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Galileo and the Church

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Galileo and the Church

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  • November 2012
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Galileo and the Church

“Man has weaved out a net, and this net thrown

Upon the heavens, and now they are his own.” -- John Donne

Science and religion have been in a fighting match for centuries, but it seems neither one is willing to forfeit, no matter how many bruised knuckles and black eyes are exchanged. Galileo was one of the many brilliant minds of this world who discovered something extraordinary, but he was forced to purge his findings in order to accommodate the authority of the Church.

It is the human condition to need to feel loved and cared for, thus we try to convince ourselves there is a supreme being looking out for us. Humans find comfort in believing we are the center of God’s universe--that we are unique and special to Him. When Galileo argued the Sun was the center of a massive galaxy, it further solidified the fact that Earth and its inhabitants are quite minuscule and insignificant--a single grain amidst the enormity of sand on all the world’s beaches. The Church would never stand for such “nonsense,” and to speak of said matter was considered heresy. The Holy Office was extremely fearful of losing the power and control it’d had over its followers for centuries if Copernicanism was taught and accepted. The Church also feared that if people knew they were not the center of God’s universe, they would lose their faith and meaning of life. I am going to discuss the three counts Galileo was tried on, the reasons for the Church disagreeing with the heliocentric model, and the end result of this infamous feud.

Quarterman 2
In 1609 Galileo began observing celestial bodies through the first telescope in history. He made three significant discoveries. First, he noticed four moons orbiting around Jupiter, which contradicted the Ptolemic idea that everything revolved around the Earth. Next, he detected the different phases of the planet Venus. If Venus revolved around the Earth, observers would only be able to see it in four...

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