From the Pews offers members of the UCiM community an opportunity to share their own faith journeys, questions, challenges &/or doubts. Your are invited to walk with our Brothers & Sisters & share your feedback and thoughts with a 500-800 word submission, which might include your own photo to accompany the blog and a brief 2-3 sentence description as to who you are!
From the Pews offers members of the UCiM community an opportunity to share their own faith journeys, questions, challenges &/or doubts. We invite you to walk with our Brothers & Sisters & share your feedback and thoughts. And, should you be so moved & feel you too would like to contribute to this aspect of our ministry, please contact Dea. Richard! He would be excited to walk with you, & support your 500-800 word submission, which might include your own photo to accompany the blog and a brief 2-3 sentence description as to who you are!
The Faith of Great Scientists: Three Sketches and a Conclusion
The standard view is that we had to leave faith behind in order to enter an age of science. A closer look shows that faith was an important dimension of the pioneers of modern science. These sketches invite that closer look.
What can we say about Copernicus (1473- 1543), and the cause that Galileo defended so vigorously and profitably? First of all, he was an aristocrat. His father was a wealthy merchant in what today would be Eastern Poland. When both his parents died when he was still young, he was adopted by his mother’s brother, then Bishop of Warmia, a Hanseatic area on the Baltic. During his life, the areas where Nicholas lived were fought over by the Teutonic Knights and the King of Poland. Nicholas received the best education available, at universities in Krakow, Bologna, and Padua. He held degrees in medicine and canon law. All this was financed by income from the church. He was fluent in Latin, German, Polish, Italian and Greek. He was a humanist. In many cases, humanism discouraged new kinds of thinking. In the case of Copernicus the astronomer, older texts encouraged him to challenge the received wisdom of the day (Ptolemy). He served the church and the kings of Poland as a lawyer, a physician, an astronomer, a translator, a diplomat, and an economist. Astonishingly, he was good at all of these. And he did all this during the early years of the Protestant Reformation, in a time and an area of political and military instability.
What he is best known for, of course, is his cosmological writing, On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. He composed it over many years, but refused to have it published until he was dying. Why? Well, the “fact” is that the sun moves, not the earth. Copernicus was convinced that we needed to think differently about those “facts.” But it takes courage to question what seems obvious to everyone. People tend to think you are an idiot, even if you are an aristocrat. Copernicus’ fear was rational. The book was dedicated to the Pope. That is not surprising, since some church leaders had been encouraging him to publish it for many years. While some theologians of the time ridiculed the book, it had an anonymous preface by Osiander, one of the most highly regarded Lutheran theologians of the time. So, the book title notwithstanding, Copernicus was anything but a revolutionary.
From the Pews blog