Philosophical and Theological Distinctions


There are so many similarities and areas of common interest between chiropractic philosophy and theological concepts that there is often an overlapping. The thread of truth woven through these two areas of study has provided the critics of chiropractic, both outside and within our profession, with ammunition and the opportunity to charge us with religious cultism. Because of this, I believe it is important to make distinctions when and where they exist.

One such area is in terminology and there is probably no more important term than that which is the basis for our objective, innate intelligence. There is no term, nothing in science, philosophy or theology that describes the full impact of the innate intelligence of the body. We are forced to describe it in terms that really is the language of accommodation. In the frustration of trying to describe a term that the public has an inherent recognition of, but no adequate description, many chiropractors have employed already existent terms and descriptions. Some of them have created more confusion and achieved just the opposite result of their intent. No one has created more confusion than B.J. himself. The most disjointed term the Developer used is the term “soul” to explain and describe the innate intelligence. I cannot think of a worse term to use. Besides the fact that it is not accurate, it is a term that is little understood and has a multitude of meanings to different people. So, basically, B.J. used a more confusing term to try to clarify a confusing term!

The soul is an entity. It is immaterial, but it is still an entity. With that assertion, I have probably created disagreement with some peoples’ definition of the soul. Since it would be impossible to make the distinction between innate intelligence and every definition and description of the soul, I will stay with the one commonly understood in the Midwestern United States at the turn of the century when B.J. was developing the chiropractic philosophy, a Judeo-Christian definition. As an entity, the soul has a beginning. It is placed within the body at a certain point between conception and birth (the exact time differs among theologians). The innate intelligence has no beginning or end as far as chiropractic is concerned. Both the sperm and egg have innate intelligence. As a principle, innate intelligence always exists, it just ceases to be expressed in individual organisms at a certain point in time (death). The principle of gravity continues to exist when an airplane takes off. It just is not expressed when the plane is flying.

Most theologians would maintain that plants and animals do not have a soul. Our philosophy teaches us that the innate intelligence of every organism is the same. It is the character of the matter that determines the differences in the expression of the intelligence.

While innate intelligence is expressed differently in different people, it is the same principle. The soul, on the other hand, is different in every person, that is what gives human beings different personalities. The soul has a location. It is generally agreed that the soul is in the brain or the brain is part of the soul. The innate intelligence has no specific location, except that we state it is confined to the body in which we see it being expressed. This may be where B.J.’s confusion occurred. B.J., in drawing a comparison to the soul, placed the innate intelligence in the brain, a concept which is no longer accepted by most chiropractic philosophers.

The soul departs the body at death. This may have been another area where B.J. saw a relationship. We really cannot pinpoint the exact moment the soul leaves the body. It is probably closely related to the cessation of brain activity, but a person in an irreversible vegetative state is still carrying on many vital coordinated functions and expressing the innate intelligence of the body. However, after the soul has left the body there are still innate functions occurring. They may be only on a cellular level and only for a short time but there are still innate functions occurring, there is still a level of innate intelligence being expressed.

There are other characteristics that separate the soul from the innate intelligence of the body. The soul has a will, the innate intelligence does not. We may choose to do things that are harmful to our body, have no effect or are good for the body. That is a soul function (more closely related to educated intelligence rather than innate intelligence). The innate intelligence always does the same thing, that which promotes adaptation and is good for the organism.

If we are going to advance our philosophy, we need to understand it better, how it relates to other disciplines and how it does not. Only then can we explain it in non-contradictory terms and bring this message to humanity.V21n4

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