How should Catholics view synchronicity and coincidence in regards to his beliefs?
As just that. The world is filled with things and ideas that seem very much alike. It’s just a part of the way things are. But, it doesn’t mean that simply because one thing can look like another that it must follow that they are the same thing.
A coincidence would be just that a coincidence, but divine synchronicity would be the hand of God? But the New Age holds that there are no coincidences, everything has a spiritual lesson or spiritual meaning. There is a cosmic goal. Of course to a Christian that wouldn’t be true, this is a fallen world. I remember going to an Enneagram class at my Catholic Church. This was about the time New Age ideas started creeping into our life. It’s really probably not a good idea that any church offers anything that is remotely connected to New Age beliefs. It’s dangerous especially if someone is not catechized in their faith. A divine synchronicity is possible just not in the same sense that the New Age believes in it?
“A coincidence would be just that a coincidence, but divine synchronicity would be the hand of God?”
Everything that happens is part of God’s world. Chance and chaos are His creations, too, and subject to His will and permissions. If God thinks chance and coincidences make a better artistic effect than whatever He could have installed, who am I to argue?
“But the New Age holds that there are no coincidences, everything has a spiritual lesson or spiritual meaning.”
Well, certainly everything has a spiritual meaning. However, don’t be expecting that you’ll always be able to figure out what it is. A lot of things that happen are the consequences of people with free will making bad decisions. Other things are probably aesthetically cool, or part of other peoples’ stories than our own. We will not know the meaning of everything that goes on until the Last Judgment, when everything about everyone is laid bare by God.
Still, I’m usually able to figure out when the Holy Spirit is using events to tell me to shape up and quit whining…
“There is a cosmic goal. Of course to a Christian that wouldn’t be true, this is a fallen world.”
Just because Creation is scarred by our first parents’ fall, doesn’t mean it ceased to belong to God, to be created by God, and to be part of God’s plan and God’s will. The cosmos does have a goal – the one given to it by God in His plan for our salvation and His glory. The cosmos is a demonstration to us to God’s amazing power, love, inventiveness, and joy. The stars sing His praise, and the very rocks shout ultrasonics. In fact, all of Creation (except humans and rebel angels) do everything they do at His command. So yeah, I’m sure they also do odd jobs to help individual humans get a clue. God probably arranged all sorts of things so that apple would fall on Newton’s head.
“I remember going to an Enneagram class at my Catholic Church. This was about the time New Age ideas started creeping into our life. It’s really probably not a good idea that any church offers anything that is remotely connected to New Age beliefs. It’s dangerous especially if someone is not catechized in their faith.”
Yes, enneagrams are stupid and dangerous, and they had no business doing that crud at church.
However, we can’t just abandon truths that the New Age people have picked up somewhere. The Church worships Truth Himself in His fullness, and we must tell the full truth about these things. The Fathers knew a lot more useful stuff about cosmic plans than any bunch of New Agers do!
“A divine synchronicity is possible just not in the same sense that the New Age believes in it?”
Time and space are creatures of God, and also obey His will, yes.
Synchronicity, per se, is actually a physics thing about quarks. If you really want to know more about it, you’d be better reading quantum physics texts than talking to us! But it all happens on a very very subatomic level. On a practical basis, you’re much more likely to encounter a full-blown miracle than pairs of particles doing stuff in pairs across distance. (Still, it’s a very cool thing to build in. God is a very playful sort of Creator.)
Synchronicity is a philosophical position “as above, so below” that things reflect aspects of the time. So if Venus is in conjunction with Mars lots of people will be making love, whilst as the precession of the equinoxes moves Pisces to Aquarius in the ascendant, or whatever the term is, Christianity will be replaced by
Wicca. However it is not held that the gravitational attraction of Mars and Venus causes the lovemaking.
Synchronicity had a long run, but has how been dismissed by every thinker of note. However there are no religious grounds for rejecting it, exept that, as with every bad idea, it is taken up by people opposed to the Church. Two lies make more convincing nonsense than one.
I didn’t pick the easiest subject to talk about, but thank you for clearing up some of my confusion. It makes sense that everything that happens is part of God’s world. If chance would have some purposeful meaning then that could certainly be part of God’s creation. I can see how everything would have some kind of spiritual meaning. There’s just a difference in the way a Christian perceives these things against someone who holds New Age beliefs. I guess I just haven’t made complete sense of it yet. I’m trying to pull out my New Age beliefs and build a stronger Christian foundation. I agree that the cosmos does have a spiritual goal—the correct one is God’s plan for our salvation and His glory. But the cosmic goal varies from one religious belief system to another. As Christian’s we rely on revealed truth. I agree that truth can come from many places, but the fullness of that truth is founds in the Catholic Church and we must share the fullness of that truth we have learned no matter where we find it. I wasn’t interested in the physics of this only in religious and spiritual. But thanks for the information.
If you are talking about the Jungian ideas, we would seem them as actions of God’s providence if we are talking about the external world.
If we are talking about the psychological structure of the mind, Jung’s psychology is very interesting but as psychology is not my area of expertise, I am not quite sure what assessment to make of it. It is utilised by some theologians and spiritual writers, but I’d have reservations about some of Jung’s concepts, particularly about God. Jung was also Gnostic in some of his thinking, and Gnosticism is not exactly a healthy Christian mysticism.
There’s some stuff written about Carl Jung’s ideas if you go to ScriptureCatholic.com, scroll down to Reincarnation / New Age, and there you’ll find it. Jung’s ideas are very pagan and New Age. I once saw a forward to a book by Carl Jung on the I Ching or Book of Change. It’s a book of Chinese divination and you may know that Christian’s are not to practice it. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says: “2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” It says the same thing about magic or sorcery, “2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.” People just don’t seem to know their faith that well. A person can’t be a Catholic and be Jungian and yet there are a lot of Jungians who claim to be Catholic. To accept Jung and the teaching of the Catholic Church a person would have to be a pagan.
This document from the Vatican should help you out:
I read that. Thank you.
God synchronizes everything, therefore there is no such thing as coincidence (at least as generally connoted.)
Aquinas wrote about chance and “luck.” He said that if we could see everything from God’s perspective, we would see there is no such thing as chance or luck. However, since we only see things from our perspective, it does seem to make sense to talk of good or bad luck. Kind of a surprising position, for Aquinas.
Remember when Ruth gleaned in the fields? The Bible says “Now it came to pass”—one translation says, “It just so happened that she gleaned in the fields of Boaz.” There are a lot of things in the Christian’s life that “just so happen.”