Cherry Picking

Cherry Picking

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Above Photo by Taryn Elliott: 

Isolating scripture by a particular verse is not how any Christian or non-Christian should read the bible. All scripture should be read in context.  Anyone who is trying to figure out the meaning of a particular verse should always read what comes before and what verses follow. 

It is also fundamental to look at the broad backdrop of the particular book. Since scripture is composed of 66 books written by over 30 different authors over a period of 1500 years, understanding the author’s intent is essential. Scripture contains documented history, songs, poetry, words of wisdom that you might find in psalms or proverbs, and prayers. Understanding what the chapter is about, who the author is writing to, and what idea the author is trying to relay is key to understanding what we read. 

Christian apologist Greg Koukl puts it this way, “Remember, meaning always flows from the top down, from the larger units to the smaller units. A reflection on a Bible passage from a sermon or a devotional may be edifying, encouraging, and uplifting. If it is not the message of the text, though, it lacks biblical authority even when the quote comes right out of the Word of God.”1

If you would like an excellent source on how to read scripture, I would highly recommend How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: Fourth Edition.

I came across this meme on Facebook a couple of weeks ago from someone who is pro-choice. As you can see, it contains bible verses that seem to support a pro-choice view or, at the very least, imply that scripture, the bible, or God endorses the murder of the unborn. 

The translations in this meme are laughable if not for the large number of people that would view such a meme and take it at face value without digging a little deeper. 

For simplicity, I used the NIV (New International Translation) and referenced the Bible Hub, which gives upwards of 20 other popular translations.  

The NIV is a contemporary translation and, like many of the translations today, had a rigorous process before publishing. “This involved assigning each book of the Bible to a translation team consisting of two translators, two translation consultants and, if necessary, an English style consultant. Another team of five Bible scholars reviewed their work, comparing it to the original biblical text and assessing its readability. Next, each book went to a committee of eight to 12 scholars and was also reviewed by outside critics. And finally, samples were tested by pastors, students and laypeople.”2

None of the translated scripture in the meme even come close to what you see below in bold. I don’t know where Caity found these particular translations, but it is blatantly reworded to put a pro-choice spin on the verse or paint God as baby killing, homicidal, murder. 

Let’s look at each of the verses she quoted one at a time. What she quoted or used is bold, and the following is the NIV translation in blue. I quote the whole scripture referenced, and some are quite long.

Life begins at birth-with the first breath (Gen 2:7)

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen 2:7)

It says God breathed life into man’s nostrils. It says nothing about life beginning at the first breath but that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and at that moment, man became a living being. From this passage, suggesting that life only begins for the unborn when they take their first breath is absurd. 

Before birth, the unborn requires nutrition and oxygen, just as we all do after birth. However, for the unborn, that all comes from the mother via the umbilical cord. It is then the use of lungs that marks the value of the unborn? You can see how ridiculous this would be. 

Fetuses are not persons (Ex 21:22-25)

If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Exodus 21:22-25)

How on earth did someone get “fetuses are not persons” from those passages? What a pathetic, misleading, and deceitful translation. If anything, those passages suggest there is some value to the unborn since fines are involved if she gives birth prematurely. 

Exodus 21 is about judgments and laws placed before the Israelites, which include: the treatment of servants, murder, manslaughter, assault, liability, theft, rape, idolatry, the treatment of the poor, and money, just to list a few of the subjects. However, it says nothing about fetuses not being persons. 

Fetuses should be aborted as proof of adultery (Numbers 5:11-31)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure— then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.

“‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—”may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”

“‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. He shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering will enter her. The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the Lord and bring it to the altar. The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

 “‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and makes herself impure while married to her husband, or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the Lord and is to apply this entire law to her. The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.'” (Numbers 5:11-31)

Two considerations when reading these passages should be weighed in. First, the principal focus in this chapter is purity within the camp of Israelites before they are to enter the promised land of Canaan. Second, a wife was regarded as a possession of her husband, so the greater burden was placed on the wife. 

In many ancient cultures, women were second-class citizens and suffered because of that belief. So, for example, a woman could be divorced if the husband even suspected infidelity. On the surface, this seems to be an unfair and harsh judgment toward women, but it actually eased the laws concerning unfaithfulness. 

Having this law allowed a provision to prove innocence before a jealous or angry husband when there was none before. Before this law, accusations could have been made against a wife, and she could have even been murdered with no recourse. This law ameliorated women’s harsh realities in ancient cultures and limited the oppressive claims made against women in ancient Israel. 

Life is not sacred (Deuteronomy 28:18-24)

The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.

The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed. (Deuteronomy 28:18-24)

This is after Israel entered the Promised Land, and Moses commanded them to renew their covenant and reviewed the blessings and curses they could expect depending on their behavior. 

The first part of this chapter lists blessings, but starting in verse 15, you read about what will happen if they are disobedient. Despair would invade the people and God’s blessings would disappear. It says nothing about life not being sacred. Again, a complete misrepresentation of scripture.  

God will rip open pregnant mothers-to-be (2Kings 8:12)

“Why is my lord weeping?” asked Hazael.

“Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,” he answered. “You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.” (2Kings 8:12)

What is in bold is a typical misapplication of scripture and deliberately misleading. If you read what comes before and after for yourself, you will see that for yourself. 

This passage is an extract from a conversation between Elisha and Hazael, a servant to the king of Aram. Elisha was weeping because God showed him what Hazael would do to the people of Israel after king Aram died. The verses say nothing about God ripping open mothers to be, but a warning what an enemy kingdom will do to the people of Israel. 

Israelite King Menahem ripped open pregnant women (2 Kings 15:16)

At that time Menahem, starting out from Tirzah, attacked Tiphsah and everyone in the city and its vicinity, because they refused to open their gates. He sacked Tiphsah and ripped open all the pregnant women. (2 Kings 15:16)

2Kings is about the divided kingdom of Israel and it briefly covers the reign of about 30 kings of Israel and Judah; many of them were evil and acted wickedly in the sight of God. Their deeds and actions are recorded in history, and the author evaluated the monarchy by the Mosaic Law. This is one example. And one focus seems to have been pointing out the blessings offered to the obedient and the punishment for disobedience. Many evil kings were listed in the two books of first and second Kings and here you have one. 

God will kill unborn fetuses (Isaiah 13:18)

Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children. (Isaiah 13:18)

Isaiah was a prophet, and he spoke for God. Therefore, if you read Isaiah’s book, you will find words of exhortation, hope, and promise, but many words of warning, accusation, and confrontation, which made him unpopular. 

In the first 39 chapters, he condemned the eighth-century Israelites and charged them for their immoral and idolatrous lifestyles. No translation says God will kill unborn fetuses. In chapter 13, the Hebrew word used is na’ar which translates to a boy or adolescent. Chapter 13 are Prophecies about Babylon, and verse 18 is about Babylon falling to the Medes (translated middle land) northwest of Persia and what the Medes will do to Babylon. Once again, an example of misrepresenting scripture. I wonder if Michael Sussmann wrote this meme. 

God will destroy fetuses in utero (Hosea 9:10-16)

“When I found Israel,

    it was like finding grapes in the desert;

when I saw your ancestors,

    it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.

But when they came to Baal Peor,

    they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol

    and became as vile as the thing they loved.

11 Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird—

    no birth, no pregnancy, no conception.

12 Even if they rear children,

    I will bereave them of every one.

Woe to them

    when I turn away from them!

13 I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre,

    planted in a pleasant place.

But Ephraim will bring out

    their children to the slayer.”

14 Give them, Lord—

    what will you give them?

Give them wombs that miscarry

    and breasts that are dry.

15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal,

    I hated them there.

Because of their sinful deeds,

    I will drive them out of my house.

I will no longer love them;

    all their leaders are rebellious.

16 Ephraim is blighted,

    their root is withered,

    they yield no fruit.

