Copernicus and Galileo, mathematician astronomers surrounded themselves by globes, charts, and telescopes, struggled to find proof for an idea developed by seeing and thinking. Perplexed by a dilemma, should they respect the Church’s wishes and not rock the boat or continue with their observation and intuition. After 19 years in 1611, the Italian Copernicus took his telescope to Rome and displayed it.
In 1616, his new solar system theory was denounced and banned. It was considered a danger to the Church and to the Catholic faith, and he was warned never to mention it again.
But he did mention it again, and his publication turned philosophy and science on its ear . . . the Church was not happy. The Church, as egotistical as ever, had persuaded its followers that the word of God placed the earth in the middle of the universe — that the earth was supreme, and therefore the sun rotated around the earth.
Galileo was tried by the Church
(The Inquisition) in 1633 and forced to recant all of his scientific findings. He was then placed under house arrest and later lived out the rest of his life in seclusion. He eventually went blind; perhaps he simply did not want to see any more.
Three hundred and fifty years later, in 1979, The Church asked that his conviction be re investigated. Finally, in 1992, although Galileo was never proclaimed innocent of his charges, the Catholic Church did reverse the 1616 proclamation that his theory should be banned. The pope merely said that Galileo was unjustly treated because the Church back then confused science and faith. This my friends we call evolution.
Galileo’s story is not unique, men and women, St. Athanasius the father of orthodoxy, Joan of Arc, Dorothy Day, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, Mathew Fox and countless others – have dared to challenge the masses have been thrown into prison, beaten, derided, stripped of everything, ex communicated and cast away — but their truth remained. Theirs is truth which has been tempered with the fire of love of God and not with conformity.
Beliefs are only beliefs.
The God we create is the one we live by and at times there are authorities which will guide and or crush anyone who tries to undermine the status quo. We cannot argue beliefs because they are not based on proof. You can’t produce God or point to Him. He or She or It exists in your mind and that is good enough. Mexico has a saying I quite like, “every mind is its own world”. Science and religion have their root in humankind’s thirst to know, just refrain from making it eternal doctrine.
My God is better than your God is a ridiculous statement. When we attempt to discredit logical and scientific findings because they don’t agree with our religious views then we are skating on thin ice. For example; believe after we die we will live in heaven and be joined by all of our relatives in joy and gratitude. Do we all have to agree on heaven, where, how and why? There are those who have died and come back, we need to ask ourselves do we believe them? We may have experienced visions of the Virgin Mary, past lives, aliens, talking ghosts but it all is subjective and not provable. Therefore, it all falls into the realm of belief.
Galileo’s story reminds us, science opens up new avenues of spirituality. Science tells us that the universe is vast, full of black holes, million mile chains of star debris and there is more than one universe and dimension. We little humans are not the center of anything and nothing is permanent or incontestable.
If there is a God I hope he/she is watching over our universe, it can’t hurt.
When we avoid science or clutch religion, we refuse to face the fact that we are but a tiny, tiny organism on a tiny, tiny clump of matter called the earth, rotating around a tiny star on the outer fringes of a galaxy that contains billions of stars and galaxies. When we ignore such a reference and simply claim that what we have read, or what we have heard is the truth we limit the awe of living in an unfolding world of mind and matter. We once believed that the world was flat, and no one could convince us otherwise.
Their window to life on earth — the perfect conditions for life to exist are the right temperature, oxygen, sunlight and water which all support life. Compared this with the age of the earth, this perfect balance has only been around for a few million years when the rock itself is trillions of years old. We have only had life here as we know it for a fraction of time. Our children and grandchildren represent the smallest second beside the countless generations which comprise past and future. The cycle of life is endless until . . . until that window of life closes, and then . . .? Mystery and heaven both give us hope to become more somehow. Who knows?
But few have read this far. This is all too heady; this would depress some people, exasperate others or anger a few. Talking about such things seems anti-religious, antisocial, or esoteric. Therefore, our beliefs are kept simple; lest we become psychotic.
This is all about ego and the inflated value we place upon ourselves. We all agree when we die, our organic bodies will go back into the earth; undeniable! This leaves spirit, if spirit exists, where does it go? There are countless answers to that question about science and religion, which is the beauty of having a mind and heart.