Daily Archives: November 25, 2011
Tuesday, I posted that truth is not relative. Truth is truth, and if it’s the truth, it isn’t going to go back and reverse itself, as science so often does.
I spotlighted 5 things I was taught in elementary school science class as irrefutable fact, all of which are now considered false. At the end of the post, I stated that I already knew the reply to this and I agreed with it. I posted the reply on Wednesday.
Science is great at discerning cause-and-effect, but I’m not so sure that I’d classify the findings as “irrefutable truth.” Our knowledge base is growing rapidly, and so we will find out that we occasionally missed the mark with previously held scientific theories.
Considering the vastness of the universe, the average scientist is likely formulating theories with 10% of the necessary data. We expect to revise theories as more data become available. With that in mind, those five points I made become simplistic and silly.
Now then, why does that create a double standard for theists?
Because our critics expect us to be right from the outset and never change. However, when I criticize science for reversing itself, I’m rightly called ignorant. I’m making an overly simplistic statement that totally misses the mark.
By the same token, as more information becomes available, people revise their opinions and theologies.
For example, despite Matthew Bellasario’s bellowing, the early church did not accord Mary the special place that Catholic theology does. They brought Mary into their liturgies because they felt that she deserved a place on account of her role in Jesus’ life, which eventually evolved to a Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces role. Catholics pay her hyper-dulia, a high accord indeed (higher than the saints, but lower than God).
One can even see evolving theology in the New Testament. The letter to the Hebrews was likely the latest document prepared, and it is rich in theology. The Gospel of John was the last of the Gospels and (again) it is rich in theology not present in the earlier Gospels. We can deduce John’s theology from the earlier Gospels and Paul’s letters, but it isn’t codified in either.
The Trinity was codified in the Athanasian Creed, the third of the three ecumenical creeds generally agreed upon by all Christians. We see an evolution in the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, and finally the Athanasian Creed — each becomes more intricate as we gain greater insight and understanding.
Why, according to the critic, must all Christian belief be found all at once and never change; a progressive evolution indicates falsehood? I don’t discount science as false merely because scientists revise their findings later. Therefore, theology shouldn’t be discounted as false merely because we have revised it as time went on. All of the revisions were made for good reasons, like the revisions to various scientific theories.
One thing hasn’t changed: Salvation by the grace of God, effected by our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant: we all unite under that banner.
And now you may comment on the entire series.