The trial of Galileo

“To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.”–Cardinal Bellermine 1615, during the trial of Galileo

Sort of ironic, don’t you think? :slight_smile:

Haha, scholastic logic at it best!!! You got to love those Cardinals!

:laughing: very cute skeptic! but it got me wondering, if the vatican has accepted galileo’s theory, why haven’t they accepted yet the idea that mary wasn’t a virgin?

They can’t without destroying their religion.

On the 8th day of December 1854, Pope Pius IX defined the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary in Ineffabilis Deus:

That means Mary was born without sin and everybody must believe this if they want to get into heaven. Sex is taboo if you’re a good little catholic. So the idea that sex was involved in the birth of Jesus is almost repulsive to these pious people.

So to say Mary was not a virgin would be to say that Pope Pius the IX was wrong, which would destroy the Catholic religion because of Papal Infallibility.

right, i agree with what you said pax. but my question is that since the priests who prosecuted galileo have admittedly been deemed wrong by the church, where does this line end? when you say that

i’m asking how hasn’t the church violated papal infallibity in accepting galileo?

Papal infallibility has only ever been used twice (the Immaculate conception and the Assumption of Mary’s body into heaven), both on issues relating to Mary. It requires a consensus from the Cardinals as well as from the Pope, while what they did to Galileo was just a normal trial, so infallibility was not involved or invoked by the Pope on this subject. Also infallibility only works in the area of Faith and Morals, nothing else. The pope can’t pick next week’s winning lottery numbers.

But this said a look at the history of infallibility is quite funny as there has been at least one heretic pope (Honorius) that misled his flock and was excommunicated by a Ecumenical Council as a heretic. The idea of papal infallibility didn’t immerge until 1854, as this was when the first infallible statement was made. Pope Adrian VI in 1523 said: If by Roman church you mean its head or pontiff, it is beyond question that he can err even in matters touching the faith. He does this when he teaches heresy by his own judgement or decretal. In truth, many Roman Pontiffs were heretics. The last of them was Pope John XXII [1316-1334]. Looks like somebody forgot to tell him those popes are infallible.

Infallibility is the ultimate in covering your ass. You create a pact with all the popes saying, look, when you get in don’t show me up as a fool! So what do they do, we’re all infallible. This is one of the stronger reasons why I left the seminary.

thanks for the heads up pax! i thought it was just assumed that everything that a pope says in infalliable…interesting that it was used only in issues with the Holy Mother… you know, when i was younger i was i never really sure of a career, except becoming a priest. pity i’m not a man. what was the strongest reason you left?

I left the seminary because I no longer trusted the Catholic Church. All churches are kept alive by good people doing good works in the Church’s name. This is what keeps Catholicism a live today, nothing else.

I’d spent a long time studying the history of Europe and the many European churches, all of them were just Power games between Kings and Popes, very little else. Papal power was hidden behind a veneer of benevolent kindness to all men. But at the heart lay insidious greed, love of power and debauchery, and very little has changed since then. I was in the seminary just before all the child abuse scandals in the Irish church became a very important political topic in the country. I talked to a number of the Priests who said they saw it coming after they watched what had happened in Canada. Nothing was done to stop the Priests from doing what they where doing, many of the prominent church leaders where involved in the covering up of the scandals. Even in Catholic Cannon Law (I can’t remember the number) but one of the rules is that: The sanctity of the Church must be upheld before the eyes of all. Basically enacted as, don’t let people know about all the bad stuff the clergy are up to, as we’ll lose support from the laypeople.

It just sickened me to think that here is a group that almost all people in Ireland once trusted. But they turned their back to the truth and what Jesus stood for, so they could protect a “holy” church!!! I was livid at this display of deception through inaction of Good Men! One of the quotes I always try to live by in the bible is, “All it takes for evil to triumph, is for Good Men to do nothing.” But I always ask, how good are those men that do nothing! They’re more evil if you ask me, they knew it was wrong but did nothing! That’s worse then committing the crime!!! They knew! They knew just how wrong it was but did nothing, and that takes real evil wickedness.

After the Church’s reaction there was no way I could ever give my life to help a church that so blatantly lies, abuses and then hides behind the good name of Jesus. They’re true bastards that have no Father! For if they new their Father they would commit no such vial acts in his name.

hey pax, thanks for your insight and explaination. definetly very interesting…

I’m curious Pax (and please do not feel in any way obligated to answer this question) are you still Catholic? Or rather, do you still believe in God?(atleast in the Christian/Catholic sense).

