This year is the International Year of Astronomy and, in part, marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first use of telescopes for astronomic observation. And we can’t remember Galileo without also remembering how he was treated by the Church.
I find it interesting, however, that there seems to be a fashion amongst some Christian apologists, and even some others, to blame Galileo for this experience. In other words to blame the victim.
The basic facts are well known. The Catholic Church had banned the advocacy of heliocentrism, the idea that the earth orbited the sun. They declared that it was contrary to the literal meaning of scripture. Despite Galileo’s forced recantation of these ideas he lived out the rest of his life under house arrest on orders of the Roman Inquisition.
A classic example of dogmatism preventing honest scientific investigation.