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It is to this ignorance of the true God, coupled with an inordinate veneration for human excellence and the love of artistic representations appealing to the senses, that St. While these are dispositive causes, the consummative cause, he adds, was the influence of demons who offered themselves as objects of worship to erring men, giving answers through idols and doing things which to men seemed marvellous (II-II:94:4).
These causes explain the origin and spread of superstition in the pagan world.
Divination consists in the attempt to extract from creatures, by means of religious rites, a knowledge of future events or of things known to God alone.Thomas (II-II:92:1) as "a vice opposed to religion by way of excess; not because in the worship of God it does more than true religion, but because it offers Divine worship to beings other than God or offers worship to God in an improper manner".Superstition sins by excess of religion, and this differs from the vice of irreligion, which sins by defect.The human mind, by a natural impulse, tends to worship something, and if it is convinced that Agnosticism is true and that God is unknowable, it will, sooner or later, devise other objects of worship.It is also significant that just when many scientists supposed that a belief in a future life had been finally proved an illusion, Spiritism, with its doctrines and practices, should have gained such a strong hold not only on the ignorant, but also, and in a much more serious sense, on leading representatives of science itself.