Perhaps I should start a new thread, but I have a question that I believe you may have some insight on. I have reached the conclusion (with the help of C.S Lewis and his book Mere Christianity) that there is a void all humans have- a need for something. This “need” is much like any of our other basic needs; food, water etc. But this certain need does not have a tangible fulfillment. Food fulfills our need for hunger, intercourse fulfills our need for sex. The need that we all seem to have is fulfilled by religion. This is actually one of the the arguments C.S Lewis uses in his persuasion to believe in God. What I’m wondering, is that this need can be fulfilled (seemingly) by any religion. Muslims have their need fulfilled by believing in Allah. Buddists have their need fulfilled by their belief in Buddism. Atheists fulfill their need by denouncing that God exists (although I wonder if atheists are truly ever at peace). My question is "what makes Christianty or Catholicism “right”. If the need for belief or rather faith can be answered by several institutions, what makes any particular institution correct? This is why I wonder if you still believe in the Catholic interpretation of God.

This is my impassible barrier between believing in a religion. The need for me is obviously present. But I ask myself “what has created this need?” Is this simply a psychological necessity that all humans require? It has to be. So my purpose in life appears to be the fulfillment of my needs. The same way that I work to eat is the same reason I believe that a God exists. Because I need to.

Any other perspectives on the matter would be appreciated.

I’m no longer a Catholic or what might even be generously called a Christian. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of respect for some Catholics and Christians, as both during my time exploring my vocation with groups and then when studying I met many good people that have done great works of kindness and compassion. The people I have a problem with are in the Vatican, surrounded with billions of dollars worth of riches.

As for God, I believe that there is a Creator. But I don’t assign qualities like All Powerful, All Knowing, or even Benevolence, as the world doesn’t reflect that type of Creator. To me, I see Life as a primary force that fuels the idea of God, as no matter where you go on this planet it’s almost impossible not to find a form of life. I then look to the moon and the stars, sitting in frightened awe of the universe, wondering what secrets still lay ahead for our discovery. As living in a universe that so fundamentally uses the laws of cause and effect, it would be quite paradoxical if the universe itself had no initial cause.

While Jesus, he’s been relegated in my opinion to a great social moralist, who had the courage of his convictions and in that way was a very special person, but still only a common man.

I agree with you about all religions fulfil a deep-seated need that goes unspoken as it lacks the words to be described, and most fill this place with God. I don’t see any one faith as correct; they all look for the same thing just in different ways. We are all individuals trying to express our need in different ways. Pragmatism is what I believe, whatever works for you is right. They say God is all things to all people, and because people are different God needs to be different to communicate with them on the same wavelength. Joseph Campbell wrote a number of good books exploring different cultures religious needs, and the recurring imagery in their themes. One of his most popular is “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” George Lucas was a big fan and said he based his original Star Wars movie off themes in that book.

After reflecting on this question for a while, I’ve come to realise that in the last year I haven’t looked to God or Spirituality for the fulfilment of any need. I think I have substituted philosophy for God, hehe, one truth or another so to speak. I think, like you’ve pointed out that it could be just a psychological need, a need to know. How people deal with things like Death is normally not discovered till a close loved one dies. It’s only when death confronts you in this very personal way do you really take the time to think about what happens next, or is there even a next. These questions are the elusive truths that people would pay lots of money to know, and some people do. For some religion is just a scam to make money, others it’s about morality and the wish to live in a utopia. But to me God has become the sum total of all my unanswered questions, why did you allow this, or why didn’t you do that. But I digress.

Humanity as a species survives because we can see abstract relationships between otherwise disconnected things. We use our gifts of reason and logic to form knowledge to gain an advantage over nature. By understanding more about are surrounding we can plan for the future and make previsions for any eventualities. When faced with the ultimate question of death, it is of vital importance that we find an answer that will satisfy us. Death has almost become a taboo subject for discussion, as it brings feelings of insecurity and discomfort, as there is no answer other then all remnants of life vanish from the body.

I see need and desire as a paradox. The more we try to fulfil our needs the more intense and vague they become. It’s also are needs that can make us greedy and selfish. If we wish to survive we need to make sure will always have enough food, a save place to live, etc. A lot of people who turn to God go to him because they have no one else to turn to. God is the last line of defence, the “Hail Mary” pass to try and win the match. Are we looking to God for a favour? Or just praising him with platitudes or gratitude? Sometimes it’s just away to try and control the uncontrollable. Other times it can be a way to express one’s self within a community that shares our own hopes and beliefs, to quieten the need to belong.

