Christianity and Science
Christianity, the mid-1st century CE Second (Herodian) Temple Judaic sect based in Jerusalem, the capital of Judah (post-Cyrus the Great and NOT referring to the so-called “Northern Kingdom” of Israel (Samaria) ca. 930-720 BCE), is believed to have been based upon the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (English for the Latin Iēsūs, < Greek Ἰησοῦς, < late Hebrew or Aramaic yēshūăʿ, Yeshua, for the earlier y'hōshūăʿ, Yehoshua or Yoshua (explained as ‘Yah (or Yahveh) is salvation’ who is thought to have lived ca. 7–2 BCE to 30–33 CE), a Galilean and cynic philosopher, who lived and likely spent time in the nearby large Hellenized Roman merchant city of Sepphoris. Jesus taught through peasant-based parables and dispatched his closet followers ('apostles') out to embrace and hug all they encountered and inform them their current suffering was not a punishment from G*d, but rather the result of a military Roman occupation and a corrupt Judaic religious system (including the Sadducees and the Pharisees). He is thought to have been executed (likely crucified) for preaching against the current Judaic religious practices. Jesus, the brave teacher, knew his message in Jerusalem could bring about his death, but faced such a possibility with courage and humility. “Christ,” on the other hand, according to the OED has the etymology of “Old English crist = Old Saxon and Old High German crist , krist (Old High German also christ ), < Latin Chrīstus , < Greek Χρῑστός Christ, noun use of χρῑστός anointed ( < χρίειν to anoint), a translation of Hebrew māshīa χ, Messiah n., ‘anointed’, more fully 'm'shīa χ Yahweh the Lord's Anointed'. This word and its derivatives and cognates (including chrism n. and its derivatives) were very rarely (and perhaps only accidentally) spelt with ch- in Middle English, but this has been the regular fashion since 1500,” and is a fictional mythological character who 'knew' He was G*d and would be resurrected – Jesus was a true and devout hero and Christ is a comic-book superhero. One taught egalitarian peace and the other served as the focus of a new religion. Science is a discipline in which testable hypotheses and models are advanced and sometimes regarded as 'facts'. Christianity and science have seldom agreed, though while in certain areas progress is being made, much of what passes for today's “Christianity” is anti-science and intellectually retarded.
Beyond the discovery of the Aurignacian period 40,000 BCE mammoth-ivory flute from southern Germany, the Neolithic bone flute found in China dated to ca. 9,000 BCE, past the “All is number” of Pythagoras of Samos (ca. 570-495 BCE) and his claim one couldn't insert a hair between the relationship of number, music, and the calendar, as well as the harmonic doctrine of Claudius Ptolemy (ca. 90-168 CE) and his harmonic doctrine which included the “music of the spheres,” we have ample evidence of the playing of music along with singing by the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as many mentions in the Jewish Tanakh (Hebrew scripture or what the Christians call the “Old Testament”) and several specific allusions to singing and chanting in Christian scripture (the so-called “New Testament), many if not all peoples and cultures practiced some form of singing or music, and we must not overlook the fact that both Hebrew and Greek letters (along with other symbols – see above) were also used to represent numbers before the introduction, along with the Daseian notation of the ninth century CE referred to as "a medieval imitation of the ancient Greek notation," and finally the musical notation symbols of the Franks also in the ninth century CE (for both 9th century notations, see above). Saint Pope Gregory the Great (served 590-604 CE) is often credited with revising the ancient musical scales, though modern histories discount this assertion and hold it was a simple re-working of an ancient Roman method. While His Holiness Saint Pope Gregory I is often credited with introducing the popular style of monophonic singing known as the “Gregorian chant,” it is now believed the style was created from a later Carolingian combination of ancient Roman and Gallican chants. Today's Western or Gregorian calendar was a reform of the old Julian calendar by His Holiness Pope Gregory XII in 1582 (ostensibly to align Easter to the spring equinox). The 'new' calendar was almost immediately universally accepted, though Greece didn't officially adopt it until 1923. Yeah, those Greeks were/are certainly not barbarians (from the Greek βάρβαρος meaning those foreigners whose language sounded like “ba-ba”).
Now, even after the First Council of Nicaea convened in 325 CE by the Roman Emperor Constantine I who claimed to have made a conversion to Christianity (though some hold he was merely tolerant of the 'new' religion), it wasn't until 380 CE when Roman Emperor Theodosius I and his Edict of Thessalonica established Christianity as the state church and the only authorized religion throughout the Roman empire. Problems of authority and doctrine continued until Justinian the Great, the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Emperor (ruled 527–565) established the Eastern or Orthodox Church (though independence from Rome had been growing since the 330s CE) after ca. 529 CE, with mutual recognition and respect continuing until the so-called Great Schism of 1054 CE when the Roman Catholic Church formally split from the Eastern Byzantine Orthodox Church. Both main 'branches' of the Apostolic or Sacred Tradition (those which follow the suggestions, rather than the actual ms. Diataxis (Ordinances) of the Holy Apostles, from ca. third century CE) have had their individual ups and downs over the years, yet many regard them (Roman and Eastern Orthodox) as the only 'true' practitioners of Christianity, rejecting the Protestant Reformation, including the Lutherans, the Calvinists, Methodists, Baptists, Unitarians, and all the other sects which claim their own unique version and interpretation of Jesus as Christ and the scriptural writings collectively known as the New Testament. And, of course, the Mormon cult who aren't even members of the World Council of Churches and are considered polytheists by most modern religious scholars.
