Your support is helping expand Progressive Christianity. We are one of the largest sources for progressive theological perspectives, as well as our thousands of resources. It is hard to overstate their value – every time you donate it expands our ability to do all those essential offerings even better. DONATE NOW!

The Earth is Flat

The Los Angeles Times ran an article on January 15, 2018, entitled “The Earth Is Round, and Other Myths, Debunked by the Flat Earth Movement (You Read That Right),” and here are a few quotes:

“Earth is less a big blue marble than a big blue pancake.”

“Earth is surrounded by a wall of ice holding back the seas.”

“The sun is about 3,419.5 miles away.” (Three thousand, four hundred and nineteen point five is “about?”)

“It’s [the sun] not a burning ball of hydrogen gas, it is electrostatic energy. We don’t know how it’s powered.”

“The Earth is not spinning.”

“Gravity has never been proven.”

“They want to dissuade you from the idea of a God.” (I guess “they” are scientists.)

I have just finished reading the Mike Flynn book Astronomy: Essential Facts about the Universe, which refutes all of the above.

The Los Angeles Times article also said, “The serious science community feels it’s so basic that they don’t want to waste their time debunking it [the flat Earth conspiracy theory].” Neither do I! I can’t believe that one of the flat Earth movement’s honchos has given up his day job to push this nonsense.

My main point in this blog post is to talk about how some folks continue to believe what they believe, despite all the facts and evidence in front of them. Let me use as an example the great majority of all Christians who, day in, day out, week in, week out, continue to address their prayers, their sermons, their creeds, and their slogans to a god (whom I call NoOneUpThere) who lives in a house (mansion?) above a three-tiered flat world. They continually address their deity with a lot of beseeching, pleading, and, usually, a laundry list of what NoOneUpThere is to do during the coming week. Does this sort of theology come anywhere close to how the real world works? To me, it resembles flat-Earth thinking.

Our creeds are full of beliefs stemming from the fourth century. Many of our vestments are left over from the seventh century and most of those who wear them never realize how silly and outdated their dresses look in the twenty-first century. Too many sermons keep invoking this god to perform all sorts of unbelievable miracles.

My wife, Annie, and I are members of a church whose slogan is “God is still speaking.” This slogan is catchy and thought-provoking, but I’m not sure what it means. Is NoOneUpThere really telling us what to do and how to do it?

I think that a very dedicated group of believers in this congregation sat down together to figure out what they wanted to their members believe so they could make this world better. I don’t doubt for even a nanosecond that they only wanted the best for their congregation. Then someone suggested the current slogan. Nothing is wrong with “God is still speaking” as long as people don’t interpret it as meaning this church has a direct channel to NoOneUpThere, who gives them top-secret directions. But what would happen if the slogan was “Agape is still speaking?” That’s powerful—and more in keeping with twenty-first-century theology!

The bottom line is that sometimes I think the church’s thoughts, actions, and approaches to trying to make the world better are comparable to the flat-Earth cult, which, despite our current exciting technological revolution, is trying to take civilization back several centuries. I want the church to take advantage of the twenty-first century’s technology, realize that Jesus’s message of agape is relevant for any century, and realize that the god who lives in that ancient flat world needs to be promoted to oversee all Creation.

Do you think the Earth is flat? Or do you think the god of the Old and New Testaments might need a promotion?

Visit Bil Aulenbach’s blog here.

Review & Commentary