So to your question again, does this need come from God, or is it just the repressed anxieties of death that looks for expression without a conscious willingness to confront the reality of an unbeatable foe? I don’t know, I can see why both are true, at this moment for me God no longer exists, I’ve lost faith in him, as he neglects his children. While I’ve always been quite lucky, I know many who aren’t so.

I hope that was somewhat helpful, as there is no direct answer to your question.

As a true atheist I’ve never felt any need for religion at all. In fact I can never remember a time that I even entertained thoughts that there was a god. I still remember the first time I found out that being an atheist was a bit strange when I went to have my wisdom teeth out at age 16 and I was asked what religion I was in case anything went wrong. I promptly replied “atheist” and my Mother was horrified, countering with, “No, he’s Anglican, he’s been baptised”. I was extremely surprised by that, having assumed that most people didn’t believe in God. I had sat through countless assemblies, sang many hymns, attended lots of christian related services but it had never occured to me that they meant anything more than tradition, it was all as meaningless as mayday or morris dancing to me (two odd traditions in England).

My point is that while I realised there were some people who had faith, I did not realise it was the majority that do. Even people in Englandwho don’t believe in a Christian god, Allah, etc. still tend to believe in some sort of creator and purpose to the whole debacle of life. I am still surprised whenever I find out people believe in a supreme creator or a specific religious God.

I have always seen science as my answer to questions of creation, even if the answer is not there yet, I have always believed, as unquestionably as a religious man, that there is a physical explanation for creation, even if we could not know it. And as like virtually every physical rule, there need be no reason behind its occurance. Why is Plank’s constant that value? It just is.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will slap down the first person who says science is the new religion, as I have done many times before on ILP, as they usually suggest that it’s just as impenetrable and fundamentally flawed as religion. While Hume’s problem of induction might be a right little bugger, no-one ever seriously suggests induction isn’t true, they can only maintain a skeptical stance, rather than challenging its nomological truth.

Religion requires faith. Science does not. There is the fundamental difference between a true atheist and everyone else. That is the one thing that I have often felt jealous about in other people, faith. Belief in science is not the same as that. However it is not a hole in my life as Matthew E. seems to have, for me it is just a desire to know what the inexplicable feels like as well as a slight wonder if they have life easier as more things are explicable. I have the same desire to understand what it would be like to be completely blind from birth and not know what sight was like, what seeing through an insect’s eye is like, what it would be like to be another person. These are all impossible for me to ever understand as it means completely adopting something else’s viewpoint and then coming back to my own and incororating the two.

I just don’t understand faith, it’s like someone talking gibberish to me. Maybe there are three ways one can be, faithless, like me, with faith, as any person who unquestionably holds belief in one of the other supreme beings is, and people who question faith but hold it anyway. Being faithless or holding faith unquestionably is fine, but questioning faith while still holding it is like a catch 22, and creates the dilemma you are in Matthew.

As for where you fit in to that Pax, I’m not sure. Your concept of a creator suggests that you have unquestionable faith, though you have so little attached to that concept it is almost the same as faithlessness. But I don’t want to put words in your mouth, it’s for you to reply in the light of my post. It must have taken a lot of self courage and discovery to reach where you are today and deserves our respect. My position came about as an intuition from the start and the few questions I have asked of my atheism has never shaken that conviction. But to start so far on one side of the spectrum and work your way to the other must have been an arduous journey, especially in the culture you came from.

I have sat in front of my computer for twenty five minutes attempting to devise an equally eloquent and articulate response to Pax and Matt’s posts; one that would convey my feelings of gratitude for such enlightening and sincere disclosure.

I am still digesting all that the two of you have divulged. It seems I have many questions to ask each of you. Unfortunatley, I do not have time at this moment to adequately respond with my inquiries (i.e school/finals). So please bear with me and my delinquincy, and I will reply as soon as possible.

First to Pax-

After reviewing what you have written, I realize that I do not have much to say, other than I immensely identify with your struggle.
I think your most poignant comment for me was:

It does seem that God is rationally unknowable. You expressed this so eloquently. The fact that you have replaced God with Philosophy is incredible. For quite some time, I thought the way to “know” God was to have faith in Him. I would observe people that had the utmost faith, and marvel at how they seemed to actually have a relationship, a tangible, rational, relationship with God. But then again, was this actually God they were having a relationship with? Could I not substitute anything for God, and recieve the same results? Perhaps that is God. Perhaps having the same relationship that Matt does with science is God (please note that I am not attempting to insinuate that science is a religion for Matt). Because we cannot know Him, we can only act like we do. It does not matter what fills the void, but perhaps only that the void is filled. If an Atheist can be as peaceful with uncertainty as can a believer in God, perhaps they both have a relationship with God, just different kinds.

