Evil vs. mentally ill

How do you discern the difference between someone who is mentally ill and someone who is evil?

There is a gray area between.

Most psychologists believe everything can be explained by science, so they will “diagnose” you with something.

What are you inquiring about?

Don’t some exorcists believe that a lot (not all) of mental illness diagnoses are in fact demonic?

And there are many disorers in psychology that are perfectly valid, medical diagnoses. There are some that yes, are trying to pigeon hole everything unexplainable in to disorder but to outright dismiss the entire field is very ignorant.

Many are demonic. Some that had been listed as psychological diseases, such as multiple personality disorder, are no longer listed as disorders.

You’re putting words in my mouth. Re-read my statement.

Multiple Personality Disorder does still exist, but it is now know as Dissociative Identity Disorder. Not that it should be in the DSM at all but that’s another discussion.

Most psychologists believe everything can be explained by science, so they will “diagnose” you with something.”

Perhaps I’m just reading it wrong but to me it does read as a blanket dismissal, and if I am wrong I apologise. But could you then please clarify?

This is actually very interesting; I had no idea. Do you have any links on this topic, i.e. lists of such illnesses or papers written on this?

My husband met an exorcist once who had practically emptied a psychiatric institute in 6 months… but I have never heard of scientific studies done on the number of mentally ill who actually were possessed.

If you can’t tell the difference, then stay away from them. If they are mentally ill, you are probably unable to help them, and if they are evil, you don’t want to be around them.

And there is a difference between mentally ill, evil, and possessed. And some people who are mentally ill do not strike people as potentially evil.

It’s not the same definition, but has “developed” into the new definition. The DSM has a lot of “disorders” listed that are very vaguely defined. Some “disorders” I would argue, are disorders only in certain opinions and not others.

Perhaps I’m just reading it wrong but to me it does read as a blanket dismissal, and if I am wrong I apologise. But could you then please clarify?

I’m not ignorant about psychology. My own mother is a psychologist and I ended up growing up with it around all the time. It’s an interesting study.

Clarification: There are those, similar to some physicians, who become so arrogant that they believe they understand and can diagnose any symptom. Many have become atheist/agnostic, and in their religion of agnosticism/atheism, diagnose everything according to science and their religion. They are not open to the fact that some symptoms may, in reality be due to some other cause other than those that may be explained through science.

Truly, I believe many of these dilemmas of evil nature could be explained as having both evil and psychological components. I can say the same of many who are diagnosed with psychological disorders. Many times it is a combination of both, leading to confusion of which method would be the best way of resolving the issue, or a combination of both.

Here is a quick wiki article about the DSM revisions through the years. Have at it.


I am a psychology major so I am very aware of the issues of the DSM. The definition of what is now DID has evolved but is still fundamentally the same principle.

Yes, there are indeed psychologists who are like that. Mostly the kind by whose influence ridiculous things like DID end up in the DSM in the first place. I think what I misunderstood was your use of the term ‘most’.

Though I do think we run the same risk as they do - there are genuinely mental disorders that are genuine scientifically sound illnesses of the brain. We have to recognise those just as we recognise the faulty ones.

Thank you for your responses, but I still don’t think we’ve answered the question.

How do we discern evil vs mentally ill? How do we know if someone has a God - given mental illness that causes them to act badly or even like they are evil, vs someone who is truly evil?

Why the inquiry? The latest stories about Joran Van der Sloot and Casey Anthony got me to wondering about it. And then I began wondering about all people who abuse others.

How do we know the difference between a truly evil person and someone who is mentally ill? The lines can seem to blur.

I’d guess you’d have to just rule out causes? Ted Bundy seemed normal and killed 18 young women - I guess psychology would say he had issues with women who looked like a woman who hurt him, but a priest might say he had opened the door to the demonic when he was hurt. ( As a believer, and because of personal experience, I would go with a priest first like Fr. Ripperger - sensustraditionis.org/multimedia.html )

And these days you also have to account for people who have adverse reactions to psychiatric meds - ssristories.com/ and also holistic health practitioners say people can act mentally ill when they have food allergies, or eat too much sugar, caffiene etc

I don’t have any faith in modern psychology.

I just googled “evil vs mentally ill” and there are a million discussions on this topic. I read a post on a site that is bringing me closer to an answer to my question - how to discern evil from mental illness.

From: dailykos.com/story/2007/12/11/420679/-Stop-Calling-EVIL-a-Mental-Illness

 "...The vast majority of mentally ill, when tortured by the worst of these impulses, will choose suicide over homicide.  I've worked with many patients who are on the far end of crazy, and have seen that their lack of judgment has led them not to inflict harm, but rather to be victimized--often abused, or financially and/or sexually exploited by the "sane" world...."

I’ll let you know if I find more helpful info.

There is an interesting book called, “People of the Lie…The Hope for Healing Human Evil” by M.Schott Peck, MD…it discusses this issue…

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