Even if they bear children,

    I will slay their cherished offspring.” (Hosea 9:10-16)

Hosea lived in the Northern Kindom of Israel about 200 years after the Northern Kingdom broke off from southern Judah. The book of Hosea is almost all poetry and has three main sections. The first section is about marriage to a woman named Gomer. The second section is about her unfaithfulness, and the third section is about Hosea’s attempts to restore the marriage to Gomer despite her unfaithfulness. 

All these parts are symbolic of God’s relationship with Israel. First is God’s Covenant (Marriage) with Israel. Then God brought Israel to the Promised land, and Israel took all the prosperity experienced and began to worship the Canaanite God Baal. God then has two options; He could end his Covenant with Israel or continue to love and pursue them despite their unfaithfulness. 

The last two parts of the book of Hosea have accusations and warnings for Israel because they are looking to Assyria and Egypt for protection. However, in the near future, the Assyrian Empire swoops in and destroys the northern empire of Israel. Both parts end with more poetry about God’s mercy and hope for Israel’s future, but no one would point that out, only that God will destroy fetuses.

Like so many I see on Facebook, this meme is absolute rubbish. But the good side is I occasionally see one worth responding to two, and I have a new post for my blog. 

If you ever see anyone post this meme, you can now point it out for the misleading and disingenuous trash it is. 

Creative Commons License
Cherry Picking by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Koukl, Greg. “Never Read A Bible Verse.” Stand To Reason, str.org, 4 February 2014, https://www.str.org/w/never-read-a-bible-verse []
  2. Biblica Staff. “The Inspiring Story of How the NIV Bible Became a Reality.” Biblica The International Bible Society, biblica.com, 20 March 2018, https://www.biblica.com/articles/history-of-the-niv-bible-translation/ []
Coincidence? I Think Not.

Coincidence? I Think Not.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Above Image by Evgeni Tcherkasski from Pixabay

David Bokovoy on Patheos.com shared, “It doesn’t take too careful a read to determine that from start to finish, the Gospels contain inaccurate historical reconstructions—stories about Jesus’ life and ministry that simply could not have taken place the way they’re depicted.”

An online blogger I came across stated, “I believe the Bible was a collection of stories and nothing more. Kinda like our modern-day sci-fi.”

Richard Carrier from Columbia University wrote, “We have no trustworthy evidence of a physical resurrection, no reliable witnesses. It is among the most poorly attested of historical events.”

Separate Confirming Accounts

Over the years, New Testament scholars have noted instances of ‘undesigned coincidences’ within scripture. What are undesigned coincidences? They are gaps within one writer’s account of an event that are filled in by another writer’s account.

Stealing From God by Christian apologist Frank Turek, lists three examples I will share.

Pilate Enters the Stage

In Luke 23:2-4, the Jews led Jesus to Pilate and accused him of perverting the nation, not paying taxes, and claiming to be Christ the King. In Luke’s account, Pilate asked Jesus directly, “Are you King of the Jews?” and Jesus replied, “It is as you say.” Pilate then turns to the accusers and says, “I find no fault in this Man.”

What? How is it that Jesus admits His guilt, but then Pilate turns and says, “I find no fault in this Man.”? He just admitted it to Pilate’s face. Image in a court of law, the accused admits to stealing, then the judge slams the gavel and says, “Not guilty, case dismissed!”

Take a moment and read John’s account of this event. John 18:33-38

Pilate entered the governor’s courtroom (Praetorium) and asked Jesus if he was King of the Jews. Jesus asked if Pilate wanted to know this or if others had told him. Pilate replied, probably with some disdain, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary put it this way, “Jewish questions I neither understand nor meddle with.”1

Jesus explained that His kingdom is not of this world and was not from here. Pilate asked if he was a king, and Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate replied somewhat rhetorically, “What is truth?” and went outside announcing, “I find no fault in Him at all.”

Frank Turek writes, “John offers information not provided by Luke: Since Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world, He was not challenging Caesar’s rule as accused. Therefore, Pilate found no guilt in Him.”2

Why Fear Archelaus?

