Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Liberation Theology and Cultural Evolution

Dear Pastor:

Thank you for your insightful remark on the liberation theology.

“Truth is never absolute, since new discoveries could always replace the old; it has to be demonstrated objectively and measured by its effectiveness in the practical world”

Please let me tell you how I characterize human religions, especially Christianity.

A. It is important to know that the Christian theology could never be absolute and should evolve constantly to meet the human demands of particular times, places, and circumstances. And the liberation theology is a product of the particular human society where people believe Jesus Christ not only a Savior but also a Liberator.

B. The image of God also varies along the way how people born, live, think, hope, interact, work, and die in its particular fashion. As idea of God formed in one generation by one set of human beings could be meaningless to another generation, God must be a working asset to people who believe in Him or Her.
In other words, people discard their deity without any hesitation when it is irrelevant and powerless to their communities.

We, human beings, evolve constantly via natural selection during our lifetime…one is biological evolution based on genes and the other is cultural evolution replicated by “memes”*.

The term “meme” refers to an element of culture being passed on by non-genetic means from one mind to another mind, as examples of memes are; ideas, values, theories, beliefs, practices, habits, fashions, music, computer virus, etc.

While genes can only vertically be transmitted from parent to child, memes can horizontally be transmitted between two individuals that memes are more similar to parasites or infections.In other words, memes are the conveyors of customs and traditions… all kinds of cultural information passed down through repetition and imitation.

As Christianity was a “memetic ancestor” to Catholic Church, the “memetics”, the imitative process, allows people to add or delete memes resulting in formation of complete different religious entities like the liberation theology, the Unification Church, Hutterites, or FKUCC, propagating within the basic umbrella of Christianity.

In this imitative process, one idea may become extinct while other ideas will propagate and mutate through modification, as the liberation theology disappeared from the Latin American society due to the strong opposition from the papacy, while the evangelical fundamentalism spread like a wild fire in the US, where the John Winthrop’s catchphrase in Massachusetts Bay in 17 century, “A city on a hill”, was revived and propagated throughout the Christian community, mutating for worse in the forms of “Manifest Destiny” and “American Exceptionalism”.

I, an ex-mandarin worked at the intelligence loop during the Gen. Park’s military dictatorship, am totally with your assertion that it was inevitable and necessary for the South Korean people to seek for salvation in the social justice, poverty, and human rights of the liberation theology, a sort of spiritual refuge in the oppressive gulag.
The General arrested, jailed, tortured, and executed thousands of innocent people in order to keep his regime under the tin pot dictatorship.

However, you may wonder how the popularity of the liberation theology has gone awry and “winner-take-all” modality prevails now in the same society, where people line up for the plastic surgery to change their flat-nosed Chink-like figure for the white Caucasian style in its imitating and replicating process.

For worse, the South Korean people are infected with virus, “invasive memes”, of electing the daughter of the tyrant, Gen. Park CH, for next EL PRESIDENTE.

Is there a kind of vaccine, like antibiotics, that can protect from the noxious memes to catch on us?

Pepe Sojourner

*The term “meme” was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, the British ethologist who used the term in his book “Selfish Gene”.

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