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The New Age Movement and Science

The New Age Movement and Science

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Published by Dan Constantin
by fr. Dan Bădulescu
by fr. Dan Bădulescu

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Dan Constantin on Jul 16, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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05/13/2014

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The New Age movement - a new approach to science?
Fr. Dan BădulescuFrom the materialistic-atheistic view to the new age "science".
The origin of natural science has to be found in ancient Greece, namely to the philosophers fromthe 5
th
and 6
th
centuries BC, more precisely in the schools of Ionian Miletus. These philosophers calledalsohylosoics - "those who believe that the matter is alive," an organicist- monistic conception which did not distinguish between spirit and matter.Heraclitus of Ephesusused for this unit the term
,a term that waslater adopted bySt. John the Evangelistwith the well-known Christiantheological significance.Back in ancient times,theEleatic schoolintroduced ahenotheisticprinciple promoting acosmology in the materialisticrationalism way, a consequence of dualistic vision
 spirit - matte
. The lastfield being accessible to the senses,was intended to answer the existential questions on the occurrence of the cosmos from chaos, multiplicity and variety of aspects of theorigin and natural phenomena were investigated causes of movementand change, the relationship between form and matter. Matter (
φισις 
)as such was considered to be universal, eternal and uncreated. Themethods used by these philosophers were both direct empiricalobservation of natural phenomena and the widespread use of general and specific assumptions, aiming atthe development of movement theories of metaphysical and mathematical nature. From this need toexplain the antithesis unity-diversity observed in nature was born and developed in 6
th
-3
rd
centuries theatomistic theory "supported by Leucippus,DemocritusandEpicurus. In essence, this theory assumes that the material ground is build upon indivisible particles (
α-τομος 
), identical, eternal and indestructible.Material organization was considered to be discontinuous, being composed of solids, liquids and gases.Those atoms are moving freely in a space that contains elements of "vacuum" type.This theory was refuted in the same period by theStoics Zeno, Chrysippusand later Posidonius of  Apameia. They underlined
the continuous
character of nature developing the "pneumatical" concept thatstands that space and matter is a continuum passed through and unified by a kind of aerial spirit whichthey called
πνευμα
, a word so familiar in meaning later to the Greek speaking Christians. The NaturalSciences being an area subject to fluctuations and arbitrariness, subjectivity and limited possibilities of wisdom (
σοφια
) inherent to the human mind received a new personality that overturned both concepts:the great Aristotle. He was concerned primarily with the philosophical problem of constant movement,which has a constant cause that occurs in an environment of resistance. From this he deduced theimpossibility of vacuum existence, which is known as a medium of zero resistance. In Aristotle's physicscosmos was divided into two areas, one celestial and one terrestrial, governed by laws of differentquality.1
 
In the next century we note the outstanding work and contribution of  Archimedes,who applied mathematical and geometrical solutions to physics, following in this regard the advanced knowledge of the Egyptians applied in the building of pyramids, taken as known by Pythagoras and thus into theHellenistic space. From Archimedes we got his law of the balance of the hydrostatic forces.The last important representative of the Greek antiquity(Hellenistic period) isPtolemyin the second century AD, whoseastrophysics conception remained normative in Europe for over 1500years.So far on what will be called later Europe we find a divisionof North-South
latitudinal 
type. Thus we refer to concerns specific tothe Mediterranean, space which becomes known as a
mare internum
of the Roman Empire. In the following centuries of the Christian erawill appear this cultural "fault", this time
longitudinal 
east-west, theempire will be divided in two. The Roman world takes two centers of  power, the old and the new Rome, and the two sides will be"Latinized" in the West and, "Hellenized" (Graecized) in the east.From the standpoint of natural science there is a stagnationthroughout the millennial period (500-1500) called by the scholars of the eighteenth century Enlightenment "the dark Middle Ages". This stagnation is explained by the adventof Christianity, the gradual Christianization of Europe share increasingly larger Universal Church(Catholic-Orthodox), and therefore the concepts about the supreme life taught by her. The focus moves tothe life and eternal happiness, the salvation, sanctification, ensuring that the ultimate purpose deification(
θεοσις 
) is required for other efforts, another knowledge, and far less scientific research. But thesespiritual concerns proved to be too high for the peoples of the Western half of the empire, especially asthey were recently christened Franks and Germans (Saxons), Normans, Long bards and others. Their weight began to overwhelm the West, and after the year 800dominated by the personality of Charlemagne, the spiritual interests inthe area gradually decreased, giving place instead to worldly interests,competition with the more civilized and learned Eastern. In turn thisone has had two strong shocks: the emergence of Islamwith itslightning rise and losing in only 200-300 years of the half of the population, territory and resources. The second shock was closelyassociated with it,the iconoclasm, finally defeated in the NinthCentury.After the schism of 1054, the two parts of Europe will have aseparate and often strewn path of conflict. The Islamic peoples took skillfully advantage of this situation, first the Arabs, who have spreadtheir caliphate up to the Iberian peninsula threatening to invade France. The contact of the WesternChristianity with the Eastern one occurred during the Crusades, but as it is known, with negative resultswhich have deepened the previous rupture. Westerners came in twelfth and thirteenth centuries, however,in direct contact with the Arabs, both those in Spain and those in the East. This is when we are interestedin the further development of physics. If the Arab role in the spread of Aristotelianism in medievalWestern (Iberian Peninsula) since 1000 is well known, we find that currently missing from the previouslink current cultural perspective: namely, how could get the Arabs to Aristotle? Living under Araboccupation (6
th
-7
th
centuries), some Syrian thinkers, mastering Greek language (as it was the example of St. John of Damascusof Mansour family) were first translated into Syriac the work of Stagirite and thenin Arabic. Following the expansion and peak of the Arab Caliphate in Baghdad and later those in Spain -Alhambra, Cordoba - we have completed this chain link unmentioned: the Eastern Monophysite2
 
