Is it just me, or is anyone else running into Flat Earth proponents lately? (Check this ARTICLE) People who think NASA is doing mind control over us, that no one has ever been to space, that the Bible teaches the earth is a disc? Yeah, it’s a thing. It’s conspiracy thinking at heart. Basically an extension of the chemtrail/anti-flouridation/man-never-landed-on-the-moon approach to truth and reality. Airlines supposedly fake their travel times, no-one has ever been to the South Pole, all of those outer space pictures were Photoshopped, all Aussies lie about how wide their country is (see the map below to deduce why – in a FE model, it would have to be the size of Russia), time zones are a fake, and the stars are just points of light in an umbrella, fixed maybe a few hundred miles up.
Just for one example, here is a meme I ran into this week, one which “proves absolutely” that the world is flat and the center of the cosmos, and that the stars whirl about us in unchanging position.
One can disprove it, I think, with a 10th-grader’s knowledge of math and the stars.
To begin with, the first two figures are a smokescreen, since our daily rotation and our annual revolution around the sun would not be expected to alter the shape of constellations in any way. So these two are moot and can be put aside.
As for the third datum, the rate of speed is relevant, although it’s off by a factor of 10! It should be 45,000 mph, not 450,000 mph; this goof doesn’t fill me with confidence in the meme. In cosmic terms, by the way, 45,000 mph is a creeping pace, a little bit more than twice the speed of the space shuttle. The same shuttle that, at top speed, would need 165,000 years to reach the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri.
Anyway, the sun is moving at 45,000 mph in relation to an imaginary fixed point in space, but the meme fails to take into account that the other stars in our sector of the galaxy are all in motion through space as well, and more or less in the same direction. So it’s a bit like asking, “If that horse on the merry-go-round is really moving at 10 feet per second, then how come he doesn’t move further and further away from the other horses??? Therefore, the horse is not moving at all, and if NASA tells you otherwise, they’re lying!!”
Another point, is that in fact constellations do shape-shift over time, but it takes so long that they wouldn’t have seemed to move much in the few thousand years that people have been imagining patterns in them. HERE’s a good short article on the phenomenon, showing that stars have slightly changed their positions over the past couple of thousand years. That is why, thousands of years from now, the Big Dipper will look slightly less like a dipper.
Not that this evidence will change anyone’s mind. As with all such theories, you can cut off one head (or disprove one meme!) and a hundred others will grow up to replace it. That’s one reason why I’m not going to attempt to prove that the earth is really a sphere: I’m following my Golden Rule, “Cans of Worms shall not be Opened on This Blog.”
I might add that, people are quoting the Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin as proponents of Flat Earth. Here is the quote we often hear from Luther: “There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon…” Aha, so if Martin Luther believed that the Flat Earth was the true teaching of the Bible, then who are we to argue against him?
First, there are plenty of things that Luther said that I feel free to reject. Here is a whole book that I find grossly offensive!
Second, Luther did not believe in a Flat Earth. He believed in a spherical globe, around which the sun, moon, and stars spin. That is, he was a Heliocentrist, but not a Flat Earther. Two different concepts.
Toxicity warning: Flat Eartherism as such is a relatively harmless notion, but it does seem to come tangled up with anti-Semitism (the Zionists control NASA!), Nephilim mythology, Who Really Killed Diana theories, “Fold up a dollar bill and tell me you don’t see the Illuminati!” handcrafts, and other conspiracy thinking. As careful study has shown, “people who believe in one conspiracy are prone to believe others.” If we need proof, Alex Jones is Exhibit A. Conspiracy thinking is, as the earlier article notes, almost resembles a religion, with a fervor that rivals jihadism for its fury, single-mindedness, and closed thinking. In this case, NASA is the Flat Earther’s Antichrist, Galileo really was a heretic, and “Like the tobacco companies, NASA is now trying to target children with their lies!”
Strange days indeed.
IBRI has excellent studies on science and faith
Our friend Dr. Bob Newman has a fine article; the title gives it away, but he takes a gentle, pastoral approach to alternative science: Evangelicals and Crackpot Science
“The Paranoid Style in American Politics” has its 50th Anniversary
“Is the Earth a flat disc after all?” by Gary S. Shogren, PhD in New Testament Exegesis, Professor at Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica
Is it not true that left to the Bible alone, we could only ever know that the Earth is flat, or rather, not a spinning globe?
There are some near seventy verses that speak of the movement of the sun and the moon, yet you will search the Bible in vain to find just one verse that suggests the Earth moves.
Most believers will quote Isaiah 40.22 in defence of the globe, but can we force a ‘ball’ into the Hebrew when the same prophet uses a different Hebrew word in chapter 22 v 18?