Another example of undesigned coincidence is found in Matthew’s account of Joseph’s dream, and when he returned to Israel from Egypt. We will find that Josephus, the Jewish rebel who turned Roman historian, shed light on this some 40 years later.

Matthew 2:22-23 explains that after Herod died, Joseph had a dream while in Egypt to return home to Israel. Joseph heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea, and he was afraid to go there. Then he was warned in a dream and turned to the area of Galilee, settling in a town called Nazareth. So why was Joseph afraid of Archelaus? 

Archelaus is only mentioned this single time in all of scripture, so we have no way to answer this question unless we explore outside the Bible.

In the Antiquities of the Jews, written by Josephus, we find in book 9, section 3, that Archelaus sent a regiment of armed men to put down a disturbance. But unfortunately, these men were all attacked, and most were stoned to death by the Jews. 

A few of these men escaped to report what happened, so Archelaus then sent a much larger force, “Now Archelaus thought there was no way to preserve the entire government…so he sent out the whole army upon them, and sent the horsemen to prevent those that had their tents without the temple from assisting those that were within the temple…”3 Josephus writes that 3,000 Jews were killed in this attack to put down a rebellion.

Considering the turmoil and the number of Jews killed by Herod’s son Archelaus, it should be no surprise that Joseph did not want to return there and was afraid of Archelaus.

Philips Stomping Grounds

Another example of an undesigned coincidence involves the feeding of the 5000. Read John 6:5. Jesus and his disciples were near the Sea of Galilee when a great crowd began to follow them. This is because of the miracles Jesus had been performing on those who had diseases. Sitting with His disciples, Jesus asked Philip where they could purchase bread for the crowd to eat. Why would Jesus ask Philip? He had a dozen disciples, and He could have asked them all that question, as He had done before, but John records He specifically asked Philip. Why?

Earlier in John 1:44, we learn that Philip was from Bethsaida. What is significant about Bethsaida? In Luke and only Luke, we find that Bethsaida is where the feeding of the 5000 took place. So, of course, Jesus would ask Philip because Philip was in his own stomping grounds. When you put together the accounts of John and Luke, you see another coincidence that would only have occurred if these historical narratives had been written by men who not only knew Jesus but knew each other. Men who ate together worked together and lived together.

Did John the Baptist Rise Again?

The final example comes from Lydia McGrew and her book titled Hidden In Plain View. In Matthew, we find Herod had been hearing about Jesus and was concerned it was John the Baptist who had returned from the dead. Not only may he had been feeling guilty, but his fear got the best of him. Matthew wrote, “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and he said to his attendants, ‘This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.'” Matthew 14:1-2

I can remember reading this passage as a young Christian and thinking to myself, how is it that Matthew would know what King Herod had been saying to his servants. This passage is similar to Mark 6:16, where Mark wrote that King Herod was concerned that Jesus was John who had risen from the dead. 

The answer to this is found in Luke 8:1-3 “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

Joanna, the wife of Herod’s manager, was a close follower of Jesus and obviously shared some of the things Herod had said or was saying about Jesus, and she heard these things through her husband who was Herod’s household manager.((McGrew Lydia. Hidden In Plain View. Chillicothe: DeWard, 2017. Print.))

These examples and so much more point to the reliability of the Gospel accounts. Undesigned coincidences score high in giving authentic accounts of the life and times of Christ. These overlapping isolated facts from the disciples and others point to an accurate representation of Jesus and His followers. 

Creative Commons License
Undesigned coincidences by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Jamieson, Robert., Fausset A.R., Brown, David. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999. Print. []
  2. Turek, Frank. Stealing From God. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2014. Print. []
  3. Josephus, Flavius. The Antiquities of the Jews. Trans. William Whiston. Blacksburg: Unabridged Books, 2011. Print. []
The Center of Attention

The Center of Attention

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Above Image by press 👍 and ⭐ from Pixabay

Nicolaus Copernicus

In the early 1500s, around the time Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel, and Balboa was sailing into the Pacific, Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy, wrote something that would rumble in the halls of science for centuries.((Hirshfeld, Alan W. Parallax The Race To Measure The Cosmos. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. Print.))

