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Friday, March 11, 2016

Why should we believe a Church that once taught that the Earth was flat?

This meme is circulating the internet: 

Image result for funny quotes about faith

It sounds like an authentic quote since it cites the author of the quote, and, heck, it even includes some official dates and everything!

However, it turns out that:

1) There is no reliable verification that Magellan actually said this

2) The Church NEVER taught that the Earth was flat.

Now, it may be true that a Catholic cleric may have taught that the Earth was flat...(although I haven't encountered any such quotes), but that's not the same thing as saying that "The Church says that the Earth is flat."  However, essentially no educated person from the time of Ptolemy in the first century to modern times ever taught that the Earth was flat.

In fact, Catholic clerics, at universities (established by the Catholic Church), had been at the forefront of asserting the universe had an order and symmetry and beauty, that the world was ascertainable, that the Earth was round...all because of their Faith in God, the creator of this orderly, discoverable, beautiful universe.

"Copernicus was a canon of the Catholic Church.  Newton devoted the last decades of his life to Bible study.  Galileo, also his whole life a devout Christian, spent the last part of his life as a guest in the home of a cardinal.  Kepler, who refined the theories of Copernicus, was a pious Lutheran his whole life.  The Scientific Method itself was created in the Christian universities of the Middle Ages.  How does that fit into the popular idea that Christians are opposed to science?  It does not, unless you believe that the Earth is flat - something Christians never thought.  Who, in olden time, thought the world was flat?  Everyone thought the world was flat but Christians."

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This meme is just another attempt to fuel the "Science wins! Religion loses (again)"  or "Scientists = smarties!  Religious folks = morons!" narrative.

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