TIME FOR A HUMOROUS GAFCONTIMISTIC DISTRACTION: Did BBC News, just two days ago, need to ask, “Do they really think the earth is flat?” Apparently so. Yes, some people do believe it. There is even a Flat Earth Society.
An FAQ provided by the Flat Earth Society is fun to read. Really it is. Sure, it is a total waste of time. But so what. Here is one Q & A.
Q: “What about the stars, sun and moon and other planets? Are they flat too? What are they made of?”
A: The sun and moon, each 32 miles in diameter, circle Earth at a height of 3000 miles at its equator, located midway between the North Pole and the ice wall. Each functions similar to a “spotlight,” with the sun radiating “hot light,” the moon “cold light.” As they are spotlights, they only give light out over a certain area which explains why some parts of the Earth are dark when others are light. Their apparent rising and setting are caused by optical illusions.
Yes, really! The Flat Earth Society was, and still is, a worldwide organization with a few hundred members, headquartered in Lancaster, California. And, as the BBC tells us, there are small groups in England. The worldview of its members is rooted in the tenets of the Universal Zetetic Society, which flourished in England in the 1800s. Charles K. Johnson, the society’s president until 2001, had, as he saw it, “reduced truth to factuality, either scientifically verifiable or historically reliable …”
Johnson’s history was right out of the Bible (KJV) and from a collection of highly imaginative conspiracy theories, mostly in his head:
It’s the Church of England that’s taught that the world is a ball. George Washington, on the other hand, was a flat-earther. He broke with England to get away from those superstitions.
Is this the real reason for founding of the Episcopal Church? Is this the unspoken problem underlying all the tension at Lambeth? If we use Johnson’s method of thinking, then certainly that is true; for George Washington was an Episcopalian.
OH, THOSE HERITICAL ANGLICANS
What is true, at least, is that in the late nineteenth century, an Anglican vicar from Yorkshire, the Rev. M. R. Bresher, was so horrified by the Zetetic movement that he went about visiting parishes of the Church of England strenuously arguing that the world was certainly round, like a ball; just as the Venerable Bede had argued many centuries earlier.
Charles Johnson and his wife Marjory wanted to scientifically verify the claims of Samuel Birley Rowbotham, a founder of the Zetetic movement who wrote Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe. To do so, they carefully examined the surfaces of Lake Tahoe and saw no curvature. This satisfied them that Rowbotham’s scientific conclusions were correct and that the world was indeed flat.
Marjory Johnson, who came to California from the cradle of Gafconitism, Sydney, Australia, was so upset that her native country was called “down under” that she swore out an affidavit before a California judge stating that she had never hung by her feet in Australia. Though she probably did not know it, she had provided an answer to a question that Augustine of Hippo had pondered in The City of God:
[Were there] men on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours.
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Clearly the Episcopal Church has lost its way. Thankfully there are a few who would have us Stand Firm (or is it Hang Firmly Upside Down) against the modern heresy of a well rounded world.
Cross posted from one-episcopalian-on-faith.com