Copernicus was an Italian astronomer that may have been the first to consider, if not the first to suggest in the written word, that the earth was not the center of the universe. “What appears to us as motions of the Sun arise not from its motion but from the motions of the earth.”((Hirshfeld, Alan W. Parallax The Race To Measure The Cosmos. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. Print.)) 

Imagine, centuries ago, when science was limited to what we could observe with the naked eye, someone suggesting that the earth, the very pillar we stand on, actually moved. Yet, our everyday experiences told us otherwise. Every day of their lives, everyone, everywhere, saw the sun rise and the sun set. This simple observation is backed up by the scripture. Psalm 113:3 Isaiah 45:6 Yet Copernicus was suggesting otherwise.

Galileo Galilei

Roughly 40 years after Copernicus first wrote about and began to explore our solar system, another significant character in history came into this world. His name was Galileo, and he was born on February 15, 1564. Many today view Galileo as the secular saint who was forced to deny his astronomical findings by the Church. Some have written that Galileo was tried as a heretic or tortured until he would renounce his findings. In his book Cosmos, Carl Sagan wrote that Galileo was in a Catholic dungeon threatened with torture unless he recanted his heretical views.((Sagan, Carl. Cosmos. New York: Random House, 1980. Print)) Christopher Hitchens, in his book, God is not Great, put it this way, “Galileo might have been unmolested in his telescopic work if he had not been so unwise as to admit that it had cosmological implications.”1

A few years back, my son handed me a book by Kris Vallotton, one of the head pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, California. The book was titled Moral Revolution The Naked Truth about Sexual Purity, and he was interested in what I would think about it, so I took the weekend to read it.

Without turning this into a book review, I will share what Vallotten wrote in his brief mention of Galileo, “In the early 1600s, a scientist named Galileo, through the invention of the telescope, observed that the earth revolved around the sun and not the sun around the earth. The Catholic Church was the political force of that day, and Galileo’s scientific discovery was opposed to the Church’s theology, so the Pope tried him as a heretic. The Church authorities forced him to renounce his discoveries and placed him under house arrest, where he lived out the last years of his life.”((Vallotton, Kris. Vallotton, Jason. Moral Revolution The Naked Truth about Sexual Purity. Minneapolis: Chosen, 2012. Print.)) Vallotton went on to say how the Catholic Church relegated the public to ignorance and lies via a highly developed system of punishment.

Galileo was never tried as a heretic, not by the Pope or anyone else.

The Church and Galileo

Galileo had two meetings with the Vatican over the years. The first meeting in 1616 was about Galileo’s lectures supporting the heliocentric view (the view that the earth revolved around the sun). It was a warm welcome by the Catholic Church since Galileo was famous and well respected. While there, he stayed at the grand Medici Villa, meeting with the Pope and other cardinals more than once.((D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007. Print.))

Cardinal Bellarmine was head of the investigation and was quite familiar with Galileo’s view. Bellarmine was no slouch to the science of that day, and wrote a letter that said if the earth did revolve around the sun, and not the sun around the earth, “…we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of scripture which appear to teach the contrary.”2 

Sounds reasonable don’t you think? Bellarmine went on, “…this is not a thing to be done in haste, and as for myself, I shall not believe that there are such proofs until they are shown to me.”((Brodrick, James. Robert Bellarmine Saint and Scholar. West Monasterii, London: Newman Press, 1961. Print.))

Essentially Bellarmine was saying, make sure you are correct, then we can revisit scripture and consider our interpretations. Dinesh D’Souza put it this way in his book, What’s So Great About Christianity, when writing about Bellarmine and Galileo, “This is a model of sensible procedure. Bellarmine assumed that there could be no real conflict between nature and scripture, which is what Christianity has always taught.”3 

So Galileo was told not to push the heliocentric view and returned home. The case was closed, and the findings and conclusion of the church were filed away.

