“Your opinions are heretical and opposed to the Holy Scriptures,” his interrogator admonished, “So you must dismiss them and never speak of them again!” Galileo was then placed under house arrest where he spent the remainder of his life for his belief that the earth was moving around the sun, and not motionless at the center of the universe.
It was the year 1633 when the Church summoned the early astronomer to examine his theory of heliocentrism, and to judge it blasphemous against the formal teachings of the church.
Today, no one questions Galileo’s belief, for we know he was correct.
I am no scientist, and while the best I can offer astronomy is my casual bare-eyed gazes upward on a clear night, stories like these make me aware of the need for caution when dismissing those who are inclined to have a rather different view of cosmology in the creations than the one I’ve held to most my life.
The church in the days of Galileo now looks pretty ridiculous in the eyes of us living centuries later, although it may be wrongly judgmental to feel that way, for they were merely defending the perceived truths of the day. Still, it gives us an opportunity to not fall prey to the same errors they did, and to prepare ourselves to communicate with those of different opinions instead of writing them off as beyond the pale.
Maybe, as one author (Adam Hamilton) suggests, we can see faith and science as two different ways of understanding our existence. Could it be that we can simultaneously look to science (God’s revelation of Himself through His creation) to explain ‘what‘ and ‘how,’ while looking to faith (God’s revelation of Himself through Jesus, the Word) to tell us ‘why‘ and ‘for what purpose?’
The poison, in an age of sensitive extra-biblical persuasion, may not be lending an ear to its message so much, but the refusal to explore it over a cup of tea.