Evolution of Paradigm Christianity and the Discove Essay

This essay has a total of 2264 words and 10 pages.


Evolution of Paradigm Christianity and the Discovery of the Individual





"I cannot forgive Descartes. In all his philosophy he would have been quite willing to
dispense with God. But he had to make Him give a fillip to set the world in motion; beyond
this, he has no further need of God."

Blaise Pascal, Pensées, number 77

"Cosmology itself speaks to us of the origins of the universe and its makeup, not in order
to provide us with a scientific treatise but in order to state the correct relationship of
man with God and with the universe. Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the
world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth, it expresses itself in the
terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer . . . other teaching about the
origin of and makeup of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does
not wish to teach how heaven was made but how one goes to heaven."

Pope John Paul II, Address to the
Pontifical Academy of Sciences on 3 October 1981.


The discovery of the New World and especially the people inhabiting it was very dangerous
to the Christian Church in the sense that it pointed out falsities in a paradigm to which
people held great loyalty for its antiquital and divine authority.


Humans are opposed to change, for at each moment in history, we like to think our
paradigms for the universe and the heavens hold the absolute good and truth. It comes
down to a question of pride. In order to change a paradigm, we have to admit that the
previous paradigm was wrong; The longer it has been in place, the harder this is. Like a
lie, the longer it is maintained the harder it is to tell the truth, for longevity
requires investment of lie upon lie upon lie. When we have invested life after life,
profit after profit, scholar after scholar in a paradigm, it holds great value. This is
where the antiquities derive their authority, for they give us the paradigms in which we
invest. And, this is why we are loyal to our paradigms, to the point of interference with
advancement—which ironically, in this case, means toward the absolute good and truth
in our paradigms. Thus, for the same reason, we ought to question our antiquities; The
more time and energy we invest the more we lose and the farther we get from the absolute
truth and good.


Yet there are absolute goods and truths in our paradigms; It is just that our paradigms
are not the absolute truth and good. This concept is not unlike the King having two
bodies, one being the office and the other being the individual. We have the human spirit
and then we have the human incarnate. The absolute truth and good are in the human
spirit, but no one human possesses the knowledge, perfection, or purity to capture the
absolute. Our antiquities—scholars and profits—are those who come closest to
the absolute truth and good with the knowledge available at the time, to the best of their
human imperfection and impurity. Therefor, we cannot blindly throw out our antiquities
when their paradigms are humbled, for although not the absolute, there are absolute truths
and goods to be maintained and built upon.


We should extract, from our antiquities', elements of absolute good and truth for
application in a new, more perfect and pure, paradigm. This is in part what we are doing
when we cite texts, and this adds legitimacy to our works with the antiquities' authority
derived from our loyalty to their paradigms. I suppose I should cite someone here. I
agree with Descartes in that everything in the past is wrong, one will only find the truth
in them selves. But, one does not throw out the past, we note changes not to be made
again and maintain the truths and good. We know from Descartes that absolute truth is in
the human spirit, and from Aristotle that humans are inherently good. Then if, "all men
do all their acts with a view to achieving something which is, in their view, a good,"
there will be some absolute good and truth in their acts. In taking the elements of truth
and good from our antiquities paradigms and adding them to our own, we transcend the human
incarnate working collectively through the human spirit toward the absolute truth and
good. In this way too, we reconcile our loyalty to our antiquities. We are not
abandoning our antiquities when we throw out their wrongs, rather we are joining them in
combining their truths and good into a new paradigm created by a group of humans, a human
spirit, not a fallible individual.


Now, how do we determine what to keep, what is truth and good, but by expunging that which
no longer applies after the subject of a paradigm's design changes, after a new discovery.
With each new discovery, our first attempt, at understanding, maps it into an existing
paradigm. We call the West Indies, the West Indies, because they fit into the Indies
place on the map of the world at the time, and obviously later found not to be. Hence,
the quite natural, term paradigm mapping. If a discovery does not actually fit into a
paradigm, serious figure doctoring is necessary to keep it there. This is a natural
defense reaction brought on again by our loyalty to existing antiquities and paradigms.
However, the awkwardness of the "mapped" paradigm should quickly point out a need for
revision. Here to revise is to make the paradigm fit the discovery not the discovery fit
the paradigm. In this way paradigm mapping becomes almost an exercise in developing new
paradigms. We would rather, admit to being partly wrong than look ridiculous. A "mapped"
paradigm forces a break from antiquital loyalty enough so that we can see the faults in
existing paradigms; All that is left we can, until the next discovery, take to be truth
and good.


Still, there is another reason for peoples reluctance to change; The existing paradigm may
be convenient. Would you want to change the paradigm if it placed you at the top, in
power? This why discoveries become dangerous. They force the change of paradigms, and
often a changing of the guard.


Existing Paradigms have never been more challenged or changed then by the Discovery of
the New World, and especially the people inhabiting it. At the time, the Bible served
as both the universal and heavenly paradigm, it was both the science and the religion.
More accurately, the Bible was the religion at the time and religion was both science and
morality. Religion can and did then explain life on two levels: the big LIFE—life
on an evolutionary (for lack of a better word) timescale, and the life of the
individual—life on an ontogenetic time scale. Since the discovery of the New World,
and because of the discovery, there has been a movement, long resisted by the Church,
de-emphasizing the big LIFE side of Christianity while emphasizing the life of the
individual and how to conduct life morally.


One of the main challenges, or questions to the Church's big LIFE authority was: Where did
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