Back in the saddle again...
As I contemplate the myriad divisions between religious folk, the strife and disharmony that threatens the fabric of society, I can look back to a simpler time, when Catholics and Protestants stood united, arm in arm on at least one issue. That would be their stern and righteous denunciation of the heresies of Galileo Galilei .
"But to affirm that the Sun is really fixed in the center of the heavens and that the Earth revolves very swiftly around the Sun is a dangerous thing, not only irritating the theologians and philosophers, but injuring our holy faith and making the sacred scriptures false."
Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and the foremost Vatican theologian of the seventeeth century, who also noted;
"To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin."
But of course in these enlightened times, the Church has apologized for its ill treatment of Galileo, has it not?
In 1990, Cardinal Ratzinger , now known as Pope Benedict XVI, quoted the philosopher Paul Feyerabend as saying;
"The Church at the time of Galileo kept much more closely to reason than did Galileo himself, and she took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo's teaching too. Her verdict against Galileo was rational and just and the revision of this verdict can be justified only on the grounds of what is politically opportune."
But of course, the Protestant Reformation brought with it an age of reason and enlightenment…
Not so much.
Martin Luther said;
"Scripture simply says that the moon, the sun, and the stars were placed in the firmament of the heaven, below and above which heaven are the waters... It is likely that the stars are fastened to the firmament like globes of fire, to shed light at night... We Christians must be different from the philosophers in the way we think about the causes of things. And if some are beyond our comprehension like those before us concerning the waters above the heavens, we must believe them rather than wickedly deny them or presumptuously interpret them in conformity with our understanding."
"People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or 'man'] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth."
But what of that ultimate rationalist, John Calvin?
"Those who assert that 'the earth moves and turns'...[are] motivated by 'a spirit of bitterness, contradiction, and faultfinding;' possessed by the devil, they aimed 'to pervert the order of nature.'"
"The heavens revolve daily, and, immense as is their fabric, and inconceivable the rapidity of their revolutions, we experience no concussion -- no disturbance in the harmony of their motion. The sun, though varying its course every diurnal revolution, returns annually to the same point. The planets, in all their wandering, maintain their respective positions. How could the earth hang suspended in the air were it not upheld by God's hand? (Job 26:7) By what means could it [the earth] maintain itself unmoved, while the heavens above are in constant rapid motion, did not its Divine Maker fix and establish it?”
Today, ‘enlightened’ theists try desperately to distance themselves from these wrong headed assertions…
Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.