Fwd: [breakpoint] Flat Earthers, 10/11/1999

Stephen E. Jones (sejones@iinet.net.au)
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 20:14:30 +0800


Here is a Colson Breakpoint article which points out
(again) the myth that Christianity believed in a flat
Earth until science proved it was round.


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>Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 13:16:59 -0600
>From: <BreakPoint_Staff@pfm.org>


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BreakPoint Commentary #91011 - 10/11/1999
Flat Earthers: The Columbus Myth
by Charles Colson

Flat Earthers: The Columbus Myth
By Charles W. Colson

"It's about time someone stood up to the Flat-
Earthers who want to push their beliefs in the

The comment came from "Kansas City Star" columnist
Mike Hendricks, and he was letting the world know
what he thought about the decision by the Kansas
State School Board to let local public schools decide
how much to teach of Darwinian evolution.

It wasn't the first time Christians have been called
Flat Earthers, and it won't be the last. The phrase
is intended to suggest that Christian beliefs are
behind the times, out of touch with modern science
and rationality.

After all, didn't medieval Christians cling to the
idea that the Earth was flat? Didn't it take the
voyage of Christopher Columbus to convince backward
Christians that the earth is spherical?

Actually, the answer is "no"--and the history of this
phrase reveals how far secularists will go to
discredit Christianity.

Consider Augustine, perhaps the greatest of the
church fathers who lived about a thousand years
before Columbus. Augustine knew that the earth was
round, not flat.

And in the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas, the
most profound and prolific of the medieval
theologians, observed that the spherical shape of the earth can be
emperically demonstrated. His proofs
were both mathematical and physical. For example, he
suggested that the spherical shape of the earth could
be inferred from lunar eclipses.

Aquinas gave us classic examples of the scientific
method as he understood it. And the findings of
modern science confirm that he understood it
exceptionally well!

Throughout the centuries, many other Church Fathers
taught that the earth is spherical, and not flat. So
where do people get the idea that Christians were

It turns out it was a fable cooked up by
Enlightenment propagandists.

In a book entitled Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus
and the Modern Historians, Jeffrey Burton Russell
explains that the myth that medieval Christians
taught a flat earth was invented in the early 19th
century by Enlightenment thinkers bent on
discrediting the church. It was essentially a
calumny--indeed, a libel--designed to discredit the
Christian heritage of the Middle Ages.

Of course, medieval Christians did not have all the
vast information that has since been revealed by
modern science. But these men were not fools, and
they were certainly not anti-intellectual. On the
contrary, men like Augustine and Aquinas helped put
into place the tradition of careful, dispassionate
inquiry in the quest for truth--a tradition that is
one of the great glories of Western civilization.
Modern scholarship--including modern science--would
not have emerged without them.

Today the term "Flat Earthers" is still in vogue.
Hundreds of years after the Enlightenment, it seems
that our opponents still prefer to fight with insults
instead of facts.

As we observe Columbus Day today, we need to make
sure our children and friends know the truth about
why Columbus believed the Earth was round--he was
following in the tradition of Christians like
Augustine and Aquinas. And the next time you hear
people dismissing the arguments of Christians by
calling us "Flat Earthers," make sure your kids
understand that the phrase was invented by the elites
hundreds of years ago--people who were just as afraid
of Christian arguments as the elites of today.

Copyright (c) 1999 Prison Fellowship Ministries

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"Biochemists and biologists who adhere blindly to the Darwinism theory
search for results that will be in agreement with their theories and
consequently orient their research in a given direction, whether it be in the
field of ecology, ethology, sociology, demography (dynamics of
populations), genetics (so-called evolutionary genetics), or paleontology.
This intrusion of theories has unfortunate results: it deprives observations
and experiments of their objectivity, makes them biased, and, moreover,
creates false problems." (Grasse P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms:
Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation", Academic Press: New
York NY, 1977, p7)
Stephen E. Jones | sejones@iinet.net.au | http://www.iinet.net.au/~sejones