Christians. So in this intricate way the West gets the Greek heritage that will build the foundation of granite of his theology, philosophy and finally science: the scholasticism. We are in the western area where from now on will develop sciences of nature, and physics so, atan unprecedented rate. The explanation of this phenomenon is the role assigned to knowledge. A Germanadage says: "knowledge is power", perhaps inspired by the scripturistical 'A wise man is strong; yea, aman of knowledge increaseth strength' (Proverbs 24, 5). The luciferian temptation of Eden, the forbiddenfruit of knowledge of this kind, is strongly manifested in this culture leading to a magical mentality,Faustic. Above we have shown that through knowledge is achieved power, but the specific focus of thisway of thinking is based on an output of domination over something, someone, a practical emphasis.Knowledge is going to something
lower 
so that can be analyzed, disassembled, controlled. The motto of science and Western mentality today is: "
 How
does it work?", unlike the Aristotelian "
why?
".
 
This lower area which can be so well known is the phenomenal world, the immanent, material cosmos. KnowingGod and His kingdom becomes increasingly distant from the concerns of this world.Taking as the basis the Aristotelian physics, medieval scholars began to develop first themechanics, especially the movement of bodies through a medium and the forces involved in this phenomenon. Precursors of these concerns were John Filippon of Alexandria in the sixth century, and inthe eleventh centuryAvicennaandAbu al Barakat al-Baghdadi. Over time the Arabic influence that has made its decisive mark in theal-chemy, andal-gebra  which developed mainly by Arab scholars, gradually decreased, the scientists in scholastic WesternEuropean universities are grouped supporting further research in the field. At the end of the Middle Agesin the thirteenth century the theologians have notified the university of Paris as unacceptable the idea of eternity of matter, which can not, in terms of dogma, be coeternal with the Christian God, a Creator Godand not a Platonic demiurge of gnosticist type. It is known that during this period Aristotle's authority inthe Roman Catholic Church was equal to that of the Holy Scriptures, both being present on the holy altar.In 1227, the height of scholars, Pope John XXI sanctioned a total of 219 sentences, mostly issued byAristotle and his successor,
 Doctor Ecclesiae
1
. Among these sentences are the onewhich says: "that the first cause (God) could not made more worlds." Thefirst article of the Creed says, "...Maker of heaven and earth, and
of all things visible and invisible
." What is the incriminated sentence refers to? If it takes into account the physical (visible) position supporting theuniqueness
2
 we rally to this. We speak today about parallel universes, anti-matter and black holes through which it could pass from one universe toanother, multidimensional universes, simple enough even scientificallyunsubstantiated speculation, not to mention theological.Extrapolating, of course, nothing scriptural entitles us to assume theexistence of other physical worlds, possibly inhabited by other beings of superior intelligence to us. From here to the new UFO mythology is onlyone step that we can not theological accept in any case, even as a workinghypothesis (we will see later how this problem was treated in the new age).This method of scientific investigation in theology is very dangerous andcan lead to serious heresy, as was the case of the erudite Origen, sentenced forever at two ecumenicalcouncils, despite recent attempts of his "rehabilitation", some of these coming, surprisingly, even in theOrthodox theological realm.With the fall of Constantinople in 1453 the Middle Ages comes to an end, and a part of Byzantium "intelligentsia" led byGemistus Plethorefuge in Italy, where these Byzantine intellectuals of neo-Platonic Gnosticmind will lay the foundations of what was called over centuries, "renaissance". It is
1
Cf.
 Encyclopaedia Britannica
1996
2
Therefore we have the latin
uni-verse
, there is nothing like
multi-verse.
3

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