The Pertinacity of the Asp

imgres.jpgGalileo, complaining about those people who refused to look through a telescope to see those things, such as the moons of Jupiter or sunspots moving across the face of the sun, referred to them as being “replete with the pertinacity of the asp.” Everyone knew that the sun revolved around the earth: it was proven scriptural science.

I recently read William T. Vollmann’s treatise, Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. In general it is a very readable presentation of some rather difficult concepts, both astronomical and mathematical. But truly it is far easier to understand and accept the unnecessary complexities of the scriptural world view than it is to accept that the world obeys the insights of scripture and not of science.

Continue reading

Take a Left at Albuquerque

mapamundiI was reminded earlier today that the continents of North and South America are never mentioned in the infallible Book of God. No wonder Columbus refused to believe he hadn’t found a route to the East Asian coast: He relied on the mythology of the Bible as if it was the truth.

The only other explanation would be that God refused to acknowledge the existence of America and some very human public relations firm came up with that catchy phrase, “God Bless America.”

Either way, it doesn’t seem like Christianity has a firm position in America.

Time to Shelve the Ten Commandments

MosesJust yesterday I got in an argument with a neighbor who insisted that the only laws we really need are enumerated in the Ten Commandments. Being somewhat versed in this artifact of primitive culture, I foolishly pointed out that the first four items simply emphasized the need to adhere to a jealous god. And then, in the best Abbott and Costello fashion, my neighbor said, “Of course.” Damn! Here I was a highly educated critical thinker trying to convince a neighbor here in South Carolina than there were many problems with her understanding of her religion.

I proceeded to point out a few of the questionable, inaccurate, or inconsistent passages in the Bible (yes, I have read it more than once and studied it at the university) only to be told that despite the entire Bible being written under the divine guidance of God, the questionable passages were the work of men who had other agendas and that any discrepancies or inconsistencies were easily answered by having Faith.

I must have been foolish and resorted to a friendly Goodbye as she left to go back to what I imagined was a Holy Shrine in one corner of her bedroom.

Continue reading