Granted, there is much nonsense on the internet/you-tube, I am no conspiracy theorist, but I also don’t believe man landed on the moon, for I don’t believe the technology existed in 1969, my dad was still cranking his car over with a starting handle! Also, I don’t believe that the moon can be landed on, for it is a light just as the sun is; Genesis 1.16, that is, it gives off it’s OWN light.
I also believe that without Copernicus’s heliocentric theory the theory of evolution would never have got off the ground.
You ask “What do you think?”
In my opinion I think we should stick with Luther on this one!
Nearly 500 followers! – still a long way to go before you catch up with the JWs! (sadly).
Hi, Colin, well to begin with, if you believe that NASA, the US government, the USSR and thousands of individuals conspired to fake the moon landing, that by its very definition makes you a conspiracy theorist!
Genesis nowhere says that the moon generates its own light, you have added a word to the text. It “gives, provides” light.
Starting a car with a crank is no proof against a moon landing. That’s like saying, “The Amish still plow with horses, therefore the tractor is mythological.”
Luther didn’t believe in electric lights either, but we should neither fault him for that nor follow him in his beliefs. But anyway, Luther is not your ally – he was no Flat Earther! Nor were Columbus’s opponents. All globalists!
Since you expressed an interest in my readership, I get around 20,000 hits a month.
Believing God makes me a conspiracy theorist?
Does not God’s word say “the WHOLE world lieth in wickedness” 1 John 5.19? Are we to exclude “NASA, the US government, the USSR and thousands of individuals” from this charge? Also, are we not to “try the spirits” 1 John 4.1? and “prove all things” 1 Thessalonians 5.21?
I MOST certainly consider you to be VERY sound in your teachings, Reformed, Calvinist, Pre-mill, post-trib, and much else!
Let us think on these things?
I did pen a small e-book “Antarctica Does It End? Hast thou comprehended the breadth of the earth? Declare if thou knowest it all? Job 38.18. Colin Ford. It is free.
I updated it earlier this week, there are grammatical errors which I hope have been corrected. I do cover the issues you raise, without straying from God’s word. I write, I pray with a humble spirit.
May we all grow in grace and truth.
Blessings in Christ.
Hi Colin, and blessings.
Yes, “prove all things”, by all means. But, in a sense, every conspiracy theorist begins with a more sweeping epistemological premise, that “they” are all liars and that therefore what “they” say must be a lie. And that I am able to determine who “they” are.
Conspiracy theorists that are Christians give it a religious spin: the Bible says that people are liars, therefore if NASA by my lights looks suspicious, then NASA lied about the moon landing.
Conspiracy theorists that are not religious give it a non-religious spin.
But they pretty much end up with the same cognitive grid: NOT that everyone outside my small circle lies about everything (which stance is impossible to sustain rationally for longer the the briefest moment), but that I may selectively discredit some of what “they” say. This is why your appeal to 1 John doesn’t begin to provide a defense against conspiracy thinking, because you only apply it selectively. That is why I conclude that the conspiracy theorist is not more skeptical than the average person, but radically less skeptical and discerning.
In logic, this is the fallacy known as “special pleading.” It is so common that one might say that it is the defining characteristic among conspiracy thinkers.
For example, you have to be able to assume that every airline, pilot, flight tracker, air traffic controller, and even every passenger on any southern hemispheric flight is lying about the route and the times of departure and arrival (because, after all, 1 John 5:19 predicted this!), but that no-one connected with a northern hemispheric flight lies in that way (because someone has decided that 1 John 5:19 is suspended for them, for reasons of consistency); you also have to assume that every single Australian lies constantly when they deny the ‘fact’ that their country is as large than Russia (1 John 5:19 switched back on!), but that no Russian is ever lying about the size of his own country (1 John 5:19 is switched back off); or that my friend calling from New York must be lying when he says it’s two hours later than what my watch says (switch on!), but my friend on the phone from Denver is telling the truth when he tells me what his watch says, and it matches my own (switch off!). The conspiracy thinker is therefore the person with the least confidence in 1 John 5:19, because he, a mere human, is the one with his hand on the switch to flip it on or off!
This is also why, people who fall into this trap – people who believe that their eyes are finally opened! – rarely stop at one theory, they are compelled to keep adding other chapters, and at an increasingly faster rate. Have you not noticed that, among your flat earth friends, you encounter a surprisingly high proportion who are anti-vaxxers, chemtrail enthusiasts, anti-flouridation, NWO theorists, HAARP controls the weather, theories that new Bible translations are of the New Age, and who weave all of their causes into an overarching meta-narrative?
But – I am a Bible student, not a psychiatrist. I will look up your book, but cannot carry on a dialogue on this space, given that I think the topic is psychological and sociological rather than exegetical. Sincere blessings, Gary
PS – you are using the KJV, and it may be that you have misread the word “lieth” in 1 John 5:19. It does not here mean “to say an untruth” (this would be the verb pseudo, as in 1:6), but rathet keimai; it has the meaning “abideth in.”