Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Relevancy of Galileo

Just finished a book called Galileo's Daughter, which was really a history of Galileo interspersed with letters from his eldest daughter who entered into convent life somewhere around the age of 13 and spent all her days in the same convent. Without boring you with all the details, let me tell you the one thing that kept my attention. First, some history. Galileo invented the telescope. He was also, in 1616 prohibited from affirming Copernicus' heliocentric scheme of the universe. Galileo then later wrote The Dialogues in which four people debate, among other things the heliocentric model vs. the geocentric model. While the censors approved of his methodology which was crafted in order to give both ideas a fair hearing, enemies of Galileo convinced Pope Urban VIII (a former friend of Galileo) that Galileo had deceived him and was in fact pushing the heliocentric model. An inquisition council was formed and The Dialogues were eventually placed upon the banned books list for the next two hundred years. Galileo was given, in effect, a lifetime house arrest as well as being forced to publicly distance himself from his works. What really kept my attention was the parallels that I see in our own time between conservatives/evangelicals/fundamentalists (all three the same, in my opinion) and those that call themselves "emergent." (A term I like less and less everyday due to people that I perceive wearing it as a badge of pride.) Anyway, I digress. It seems that those in the more traditional role sometimes play the role of Galileo's enemies, refusing to even enter into the dialogue because they are so convinced that they are right. (Sadly, they often let their "rightness" serve as a justification for being rude to those that don't agree with them.) It must pain our Lord to watch his children fight each other when the world is going to hell...

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