I read an interview with a religion professor from Boston University and it just made me laugh. You really have to have a PhD to sound this stupid.
David Frankfurter, professor and chairman of the religion department at the College of Arts & Sciences, said all sorts of silly things including Pope Francis "probably sees exorcism as a way to respond to anxieties about evil spirits" or that exorcisms "captures anxieties" which are "encouraged through the global news cycle."
But when asked about the "paradox" about the Catholic Church believing in demons and possession while also historically supporting scientific research, he reportedly dropped this nugget of brilliance:
Many people, likely including some Catholics, have difficulty believing in demonic possession. While accepting it, the Vatican historically has been behind major scientific research. How do you explain that paradox?Wait, what?
The desire to quantify—or confirm miracles scientifically—is a phenomenon of modernity. You don’t find this kind of effort to do “scientific research” on the possessed, or on healing techniques, or on relics or icons in early Christian or medieval miracle stories. People debated which worked and which had other causes; that’s all. But today, “science” has become a discourse, a way of talking about things that seem to work. And it is a discourse that matters a lot to many people, so many people try to draw in science to “prove” religious experiences.
Scholars of religion, however, are less interested in what the Catholic Church actually comes up with in “scientifically verifying” an exorcism, or the Shroud of Turin, or a demon’s presence, than in the fact that the Church is trying to invoke science for things that really don’t lend themselves to scientific validation. That’s not to say that miracles aren’t “true,” for certainly they do have enormous truth to many people. It’s just that their truth is a religious truth, a subjective truth, compared to the scientific verification of whether an ancient bone belongs to this dinosaur or that dinosaur.
I think the term "subjective truth" should never drop from your maw. Ever.