Ben, I’m curious.
You seem to read a lot of things, and then use them to doubt some aspect of Catholicism.
Are you convinced in your own mind that Catholicism is false?
If yes, then are you posting these things for answers, or to spread questions in people’s minds?
If not, then do you understand that you have an obligation to avoid things that are seriously undermining your faith? In fact, it’s probably mortally sinful to purposely seek out things that are going to harm your faith, knowing full well what the result of that will be.
I’m going to be a little blunt. I think that a lot of the problems that you see are exceedingly tame. I can understand why they might bother a person, and I sincerely empathize with you if you’re struggling. I struggled for years and years trying to find some sort of religion.
But in this case, we have accounts of supernatural occurrences, and you present some sort of a fear that these alleged events pose a danger to the faith.
You even present an answer to this conundrum—diabolical influence—but you fail to really explain why it should be brushed aside. It’s almost as if this answer is simply assumed to be inadequate without explaining why.
So I’m going to challenge you.
What is it about the angelic or demonic influence that you think could not adequately explain such phenomena?
Now, you state that demons can’t read thoughts. Well, that needs to be qualified. Demons can put thoughts into our minds, and so they can know what we’re thinking. They can likewise interpret our words within a context that is based on knowing us extremely well—including our level of grace, our weaknesses, our past, our decision-making process—and thus be able to draw all sorts of conclusions. Perhaps they can even “see” various portions of our brain firing as we think, and thus have quite an understanding of what we possibly might be dwelling on.
Furthermore, the real kicker is this: people like those in the article, might actually want demons to read their minds, and there’s no question that an invitation like that might very well be accepted. Why should that be surprising? If a person tries to communicate with a demon, all bets are off. They may not know exactly what they’re doing, but all that is necessary is for them to have enough information to make a sufficiently free choice.
Also, the “miracles” that you mention: Ben, is there anything at all in Christian tradition that would be caught off guard by the notion that the demonic can imitate? Of course all demons and all angels can influence matter. Demons can physically make us sick, and they can physically remove sickness. They can make people appear to be dead, and they can take that away. They can influence the mental imagery in people, and make them see things that aren’t there—I mean, spirits don’t have bodies, but they can present themselves as having them.
But all of this is based on whether or not God permits it, just as any type of diabolical influence. Now, would God permit people who go after certain religions to consistently be tricked and fooled by demons? Sometimes, yes. God gives us graces out of His mercy. But God is under no obligation to continue to give mercy to those who consistently throw it away. Perhaps a certain person, frankly, has had enough chances for now. Maybe it’s time for them to be given what they want.
Moreover, there might be a good that God will draw out of this that cannot be seen from the beginning, but only from the end. Is there a reason that God permitted me to wander around through various religions before becoming Catholic? I can probably think of several, not least of which is the simple fact that I can talk to people who have temptations toward this or that faith tradition, and I can speak to them in a manner that at least understands somewhat where they’re coming from. I can understand, in at least my own way, both why something would be tempting, and ultimately why it won’t lead a person to truth.
How many millions of other reasons would God have in working out good from evil? That’s precisely why He permits all evil.
So again, what is it about this that bothers you?
Are you feeling some sort of pull towards all of this, and if so, why do you think that is? What exactly is the story behind all of these questions?