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Shawn wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How do we as twenty-first century humans, in a scientific and technological world, still believe in pre-scientific views of God?

For example, many of the great theologians throughout the centuries have had beautiful and well thought-out views on life. It just seems we now have a better understanding on how things work.

For example, take neurology and psychology. We know that mental illness and symptoms of certain disorders cause the body and mind to be off and it's just a matter of chemical imbalances, not evil spirits. We know much more of how nature works.

I just find it harder and harder to envision a world where pre-scientific views have a place.

Any thought would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Shawn

  { In the twenty-first century, where we know more, how can pre-scientific views have a place? }

Paul replied:

Shawn,

I sense that you may be giving us too much credit today and not enough to the pre-moderns.
In line with your question, we could also ask:

  • Why anyone should accept the Old Testament since it seems to pre-date [rational/logical] thinking influenced by Greek, Hellenistic culture?

Scientific discoveries enable us to understand secondary causes by observing the nature of things, and hence is a wonderful tool.

The Catholic religion focuses more on the Primary Cause — who He is, what He wants from us, and how we can attain union with Him. This is our only chance at happiness and eternal life.

Yes, neurology and psychology help us understand things like chemical imbalances but only to a point. We don't fully understand how these imbalances occur and why some people have them and not others.

  • Is it possible that some illnesses, psychological or physical, can be influenced by demonic forces?
  • Is it possible that the devil could influence our immune systems, emotions, and other physiological processes that do not directly involve our intellect and will?
    <Yes.>
  • And might demons work on our weaknesses in order to bring us into sin and into despair?
    <Yes.>

It is still all a bit of a mystery but what Jesus offers us is protection. Faith and grace can overcome anything the world, the flesh, or the devil could ever throw at us. Christ has defeated the devil and conquered the world, and He invites us to latch onto Him so that with His Life, we may also.

Peace,

Paul

Shawn replied:

Thanks Paul!

Beautifully said!

Shawn

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