Christians and astronomy??

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Dinosaur, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    It is interesting to note that the new Testament was written at a time when I am sure that many knowledgeable folks knew that following any star except some star like Polaris (the North Star) or a star in the Southern Cross would lead them along some strange path & not lead to any particular small area.

    Sea faring cultures probably knew that the biblical notion was nonsense.
     
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Are you talking about the Star of Bethlehem here?

    When it says "they saw a bright star in the East", we'd have to assume that they were looking at around the same time each night, over a period of time significantly less than a year. Obviously, the stars make a complete loop in the sky once every 24 hours.
     
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  5. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    James R: Are you suggesting that they took one look about the same time each evening, set their course, & never looked at the star until the next evening?
     
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes I think the alternative translation "we have seen his star at its rising", i.e. as it rose in the East, makes a lot more sense than the popular version in the carols about the Magi supposedly "following the star". That, quite plainly, is astronomically illiterate.

    More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_of_Bethlehem

    But then these people would have been astrologers rather than astronomers anyway, so goodness knows what they may have read into some observation or other. Nobody seems to have found a convincing argument for any real celestial event.

    And all this star stuff only appears in St Matthew, not in the other 3 gospels.

    As for the thread title, I don't think anybody can draw any conclusions about "Christians and astronomy" from this story. (Though possibly one might use it as further evidence for the silliness of biblical literalists.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Nothing else would make much sense, unless the "star" was something in the Earth's atmosphere that hovered over one particular location (like a stable, f'rinstance). But I can't think of many star-like hovering objects that would have been around in 1 CE.

    Maybe the star of Bethlehem was an alien spaceship!

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