IS THERE HERESY ANYMORE? IT IS EASY TO BE A MADMAN: IT IS EASY TO BE A HERETIC. IT IS ALWAYS EASY TO LET THE AGE HAVE ITS HEAD; THE DIFFICULT THING IS TO KEEP ONE’S OWN… g.k. chesterton, Oxthodoxy DEFINITIONS1:DEAD Hilaire Belloc, The Great Heresies, (1938) “With most people, the word "Heresy" connotes bygone and forgotten quarrels, an old prejudice against rational examination. Heresy is therefore thought to be of no contemporary interest. Interest in it is dead, because it deals with matter no one now takes seriously. It is understood that a man may interest himself in a heresy from archeological curiosity, but if he affirm that it has been of great effect on history and still is, to-day, of living contemporary moment, he will be hardly understood.” • The Pointing Finger as dissent: DEFINITIONS 2: FORMS OF DISSENT Leanardo a Johannite? • The question is - what does it mean? The usual explanation is that the finger is pointing upwards to God/heaven/ transcendence. In fact, the pointing finger was a gesture used in many other art works of the time. In John the Baptist the way in which he indicates himself with one hand and points upwards with the other is said to mean "I foretell the coming of the one from above." • There is an alternative view that Leonardo was a Johannite-a heretical view. Painting Dissent The Last Supper…A Knifing Incident? DEFINITIONS 3: THE “TRUTH” • “Understanding the dynamics of dissent and heresy in medicine can be aided by use of suitable frameworks. The dynamics of the search for truth vary considerably depending on whether the search is competitive or cooperative and on whether truth is assumed to be unitary or plural. Insights about dissent and heresy in medicine can be gained by making comparisons to politics and religion. To explain adherence to either orthodoxy or a challenging view, partisans use a standard set of explanations; social scientists use these plus others, especially symmetrical analyses. There is a wide array of methods by which orthodoxy maintains its domination and marginalises challengers. Finally, challengers can adopt various strategies in order to gain a hearing.” BRIAN MARTIN DEFINITIONS 4: ETYMOLOGY • Josephus (37-100): άρεσις applied to three sects in Judeo-Maccabean period (Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes) • Greek word άρεσις (hairesis): False Teaching: Matt 7:15-16: “Beware of false prophets…” • 2 Peter 2.1-3: “There will be false teachers among you who will bring in destructive heresies….” • Άρεσις applied to Christians: Acts24:5 • Irenaeus (120-203): Contra Haereses Foundations of Heresy • • • • • • • • 1. The Role of the Collective 2. The Element of Otherness 3. Power of Authority 4. The Role of Boundaries 5. The Implication of Religion 6. The Right of Law 7. The Right of Gatekeepers 8. The Gradation of Wrong Analysis of Foundations • The Role of the Collective – Always implies a group – Always relates to belongingness • The Element of Otherness – Sect and Cult imply minority view – Dissent aimed at group consciousness – Implies rejection of normativeness Analysis of Foundations Power of Authority -Social Control assigned via Authorities -Social Hegemony Assumed -All-encompassing Cultural Restrictions The Role of Boundaries -Fixing of Boundaries related to Power -Boundary-maintenance an Institutional feature Analysis of Foundations The Implication of Religion -All Religious Activity implies Boundaries -All major Religions identify Heresy The Right of Law -Law as key tool for Institutional structuring -Legal Right as boundary Control Analysis of Foundations The Right of Gatekeepers -Institutional power expressed in Gatekeepers -Delegating Feature of Bureaucracy The Gradation of Wrong -Not Apostasy, not Dogmatically pure -Moving Margins, changing Institutions The Challenges to Heresy • Definitional Wasteland-word applied to almost any kind of dissent • Contemporary Cultural Support for Heresy Undermined: – Postmodern thought-Religion is one view among many-dissent is healthy-dissent indicates liveliness-small is beautifultheology is ideology-no “truth”, only viewpoints-truth is not possible since all is relative The Contemporary Challenges to Heresy • Interfaith Dialogue-generated since WWII • Ecumenical culture-all religions are treated as equals • Dynamism in Doctrine an Achilles Heel? E.G.: Modern Theology-Variations in GodheadFeminist Alterations of long-standing religious dogmas & international religious cultures-’Progress Theology’-Liberation theology-Charismatic Movement, “Conversions,” New Age Infiltrations The Contemporary Challenges to Heresy Antagonism to Religious Violence – Irish conflict-Islamic radicalism – Pacifism: Dominance of religion-and-peace message – Critique of all Religion, especially Western Religion following 9/11 – Is Western God violence-prone? _ Enlightenment Impact on Religion The Contemporary Challenges to Heresy Assumption of Necessary Secularity in West -Secular society necessary against witch hunts-backlash of Inquisition history – Secularism necessary for Democracy – Secularism necessary to protect Innocence from predations of those in religious authority – No Religious Law universally accepted – Society needs space for deviations – Sexual Rights challenge Hegemonic views How good are you at Christian deviational history? • Adoptionism, Albigenses, Apollinarianism, Arianism; • Docetism, Donatism • Gnosticism, Kenosis • Modalism, Monarchism, Monophysitism • Nestorianism, Patripassionism, Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism • Socinianism, Tritheism HERESY CASES • • • • • • • Heresy Better than Schism? The Pope and the Cathar Faith The Judaizing Heresy The Transhuman Heresy The Da Vinci Code Heresy Deviation in Hinduism and Buddhism The Heresy of Intelligent Design HERESY CONCLUSIONS *Expansion of Field of Operation *Threat to Authority Unchanged *Rise of Conservatism Influences Role *Debates about Suppression of Dissent Indicate a Culture Less Confident *Areas of Tolerable Dissent have Shifted within Traditional Dogma *Highly Pejorative, Hence Still Powerful
"IS THERE HERESY ANYMORE"