Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Word of God and the Flat Earthers

'God works in mysterious ways' is a phrase used to show God's 'works', though seemingly onerous at one particular time, might, or could turn out well in the long run . And indeed, on the 'mysterious' point at least, I must agree, for if there really is a god, he (or she, or it) certainly does work mysteriously, and most convincingly for some people. So convincingly in fact, there is no arguing with them. Facts and realities are simply ignored or 'explained' away.

Many fundamental Christians, who interpret the Bible literally, and as fact, sincerely believe for example:
  • The Earth is a mere 6012 years old, and will turn 6013 at 9:00 AM, October 26, 2009 - as calculated & determined by Archbishop Usher in Ireland in 1654;
  • There is no such thing as evolution, but that everything on Earth today, was created in it's present form, by God, (By God!) 'in the beginning';
  • And, perhaps most incredibly, there are even some today who still seriously argue the Earth is flat! Members of the 'International Flat Earth Research Society' state a part of their mission is to 'Replace the science religion . . . with SANITY'.
These folks also believe the Moon is 32 miles in diameter, the Sun only a bit larger, and both circle the Earth less than 3,000 miles away. They believe there is no heliocentric universe and say, 'Just look up! It's obvious the Sun, Moon and stars are all circling us while we remain in one place!'

They go to great lengths to 'prove' the earth is flat, and that space travel is a hoax, that the notion of a spherical Earth is a huge plot by governments and the media. But, the premier proof is, hold on, wait for it, wait for it . . . . Surprise! The Holy Bible! First Chronicles, 16:30 is cited: "He has fixed the earth firm, immovable," Also, Psalms 93:1" "Thou [God] hast fixed the earth immovable and firm."

There are other scriptures quoted too, but you get the drift. When the Holy Bible is quoted, that's all the proof anyone needs! Ipso, facto, done deal! (Flat Earthers even refer to themselves as 'FE's'. Honest. You just can't make this kind of stuff up!)

On the other hand, many, perhaps more rational Christians, faced with, and obviously disturbed by FACTS, go to great lengths to 'prove' the Flat Earthers CAN NOT base their proofs on the Bible. Go figure!

And, inevitably, there are those who poke some seriously fun ridicule at the FE's too!

What is even more surprising, at least to me, is to find that the Flat Earthers have been around only about 200 years or so, and prior to that, the ancients had believed the Earth to be spherical since the fifth century BC. The Flat Earth 'Theory' turns out to be a notion spread by more recent Biblical literalists.

Biblical literalists simply cannot be bothered by facts. A great example of this occured in 1897, when a man by the name of Joshua Slocum - a self-described Christian himself - sailed a small boat, the 'Spray', around the world. He published a book ('Sailing Alone Around The World') in 1900, which is now a classic in nautical literature. In chapter XVII Slocum describes his experience in meeting three representatives sent by Paulus Krüger, then president of the South African Republic (Transvaal), and for whom the present day gold 'Krügerand' is named. Krüger was a strong believer in a flat earth, and went to great lengths to prove it.

Here is Slocum's account:

"It sounds odd to hear scholars and statesmen say the world is flat; but it is a fact that three Boers favored by the opinion of President Krüger prepared a work to support that contention. While I was at Durban they came from Pretoria to obtain data from me, and they seemed annoyed when I told them that they could not prove it by my experience."

"I went ashore and left these three wise men poring over the Spray's track on a chart of the world, which, however, proved nothing to them, for it was on Mercator's projection, and behold, it was "flat. The next morning I met one of the party in a clergyman's garb, carrying a large Bible, not different from the one I had read. He tackled me, saying, 'If you respect the Word of God, you must admit that the world is flat.' "

"'If the Word of
God stands on a flat world - ' I began." '

"What!' cried he, losing himself in a passion, and making as if he would run me through with a assagai. 'What!' he shouted in astonishment and rage, while I jumped aside to dodge the imaginary weapon. had this good but, misguided fanatic been armed with a real weapon, the crew of the Spray would have died a martyr there and then."
"A pamphlet by these Transvaal geographers, made up of arguments from sources high and low to prove their theory, was mailed to me before I sailed from Africa . . ."

Here were three, probably well-paid people, sent to dispute the empirical FACT that someone had actually sailed AROUND a spherical world! And, that only because that FACT was in conflict with the words of their Bible. Such is the danger presented by those who sincerely believe, and act upon the following canon I've seen on bumper stickers:


Always remember: 'Ignorance may sometimes be cured by education, but Stupidity is now and forevermore!'

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