Matt stated-

I do not know if I could ever accept such a belief. I just cannot fathom, that there is no purpose, no reason for our existence. Everything I have experienced, everything that I have ever felt, cannot be irrellevant. Of course it could, rationally speaking, which is why you are more than entitled to continue with such beliefs. I just think that for the same physical reasons that there are cause and effect, there are the same metaphysical reasons for my consciousness.

I think the difference you are describing between believing in science or religion is the comforting quality of the latter. I think this comforting quality is what people consider God. I attempted to posit a theory regarding this previously in my post so hopefully you will have responded. I think my question boils down to this- is knowing God simply feeling the comfort of believing in Him? Can you believe in anything that fills the void, and that anything will be God? (you simply would not be admitting it). I’ve heard the rhetoric that God’s relationship with everyone is always different- perhaps this is more true than any of us could have imagined.

I believe in a Creator only because I think it’s a good bet, for the fact of the cause and effect paradox. I don’t have any form of faith in this Creator, I neither ask anything of it nor hope for any special treatment. I’m not even that worried about a final judgement that most religions love to coerce its people with, it’s all pointless. I am agnostic only for the fact it impossible to know for sure if god does or doesn’t exist, as atheism is just as much a position held in faith as theism. There are some strong indicators that could point to a god, while these have more to do with lack of a better explanation then a solid cogent argument. To assume it’s not god is just as wrong as to assume it is. For an assumption is not a fact only at best an educated guess. If you examine the way the world works it looks as if god has little to do with such a thing. While this is only circumstantial evidence it doesn’t negate all the cases for a god. Even the cases for god only imply a designer (i.e. Creator as I would call it), but never anything that would come close to the religious notion of God and all that it entails.

I think a lot of people believe we need purpose for dignity. That somehow being the offspring of a higher being and pawns in his game makes our life more worthwhile. But to me, if this were the case, it would seem “god” is not benevolent but manipulative. A diabolical player in the game of chess between two demon masters, were one has already ostentatiously prophesied his own triumph, so marches on with the knowledge all is expendable in the name of his glorious majestic victory.

I’ve seen the darkness take hold of many a good person and watched as their life became twisted by the insidiousness of perversion, (and I mean that in a general sense). They become an alien to morality and their childish dreams which once hoped for a fair and just world. Forgotten are kindness and charity replaced by the will to survive. For me the battle is fought by Nature Vs Human Benevolence. While natures call of “Survival of the Fittest” wars against humanities capacity for generosity and compassion. To me god is the slave of humanity, and whichever characteristic emerges victorious will shape our new god. Humanity is not all-powerful but does have the power to make or break gods! The Roman gods died at our hands, and I tell you with certainty. They won’t be the last!

interesting points, i have some comments:

Mathew E. said:

    very good point. the age of science promises nothing -- it is based on the very fact that if you can disprove a theory, this theory will be adopted; it's happened. this freedom that is enjoyed by science, not bound to any hard or fast dogmas that are provabley wrong. parts of  what we take as science truth today will most likely be disproved or expanded upon so dramatically that it is hardly the same theories. 
    religion, on the other hand, and the concept of God, are definetly permenant. they hold fast to the dogma and sets of beliefs even if God Himself came down and pronounced the Catholic Church to be wrong. this unity, this solid position cannot but be appealing to people. especially in modern society. 

if you hold the last question to be true, then you are undoubtly either a) assuming that God exsists and manifests Him/Her/It-self to everyone in different way OR b) there is no God but everyone does have a universal need to eject this belief into their lives. i think you’re accepting the idea that God does exist, and the first assumption is sweet. :confused:

Pax wrote:

so should being right trump being true beliefs when crafting your ideology or belief system? you seem to offer little hope or desire to believe in a true God, or think that there is One, he must be doing a horrid job for you to conclude:

Matt –
don’t take this the wrong way, but i can never imagine a human like you.
when you said:

FAith is the essential building block for a community to begin to develop. i see it everywhere, especailly in developing societies. Even in the advanced Western countries, there are littered remenants of religion that people cling to for faith – things like an unquestioning belief in angels, miracles or luck, people just believe. dedication to religious institutions are undoubtly felt in other parts of the world to an amazing degree. whether it is directly invovled in government or not, the citizen’s embrace because they need to. i can’t understand how Matt could have missed this. but then, i don’t really understand why one would vent their sexual fustration on forms while pissed drunk… :wink: j/k :laughing: