Scientific Knowledge

For over a millennium Christianity arrested the development of science and scientific thinking. In Christendom, from the time of Augustine until the Renaissance, systematic investigation of the natural world was restricted to theological investigation—the interpretation of biblical passages, the gleaning of clues from the lives of the saints, etc.; there was no direct observation and interpretation of natural processes, because that was considered a useless pursuit, as all knowledge resided in scripture.

The results of this are well known: scientific knowledge advanced hardly an inch in the over 1000 years from the rise of orthodox Christianity in the fourth century to the 1500s, and the populace was mired in the deepest squalor and ignorance, living in dire fear of the supernatural—believing in paranormal explanations for the most ordinary natural events.

This ignorance had tragic results: it made the populace more than ready to accept witchcraft as an explanation for everything from illness to thunderstorms, and hundreds of thousands of women (and some men…and some say the number is up to 3 million) paid for that ignorance with their lives. One of the commonest charges against witches was that they had raised hailstorms or other weather disturbances to cause misfortune to their neighbors. In an era when supernatural explanations were readily accepted, such charges held weight—and countless innocent people died horrible deaths as a result.

(Now a sane and rational person would realize from the lack of  any real evidence that there were no witches and not buy into this crap, and the so called ‘men of God’ would know that a real God would not sanction what they were doing to thousands of innocent people.  Logic dictates that the leaders of the Catholic Church knew there was  no God so they weren’t bothered by how evil  the deed was they were doing. I don’t think there is any way that theistic apologia can rationalize  the things they did in ‘God’s’ name ).

Another result was that the fearful populace remained very dependent upon Christianity and its clerical wise men for protection against the supernatural evils which they believed surrounded and constantly menaced them. For men and women of the Middle Ages, the walls veritably crawled with demons and witches; and their only protection from those evils was the church.

When scientific investigation into the natural world resumed in the Renaissance—after a 1000-year-plus hiatus—organized Christianity did everything it could to stamp it out. The cases of Copernicus and Galileo are particularly relevant here, because when the Catholic Church banned the Copernican theory (that the Earth revolves around the sun) and banned Galileo from teaching it, it did not consider the evidence for that theory: it was enough that it contradicted scripture.

Given that the Copernican theory directly contradicted the Word of God, the Catholic hierarchy reasoned that it must be false. Protestants shared this view. John Calvin rhetorically asked, “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?”

Who Indeed…

Words in parenthesis and italics are mine.

Adapted from Freethoughtpedia Here

“Saint Augustine… laid down an important principle … that if a scriptural text contradicts science, you must give it an allegorical interpretation.”

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Of course all of you out there in webland know that ALL of the fundagelical organizations lie lie lie in just about everything they do…and they somehow think this is OK.

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