Boundaries of Knowledge
Newton & Bible Prophecy – Rationalism, Mysticism & Knowledge Filtering
Newton’s End-Time Prediction, also here
“Sir Isaac Newton, the 17th century scientist and theologian, wrote thousands of pages of notes in his attempt to decode the Bible and pin down the date of the apocalypse …”(1) “He concluded that the end of the world will happen in the year 2060.” (2) Malcolm Neaum has produced a BBC documentary called “Newton: The Dark Heretic”.
Although I object to these beliefs about the end of the world, I am intrigued to hear about Newton’s mystical writings. The point I would like to make is that the prevalence of these beliefs in Western society – whether in Christian or New Age form – has been underestimated and they continue to be very significant to many people. But people have received the false impression (3) that Newton was a purely rational scientist.
Those who advocate rationalism should approach human nature as it is and stop pretending that most people – most less intelligent than Newton – take the dogmas of strict scientific materialism seriously. If we want a more rational world, we should stop trying to control information. Let all the facts see the light so that people can learn to think about these issues knowledgeably for themselves. This is happening. More and more, the Internet and other media are allowing for information and ideas to spread without hindrance.
When living in a half-secular half-religious culture – where unexplained phenomena, religion, meaning, morality, purpose and anything else that matters are often taboo subjects in places of “education” no less – if we are ignorant of subjects such as Bible criticism, we are more vulnerable to accepting ideas concerning the End of the World and even manipulation by cult leaders who use those ideas in a harmful way.
It’s valuable to know that a genius “wrote 4500 pages trying to predict when the end of the world was coming”.(3) Although some people might take that as an example to follow, the same knowledge might discourage others from making similar efforts. Many of us who have studied the Bible have learned the hard way about prophetic interpretations. That’s not to say such efforts produce nothing of value. I would like to read Newton’s material someday to see what he came up with.
Knowledge protects and strengthens us when it is easily available and offered. The more knowledge the better – the more points of view the better – not suppressing, not forcing, not filtering. The more information, the more value judgments as individuals we can make about what is unhealthy or healthy, and the more capable we are of making decisions individually about what to believe.
Rense.com, 2-24-3, Reuters story, End Of The World Is Nigh – Sir Isaac Newton
ReligiousTolerance.org, 36 END-OF-THE-WORLD PREDICTIONS TO COME IN OUR FUTURE
kuro5hin.org “technology and culture, from the trenches”
Mon Feb 24th, 2003, Newton Predicted End of the World in 2060
Much more detail at this site.