Q&A

Is it wrong to study the I Ching?

By October 21, 2014 6 Comments

Question

I am aware the Church is against fortune-telling and astrology, but isn’t the I Ching all right? I mean, it’s a Taoist holy book.

Answer

It is not a problem to study other religions, as a matter of fact so many Catholic Apologists and theologians would almost HAVE TO do this. But there must be a think line drawn between simple study and practice. The Church isn’t against reading any book to know about any religion, but is against practicing or believing in things contrary to the traditional teachings of the Church as revealed by Christ and handed down through the Apostles.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

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 ["channelers"] 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. (CCC 2116)

I usually advise anyone without sound theological background not to embark on such study since the many questions that new discoveries can bring up might lead you into a different, wrong path if you do not have the right answers already. So i advise you consult with your spiritual director (and you should have one) to help you examine your motives for studying I Ching, and if it is pure, you can, with the blessings of the director and his guidance go into such research.

6 Comments

  • Dom says:

    hmm interesting .. what about the ‘Art of Living’ and other forms of yoga? Coming from India, I did study about it and how it helps open up all your ‘chakras’ or energy centers .. many catholics practice kundalini yoga and some even teach it .. infact if i do recall, there were even some yoga classes for kids at our parish and I wondered then how could the parish Priest allow it.. most ppl dont understand that yoga is inherently a religious and spiritual tradition and this opening up of all your energy centers could make you susceptible to evil spirits.. So im curious to know your opinion about this new hip craze that is taking over the world.. my opinion is and its because ive tried it and just had a bad feeling, when they asked me to breathe in, hold and breathe out saying ‘Om’ that its plain wrong..
    So are catholics allowed to practise yoga? What is the Churchs’ teaching about it?

  • Liz says:

    All that is from the new era, which is against our believes and Catholic teachings.

  • Thomas R says:

    I’d actually think it could be okay if you’re just studying it to understand their culture or if the elements of it are treated purely as a physical exercise. There was even a kind of “Christian yoga” effort to keep physical exercise elements of it, but ditch any specifically Hindu notions linked to it. Sometimes I think Tai Chi looks kind of interesting, but that’s not a sign I believe “qi” even exists. My understanding is more that non-Christian religions are deficient, but rarely outright evil. So some of them could have stumbled on some healthy physical exercises and then given them erroneous explanations or justifications.
    I worry I might sound “modernist” to some there, but I’m pretty strict for a person of my generation. I have seen priests use phrases like “karma” and that bothers me. And a kid at Mass once had a shirt with a Taoist symbol and I found it inappropriate but my Dad, who usually comments on inappropriate church attire, didn’t think much of it. (For me church attire is “inappropriate” not so much when it’s “not dressy” as when it’s disrespectful, sexually provocative, or even ostentatious at times. In some ways I think I’d be offended if a person at Church wore super-ritzy clothes because that seems to be a “look at me and my fancy clothes” thing, but I know older Catholics don’t agree with me on that)

  • All fortune telling is e work of devil

  • MNTCATH says:

    Its one thing to study another religious/spiritual/belief, but its another thing to start melding the Catholic faith to these outside beliefs and still yet another thing to starting denying or denouncing your Catholic faith in the process. As the above writer said, have a firm understanding of the Catholic faith in history and daily life, before approaching outside beliefs.

  • philip marcelo says:

    As long as you stay true to Christ as your Lord and Master and to His teachings. the practise of yoga , understanding I-Ching , chanting Om and practising Chi will only enhance and can even be beneficial to make you a better follower of JC. I know this because I am a practisioner not simply or a dogmatic parishioner

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