Jan 12, 2009

Flat Earth, Closed Minds and Hollywood

Further to my essay of a few days ago and further to a dialogue in subsequent comments here, allow me to ask a rhetorical question: How do you know when you've been lied to?

Bruce Walker, in American Thinker has easily deconstructed one of the most common held beliefs about the Christian Mind that so many have taken as *ahem* Gospel.

Who else has lied to you, besides Cornell University and Bugs Bunny (do you remember the cartoon of Columbus and Isabella: "the world is flat, like your head!")? One little tiny, casual lie from some lying Frenchman, picked up by a tenured, yet remarkably uneducated college president; one funny scene in a cartoon, and years of textbooks, graphics, movies, comedians and other indoctrination, and you and I and every everyday person believes the throwaway gag that Christians were backwards and superstitious, when the Truth is, only Christians were mentally free to consider the world as it truly was and is. You could Google it. Maybe. If Google hasn't caught on yet, or if Wiki editors aren't tenured professors.

I don't care which side of the political spectrum you fall into, Bruce Walker's short essay should give one pause. Why would someone lie about something that is easily refuted and knowable, something seemingly obscure or insignificant? Why reproduce that lie down through the years, into the culture, and make it a staple of comedians and entertainment? That's for another post.

Andrew Breitbart's newest effort called, Big Hollywood may be more significant than any political musings of the GOP or RNC leadership. In the grand hope of restoring sanity and truth in our culture, or maybe just balance, Big Hollywood is a return to the freedom to think about what is true, what works, what is important.

Michael Steele, Jindal, Rush, Palin-- none of these so-called champions of Conservatism will EVER save Conservatism from the casual Lie (of whatever stripe) and the shallow culture that propagates it. Politicians and pundits are all well and good, but by the time they've commented on a lie, that lie had long-ago sprouted wings and flown to the receptive hearers, there to nest and grow. We are only about 45 years behind the lies, folks.

Andrew Breitbart just might be an American Hero. You might consider the larger vision of his efforts, support him and his advertisers, and be sure to point others to his website. In a cultural war and there must be a place where opposing ideas can be heard, seen, understood. While everyone is focused on Washington for answers, yoeman's work is undertaken in the very heart of our culture, in Hollywood itself. It's a very good start.

The world is not flat, just Hollywood's two-dimensional portrayal of it.


mushroom said...

Mocking the mindless socialism of the entertainment industry is fruitless if we never take it out of the choir.

We may know that an actor, singer, comedian or whatever is dumber than reusable toilet paper, but they have a huge base of, often young, impressionable minds listening to their socialist barbara streisand.

It is a culture war, and we're losing.

GUYK said...

He lies! Neo Christians try to cover up the past but the facts are still there.

In March 1616, in connection with the Galileo affair, the Roman Catholic Church's Congregation of the Index issued a decree suspending De revolutionibus until it could be "corrected," on the grounds that the supposedly Pythagorean doctrine[30] that the Earth moves and the Sun doesn't was "false and altogether opposed to Holy Scripture."[31] The same decree also prohibited any work that defended the mobility of the Earth or the immobility of the Sun, or that attempted to reconcile these assertions with Scripture.

On the orders of Pope Paul V, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine gave Galileo prior notice that the decree was about to be issued, and warned him that he could not "hold or defend" the Copernican doctrine.[32] The corrections to De revolutionibus, which omitted or altered nine sentences, were issued four years later, in 1620.[33]

In 1633 Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for "following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture,"[34] and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.

Galileo had gotten off lightly. Another Copernican, Giordano Bruno, had been prosecuted in Rome by the same Cardinal Bellarmine and on 17 February 1600, burned at the stake as a heretic primarily for his theologic views and not necessarily his scientific ones.

"The Catholic Church's 1758 Index of Prohibited Books omitted the general prohibition of works defending heliocentrism,[35] but retained the specific prohibitions of the original uncensored versions of De revolutionibus and Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Those prohibitions were finally dropped from the 1835 Index.[36]"

Joan of Argghh! said...

Heliocentrism and Flat Earth certainly were upheld by certain Church members, but the point made in the article and the link therein, is that no educated person, ranking among thousands of Christians, believed it. And there is proof, written proof, to that effect.

The Catholic Church's politics notwithstanding, there is plenty of evidence among Christian thinkers of a spherical world and an orderly cosmos... as opposed to a flat earth borne upon a turtle's back, say.

The article is no defense of the Catholic Church and its embarassing idocies throughout the ages, or its political churnings and power plays that used science as hammer. This is merely about empirical evidence and the need for some to suppress it.

I can read and understand why some leaders within the Church would want to supress truth. I've been indoctrinated in that fact from every corner. But suppression of facts is actually practiced in our schools and colleges, too, for similar reasons. That is the point of the post.

Would that history happens as neatly as narration of events. Power plays, intrigue, grudges and revenge make for colorful commentary within our studies. Cooler heads know that there is more to every story,that the entire truth is a tedious damsel that simply will not yield to a man with no time to woo her.

