In the context of spirituality and mental illness, one sometimes hears the following biblical story about a man possessed by demons:

According to the biblical story, Jesus sent the demons into a herd of swine, which proceeded to rush down the steep bank and drown. The man who received the exorcism was told to go home and proclaim what God had done for him. Reflecting on this example, most people in the Western world no longer attribute mental illness to demons as did the writer of the gospel of Luke. The interpretation of “religious insanity” – once used diagnostically in the psychiatric profession – is no longer a valid classification. Yet in many cases the baby has been thrown out with the bath water, I believe, and spiritual and religious resources that could be used in the service of healing have either been ignored or discarded.