This blog is dedicated to the ideas of the 20th Century French Jesuit and geologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard de Chardin was a complex person who was misunderstood both during his lifetime and in the present day. Teilhard was criticized by his religious superiors for being “unorthodox”. Teilhard was criticized by the secular scientific establishment for being too religious.
In the face of hostility from the religious and secular leaders of his time, Teilhard remained faithful to both his religious vows and his scientific studies in his pursuit of the truth. Moreover, despite relentless intellectual persecution, Teilhard remained a very positive and optimistic person in large part due to his religious faith and belief that the Universe is evolving towards a higher consciousness in the form of the Cosmic Christ.
Although Teilhard’s ideas are more widely accepted today than they were 50 years ago, Teilhard is still a polarizing figure whose ideas are selectively used or criticized by people to support their philosophical, theological and scientific agendas. This blog will attempt to cut through the “spin” and discuss Teilhard’s ideas in a contemporary setting, focusing on the following themes:
- Theology and Science and complementary avenues to discover our Creator and our purpose in life.
- The Universe was created by God and is continuing to evolve, both in the realm of matter and the realm of spiritual consciousness.
- Christianity, despite all of the inherent problems of the institutional Catholic Church, remains the best way of describing the ultimate Truth.
- Catholicism, while embracing the science of evolution and cosmology, has not yet fully integrated the implications that these revelations have about the nature of God.
- Other theological and scientific ideas and practices also can reflect the broader Truth and should be discussed and explored with an openness for the beauty and truth contained in those traditions.
Teilhard’s ideas are perhaps even more relevant today than they were during his lifetime. Current Western society is plagued by two fundamentalist ideologies, which both oppose the search for reason and truth. The first is a scientific, materialism that denies the reality of those things that can not me measured, including God, resulting in a primacy of scientism in areas that science is not qualified to handle (e.g. philosophy) and a relativism in non-scientific areas (the dictatorship of relativism). The second prevalent ideology in our times is a religious fundamentalism that worships a small God while ignoring God’s revelation through science, art and other measures. Teilhard actively opposed these forces during his lifetime and was viciously attached by both sides for doing so.
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I maintain a website on Teilhard that may be of interest to your readers:
Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your site. It looks like a great source of information on Teilhard de Chardin and I look forward to exploring it. I am especially impressed with the comprehensive timeline you prepared. I have found contradictory dates from some of the sources I have looked at and it appears you have done a great job of reconciling them. I have added your site to the Teilhard de Chardin resources on the right side of the home page. I am working on a more comprehensive list of Teilhard resources on the menu bar on top and I will certainly put your site there.
Thanks again for stopping by and feel free to correct any errors I have made and otherwise contribute to spreading knowledge on Teilhard de Chardin.
Dear Ocham… Thanks for all posts; I have been in search for the original source of a quotation by de Charden quoted by Louis Evely in his book LORD TEACH US HOW TO PRAY (Paulist Press, New York 1967, p 64) stating that de Charden had already dreamed of a modern day Francis of Assisi or Ignatius… Perhaps one can see this implemented in Pope Francis! Can you somehow help me a bit more… Thanks
If I wanted to jump on the Teilhard train, what writings should I purchase first?
Teilhard’s two most comprehensive writings are “The Phenonemon of Man” and “The Divine Milieu” and are excellent starting points.
The Phenonemon of Man is written for a general audience a synthesis of the known science of his time with the thesis that universe started with the fragmentation of the Big Bang and there is an underlying Divine order that is pulling the material and spiritual dimensions towards greater Unity. Here are resources on The Phenomenon of Man:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Phenomenon-Pierre-Teilhard-Chardin/dp/0061632651 (original translation)
(revised translation as The Human Phenomenon)
The Divine Milieu is written for a Christian audience and takes his evolutionary themes from The Phenomenon of Man and proposes an image of God that is very different than the “Old Man Judge in the Sky” concept that some Christians adhered to 100 years ago (and unfortunately some still do today). Here are resources on The Divine Milieu:
Free summary of The Divine Milieu by Louis Savary:
The Divine Milieu by Teilhard de Chardin: http://tinyurl.com/l7v22ne
The Divine Milieu Explained (A Spirituality for the 21st Century) by Louis Savary: http://tinyurl.com/l8upm8z
You can also find additional free essays and writings by Teilhard here:
Thank you for the conclusive answer! I have some reading to do.
Hope you enjoy.
Very nice and inspiring blog, William! Thanks for following “Known is a drop, Unknown is an Ocean”. 🙂
I’m really pleased to have found your blog, and looking forward to learning more about Teilhard – he sounds so interesting. I really enjoy Ignatian spirituality, especially the use of imaginative prayer.
Thank you for following. I am blessed to have found your blog also. I look forward to your contemplative insights in 2015 and beyond.
Please accept my admiration of your excellent site with its fascinating subject. I rarely see Teilhard addressed as other than a defiant rebel to an over-authoritarian church, an inscrutable mystic, or a source of great quotes, so your site is a refreshing change.
Unfortunately, between problems with his translations, the difficulty of some of his concepts and the density of his writings, he does not seem to be well-read today. Nonetheless his ideas infuse a clarity and cohesion into such scientific concepts as evolution and Science’s Standard model which remain fragmented and materialistic without them.
It is these characteristics which I am trying to follow in my blog, “The Secular Side of God’, which uses Teilhard’s insights to approach the idea of God from the findings of science, then reinterpret the legacy concepts of religion (incarnation, salvation, grace, sin, etc) accordingly. This roughly parallels the approach of Blondel which was summarized in Gregory Baum’s “Man Becoming”, but with Teilhard’s depth in the findings of science, carries it much further.
I plan on plumbing your website in some detail, and invite you to do the same with mine. Your comments would be extremely valuable. My website can be found at http://www.lloydmattlandry.com/