The secondary point is, why, if knowing that so many learned men of faith had solid thinking skills and sound logic, why would it be important to portray all of them as backward thinking and superstitious? The Church's machinations are easy to read and apply focus to, but the quieter truth is that like it or not, nobody, up until the 1830s ever thought that Christians had ever believed the world was flat:

"In my research, I looked to see how old the idea was that medieval Christians believed the earth was flat. I obviously did not find it among medieval Christians. Nor among anti-Catholic Protestant reformers. Nor in Copernicus or Galileo or their followers, who had to demonstrate the superiority of a heliocentric system, but not of a spherical earth. I was sure I would find it among the eighteenth-century philosophers, among all their vitriolic sneers at Christianity, but not a word. I am still amazed at where it first appears.

No one before the 1830s believed that medieval people thought that the earth was flat."

The further point is, learned men of faith do not find an enemy in science.

Guy, your prejudice is well-documented, so please feel free to ignore anything else I may ever say or post on the matter. I don't seek to convert anyone to any religious point of view. I seek the understand Truth, and why people on all sides are afraid of it.

Even now, I know you can see how insidious lies are building on the Left, how it's entirely plausible now for younger people to question the Holocaust. Soon, it will be relegated to an old wives' tale and accepted as such after some textbooks are printed. In a hundred years' time from today it would be fun to watch the deniers' reaction to someone who went and found hard evidence of the Holocaust (again) and listen to the charges hurled against them of "neo-judaism!"

But perhaps Antroprogenic Global Warming really is a science.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, if nobody has fallen asleep yet, the discussion at that link is deep and wide. Wade in the water, children. Jump in there and give it a go...

mushroom said...

Obviously religious people sometimes oppose the truth. Jesus was crucified by the Romans under pressure from the leaders of the priesthood and the Sanhedrin. The Catholic Church in persecuting "Copernicans" was not upholding some sort of fundamentalist Biblical view, but what was considered at the time the valid scientific view of Ptolemy.

I'm glad you mentions AGW because you have a perfect parallel there. If the earth is indeed warming, it has nothing to do with CO2. It is a result of changes on the big yellow ball in the sky.

Many religious leaders are hitching their wagons to AGW. The Catholic Church in Galileo's time was a political and religious monolith. If it still existed as such and adopted an affirmative stance on AGW, then it would make sense for deniers to be excommunicated.

GUYK said...

Joan, I look for truth...and you are right. There were many free thinking Christians who didn't believe the earth was flat. But there were also many Christians who were persecuted for believing it was round!

The religious right wing lies to cover its past just as the left wing lies to further its agenda.

I suppose that some would call it prejudice that I have no use for any organized religion but especially one whose religious services are based on symbolic cannibalism.

Joan of Argghh! said...

The religious right wing lies to cover its past.

I'll await your citations on that.

If any group in modern history has been more scrutinized than Christians, more vilified than Jews, more mocked and derided and investigated by the Media, I'm at a loss to name it, unless it is Sarah Palin.


GUYK said...

Joan, the article you linked lied by omission of the fact that the Catholic church persecuted to the point of burning at the stake some who followed the beliefs of
Copernicus. When the left wing does this we call it spin..and yeah, it is hard to call it a lie. But then omission of facts that do not support the agenda are lies.

Religions..all religions (including my own deist beliefs) have to be taken on faith. But Christian historians oft times omit what really happened such as the burning of Jews and heretics by the Catholic church and later the hanging and persecution of those accused of heresy by protestant sects.

So did early day Christians believe the earth was flat? As you write, those who were educated did not believe this. But the era in question was feudal Europe...a time when few were literate and those few were either scribes educated by the church or priests. Most of the Lords of the manors were illiterate and used either a scribe or priest for their written communication.

Now, considered that the Catholic church was burning at the stake some who admitted belief in the teaching/writing of Copernicus and that the majority of the population was illiterate...just how many people do you think really believed the earth was round? A priest that admitted the belief could be burned for heretical beliefs and the majority of the population couldn't read what had been written about round earth to begin with!

In short, the linked article is just right wing propaganda and will not stand up to historical scrutiny.

Bob said...

Joan, Thank you for continuing to link to Big Hollywood. Did you see the post yesterday from Orson Bean? It was in the spirit of the Bill Whittle post you linked to a few days ago.

Joan of Argghh! said...

When was any of the information you cited ever withheld from you? or me for that matter? Is it a lie to state that learned Christians did not believe the world was flat?

It is not a lie.

Did you read the commentary at the link within the article?

In historic and important documents left behind by educated Christians, there was very little belief in the "Flat Earth" view. That's the only fact that's being held up. And it holds up nicely.

I care not that political entities distort, persecute and malign their detractors. That, too, is a knowable fact and has never been hidden, as far as I know. Hell, I grew up Catholic and even I was taught the most embarassing facts about the egregious persecution.

What was omitted from my education was the fact that the entirety of the persecution is not the entirety of Christian thought or scientific method.

Joan's First Rule of Geo-political-religio Constants states thus: Anyone in power will seek to maintain their power.

That is why I have a gun and a pseudonym. And it is why digging around for inconvenient truths is germane to any discussion.

How can I make you see that you are hung up on the unrighteousness of the Church's oppression of fact, which is not in dispute or discussion, awful as it was, when I am trying to get a timeline and mapping about who knew what, and when did they know it, and why do I NOT know it.

I understand the Church's reasons for surpressing inconvenient Truth and can judge accordingly. That our colleges are using similar tactics does not bode well, nor excuse anyone from thinking, discovering, learning and being thus free to think even bigger thoughts.

GUYK said...

Our colleges are for sure spinning the truth...and when it fits the agenda withholds the truth