“The Origin of the Myth” How and why did the flat-earth myth get started? The legend was popularized by Washington Irving in his three-volume History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828). Irving, best known for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” used his fiction-writing skills to fabricate a supposed confrontation that Columbus had with churchmen who maintained that the Bible taught that the Earth was flat.
“Sun Rise, Sun Set” The Bible does not engage in speculative scientific descriptions about the earth’s external foundations. It simply states that God “stretches out the north over empty space, and hangs the earth on nothing” (Job 26:7). Those who accuse the Bible of teaching a flat Earth point to how the Bible speaks of having “four corners” (Isa. 11:2 and Rev. 7:1) and “four winds” (Jer. 49:36 and Matt. 24:31).
“Reading the Bible Through Greek Glasses” Medieval science as practiced by Christians went astray when “the Bible was . . . read through `Greek' spectacles." Certainly the Greeks were right in many of their observations, but it was an almost religious attachment to Greek cosmology that was the West’s greatest impediment to further discovery and scientific advance. The Greeks, specifically Aristotle, put forth the geocentric theory, the belief that the earth is the physical center of the universe.
“The Poetry of Creation” Daniel J. Boorstin, an accomplished historian, writes that “The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents, and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge." Early observers of earth’s landscape and the heavens that were beyond their grasp put forth theories of design that were picturesque but woefully inaccurate if taken literally. A survey of ancient cultures, from Babylon to China, reveals a great number of fanciful descriptions about the structure of the cosmos.
“As Rare as Hen’s Teeth” Each and every Columbus Day, we are reminded by some misinformed historians who should know better, that the great navigator proved by his daring bravado that the Earth was more like a blue marble than a dinner plate. How many elementary-school students are taught that prior to the progressive thinking of Christopher Columbus any ship that journeyed beyond the horizon risked falling off the edge of the Earth?
In post-apocalyptic Australia, “Mad” Max Rockatansky, played by Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), finds himself stranded in the desert after he is attacked by a father-and-son robbery team who patrol the skies in a pieced together airplane scavenging for anything of value that they can sell or trade. They spot Max’s caravan filled with bits and pieces of accumulated treasure in a world decimated by nuclear war. After knocking Max from his vehicle, the father drops from the plane and guides the camel-pulled jalopy to points unknown.
Susan B. Anthony – Anti-Abortion Crusader Susan B. Anthony has been celebrated as a feminist icon by the modern feminist movement because of her tireless work in bringing women into the political mainstream. Feminists pushed hard to get her image on the almost-never-used Susan B. Anthony coin. Anthony got involved in the women’s rights movement when she joined a temperance society but was denied the right to speak at meetings because she was a woman.
Abraham Lincoln – War President USA Today wonders if the Republican Party has room for those who disagree with the party’s conservative platform. An August 31, 2004, front-page article asked whether Abraham Lincoln, women’s rights pioneer Susan B. Anthony, and New York governor Nelson Rockefeller would be welcomed into the Republican tent. A better question to ask is whether they would be welcomed into the Democrat tent. Lincoln: The War President
Mark J. Rozell, writing in USA Today (September 22, 2004), claims that more Christian conservatives voted for Bob Dole in 1996 than voted for George Bush in 2000. He attributes this voting downturn to the vanishing influence of the Christian Coalition. He has the tail wagging the dog. I believe that the major decline in voter strength among evangelicals is the result of eschatology, the belief of millions of Christians that we are living in the last days.
The battle continues to rage over homosexuality. The good people of Missouri voted to ban same-sex marriage by an overwhelming majority (71% to 29%). Louisiana followed suit by an even larger margin. More than 81% of voters voted to ban same-sex marriages. These numbers are staggering and encouraging. Don’t think the battle ends with these large majorities. Homosexuals know that the courts are on their side, and they mean to win.
IN THE BUSINESS section of USA Today, a story appeared that described how businesses are returning to the inner city to set up shop. The article is encouraging. Real estate is plentiful and prices are low. Many who work downtown live there as well. Of course, once these companies become successful, politicians will tax the daylights out of them. It’s these taxing policies that end up killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
AS A YOUNG BOY, I loved science. On standardized tests, I always scored highest in the science category. Astronomy was a favorite interest, but it didn’t take me long to realize that astronomy is a spectator sport. While the moon is near enough, there was no way that I was ever going to hop scotch through the universe. I soon turned my scientific interests to electricity, short wave radio, and Morse Code.