Tuesday, March 20, 2007


In my post Stone, I discussed my insight that the totality of existence is mineral, that life forms are mineral forms, that what we refer to as “spiritual” is actually physical.

I associate my perception with LSD experiences, as in the my-brother-the-streetcar moment.

So, researching topics for our newish blog, Jesuit Watch, I looked into the Jesuit priest/paleontologist/theologian/heretic Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (wikilink).

I had heard of him while I was a student at St Ignatius High School. The impression I got was that the Jesuits liked him but that his ideas were way advanced and that the traditional Church had trouble understanding him.

Of course, it didn’t help that Chardin completely tosses the Bible and it’s story of sin and redemption. This quote can be found in more than one review of Chardin, and seems to state his basic belief.

"The world (its value, its infallibility and its goodness) - that, when all is said and done, is the first, the last, and the only thing in which I believe. It is by this faith that I live. And it is to this faith, I feel, that at the moment of death, rising above all doubts, I shall surrender myself." Christianity and Evolution.

Chardin admits he is a pantheist. He beieves that evolution is aimed toward an Omega point of bliss and fulfillment. This is where he departs from my views. He thinks that history is taking us in a good direction. I think that is just a wish.

This summary from a review in Living Tradition forum.

…de Chardin believed totally in the world and totally in the evolution of the world as the one absolute fact and reality. For Teilhard, Adam and Eve are just unhistorical "images of mankind pressing on towards God" and "the idea of the Fall is no more than an attempt to explain evil in a fixed universe" (138). He tried to eliminate the historical reality of Original Sin by imagining it to be "a survival of obsolete static views" in the presence of "our new evolutionary way of thinking." In his evaluation, Original Sin "clips the wings of hope" and "drags us back inexorably into the overpowering darkness of reparation and expiation" (Smith, 138, quoting Christianity and Evolution, 70-80).

Chardin and I agree on the bargain we pantheists make, accepting everything, the good and the bad. Traditional Christianity rejects the world in favor of an imagined spiritual perfection. This rejection of some or all of the world is a first step in the wrong direction.

In this final quote I am reminded of Hans Castorp’s “vision” at the climax of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. The reviewer mentions a Faustian bargain

Teilhard seems to have undergone in the early years of his priesthood and which he presented in an essay entitled "The Spiritual Power of Matter." In the experience he meets a superhuman being, "equivocal, turbid, the combined essence of all evil and all goodness," who says to him: "Now I am established on you for life or for death. ... He who has once seen me can never forget me: he must either damn himself with me or save me with himself."

This probably sounds grim to many people who want the good without the bad.

Faith ain’t easy.

Submission to the world (mineral existence) as we find it is the act that makes us whole.

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