Scientific and Religious Mentality
One of the characteristics of the prescientific mentality is to attribute to magical forces the origin of happenings which really come from natural causes. I say it is A characteristic, and rather should say that it is THE characteristic of the prescientific mentality. It is the characteristic par excellence, the characteristic which properly defines that type of mentality. At any rate, just as illogical as the fool who hangs on to his magical explanations, is the man of science who clings to his materialistic explanations when dealing with phenomena that are evidently of a nature which goes beyond material causes.
If the spirit exists, it is invisible. The often mentioned idea that says that "I have never seen a spirit, therefore it does not exist" is a selfcontradictory statement. If some of us believe in the existence of that which the Greeks called "pneuma" the the Latins called "spiritus", it is because we claim that the existence of that "res spiritalis" better explains some of the phenomena which we observe in out sensible world. In some cases, with its existence, those phenomena would be more easily explained, and in other cases, there is no other possible rationale to those phenomena except the acceptance of the existence of these immaterial entities. It is evident that there are miraculous, paranormal, preternatural and demoniacal phenomena in our material cosmos. Whoever states firmly that these type of events don't exist ever, has never left the closed room of his mental schemes. The only thing that can be said to these type of people is that the absolutely materialistic close-mindedness had its high point from the 19th century up until the fall of the Marxist scheme of ideas in the 80's of the twentieth century. Since that zenith of materialism, the scientific community has been opening more and more to the possibility that our world encloses more things than those that our 5 senses codify to send, via the nervous system, to the brain.
Carrying out the work of discerning cases of true and false possessions, brings with it the entering into contact with so many preternatural manifestations in the life of perfectly sane people, who have a high cultural level and great psychological balance and, moreover, in many cases are confirmed by multiple witnesses. They are phenomena and models that are repeated everywhere on earth, without the protagonists being aware of similar cases to theirs elsewhere in other places. All of this leads the sceptic to suspect that, in fact, there can be something other than simple matter in this universe. Finally, I believe that assisting at an exorcism is the final note that would bring many people to consider seriously whether or not the Catholic Faith is simply another idea subject to opinion in this world.
In answer to the sceptics about the existence of the spirit, I would like to say that all of us who are dedicated to the work of discerning true or false cases of possessions in the diverse diocese of this world, would like to reaffirm that our interest is no other than that of looking for the truth and not a defence of some preconceived postulate. We look for the truth, whatever it may be, wherever it may lead us. We are not gullible and, doing our work, we try to keep a scientific mentality. We try to analyze all the possibilities, to be distrustful of what we are told and of our own prejudices. To want to believe something leads us to believe it. It is an invitation to believe it, an irresistible invitation, but just an invitation. Now, that invitation does not exist in me; I did not desire to believe in the existence of devils and possessions. A world in which demoniacal phenomenology could be better explained by psychological pathologies or by unknown forces of the mind, would be preferable to a world in which evil es something more than an abstract concept or the mere result of free, human activity. Until I began to study Theology, to me the idea of the devil seemed like something out of a fairy tale. Some people think that atheistic materialist is more scientific than a believer when they study these subjects, but I am not guilty of the truth. Maybe the greatest obstacle that theologians encounter when they make opinions about the existence of demoniacal beings is the popular iconography concerning these entities. The subconscious memory, full of these images, con play bad tricks on us. There is no obstacle in believing in the invisible God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But, who is going to believe in a little red demon with horns?