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Is the Earth Flat?

Updated on July 16, 2009

Can you prove the world is round?

William of Occam suggested 'way back in the 13th century that the best way to deal with most anything is to allow the simplest explanation to be true until proven otherwise. That's why the flat earthers held their ground until Copernicus, Galileo, and others proved the world was round, that it was not the center of the universe, and that it was actually traveling around the sun in an apparent fixed orbit. The round earth hypothesis was resisted tooth and nail by the Christian (read Catholic) Establishment. The proponents --also Christians--were arrested, imprisoned, executed in some cases. Many went underground or into exile. Still, they persisted, gratefully.

Ultimately, proof proved powerful.

So it is with those who claim the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. It has not and cannot be proven; yet they cling to it like velcro. It must be taken on faith. Let's examine that proposition.

Is accepting a literal reading of Scripture the simplest path? Does it make sense here in the 21st century to take the Bible at face value?

The first answer to the above questions is another question. If we are to take the Bible literally, whose interpretation should be the One and Only Interpretation? When you begin to look at the challenge from that perspective, it is no longer the simplest path, let alone the simplest explanation.

My Catholic friends make a point. The Roman Church was the first established institution; hence, it's Bible should be the one that reigns supreme. But my evangelical friends insist that the Catholic Church bastardized the Scriptures due to ecclesiastical, political, and personal agendas. Therefore, they cannot be trusted to provide the real Truth.

My more conservative Protestant Christian friends declare the King James version of the Bible to be the only authentic translation. They forget, though, that it too was created from other than divine agendas. What the king says, goes. And all that.

Ask any Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, Methodist, or Quaker which interpretation is best. I am guessing (?) you won't get a consensus.

Before the Bible came together in any kind of coherent form during the fourth century, the various sects of early Christians used whatever books that served their purposes. They fought with each other over which versions were valid. And many of the early books were eventually rendered heretical and banished to the trash heap of history.

Sounds like the same thing continues today. Some 30,000 different denominations, sects, cults, and gatherings will tell you they possess the Truth, which invariably contradicts the others. The clash will never end. But it could.

The simplest explanation, until proven otherwise, is that the Bible is a human book, created for human reasons, used by humans to control and exploit.

Again, prove me wrong. I guarantee it won't be easy.

Simple enough? Yeah.

The world is round, the world is One...


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    • Manna in the wild profile image

      Manna in the wild 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Nice Hub RichardSpeaks.

    • RichardSpeaks profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Kent Matthews 

      9 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      I refer you to:

      When you have looked over Mr. Meritt's conclusions, let me know your take.

      Thanks again.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      What do you mean "Even God can't change that?" God can change anything he wants to change. The Scriptures have not changed. They have been translated more accurately than any book in History. The Words in it have been studied and researched over millions of hours by millions of learned people. The meaning and the message is the same today as it always has been. There are no contradictions in the KJV. There are mysterious and confusing things that God clearly says will remain so for those who pick up His Book with the express intent to debunk and scoff. Its deeper meanings will be revealed to a person by the Holy Spirit if the person studies diligently with humility and faith.

    • RichardSpeaks profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Kent Matthews 

      9 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Wow. I've touched a button. Good. That's my intention. So, let's continue.

      Belief is neither proof nor rationale. Again, as I mentioned, the average Christian from the beginning to the time of Galileo believed the earth was flat. It was obvious. Just look at the horizon. You'll drop off if you travel too far. It made sense. You had to believe your eyes or you were considered insane, heretical, or both.

      Until it was proven otherwise.

      And so it goes with the so-called Word of God. If you are truly a student of the Bible and not just another apologist or worse, deliberately biased, then you must know that through the ages, the scriptures have changed. It is impossible to have been otherwise. As I said, anything that passes through the human brain and hand is tainted. Even God can't change that. The scribes and translators have been encouraged through the centuries to make certain the agendas of the current popes and kings were adhered to. You know that. I know you know that. And don't forget. Christianity was Catholic from the 4th century until the 15th century, and even the early Protestants were more Catholic than not. Your evangelical dispensationalist approach is relatively new, beginning with Darby in the 19th century.

      The King James version of the Bible is full of contradictions and inconsistencies. And most conservative Christians can run rings around evangelical apologists when it comes to the treatment of scriptural support for their doctrines.

      And remember what St. Augustine said: Decide to love and do as you like. He also said that miracles do not happen in opposition to nature, but in opposition to our understanding of nature. Makes sense to me. He was a thinker and if you look beneath the surface in his work The City of God, you will see that he was not as caught up in the irrational as most Christians today.

      The two biggies of the 19th century, spiritually speaking, were Darby and Emerson. Darby taught non-thinking. Emerson taught self-reliance. You can guess who I choose to listen to.

      I stand by my assertions.


      PS I am a former evangelical Christian.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      No.  I am an Evangelical and have never heard anyone say the Roman Catholic Church bastardized the Scriptures.  They did prevent the average person from reading it for themselves; sell Salvation in the form of indulgences;  and they did create some liturgies we do not agree with, mostly Mariology. 

      You seem to be making a big assumption that anybody who believes the Bible just came out of Appalachia for the first time and discovered we have automobiles.  Some of us have read the works of hundreds of Theologians and Christian Apologists and then studied the Bible and concluded that we believe it is the Word of God.  St. Augustine thought so.  Are you as smart as him?  I didn't think so.  Even standing on the shoulders of 1600 years of human learning his intellect dwarfs yours.  Say you don't believe it all you want—that's fine.  But enough of these implications of blind ignorance among those who do. 


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