Misinformed History: Galileo, the Church, and Science

Thanks to the History Channel I discovered that on this day, April 12, 1633:

Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei [went] on trial in Rome for challenging Church orthodoxy, postulating that the Earth revolves around the sun. Chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuol found Galileo guilty of heresy. The astronomer spent the remainder of his days under house arrest.

If you’ve spent any time around the debate between science and religion, you’ve heard this story at least once. We’re told Galileo was a man whose scientific discovery went against the backward understanding of the Church, which led to his persecution. The problem is that this is not the full story and twists what really happened in unnecessary ways. It is unfortunate that the History Channel has decided to go along with the partial story, and not the full story. Continue reading

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Religious Pluralism’s Creed

Religious Pluralism is a very common belief in our world today. It holds that all religions are fundamentally the same and valid, teaching the same message and achieving the same religious goals. In other words, all religions are correct. All paths lead to Rome. All journeys lead to the top of the same mountain.

This belief system has led me to ask, if Religious Pluralism in our culture had a creed what would it look like? What would it affirm? I think it might look something like this. Continue reading

Religion of None?

Someone once said, “Give me the making of the songs of a nation and I care not who writes its laws.”[1] In his book Can Man Live Without God, Ravi Zacharias gives the context of this quote, stating that these words “not only divulge a major cultural access point to our contemporary mind-set, but also acknowledge the extraordinary control of song lyrics upon the moods and convictions of the young, who are embattled by the tug of so many allurements.”[2]

This thought resonates with me. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the truth of it played out in my life and the lives of those around me. I and so many of my generation are having our ideologies and worldviews shaped by the philosophies of the latest pop sensations. What do the songs of today tell us about our culture, our contemporary mindset, and the convictions of our youth and young adults?

There is one song in particular that I can’t get out of my head, which aptly describes the convictions of my generation and the generations following me. It’s on the radio constantly; the depth of the message hidden in a catchy, upbeat tune. The song is “Some Nights.” Sung by the band FUN, the lyrics are anything but fun. They capture the struggle to find purpose and meaning in this life. Continue reading

The Global Charter of Conscience: What is it, and why it matters

In December of 1948 The United Nations Assembly gathered in Paris to give the world The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This pivotal moment in history declared the following:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. (Article 18)

In 1948 the UN rightly recognized that freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a vital human right. But that was 64 years ago. How are we doing today? As our world becomes smaller, is this fundamental freedom shrinking with it? Continue reading