be if a newborn someone came down with epilepsy, his opinion was the same, the newborn would in his eyes also be devil possessed.   I told him he was the one that was sick but what concerns me is he has a group of followers like any church, I call his followers "Kool-Aid" drinkers who will believe anything that comes from his mouth, based upon the way he interprets the Bible.   I read an article online a few nights ago about an old man who was a member of a rural Baptist church suffered a seizure during a church service, the pastor quickly came down from the pulpit to the man who was on the floor still suffering his seizure, several decons of the church surrounded the man and all began to pray and attempted to pray the demons out of this old man who died that night in that church.   The church since then has created a new rule that epileptics cannot join their church.   How are they going to know if someone has epilepsy unless the person with epilepsy has a seizure while in church?   That article made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  
Kelly Rummel said:

Steve,

I CANNOT believe that your brother would say that to you!!! SHAME on him. If he is a TRUE christian, then he should know that JUDGING others is WRONG. Who is HE to say you are demon or devil possessed??? And it does say in the bible that Jesus healed a man w/Epilepsy, and I think (not positive) it makes a reference to him being healed, by the Lord, of course, but also by FASTING. And that is today's version of the Ketogenic Diet. Fasting puts your body in a state of Ketosis, which is very effective for stopping seizures. It does NOT say in the bible that Epileptics are devil possessed. The fasting for the Lord, "cast out" his seizures. My grandfather(God rest his soul) had a PhD, in Theology.

I am not claiming to be an expert by ANY means, but I was raised in the church, and have been a child of Christ all my life. And i just cannot believe that ANY man of Faith, would attribute a chronic illness, or disorder, to being "possessed by the devil". It is NOT YOUR FAULT that you have seizures! In fact, you could/should look at it this way:

GOD made you the way that you are, and GOD does not make mistakes. He in His Infinite wisdom, has a REASON for ALL things. We, as humans, may not understand those reasons, but that does not mean they are not there.

It is just a shame that there is still those stigma's attached to people who suffer from this disorder. 

~Kelly,mom2Wesley

PS. you might ask your brother: If YOU are possessed by demons or devils, what about my 2yr old INNOCENT son?? Who was diagnosed at the age of 6mo.,and is not yet old enough to know right from wrong? HMMMM? what about THAT?

I am actually curious about what he has to say about little children who suffer from this...

I would guess that it is only people lacking knowledge that would even think that even exists today.  It may of existed before electricity, engines, telephones, or even shoes! :) 
I plan to research the subject more because it disturbs me to think there are theologians out there like my brother who are interdenominational, have no headquarters he has to be held accountable to, is free to preach the Bible as he interprets it, passes out the "Kool-Aid" at each church service which his followers eagerly drink and his followers also believe the way the pastor believes and has the same attitude toward epileptics as that of my brother, the pastor.  I wonder if these groups also feel the same way towards people who suffer with "other" disabilities?   They probably do.  That's the scary part of all of this.   If I could stare at a glass of water sitting on a table right in front of me long enough to make that glass of water rise off the table then shoot across the room breaking into a million pieces then yes I would have to say I'm probably devil possessed but fortunately I have no such powers.

Lrjg said:
I would guess that it is only people lacking knowledge that would even think that even exists today.  It may of existed before electricity, engines, telephones, or even shoes! :) 

Steve,

 It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck as well. I shudder when I think about that. Yes, I agree, your brother shouldn't be allowed to skewer the word of God, to his own purposes..and I am sorry you have had to suffer those fools. I LOVED your statement about them being "Kool-aid" drinkers..lol. That sort of thinking/preaching/believing is what led to Jonestown. And I just cannot believe that an innocent child would EVER be condemned to be evil, or demon possessed. And that man might NOT have died, had they had the common sense or decency to render first aid to him. God would NEVER want someone to just stand by while another person suffered or was in need of emergency help. Even if they were praying. I wonder what they were actually praying FOR... And for them  to then disallow epileptics to join their so-called "church" is ridiculous. 

You are right when you say that HE is the sick one. It makes ME sick that you have had to endure his idiocracy.

~Kelly,mom2Wesley

I'm glad that someone else seems to agree with me and like I said earlier I'm still doing research online.   Some of these theologians are Bible believing theologians who believe the Bible word for word, I'm not a theologian but a layman who has a problem with any theologian labeling me as being "devil possessed" because I have a disability which I have had for all of my adult life called epilepsy who does not have any special evil powers which many claim that people like me have, it is sick.

 

 

 

Kelly Rummel said:

Steve,

 It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck as well. I shudder when I think about that. Yes, I agree, your brother shouldn't be allowed to skewer the word of God, to his own purposes..and I am sorry you have had to suffer those fools. I LOVED your statement about them being "Kool-aid" drinkers..lol. That sort of thinking/preaching/believing is what led to Jonestown. And I just cannot believe that an innocent child would EVER be condemned to be evil, or demon possessed. And that man might NOT have died, had they had the common sense or decency to render first aid to him. God would NEVER want someone to just stand by while another person suffered or was in need of emergency help. Even if they were praying. I wonder what they were actually praying FOR... And for them  to then disallow epileptics to join their so-called "church" is ridiculous. 

You are right when you say that HE is the sick one. It makes ME sick that you have had to endure his idiocracy.

~Kelly,mom2Wesley

I feel that lack of knowledge is where people fear things like "Epilepsy" and find it evil.  I am a christian, and feel there are things that I question when I read the bible, but......how many evil people would we have if God given medical problems were all evil?   I would have to just feel sorry for those who believe God given things are evil!

You know at one time I felt like I had been cursed with this bloody thing we call epilepsy.  They never called it that in the Bible or at least not in mine, it does talk about lunaticks (in my notes section it refers to these people as people with seizures) and yes it does talk about how Jesus healed these lunaticks.  Anyway, I remember when it felt like more of a curse than a blessing and how many of us would not say that.  There are days when things are difficult, but I look at it as part of life and I just deal with it because I know some day when I am with our Lord that He will heal me and take away all that ails me.  I will be pure.

 

The one thing that gets me is this, what would they do if a person with cancer or heart disease or parkinsons disease or alzheimers disease or ALS or diabetes or some type of cyst wanted to join their church...would they let this person or does each person have submit themselves to a full medical evaluation first.  Their is the chance that maybe they don't want epileptics in their church because of what happened the last time and they now know they made a big mistake, one of which they are going to have to answer for when they reach the gates of Heaven.  As the saying goes "There is a lot more we can do for people than just pray for them", once they get past that...it is a step in the right direction. 

 

That is why we can not get into Heaven by just believing in our Lord and what he did for us on the cross, get baptized, we must also follow his commandments, have fellowship and provide fellowship, take time out for Him each day in prayer and Bible, attend service regularly, ect...  What I think is important is to spread His word and doing good deeds.  Remember it is what is on the inside that counts, but it is what is on the outside that everybody will see.  God knows our hearts, but sometimes it is public perception that can be our undoing.  That may be a reason why so many Christians have gotten out of politics...they can't take the heat or they don't want the heat.  They would rather hide under a bushel...no?

 

Me, I am very active in local politics and even know some of our state legislators so I can help get things done at the local level and at the state level.  I think we need more people like myself who are Christians and want to be involved in politics in a positive way.

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