Dangerous Ideas That Rocked the World!
October 20, 2008 11:11pm CST
Throughout history there have been dangerous ideas that have dramatically change the world of religion and the way people view the world. They were dangerous because they shifted the way people saw themselves and how they view the world around them. They were also viewed as dangerous heresies and blasphemous by the prevailing religions of the time. There are probably many that deserve a place on this list but from my point of view one of the first was the concept of rational free thought that first emerged in the civilization of Greece from 400 to 500 B.C.E. This is the first time we have a record of people who lived in a world of myths and gods who stopped accepting the statement "God did it". At that time people's reaction to anything from the loss of a battle to a natural disaster was, "What have we done to anger the gods?” The Greeks of this time were the first to start looking at things and asking what is really going on here? They started to look for answers that went beyond myths and the anger of the gods. Next on my list would have to be the idea of monotheism. This idea deposed a lot of priests and closed a lot of temples. It is viewed as one of the keystones of Western culture but it does have some negative aspects. The primary negative result that I can think of is that it led to the concentration of power in a smaller, stronger priestly caste. For better or worse monotheism represented a dangerous idea that change in the world. The next two dangerous ideas I can think of where the ideas of Christianity and Islam. Both were offshoots that represented a rethinking of the old Judaic ideas. Both polarize their believers and led to a good guys and bad guys attitude. This polarization led to centuries of war and uncounted deaths all in the name of two dangerous ideas. Once science became a serious pursuit dangerous ideas developed that quite literally moved the world. The first of these was the work of Nicholas Copernicus. His work moved the earth from the center of the universe and placed the sun in the center instead. This idea was dangerous because it called into question the idea that we were at the center of it all, a special and unique creation of God. The next person to have an idea that must be considered dangerous was Galileo. He again moved the world with his dangerous idea. Now even the sun was not the center of the universe. Dangerous because it again called into question whether we really were all that special. Next on my last was the Bible of John Wycliffe. A dangerous idea because it translated the Bible into English for the first time and took the interpretation of the Word of God out of the hands of the priests and allowed every one to read it for themselves and make up their own minds. This idea upset the established order so much that a pope ordered his body dug up, hung, dismembered, burned and his ashes scattered in a creek. I'm sure there are many more dangerous ideas that have shaped the world but I can think of only one more that had truly earthshaking results for the world of faith and religion. Possibly the most dangerous idea of them all is the work of Charles Darwin. His work shook religion to the core because it took away the idea that there was a creator and an act of creation. What could be more dangerous than that? What dangerous ideas can you think of? What would you add to this latest?
21 Oct 08
It is perhaps, worth remembering the Greeks were not quite the rational free thinkers we sometimes give them credit for. Even Aristotle, the greatest of the Greek philosophers, had some odd ideas. Many Greek works show evidence that they considered emotion as something that affected them that was external to them. However, can we add Euclid and the development of Mathematics, that changed the world so significantly? Or perhaps you would not classify this as dangerous? What about William Wilberforce and the abolition of Slavery? Einstein and Oppenheimer and the atomic bomb? Nietzsche and the idea of the unconscious mind? Karl Marx and historical materialism? Mary Woolstencroft and female suffrage? all the best urban
21 Oct 08
I can't really find a point of disagreement with your statement. The Greeks did have some odd ideas but the one I cited did impact the world. Euclid's development of Mathematics did have an immense impact on the world but I am not sure that it can be seen as a dangerous. Maybe you can convene me on that point. I am in agreement with your other nominees. One that I did not list but should have is the concept of original sin as put forth by Irenaeus in the second century C.E.
22 Oct 08
The doctrine commonly called the God of the Gaps: wherever there are gaps in scientific knowledge, God is invoked to fill them. Whatever we don't understand must be God's work, because we don't know any other way it could have happened (which is no proof, of course, that we will never understand it). This doctrine is commonly used as an argument for God's existence by fundamentalists, especially by creationists.
• United States
21 Oct 08
martin luther king, a threat to the system that needed to be changed, equality. Nikola Tesla, the modern inventor of many of the things we use today who was persecuted and slandered by Thomas Edison and his cronies. Gandhi, a threat to the British rule, although he did seem to support the upper class of his countrymen. The list goes on. Anyone who stands up against a system that is in place usually earns them self a label of being a dangerous person from their ideas.