Corruption, errors, the Inquisition, and hypocrisy aplenty aside, personally as a Humanist and Lapsed Catholic, I must credit the Roman Church for declaring Native Americans as 'humans' in His Holiness Pope Paul III's 1537 papal bull, Sublimis Deus, which declared: "The said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ." It must be unfortunately recalled that many upon learning of the aboriginal First Nation Native Americans regarded them as animals and not human.
Despite the wonderful naked-eye celestial observations of Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) and Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), it was the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) who, in 1609 based upon rumors of a Danish “spyglass” which made far away objects appear closer built a 'telescope' of his own, eventually ran afoul of the Roman Catholic Church for his anti-Copernicanism (i.e., against the idea the Sun revolves around the Earth, as opposed to his support of heliocentrism (the theory that the earth and other planets revolve around the Sun), which Kepler before him had supported. After being somewhat chastised in 1616 by a Roman Catholic Inquisitorial commission for his “foolish” and “erroneous” beliefs, matters worsened in 1633 when Galilei was found "vehemently suspect of heresy" and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. The somewhat legendary last words of Galileo Galilei concerning the Earth, "And yet it moves" or in Italian "Eppur si muove,” is often repeated as part of his legacy, though its origin is suspect. Nearly three and a half centuries later, on October 31, 1992, His Holiness Saint Pope John Paul II retracted the Church's previous position and allowed the publication of a declaration which acknowledged the error of condemning the scientific work of Galileo Galilei.
Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.
The English naturalist and geologist, Charles Robert Darwin, FRS (1809-1882), fortuitously together with the English naturalist and biologist, Alfred Russel Wallace OM FRS (1823-1913) advanced nearly simultaneously the theory of natural selection which would serve as a testable basis for adaptive evolution. The two had previously met on a single occasion and corresponded with one another over a period of many years, yet each arrived at the theory of natural selection from different sources of observation and critical thinking. It is commonly believed Darwin first coined the term “natural selection” in his 1959 On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (London: John Murry, Albemarle Street), though it was actually used earlier in a reading at the Linnean Society of London on July 1, 1858 of three papers (an Extract from an unpublished Work on Species, by C. Darwin, Esq., consisting of a portion of a Chapter entitled, "On the Variation of Organic Beings in a state of Nature; on the Natural Means of Selection; on the Comparison of Domestic Races and true Species," an “Abstract of a Letter from C. Darwin, Esq., to Prof. Asa Gray, Boston, US, dated Down, September 5th, 1857,” and “On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the Original Type by Alfred Russel Wallace.” The three papers were collectively published in the August 1859 issue of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 3: 46–50. Surprisingly, the Roman Catholic Church remained rather mute about evolution after the publication of Darwin's books on evolution (On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex) and in his 1950 encyclical Humani generis, His Holiness Pope Pius XII offered Catholics the choice to either disbelieve or believe in evolution as long as they maintain the human soul was a direct creation of G*d (i.e., theistic evolution) and evolution was not simply some random occurrence. Since then, all Catholic popes, including the current one, His Holiness Pope Francis, endorse theistic evolution or evolutionary creationism and even allow that the “Big Bang” theory of the origin of the universe may have been an act of G*d.
As an American, I've briefly mentioned the Mormon cult above and would recommend the reading of 1994's The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844 (New York: Cambridge University Press), and though Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science infamy was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995, I'd advise those interested in her con-game to read pp. 32-33 of 2005's Talking to the Other Side: a History of Modern Spiritualism And Mediumship: A Study of the Religion, Science, Philosophy and Mediums that Encompass this American-Made Religion by Todd Jay Leonard, Ph.D. (New York: iUniverse, Inc.) as a good start.
The so-called Christianity of America has become a global embarrassment. We're still haunted by the Roman Catholic Church Sex Scandal (as is the exiled Archbishop emeritus of Boston and titular Cardinal Priest of Santa Susanna, the American Catholic church in Rome, the infamous and cowardly Bernard Francis Law who won't leave Vatican City for fear of arrest, apparently like His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), but American evangelical Christians (not to be confused with the denomination The American Evangelical Christian Churches founded in Chicago in 1944) prominently conservative Republicans, have a nearly complete collection of sins and are actively anti-science. Inserted into politics, the evangelicals are dispensationalist fundamentalists, mainly Baptists, some Presbyterians and Methodists, but largely redneck Southern Baptist hypocrites who would have creationism taught in schools, homosexuals and trans-genders discriminated against (if not worse), abortion rights and clinics overturned and closed, monuments of the Ten Commandments placed outside of all city, state, and federal buildings, immigrants shipped out by the bus, truck, or boat-loads, voting rights of so-called 'minorities' made extremely difficult through re-districting and the requirement of state or federal issued identification, and likely attempt to pass laws permitting television to only broadcast FOX NEWS and all radio stations to play only Country music. In the '50s and '60s we were the “Ugly Americans,” but now the world views us as incompetent fools. At least we still have NASA, though its budget keeps getting cut more and more. With the anti-vaccination movement and climate-change deniers, America has become an anti-science nation of idiots. Yeah, I might be afraid of domestic and foreign enemies, but our irrational polluting of our air, water, and the minds of our youth is inexcusable. Forget about the Conflict Thesis of Science versus Religion and be more concerned about who is wearing the robes of the United States Supreme Court. May Mom Terra forgive us our arrogance.
[Note: For more on 'Conflict Thesis', see my "Unreasoned Faith: the ongoing conflict
between science and religion" at: www.flavinscorner.com/unreasoned.htm.]
Wishing we could
recycle history instead of just repeating it,