Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The knowledge schism - the schism the church isn’t talking about

Whilst there had been propositions in the past that flew in the face of orthodoxy it has only really been since the 16th and 17th centuries that the extent of human knowledge, and the extent of the dissemination of that knowledge, and the degree to which it disagreed with doctrine (whilst being agreed upon by scholars), that has caused the Abrahamic religions difficulty. I say the 16th and 17th centuries because of such luminaries as Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler and their input into astronomy (and other sciences, let’s be honest) and the final destruction of the flat earth and geo-centrism (thereby reclaiming (the) heaven(s) for the rationalists).

It is worth noting that it took the Catholic church 125 years to lift the ban on (effectively) heliocentrism and a further 75 years to have Copernicus’ ‘De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium’ (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) and Galileo’s ‘Dialogue [Concerning the Two Chief World Systems]’ omitted from its ‘Index of Forbidden Books’.

Not admitted as fact, merely omitted from the list… a sin of omission?

It was only another 165 years until Galileo got an apology for his trial for heresy. 367 years to admit that a man was right and God was wrong, presumably to allow the church enough time to gather together enough experts in obfuscation (which is to say intellectuals and philosophers with an overweening need to cleave to the church), to “plausibly” explain away the disparities.

The church openly espoused the quest for knowledge and the dissemination thereof, what with libraries and scriptoriums and the scholarly pursuits of priests and monks. That is until books became more readily available and rather more unappetising knowledge was being disseminated (see Copernicus and Galileo, above, as well as Kepler's ‘Epitome Astronomiae Copernicianae’).

125 years seems to be a magic number, for the Catholic church at least, see the book ban above. 125 years after Gutenberg invented the printing press the Catholic Church created its ‘Index of Forbidden Books’ (Index Librorum Prohibitorum) in, you guessed it, the 16th century.

It sickens me to think that the church(es), formerly so instrumental in the gaining, storing and dissemination of knowledge, are now caught in a self-preservatory scramble to maintain ignorance in the masses, to allow them to continue to peddle their wares of faith, belief and the afterlife despite the increasing weight of evidence against the basis of that belief.

If you were ever under any illusions about the fact that religion is a business, then its behaviour should be ample evidence that it is.

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