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What does the Bible say about people with mental illness?

Have a friend in Christ who is black/white; all are responsible for their actions all the time. "Mental illness" is a modern construct that is not Biblical. Saul, etc. suffered due to their sin.

Suspect her point confuses the "I'm sad, need some excitement so I'll shoot somebody" with "I don't want to live anymore 'cause everyone hates me."

If a schizophrenic purposely quits taking meds and then hurts someone--yeah I think they're culpable. If they hurt someone before they're diagnosed, then I don't think they should be held criminally liable.

Depression, for me, is a bit trickier.

Crux (IMHO): Does the Bible support idea that some mental illness is NOT sin and is there a circumstance when a person is not responsible for their actions (outside of knowlingly creating an altered state of being i.e. drunk, taking drugs, etc.)?

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    Under the common protestant belief of original sin there is no such thing as a person being innocent. Even those who seem innocent are guilty. However if you changed the word 'innocent' to 'less guilty' with respect to personal sins, I am sure many biblical arguments can be found in support of degrees of guilt, where some based on their circumstances are less guilty, especially less guilty than those who appear innocent looking down on the guilty.
    – Mike
    Jan 13, 2013 at 1:53
  • Also I suggest limiting your question to one. If a mental illness itself is sin, or not, is a totally different question compared to the innocence, or guilt of the sins committed by people with mental illnesses. In some ways its like asking is cancer a sin, verses is it a sin for people with cancer to hate God. In the simple case of severe depression, for example, it is obviously not a sin in itself, as Jesus was severely depressed when sweating drops of blood. However if he decided not to die to alleviate his depression it would have been sin.
    – Mike
    Jan 13, 2013 at 1:57
  • Also welcome to the site! I think this is an excellent question and you may find that an edit or two are needed to keep it open in order to fit the Q&A format of this site. Please read FAQ.
    – Mike
    Jan 13, 2013 at 2:00


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