Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

May 28, 2007

The New World and the Rise of Mormonism

Filed under: politics, religion — codesmithy @ 4:26 am

The European discovery of the New World had an influence on the social structures not the least of which was the church.  Roman Catholicism taught that the unbaptized went to hell.  Now, it is true that they could have occupied the region with the virtuous pagans, but with the arrival of Jesus, people were now saved, free to get into heaven in only they accepted Jesus as their savior.  Others that did not follow Christianity in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East could be looked upon as rejecting Jesus as their savior, and hence it wasn’t especially problematic if they spent an eternity in damnation.

When the discovery was made that there were millions of people living on new massive continents half the world away, this new evidence served as a shock to Christianity.  How could the church account for hundreds of thousands of people suffering damnation when they obviously were not given a chance to be saved?  Europeans may not have known of the existence of these continents before Europeans accidentally ran into them seeking  a path West to the Indies, but certainly God knew about the people living there.

There was no satisfactory existing explanation.  To resolve this dilemma, a new revelation was required.  Certainly, the church could conjecture based off of existing dogmas, but they could not offer religious certainty, discovering new continents certainly is an exceptional event.  The new revelation was provided by Joseph Smith, and thus the founding of the “Latter Day Saint” movement.  Joseph Smith preached that after Jesus’s death, he came to speak to the Native Americans of the New World before entering heaven.  Thus the great seeming injustice had been solved.

This is one of many examples of how changes in world view cause schisms in existing orthodoxy.  The effects of these schisms exist to this day.  Science causes its own schisms in the church around the literal creationists and those that feel that Genesis is more of a allegory.  Any new discovery leads to social impacts, the more conservative the institution, the more radical the discovery, the more chaos it must endure in the wake.  Thus, the most robust and enduring social institutions must be based on liberalism and freedom, which helps explain why much of this classical liberalism is at the heart of the United States of America’s social institutions.  Theocracy is then inherently unstable and necessarily oppressive in the act of its self-preservation.

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