Jesus and Science
1. What does the church say about science?
Science had contributed a lot to human wellbeing. Knowledge for example, enable us to new alternatives. Science have developed rapidly in the last centuries; with countless discoveries that changed and continue changing our daily lives. In fact, the Scientific Revolution ranks as one of the most influential and important events in history.
“Basic scientific research, as well as applied research, is a significant expression of man’s dominion over creation. Science and technology are precious resources when placed at the service of man and promote his integral development for the benefit of all. By themselves however they cannot disclose the meaning of existence and of human progress. Science and technology are ordered to man, from whom they take their origin and development; hence they find in the person and in his moral values both evidence of their purpose and awareness of their limits. “CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 2293
2. How the church sees technology?
Church acknowledge many of the advances of society. Knowledge is like any other tool, it enable us to new paradigms. Intelligence and freedom are qualities God put into humans, making them more capable. Today when having have a question, we can ask Google and get thousands of replies; or make and online purchase and receive it in the following days.
“It is an illusion to claim moral neutrality in scientific research and its applications. On the other hand, guiding principles cannot be inferred from simple technical efficiency, or from the useful ness accruing to some at the expense of others or, even worse, from prevailing ideologies. Science and technology by their very nature require unconditional respect for fundamental moral criteria. They must be at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, of his true and integral good, in conformity with the plan and the will of God.”CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 2294
Having these comodities, we should rest with a smile of comfort… but do we?
3. If technology per se won’t give us happiness, how should we look for it?
Many alternatives Catholicism gives to truly improve wellness and happiness. For Example the 3 pillars of obedience, poverty and chastity; correctly understood. There is no point in being obediently blind, or in being chase for the effort of doing it. The right approach is put resources, to the service of the human family. The amount of them we have available and deliver all our intents.
Putting only some of them, the ones left out, will lead to comfort zones, and not being happy with oneself. By being generous instead, resources will increase and multiply.
4. Does the church ALWAYS agrees with science?
Science developed rapidly after the Scientific Revolution, making countless discoveries; changing human life dramatically and indefinitely and is in use in our daily lives. But even when the Scientific Revolution ranks as one of the most influential and important events in history, The Church does not always agree with science. For example, in the Shroud of Turin case:
Many think that it is a true representation of Christ’s body and face; that Christ left his body imprint in a blooded shroud in which he was lying death after his crucifixion, and before resurrection. And Science Carbon-14 test date this relic in the middle ages. Now we don’t know what to think.
Another example is Medjugorje. It is considered that Virgin Mary gives messages to some childs in this sanctuary (that grew into adults) who still receive messages at certain dates. Some consider fancy this idea of a mother giving messages to selected people in specified days, and don’t agree. For others -including me- living the experience of going there within a group of people, contributed to embracing the faith.
If you need a fact that God exist, besides every new day; besides the grace of each flower or the wisdom of each biological specie; I think you won’t get it… After all, Faith is an act of will, a human intent looking forward to find God. A choice one take to walk a way, even not being completely sure. An example of faith can be seen in the words of Peter, or Simon, in Luke 5:5, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish, and we caught nothing. But you say to put the nets in the water, so I will.”
In my opinion, this is faith.
5. Does the Church agrees with the model proposed by Galileo Galilei?
Yes. Pope John Paul II rectified the unjust persecution of the Italian astronomer and physicist, who proved that the Earth moves around the Sun and not the inverse. The same goes for Copernicus’s ideas that the Earth instead of the Sun moved
These and other human errors throughout history have been revised and have become a source of caution on future accusations. We all agree that it is not ok to condemn innocent people.
Today we know that the Earth moves around the Sun, but what Galileo and Copernicus ignored is that the Sun is not static. It is also moving inside the Milky Way. And there are many other examples of theories that needed to be updated, like the Darwin’s Evolution that stated that we came from monkeys, or the Big Bang Theory.
We are always learning, and our discoveries will also be substituted. What now we think is true, in the future will be proof on the contrary, or in a more complete model.
Jesus and the New Age
6. Does the Catholic Church, or Jesus, accept New Age’s doctrines?
Some of them, but the majority are not accepted by the curia. My opinion is that the Church and God promote what enhance human’s development, rejecting what it harms him. Whatever contributes to a true human development, in harmony with the ecosystem, is accepted.
I think, the Church will accept New Age’s doctrines too (the beneficial ones). However, in these modern times, there is a wide variety of theories intended to wellbeing, but not verified. That is the case of the Virgin from Medjugorje, for example, and many other cases. She hasn’t been accepted as official, even when millions of parishioners follow her.
