Monday, April 09, 2012

E is for Evolution

            No, I am not going to use this as a forum to determine who is right about evolution.  I am not going to waste this opportunity to talk about which came first; the chicken, or the egg, or the dinosaur, or The Doctor.  That is not at all the kind of evolution that I am talking about the kind of evolution that fascinates me.  The kind of evolution that, given much better circumstances, I would be writing a master’s thesis about.  What I am going to talk about is the evolution of ideas. 

“Everything flows, nothing stands still.”  This quote by Heraclitus (yeah, I’ve never heard of him, either) appears to be the root of the saying, “the only constant is change,” and all the other variations thereof.  While we may apply it to the various stages of life, I think that this applies to ideas as well.

One only has to look at Christian history to see this.  As Christianity expanded to other lands, other interpretations began to be used as norms.  Christians split into Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.  This continued with the formation of churches like Coptic and Marinates.  Then, in 1517, the monk Martin Luther, frustrated with the decadence lifestyles and corruption of Church officials, wrote The Ninety-Five Theses, originally meant as a criticism to shake up the pope at the time.  This further evolved the theology of Christianity.  

Even within a single faith, such as Roman Catholic, one can see we are ever evolving to meet an ever-changing world.  The Second Vatican Council is a big example, but the more recent re-structuring of some of the wording of the Mass is an even bigger example.

The idea of pro-feminism is also evolving.  As I have stated before, I think the idea is thousands of years old.  Exodus, the book in the Bible that tells us of Moses, also tells us of his sister, the prophetess Miriam, and his wife, the mystic Zipporah.  It is these women that Moses often turn to for consult.  Abrahamic tradition (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) continues the story of women who were on equal ground as the main male characters.

As the Feminist Revolution dawned, it’s seemingly anti-establishment attitude seemed to be a direct attack on mainstream Christianity.  About a decade later, Blessed Pope John Paul II (santo subito) greatly aided the further evolution of Catholic thought by writing about and fighting for women’s rights.  In “A Letter to Women,” he writes;

“Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life —social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of "mystery," to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.”

To end, I challenge you to reflect on your own ideas about Christianity and feminism and how you too can evolve.

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