Alan Hirshfeld, in his book Parallax, tells the story of how we came to measure distant stars. Hirshfeld wrote, “Galileo laid the blame for the papal restrictions not on the Church, but on the conservative Aristotelian philosophers who had precipitated the Pope’s action, [Galileo wrote] ‘They have endeavored to spread the opinion that such Copernican propositions in general are contrary to the Bible and are consequently damnable and heretical…'”((Hirshfeld, Alan. Parallax The Race To Measure The Cosmos. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. Print.))

Not the Sharpest Tac in the Box

The second meeting took place about 16 years later after Galileo published a book in 1632 with two leading figures, the Pope and Galileo. In his book, the Pope and Galileo debated the heliocentric view, and Galileo gave the Pope the name of ‘Simplicio,’ which means ‘simpleton’ in Italian. Not the smartest of moves. Imagine providing testimony in a courtroom and insulting the judge’s intelligence presiding over your case. Galileo may have been brilliant, but he obviously lacked some common sense. Of course, we are talking about the Pope. 

In Galileo’s defense, the Pope at that time was a personal friend of Galileo, previously known as Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, now Pope Urban VIII. I would imagine that Galileo felt he had much more freedom to express his views on the sun being the center of our solar system rather than the earth. Galileo erred in the length of his leash. 

After the book was published, Galileo returned to Rome to meet with the Inquisition. The consensus was that Galileo was undermining the authority and teachings of the church. In addition, notes from Bellarmine years before were found, which compounded the event. It became clear that Galileo had already been told not to push the heliocentric view. Galileo was told to recant his views, which he did, and was placed under house arrest.

Yes, house arrest. The first five months in the palace of the archbishop of Siena (must have been difficult), and then he returned home to his villa in Florence.((D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007. Print.)) He was allowed to visit his daughters and continue his research. He died of natural causes nine years later.

The False Narrative

What was interesting to me is Vallotton is citing the NOVA special found on PBS.org. Sources that would be fair to say have a liberal slant on almost every issue. To be clear, I am not saying that just because he cited information from a leftist source, it should be dismissed as inaccurate. What I am saying is, when you research history, don’t limit yourself; move beyond PBS, ushistory.org, the dailymail.co.uk, and Wikipedia. Many of these references and most news sources will have a left-leaning and will put the Church in a negative light, including Christianity. 

Texts books you find in Jr. High and Highschool imply science and religion are at odds because science deals with facts and religion deals with the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus. Science is facts and reality; religion is fantasy and fables. 

So what about the scripture that supports the erroneous view of the world being the center of our universe? John Lennox, the Oxford Professor, wrote, “Rather than scientific language, the Bible often uses phenomenological language – the language of appearance. It describes what everyone can see. It talks about the sun rising just as everyone else does, including scientists, even though they know that the sun only appears to rise because of the rotation of the earth. Saying that the sun “rises” does not commit the Bible, or a scientist for that matter, to any particular model of the solar system.”((Lennox, John. Seven Days That Divide The World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011. Print))

Science and Christianity are not at odds with one another. It is disappointing to see Christian leaders fall prey to the secular historical spin pushed since Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands. It is bad enough that most public school books will push the same storyline that Galileo was tried as a heretic, tortured, or lived in squalor because of his published views. The Church vs. science, facts vs. faith, is what the world wants you to believe, but don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

Sometimes religion does talk about things that science talks about, specifically the origin of life, creation, and the heavens. Therefore, what you choose to believe has tremendous implications on your life and the purpose of your existence. 

The earth does not have to be the center of the universe to be the center of God’s attention. – John Lennox

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Center of Attention by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Hitchens, Christopher. God is not Great-How Religion Poisons Everything. New York: Hachette Book Company, 2007. Print. []
  2. Brodrick, James. Robert Bellarmine Saint and Scholar. West Monasterii, London: Newman Press, 1961. Print. []
  3. D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007. Print. []

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