Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Geocentrism Goes Catholic!

The Chicago Tribune is reporting on a small but growing group within Catholicism that has embraced “original church doctrine” that the earth is in the center of the universe. Manya A. Brachear writes:
“I have no idea who these people are. Are they sincere, or is this a clever bit of theater?” said Brother Guy Consolmagno, the curator of meteorites and spokesman for the Vatican Observatory.

Indeed, those promoting geocentrism argue that heliocentrism, or the centuries-old consensus among scientists that the Earth revolves around the sun, is nothing more than a conspiracy theory to squelch the church's influence.

“Heliocentrism becomes 'dangerous' if it is being propped up as the true system when, in fact, it is a false system,” said Robert Sungenis, leader of a budding movement to get scientists to reconsider. “False information leads to false ideas, and false ideas lead to illicit and immoral actions — thus the state of the world today. … Prior to Galileo, the church was in full command of the world; and governments and academia were subservient to her.”
Sungenis attended a conference last year called “Galileo was Wrong, the Church was Right” in which like-minded catholics congregated to discuss the future of geocentrism. The conference, itself, touched on different topics, all of which fall within the young earth creationism rubric.

But here's the corker:
But Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., said the Bible is silent on geocentrism.

"There's a big difference between looking at the origin of the planets, the solar system and the universe and looking at presently how they move and how they are interrelated," Ham said. "The Bible is neither geocentric or heliocentric. It does not give any specific information about the structure of the solar system."
At last count, there are over eighty scripture references that mention a static, non-moving or flat earth. Some notable ones:
Then spoke Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Aijalon." And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. (Joshua 10:12-13)
As the argument goes, if the earth is not in the center of the universe, then what difference would it have made if the sun stood still? The earth, itself, would still be moving and Joshua would have lost the battle.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. (Matthew 4:8)
One again, if earth is not flat and unmoving, what difference would it have made where they were when the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth? If the writer really is talking about ALL the kingdoms of the earth, as a literal interpretation would argue, then a round earth would have made this impossible.

Interestingly, as Karen Wynn Fonstad points out in her Atlas of Middle Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien's Endor is constructed on an ancient understanding of the earth and its foundations. Although he never mentioned it, he evidently struggled with this as the story evolved, eventually ending up with a history in which the first two ages of Middle Earth take place on a flat earth with an “encircling sea” (a la Job 26:10) while the third age involves a round earth with “new lands” to the west.

Is the earth flat? Of course not. Is it in the center of the universe? No, it isn't. The vast majority of Christians would agree with these conclusions, based on modern science. My point is not that the earth is round or in the center of the universe or that the Bible is in error. My point is that a strict literal reading of these passages that are either implicit or explicit about the earth being in the center of the universe and flat is absolutely unwarranted and that for Ken Ham to assert that the Bible is silent on geocentrism but speaks volumes on the age of the earth is absurd.

Common-sense Christianity hits another roadblock.

8 comments:

  1. Most unfortunately, the Chicago Tribune article left out (perhaps on purpose) the website for Dr. Sungenis' stunning 2 volume masterpiece on the geocentrism vs. heliocentrism debate. It is www.galileowaswrong.com. His equally important blogsite in which he answers many of his critics is www.galileowaswrong.blogspot.com.
    One can also find the actual interview carried out by the Chicago Tribune reporter of Dr. Sungenis at http://galileowaswrong.com/galileowaswrong/features/2.pdf.

    A Christian interested in the above subject matter would also do very well to visit http://www.scripturecatholic.com/geocentrism.html. The undersigned has personally recommended it to Mr. Ham!

    The article in the Tribune may give the wrong impression that the Catholic Church has abandoned its official position on heliocentrism and geocentrism. Contrary to popular opinion, it definitely has not, nor for that matter it ever will since geocentrism can actually be proven theologically.

    As for the natural sciences heliocentrism has never actually been proven and geocentrism has never actually been disproven. You would never know this, however, from the false scientific information (much like Darwinian evolution) that we have been spoon fed with since we were practically knee high!

    James Phillips

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  2. Hi James.

    Insofar as science can disprove anything about the natural world, geocentrism has been disproven. Which is to say: It has been disproven.

    It is always possible to wiggle out of any scientific claim, but in this case doing so is much too costly; it leaves you with no basis upon which to believe anything at all about nature.

    And if you are a Christian (as I am), claiming that geocentrism is not proven is tantamount to saying God is a deceiver. IMO.

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  3. Hi James.

    Insofar as science can disprove anything about the natural world, geocentrism has been disproven. Which is to say: It has been disproven.

    It is always possible to wiggle out of any scientific claim, but in this case doing so is much too costly; it leaves you with no basis upon which to believe anything at all about nature.

    And if you are a Christian (as I am), claiming that geocentrism is not proven is tantamount to saying God is a deceiver. IMO.

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  4. I would argue that wiggling out of a claim that the earth isn't 4.5 billion years old carries with it the same cost. There are so many multiple lines of evidence that the earth is vastly old that one requires blinders not to see it. And you are right. Even the Greeks knew the earth was not in the center of the universe. But this group of Catholics is so adamant in adhering to a narrow scriptural interpretation that even 2400 year old science is to be ignored.

    As they say: these people live out there where the bus doesn't run.

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  5. This press release was just posted on SSPX.ORG:

    PLATTE CITY, MO (8-30-2011) A recent news report implied that the Priestly Society of St. Pius X promotes the scientific theory of geocentrism as a Catholic teaching based upon the Bible. The SSPX holds no such position.

    The Church’s magisterium teaches that Catholics should not use Sacred Scripture to assert explanations about natural science, but may in good conscience hold to any particular cosmic theory. As a religious congregation of the Catholic Church, the SSPX holds to these principles and does not teach any solar scientific theory. click here to read more: http://sspx.org/district_news/sspx_and_the_solar_system_8-30-2011.htm.

    Rather interesting information about the nature of Sacred Scripture, and the relation of it (and the Faith) to scientific theory.

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  6. Dr. Robert Sungenis who is cited in this article has provided a superb reply to it at his site www.galileowaswrong.com. The title of the reply is "Response to the Chicago Times on the Geocentrism Conference: Robert Sungenis"

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  7. There have been four -4- experiments done over the last century that undermine the legitimacy of Heliocentrism and speak to the fact of Geocentrism. You can start with, Michelson Morley

    So?... Who is ignoring the science?

    And one of you really should produce this 2400 year old science that was mentioned, which proves Helio-centrism... I would like to see it.

    And as to Copernicus, he also was wrong, he believed the universe went around the sun... not the solar system. So he had his wrong assumptions also.

    Why is the irrelevant solar system sneaked in to the Copernican discussion at all?

    Copernicus held that the sun was the center of the entire universe, as did Galileo and the rest of the protagonists.

    Scientists most assuredly do not believe that today. To admit that the heroes of the fight against Biblical inerrancy were wrong would not be good for the cause.

    And lets face the fact that Ptolemy and his epicycles are not the primitive and outdated objects of fun the humanists would have us believe.

    The most convenient means of calculating planetary positions today is still Ptolemy’s, though his method has been modernized into "Fourier analysis", and his "epicycles" are now "terms in an infinite series." Still! The most improved versions of Kepler’s method are still not superior in accuracy and convenience.

    One tody could represent the the universe in a geo-centric model and no one could disprove it. Period.

    So I would suggest everyone today stop and think about all the bad science pushed as fact and then understand that we, none of us, know all we think we do.

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  8. More info on our geocentric universe here:

    http://christian-wilderness.forumvi.com/t39-stationary-earth

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