There is no consideration in the bible for those with mental illness. According to the ten commandments it is wrong to kill, you'll go to hell if you end someone's life. However, someone with Schizophrenia, say, is not resposible for his actions. Why? Because unlike the archaic belief found in the bible, diseases are not caused by demons, an ill soul or the like, but by fautly brain chemistry.
No, this is all backwards again. Both Jesus and the Ten Commandments state quite clearly that sin depends entirely on the motive, not on the action. As we just saw, the Ten Commandments say not just that it is wrong to steal or to commit adultery, but to _covet_ your neighbour’s house or wife. Jesus, similarly, says that a man who even curses his brother is as guilty as if he had killed him. Motive is all.
It follows that someone who kills while insane, and does not know what he is doing, is innocent of sin.
The Bible seems to represent at least some of what we would call mental illness as demonic possession: “having a demon.” And here again, the Bible makes plain that having a demon may be no fault of the afflicted. In several examples, occurring in three of the Gospels, young children, not responsible for their own actions, are represented as possessed. You might want to argue that the Biblical concept of mental illness is wrong, but it seems no less humane here than the current one.
There is an intriguing alternate possibility. Modern exorcists insist that demonic possession is in fact quite different from insanity or mental illness, and much less common. And the Bible too seems to make a distinction: Nebuchadnezzar, for example, goes mad, but nothing is said of a demon; David and Paul are accused of being mad, but not of being possessed. Others are possessed--by some physical illness--but not mad.
So it could be that demonic possession and madness are two different things. It is possible that there actually was very little or no madness as we understand it in New Testament times. Michel Foucault, the French philosopher-historian—not Catholic—argues that mental illness is basically an artifact of more modern times. That would explain, for example, how the rates of both depression and serious mental illnesses have quadrupled in the past few decades, or why nobody ever seemed to observe the symptoms of manic depression until the 19th century.
This being so, it may also be that in these modern times cases of demonic possession are commonly misunderstood as madness; while these are in fact two different problems.
Was the New Testament view less advanced than our present view? Here’s one interesting fact: today, all forms of serious mental illness are considered essentially incurable. But in the Bible, we have many examples of cures, and even of madness getting better on its own.
Empirically, therefore, the New Testament view seems more correct: it worked better.
And here’s another interesting possibility: if someone today chose to do as John the Baptist did, to throw off his clothes, put on animal skins, and go off to the wilderness to live on bugs, how would he be looked upon? Probably declared insane and locked up. But John was typical of the prophets in his odd lifestyle.
So we may be simply silencing all our prophets today as “mentally ill.”
Even if they really have nothing to say, this is hardly as humane as hearing them out. And letting them follow their voices.
And imagine the consequences if they do.