The recent and awful murder-suicide here in Calgary has got me thinking. If Lall killed his family and the tenant due to a psychotic break-down, can he be held accountable for what he did? Or, if we take a more traditional view of this, can someone who was possibly possessed be considered guilty of a crime?
If you're not familiar with the story, I'll post a link here. It's the worst killing spree that's happened in Calgary for a long time.
Nobody really knows why this guy just up and killed his family. It's unlikely that it was as completely without warning signs as it seems, though the attack was obviously a huge surprise. But if he was driven to do this either because he was having a schizophrenic episode or he was being tormented by spiritual beings (or both, if they're the same thing), can his actions be counted as sin?
Whether yes or no, there's also a more practical issue that has to be dealt with:
If I were a therapist/counselor, and he came to see me, and said that he was hearing evil voices in his head, what would I do?
My dad has this idea that maybe all ailments, or at least illnesses, have both a physical and a spiritual element, in the same way that someone can die either by being physically killed or by having their spirit leave them. But if that's the case, and I'm a counselor charging people by the hour to come see me, then what's the ethical course of action? Drug a person up get rid of the symptoms without ever getting rid of the "illness"? Or cast out the "demons", if that's what's really wrong here? I know it sounds archaic, but just because we live in the 21st century doesn't mean that demonic influences don't exist anymore.
And if it actually turns out that these people are being tormented by demons, then is it thoroughly disgusting and wrong to use God's power (because it wouldn't be mine) to free the people, and then charge them for it, because counselors charge by the hour? Is it even possible? Or would it be more wrong to not deal with the basic issue and just deal with the symptoms? Or is this entire mental illness = evil spiritual activity idea completely out to lunch?
What is a counselor supposed to do? Thoughts, anyone?
Wow, this is a really weird post.
Because I am completely confused:
"He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which." Douglas Adams