Saturday, August 11, 2007

On Heresies and why the 21st century needs heretics

The Orthodox Church defines heresy as " a strange doctrine". Dictionary.com defines it as

1. opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, esp. of a church or religious system.
2.the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine.
3.In the Roman Catholic Church. the willful and persistent rejection of any article of faith by a baptized member of the church.
4.any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.

Today heresy can be euphemistically called a "dangerous idea".

The patron saint of heretics could be Galileo Galilei. The famous "heresy" quote from this first modern scientist is

It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved [By Science].

Galileo's thesis throws a spanner [or for American English users "monkey wrench] to the maintainers of orthodoxy. Orthodoxy may not represent truth at all and thus the orthodoxy may really endanger souls. A heresy may have more claim to the truth.

Today we need more heretics. Heretics against the unscientific claims of the establishment, heretics against political correctness, heretics against the political and economic theories without empirical support or even against moral relativism. Morality may not be relative at all and may be a product of Darwinian selection. This is a heresy against the social constructivists and religious fundamentalists.

In Silliman University I learned that students are asked to watch a video against the global warming theory that it was not man-made. This is a heresy against the orthodoxy espoused by Al Gore in "Inconvenient Truth". We need these kinds of heresies. Of course the students are also asked to watch the Gore documentary.

A heresy opens the mind and shakes it.

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