A Catalog of Religious Ignorance

THIS IS A RELIGIOUS ARTICLE in the Washington Post, titled Church Lags Behind, Again, by John Shelby Spong, a former Episcopal bishop. The main topic is about homosexual rights, a subject which doesn’t engage us. But the article is interesting for other reasons. Bishop Spong says (emphasis supplied):

Churches are today the last bastion of homophobia in its resistance of the rights of our gay and lesbian citizens. Their typical weapon is to quote the Bible. Of course a review of history will reveal that this tactic has lost every battle in which it has been used. The church quoted the Bible to oppose the Magna Carta and to support the divine right of kings. The church lost. The church quoted the Bile to oppose Galileo and to support a flat earth at the center of the universe. The church lost. The church quoted the Bible in defense of slavery, segregation and apartheid. The church lost. It quoted the Bible to deny women equal education, equal opportunity and equal status before the law. The church lost. The church quoted the Bible to oppose evolution and the work of Charles Darwin. The church lost.

[…]

Perhaps the Vatican has forgotten they did the same thing to left-handed people just a century ago.

That’s quite a catalog! And it’s one that should give the creationists something to think about. Bishop Spong left out religious opposition to Ben Franklin’s lighting rod. And anesthesia (women are supposed to suffer in childbirth). He also got the Galileo controversy wrong. It wasn’t about flat earth, it was the solar system. But let’s not quibble.

One more excerpt:

The time has come for churches to face the dark side of their own contribution to human ignorance and prejudice.

Indeed. And if that ever happens, it will be the end of the controversy about creationism in science class. We’re optimistic in the long run. The very long run.

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4 responses to “A Catalog of Religious Ignorance

  1. longshadow

    Don’t forget the religious-based opposition in Colonial America to early, crude forms of smallpox vaccination.

  2. “The time has come for churches to face the dark side of their own contribution to human ignorance and prejudice.”
    So true. I compare this to the situation in Russia. If the Russian Communist Party aspires to ever govern again it must fully face up to the dark side of its history and transparently make the changes to prevent a re-occurrence. To some extent they have done this (starting with Krushchev’s speech in 1956.)
    We need to see this sort of transparency, and more, from today’s Chrsitians.

  3. “The church quoted the Bile to oppose Galileo and to support a flat earth at the center of the universe.”

    Quoted the Bile indeed?

  4. carolinaguitarman

    megalonyx wrote:

    [“The church quoted the Bile to oppose Galileo and to support a flat earth at the center of the universe.”

    Quoted the Bile indeed?]

    They were really pissed.