Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sometimes it seems that Philosophy spends much of its time passing the blame for bad ideas to Religion.

Take Natural Philosophy, for example. If you read the world view of Jewish works such as Enoch or The Apocalypse of Adam, you get a vision of worlds without number, filled with life. Then Greek philosophy comes along and it is all science and logic and the Earth as the stationary center of the universe, the only place where life is to be found -- a far cry from the vision that makes a man ask "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?"

Fast forward, science changes its mind (though it still believes that all orbits have to be perfect circles) and it blames Religion for the false perspective.

Or consider how philosophy dealt with men and women. The great discussion about love lost my attention when Plato and the boys started explaining how women were so inadequate that they weren't capable of really being loved, men had to reserve that for each other as higher beings. Compare that to Eve as a "help meet" or a "companion equal" to Adam and Proverbs 30:10 that illustrates the ideal women as one who is in business for herself, taking her own counsel as she buys and sells and sets others to work. A wave of kings, a wave of scientific philosophy, and suddenly the Norse women who were full equals become chattel to chattel and women all throughout the western world are reduced in status.

A few, like Brigham Young (who kept preaching sermons pointing out that women made as good of lawyers, doctors, politicians, accountants and business types as men), pushed for equality and the franchise. But the enlightened Federal government took it away and scientific men rejected women as lawyers or other professionals. Move forward a hundred years and suddenly Philosophy has reversed course -- and blamed Religion for what went on.

It should surprise very few that almost every time in history that Religion has given way to Philosophy or Science that the passage of time results in the position being rejected and Religion taking the blame for it. Which gives me pause.

But I remember: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus". (Galatians 3:28) and "And he inviteth them all to come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God." (2 Nephi 26:33).

May we all remember that, regardless of what science or society or philosophy would tell us.

4 comments:

Stephen said...

Let me add that I like philosophy, and do not think that it actually spends much, if any, time passing the blame.

That all seems to happen outside of the field.

Which is why I started with "seems" rather than other approaches. I'm just tired of people blaming religion for things ... and have been since I noticed it happening about forty years ago or so.

Susan M said...

Very interesting! Thanks Stephen.

The Logic of the Profound Silence said...

I will refer to the well-used notion that religion is just another form of philosophy, and that the two are not separate entities. Any established religion will preach philosophical doctrins and any established philosophical doctrin will expand on ideas already discussed in religion. The only difference is what is worshipped.

Dynocritus Teh Philosopher said...

Amen, and well quoted. Most philosophies are bashed by others, some not taking others into perspective, all of this crap is jumbled up into so many ideas and concepts.

My ideas are a main mixture of Christianity and Taoism, if the world flowed with the Tao, there would be no problems.