"While certainly not perfect, I could now argue that all religious belief systems could be identified somewhere on this chart. However, I was still left with the first problem of classification schemes."
P.K. was still left with the problem that there are different ways to group religions. He discovered when contemplating various classification schemes that one "right" answer does not exist, but rather several valid possibilities. To help understand this problem, consider the following illustration:
Ask any person to look at these shapes and devise a classification system for them. How would you group these shapes if asked to place them into an organizational scheme? One's first instinct might be to group them by shape, putting all the triangles together, all the squares and finally all the circles into respective groups. But other people when faced with this task might rather choose to group these items by color; all the reds, all the blues and all the yellows together. Finally, some people might choose to group them by size, small, medium and large. All of these classification schemes work, they group the shapes in a meaningful way that exhibits a valid point of commonality within each group. However, whichever classification scheme you might choose is both helpfully descriptive, but also necessarily incapable of telling the whole story. By grouping the circles together, we get a great picture of how those items share circle-like qualities. Unfortunately, in choosing to show the "circle-ness" of this group, deriving the illustrative benefit from seeing what they have in common, we must sacrifice the opportunity to show the full complexity of these shapes and how they also belong to other groups, sharing different sets of commonalities. In this way, we see that classification schemes are not absolute; they capture one dimension of information and cannot show the full depth of all the items they are organizing all at once. Choices must be made in devising any classification scheme, choices that help in understanding some concepts while sacrificing the opportunity to illustrate other aspects of those very same concepts, aspects that may indeed have much relevance and significance.
P.K. solved the classification system dilemma to his satisfaction by looking to the Core of the diagram: "I realized that Core diagram was the key. Once there, I was able to construct many different classification schemes that were easily argued. To go to an extreme, I built a classification scheme which I have titled 'The Devil's Advocate Scheme.' Some people have labeled Christianity as polytheism given that prayer to Mary and other Christian personages, such as the saints, is so commonplace. Christianity as polytheism has also been argued on the basis of the Trinity. The Old Testament and The Ten Commandments refer to 'other gods' and 'strange gods.' Some people have argued that Buddhism is really an atheistic belief system with no ultimate God. And some people have successfully argued that Hinduism really is monotheism where Brahman is the impersonal ultimate power. However unorthodox, these assertions can be mapped onto the Core diagram as follows:
<< previous page next page >>