From Big Medical Encyclopedia

THEOLOGY (Greek theos god + logos doctrine; synonym divinity) — systematic statement, justification and protection by means of rational thinking of religious doctrines. It is most developed in Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Objectively any T. expresses the aspiration of religious ideologists to strengthen articles of belief by means of arguments of rational thinking. Material, the Crimea operates with T., includes the statements obtained from sacred books, comments to these statements, the critic of views of other religious trends, and also atheism. Supporters of the nek-ry directions T. recognize «a natural revelation», i.e. existence in sensually perceived world of evidence of existence of god, and try to interpret randomly the facts of the real world (naprm orderliness of natural phenomena, expediency of a structure and behavior of organisms). Formation of T. it is connected with protection of dogma against criticism of followers of other religions and philosophical and atheistic doctrines, and also with the need to fix domination of a certain line of interpretation of religious dogmas in this religion. T. evolved in connection with change of the social relations, development of science, philosophy and public practice in general.

In theological concepts of people is considered as the creation of god consisting of two beginnings: the body belonging to the natural world and supernatural soul — a source of life and consciousness. Soul is healthy if it is turned to god and induces the person to work according to divine establishments. It is sick if it attracts to the evil — evasion from performance of a God's will and opposes to a will of god the. The main reason of evasion of soul from respect for divine will of T. considers action on soul of the evil forces resisting to god — a devil, demons, genies, etc. Diabolizing in a body and oppression of soul by them — the reason of mental disorders («demoniac possession»). From positions T. soul therapy consists in release it from the power of evil forces, merge of its aspirations to a will of god by religious and moral self-improvement, evasion from intrigues of a devil. In fight against the evil the help of priests, churches, especially is important for the believer when evil spirits «were already installed» in the person. Christian T. recognizes ability of priests to exempt human souls from the power of demons. Practice of exile of demons (exorcism) was eurysynusic throughout many centuries. Cases of healing by exorcists of patients with hysteria appeared by miracle, and unsuccessful attempts of treatment were explained by force of a devil or weight of sins of the person. And now exorcism still meets abroad, even in the developed capitalist countries — in the USA, England, Germany, etc.

Theologists, though recognize corporal health useful to the person, but appreciate it much below, than sincere since the satisfaction of requirements of a body arrests the person to a material world, distracts it from cares of rescue of soul. Therefore T. proves advantage of asceticism — killing of flesh, transferring of corporal sufferings, suppression of corporal requirements and inclinations. Theologists connect diseases with desire of god to test the hardness of belief of the person, to create at it additional requirement for the request for the help to god. However as in real life people were never reconciled with diseases, T. it was forced to justify somehow and medical activity. Limit killing of inclinations of flesh and voluntary acceptance of corporal sufferings for the sake of strengthening of spirit is available only to the elected devotees, for other people admitted necessary to keep health to carry out the duties determined by it god. Purpose of medicine was seen in recovery of the corporal order broken by a disease, to-ry it is allegedly put by the divine creator. At similar approach the aspiration to understand harmony of a body, essence of its disturbances owing to a disease and a way of recovery of health received a nek-swarm a justification. No wonder therefore that during an era of domination of religion, when T. was the most authoritative sphere of intellectual activity, from the circle of theologists people appeared, to-rye, aiming at comprehension of divine knowledge in a structure and life activity of a body, were engaged (though in very undeveloped form) in a research of an organism, search of new pharmaceuticals. It is enough to tell that such large scientist-physician as M. Sereet, was a theologist. However to most of physicians of T. aimed to impose as leading the idea that treatment is granted from above, and doctors and medical means only of the tool, by means of to-rykh this «gift» of god is implemented. The belief and a prayer of the patient, and also assistance of church can, from the point of view of T., and without the aid of medicine to cure of various diseases. The clergy recommended to patients visit of the holy sites — sacred sources, relics, graves, etc. Similar recommendations and quite often extend presently abroad, napr, the Catholic church propagandizes the wonderful healings which are allegedly performed as a result of bathing in a source near Lourdes in France.

T. created considerable obstacles for development of medicine, cultivating aversion for everything that could weaken belief of people in dependence of their health and life from a will of god. Searches new in the field of medicine, especially pilot studies, always met counteraction of ground mass of the theologists seeing inadmissible invasion into God's secrets in such searches. In Christianity it was shown, in particular, in prohibition or sharp restriction by church in the period of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance of anatomic opening of corpses. At the beginning of 19 century hostility of theologists to researches of new ways of treatment of diseases came to light in condemnation of smallpox vaccination as revolts against the will of God's, punishing people smallpox for sins. Today the Catholic church condemns scientific searches of effective and safe contraceptives, ways of abortion.

In modern conditions of achievement of medicine and biology force theologists to modernize the maintenance of religious views of health and diseases. Nowadays T. declares the person the employee of god in the continuing creation of the world, characterizes corporal health and physical development as valuable factors of human life. Instead of traditional asceticism moderation and expediency in satisfaction of requirements of a body, vigorous activity of the person in society (so-called new asceticism) are preached. Importance of medicine admits protection and recovery of health, it is less told about wonderful healings.

For the purpose of attraction on the party Catholic and Protestant churches send the population of underdeveloped countries to these countries as missionaries of the people having not only theological, but also medical preparation, would create also health centers. However all this is combined with understanding of medicine as God's implementers of a will concerning health of the person. It is still claimed that diseases, as well as sufferings in general, are deep-rooted from life of people that they are useful since they remind of god and of need of rescue of soul. Many theologists try to support the idea of immortality of soul with modern pseudoscientific vitalistic concepts about existence in an organism of the non-material organizing beginning. Not accidentally many of the modern biologists protecting positions vitalism (see), are professional theologists — I. Haas, P. Fothergill, etc.

Achievements of medicine, health care and medicobiological sciences are the essential factor disproving theological concepts.

Bibliography: Gabinsky G. A. Theology and miracle, Criticism of Oogoslovsky concepts, M., 1978; Kryvelev I. A. Criticism of the religious doctrine about immortality, M., 1979; Science and theology in the 20th century (Criticism of theological concepts of science), under red, Century. On Garadzhi and A. D» Sukhova * M., 1972; Negovsky V. A. Some methodological, problems of modern resuscitation, Vopr. philosophies, No. 8, page 64, 1978; Skibitsky M. M, Modern theology and natural sciences, the myth about the union and reality, M., 1983.,

I. G. Ivanov