Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Dabbling with the Devil

By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 22, 2022

According to a Pew Research survey, an increasing number of people identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” Deeply spiritual people believe they do not need a Creator or Creation.

Deeply spiritual people reject organized religion, although they often pick and choose religious practices. Many deeply spiritual people aim for the state of Nirvana (based on eastern religious conventions). Nirvana is purely spiritual, the state of perfect quiet, freedom, and highest happiness. It is the liberation from worldly attachments, suffering, and God’s Creation. They can run, but they cannot hide.

Deeply spiritual people seek to avoid the bondage of sensory perception that distorts their dreams. They identify comfort zones and expect everyone to abide by their imaginary safe spaces. Deeply spiritual people are otherworldly, pleasant, non-judgmental, and nice—except when others disrupt their dreams. Inwardly, they detest people who are not intensely spiritual.

God created us as rational beings. Deeply spiritual people avoid logical arguments. Facts and logic disrupt the process of spirituality set adrift from the verifiable facts of Creation. It is impossible to define “woman.” There are more genders than the 57 varieties of Heinz products. Deeply spiritual people label those who disagree with their dreams as racists, sexists, or homophobes. Zoom conference calls disproportionately appeal to deeply spiritual people and limit personal contact. Fortunately for us, there is a mute button.

Deeply spiritual people cannot allow the physical universe to determine spiritual preferences. They seek to transcend existence, separating themselves from reality and God’s handiwork. They scoff when Jesus teaches: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:20) Crying babies and church bells are annoyances, disrupting inner peace.

Insurance companies and many in the medical profession are deeply spiritual. They ask, “What was your sex assigned at birth?” A religious realist asks, “Did it change?” A deeply spiritual person responds, “Creation is useless. Follow your dreams and self-identify as you will.” Alas, some dreams are nightmares.

The 450 false prophets of Baal were deeply spiritual people who followed their dreams. When the irascible, harsh, judgmental, and divisive Religious Realist, Elijah the Prophet, challenged them to prove their worship was superior to worship of the one Creator, they entered into a trance—a deeply spiritual otherworldly state, detached from the world. They slashed themselves with swords, and blood gushed everywhere.

Mutilation is a sign of self-loathing and hatred for Creation. It is the hallmark of deeply spiritual people who self-identify according to their dreams disconnected from reality. The objective truth of Creation violates their spiritual fantasies and illusions. They ask, along with Pontius Pilate: “What is truth?” Lost in an aimless spiritual cosmos, they react with self-inflicted violence and crucify those who do not condone their futile dreams.

Objective truth depends upon sensory perceptions of God’s Creation and reliable testimony, not dreams or piously concocted myths. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you….” (1 Jn. 1:1-2)

Religious realists work with Creation as it is. 1) We are not deeply spiritual, 2) the human body expresses the soul, 3) we are male and female, and 4) we associate with others as embodied spirits. We attend church services with others. We need a community for spiritual, social, and economic well-being. Religious realists expect sufficient evidential matter to keep them on a common-sense path. When deeply spiritual people insist, “Follow the science,” they mean we must trust their dreams, not the evidence. They dismiss the legitimate factual questions of religious realists as conspiracy theories.

The good angels are deeply spiritual because God created them that way. They accept created reality. They freely serve God, rejoicing in His Creation and serving us according to God’s plan. Mysteries abound. Like Santa’s elves, they may even assist God in Creation, designing creatures—like a giraffe and a hippopotamus—with comical appearances. When pondering the mysteries of Creation, playful speculation doesn’t hurt.

The demons are also deeply spiritual, but they reject God’s realism. They will not serve, and they hate Creation because the Word of God became flesh rather than an angelic being. Many deeply spiritual people imitate the Devil by mutilating God’s good Creation. The medieval Albigensians despised the world of Creation. They believed conception traps a free-floating soul, and abortion releases the soul from the clutches of material Creation. Saint Dominic converted many of them with the realism of this prayer: “Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

Religious realists encounter the living God, His Church, and His Creation through His gifts: “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) The Sacraments reflect the religious realism of Catholics. We see, hear, and touch the stuff of worship—Creation! Water cleanses us of sin. The Sacramental bread of life nourishes us. The oils of the Sacraments provide courage and seal us as God’s holy priests—both common and ordained.

Jesus—the Incarnation—gives us a vision of the Normal. Original sin wounded human nature and tarnished Creation. So we aim to return to orderly and virtuous lives according to reason and the law of Christ. As realists, we know it takes a lifetime of cooperating with God’s grace in Sacramental encounters to repair what our sins have lost.

The Devil is a deeply spiritual person who follows his dreams, and we dabble with the Devil when we deny the truth of God’s Creation. The Sacraments—celebrated with devotion—revere Creation. The Sacraments restore the correct relation of body and soul, faith and reason, science and religion. The Sacraments provide the path to the resurrection of the body and eternal joy.

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: vboast4348 - Aug. 23, 2022 11:56 PM ET USA

    Thank you for this excellent exposee of New Age spiritualty. And for the clear clarion call to embrace the Sacramental graces offered by our God.

  • Posted by: rfr46 - Aug. 23, 2022 2:27 AM ET USA

    Thank you, Father Pokorsky. Wonderful analysis of the utopianism and false freedom of the day.