Christian Bashing Has No Place in Paranormal Research

Galileo

Why is Christian bashing, especially bashing the Catholic Church, so prevalent among paranormal researchers?  Sorry, gang, you don’t have to be “pagan” to have an interest in the paranormal.  I find it hypocritical to the extreme when some people in the paranormal field claim to be “open minded,” yet have no problem denouncing others’ religious beliefs simply because those beliefs don’t coincide with their own.  The director of one organization in Florida just can’t seem to help himself when it comes to putting down Christianity and the Catholic Church at every opportunity.  I’m interested in the paranormal because of my religious beliefs, not in spite of them, so knock it off with the Christian and Catholic bashing!

Most of the bashing is in the form of worn-out clichés and unfounded, but popular, myth.  Allow me to address a couple recent examples I’ve seen.

The first myth is the Church used Latin in the Middle Ages to keep people from reading the bible in order to “hide” it from them or some other such nonsense.  Even a moment of research reveals most people at the time were illiterate and if you did read, you knew how to read Latin.  Latin was the universal language of the literate and educated – in particular it was the language of science, allowing scientists speaking different languages to still share information with each other.  It was similarly used by the Church as a “universal” language – it didn’t matter if you were in Rome or London; the Church “spoke” the same language.  Bibles were chained to lectionaries, not because of a desire to keep it from the people, but because it was considered such an important and rare book it needed to be secured from theft.

The idea the illiterate didn’t know the Bible because it was in Latin is absurd and shows a great ignorance on the part of the person making the claim.  The average, illiterate peasant likely had a much better grasp of the Bible than the average, college-educated American today.  In the Latin Mass, the Epistle and Gospel are read in Latin as part of the rite; however the priest reads both in the vernacular prior to his homily – so the people did regularly hear the Bible in their own language.  In addition, the architecture, art, and statuary in medieval churches provided visual images of biblical stories.  The Church didn’t use Latin to hide things from the people, instead she was able to spread her message around the world because of Latin.

Another myth portrays Galileo (1564-1642) as a lone crusader persecuted by a narrow-minded, superstitious Church.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  If you actually study Galileo in depth, you’ll find he comes across as something of an impatient and conceited pompous ass.  Galileo demanded his theories, many of which were later proven incorrect, be unquestioningly accepted as fact.  The Church repeatedly offered Galileo an “out” by asking him to instead correctly label his theories as theories instead of fact.  Galileo consistently refused.

During Galileo’s time, Latin remained the language of science.  However, Galileo chose to write in the vernacular, often using bawdy prose, in an effort to “play to the people” instead of subjecting his work to the review and critique of fellow scientists.  When his friends and supporters, including many in the Church hierarchy up through Pope Urban VIII, begged him to tone down his style and simply state his theories were not fact, Galileo arrogantly replied: “”You cannot help it … that it was granted to me alone to discover all the new phenomena in the sky and nothing to anybody else.”  Not exactly the speech of a persecuted underdog.

Because of his attitude, many of his fellow scientists were hostile to Galileo and condemned his theories.  It was not the “enlightened reformers,” but the Roman Catholic Church that sponsored Galileo’s lectures and supported his honest endeavors.  In fact, Pope Urban VIII, Cardinal Bellarmine, and many other leaders of the Church publicly supported Galileo’s scientific work and many of them owned telescopes made by him and conducted their own observations.

Galileo was placed on trial only once, in 1633.  During his trail, the Church treated him as a guest of honor in Rome, providing him a palatial apartment and a personal servant.  He was given a moderate sentence (the recitation once a week for three years of the penitential psalms, which he had already been doing anyway and voluntarily continued to do afterwards, a practice taking only fifteen minutes per week) for publishing as pure doctrine what he was told to publish as theory.  Galileo did not spend a single day in prison. Additionally, the Church never prohibited Galileo from continuing his work and studies, and never barred him from receiving visitors.  In fact after his trail, he lived for a time in apartments provided by the Archbishop of Siena.  Galileo died at the age of 78 in his own bed, with the plenary indulgence and blessing of the pope.

I recognized there’s others involved in paranormal research who do not share my religious views.  However, I don’t constantly and consistently put-down and attack their beliefs.  I ask the same consideration in return.

2010 All rights reserved.  This copyrighted material may not be reposted or reproduced in any form without permission.]

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One Response to “Christian Bashing Has No Place in Paranormal Research”

  1. Check out this blog. I am working on a post concerning stereotypical thinking both from a Christian and Paranormal viewpoint. I would like to add your site to my list and would appreciate a link to the blog.
    PJ

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