It is okay to test new things, as long as it doesn’t risk the integrity of what we are already doing (and as long as you have realistic expectations on it). And by “what we are doing” I mean:
- Each one has a body: Is your body’s health at risk by New Age practicing?
- Each one has happiness: Will you be happy following the New Age’s philosophy? Really?
- We may do activities aimed for a higher state, lets say “attain heaven”: Does it interfere with the working hours of your service?
There will be things I am forgetting, but they are the main idea… and as long as you put realistic expectations on it (remember that our main hope should be for God, our Savior). Expecting unrealistic consequences can be disappointing. We can observe this in every day’s life, for example in gambling: most people enjoy the process in a healthy way, while others are nervous about the outcome, becoming addicts and slaves of a game. There is the illusion of getting quick and easy big money, and who can be steady while risking years of hard work?
Many times our expectations lead us to unpredicted scenarios. In 2012 there was a rumor, at least in Mexico, that the world was going to end, because of a Mayan prediction. The last day of the year, people said good bye to each other thinking everything has ended. December 31 passed and started January 1 with the joy of every new day. Time will tell with evidence, so lets embrace with optimism the theories that prove themselves to be beneficial.
7. Why the majority of the New Age’s doctrines are not jet accepted?
Mostly because their effects are not easy verifiable, measured or registered. Time will have to pass to gather a majority which could decide by consensus. There is a thin line between certainty and not, which could take decades or centuries to corroborate. Or it can also be that the phenomenon hasn’t concluded, and cannot be studied and evaluated. This is the case in Medjugorje: the phenomena has not ended, it cannot be studied nor evaluated, it is not official and hasn’t been accepted by the roman curia… Very different than other Virgin’s manifestations like Fatima, or Lourdes.
At the end, time will decide which theories stays and which one not. This is like the UFO’s certainty, some say they exist, others not. And time will remove all doubts. As Carl Sagan would say, we are just pale blue dots in a vast universe….
It is normal that many attempts fade away and few prevail. Most knowledge arrive this way, not only New Age’s. Many attempts were made, for example, for the airplane to be built up. Reckless people tried to fly in many ways, risking their life, wearing artificial wings; but most of them failed. Many years had to pass until the airplane was developed with a light engine. There is always a learning curve, and even once the first airplane was developed, new improvements appeared and still appear.
8. My New Age’s theory is good and beneficial, why it is not accepted right away?
It takes a deep analysis to determine veracity. Many aspects -other than the obvious- have to be considered, it may take decades. Bishops will have to analyze, for example, if the requested theory/ideology is safe and appropriate for everyone, including the margined, minorities or the ones disabled with a special condition. If this proves to be the case, like with many scientific truths, it will be accepted.
To determine the benefits, for a worldwide institution like the Catholic Church, is not a trivial thing. Consider worshiping objects, for example. It may be misleading to encounter a crucified one in every altar. It will seem violent to parishioners or strange to outsiders. However, to have a God that struggled like us can be understood by anyone. No matter culture or race, everyone can relate to it. It is understandable and universal. And besides its side effects (like pessimism or misunderstandings), having a God that embraces everybody is a truth that must be widespread in the first place.
Also universal is the fact that we all are going to die… does your New Age theory focuses on the good times only, or also take into consideration this unavoidable truth???
9. If Human’s wellbeing and New Age’s wellbeing are the same, why not accept all the theories?
As with other issues, they will be accepted once they are proved to be beneficial. Remember Jesus once said:
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?Mathew 7:16 New International Version of the Bible
Also, Catholicism look for human wellness by helping others while many New Age doctrines focuses only in helping oneself (achieving inner peace and so on), in this way leading to a narrow vision, an individualistic and self-centered one, where the only measure is my own ruler, and whose results are subjective, or partial.
… so we look forward to see those fruits. It takes time to test them. Some benefits can be observed instantly, but what about the long term, how do you measure this effects by not waiting for years?
10. I am certain that my New Age’s doctrine benefits all humanity, should everyone practice it?
I think so, but that is only my opinion. I think for example, that everyone should be vaccinated, which not always happen. We are free and diverse individuals, which is a bless; let us allow different opinions and points of view, that will enrich our global understanding. We are also free to decide, between one or another alternative.
11. What does the New Age and Catholicism have in common?
They both precise of a switch of mind. One has to adapt oneself and learn to see an opportunity in what seem a shortage or a lacking. I explain: I expected religion to be perfect, coming from a perfect God. But since the Church is operated by humans, it turned to have flaws. This spots are ready to be filled by us, so in my case, having no microphones in my church was the first thing that I complained about. Also because it is easier to complain, than to take a couple of hours in fixing it. And of course, an open attitude helps: listening to people, before imposing my cool microphones.
Waiting for long term results also requires a shift in mind. Living in a fast world, one may not have the patience. So we have to adapt and the process of learning doesn’t end. This is why this FAQ is constantly being updated. I may add questions, improve answers, attach bibliography and so on.
12. What is the advice Catholic Church can say about the New Age?
Well, do it on your own risk. It is your decision of freedom. Would you take the risk of participating in a not-revised doctrine?
As with any theory, certain time will be spend in testing. Would you allow yourself to be used as part of the tests during the period of learning (possibly decades)?
Maybe yes, it will benefit mankind to test and learn from experiences. Maybe no, Saint Alphonso Maria Ligorio would say: it is wiser to look for an eternal bless, even when little, it will be permanent; and this will be assured by sticking to a traditional way.
13. Would I risk my way to heaven, by following a New Age theory?
I don’t think that following an inaccurate New Age theory would make us lose our right to heaven. I think God have the patience to wait for us time after time, even if we do wrong steps believing in something that could harm us. As a Baby learning to walk, God stands at our side, helping every time. Or as in the bible:
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!Matthew 7:11 New International Version of the Bible
14. Should the Church prohibit all the New Age’s Doctrines?
It cannot be stated for every doctrine. As stated above, if the new doctrine contributes to life in a sane manner, it will prevail and be accepted. Time will tell.
I think the savy way is not to prohibit; but to educate to use it and not become slaves of it. Because yes, one could get attached to the fruits even when it could harm others to get them. Most times side effects are not visible, but time will tell, and the consequences will be evident.
However, thinking in eternal life, as I understood from Saint Alfonso Maria Ligorio’s writings: nothing will be worthier than Jesus teachings. Specially when dealing with an eternity-long stance. Even if they don’t appear as shinny as New Age’s promises, I would better stick to checked ways, like the following of a Saint.
15. I have read and don’t agree, what can I do?
The best to do is to test it for yourself. It might be that you aren’t correctly informed. The fast hurries of our modern world won’t let us view the whole panorama. Or it may happen like with languages. One can tell of foreign speakers that they sing in an unintelligible way, like talking honey. However one cannot distinguish ones own accent, because it is common, and also because we get concentrated on our messages, rather than in the sounds. Similar can happen immersed in New Age’s scenarios. We must compare them one another, and to do so we need a fresh look.
To take a more informed decision, I invite you to an Eucharistic Adoration, commonly taken place in catholic churches. There, in front of a blessed object, you will be more apt to compare both worlds, to make a decision. Or just try a different way for some time: if it doesn’t convince you, you can always go back.
16. I do agree. I want to test Catholicism, where should I start?
There are many ways to start. My advice is to join a group, it could be an online group, but preferably live, in-person. (Pope Francis said: ‘No one is saved alone’ therefore a group is recommended. BTW you could also read any of Pope Francis’s published papers, informed and current). Chose according to your preferences, the nearest, or the one that is easier for you to attend.
If you want to stick to a proven way, maybe under a saint example, there are many charisms to chose from: since simple services, to a more specialized skills like writing, teaching, curing the ill, and so on. All these can lead you to a better life, an eternal one.
17. Who wrote this FAQ?
I am a layperson, an artist and engineer, a regular young Mexican, and not an authority on the matter.
Ignore this guide if your Church or Priest opinion is different than mine. Again, this information is just an opinion; we are constantly learning, and this FAQ is also updated constantly. As many other Internet sources, should be light considered. I encourage you to consult qualified curriculums about these important matters.
In the past, I had two brain surgeries that made me reconsider my path. I switched from New Age back to Catholicism. I am sharing some thoughts for those more beginners than me; but I don’t have the years of servicing God, and my views could be erroneous or uninformed. We are always in a learning process. Thanks for following me through here. All the Glory to whom deserves it.
Copernicus and the Church: What the history books don’t say
Many believe the heliocentric theory was immediately rejected by the Catholic Church. However, the relationship between the Church and Copernicus is much more complex than popular historical narratives suggest.
The Christian Science Monitor