Easy question re: beliefs and astronomy
February 6, 2008 4:57 PM   Subscribe

I was thinking about something for my kids, but I think I might be wrong. Is it true that most or all of our religions and belief systems were developed prior to the knowledge that the moon revolves around the earth and that the earth revolves around the sun?

I just can't think of any major movement that has happened since that discovery. Not looking for scientology either:)

So true, false? Am I missing something in my assertion?

I hope this isn't dumb/obvious, and thanks in advance!
posted by snsranch to Religion & Philosophy (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Mormonism, no?
posted by proj08 at 4:59 PM on February 6, 2008

Off the top of my head, Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists. What were you thinking about doing with this for your kids?
posted by fermezporte at 5:03 PM on February 6, 2008

Best answer: I advise you to take a gander at the wikipedia entry on Heliocentrism. It should void a lot of the assumptions you're making.
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:05 PM on February 6, 2008

Best answer: I'm trying to wrap my brain around what you mean by "belief systems." Because there are quite a few that were developed post-enlightenment. Mormonism, various other Christian denominations, buckets and buckets of cults, Rastafarianism, Pastafarianism, Darwinism... Perenialism and New Thought, that whole Waldorf thing... here's something of a list as well.
Also - Scientology certainly is a movement. 3.5 million members in the U.S. alone. That's larger than my "mainstream" church.
In one of my American Religion courses we spent two weeks studying Scientology.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:06 PM on February 6, 2008

Best answer: Oh and a list of new religions
posted by fermezporte at 5:08 PM on February 6, 2008

I didn't mean to lump darwinism in there like that. I recognize that it's not a religion - I was trying to include an example of a scientific "belief system," with "belief" having a very broad definition. I just reread that and realized that it sort of made me look like a fundy wackjob. Apologies to all darwinists (including myself.)
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:09 PM on February 6, 2008

Response by poster: Yea, you guys are right. That is, my assertion was WRONG! So, thanks for all of the links. Don't worry, we're not starting a new cult or sect, but kids ask some weird questions sometimes. Thanks for the info!
posted by snsranch at 5:32 PM on February 6, 2008

Baha'i faith - 1866.
posted by unixrat at 7:17 PM on February 6, 2008

posted by UbuRoivas at 7:51 PM on February 6, 2008

prior to the knowledge

Was there a particular date you had in mind, or does each society operate on its own timeline here? Just a tweak to not be so blinkered. There wasn't one discovery of the fact after which everyone immediately agreed!


It's not on the Wikipedia entry, but Baha'i frequently bills itself as "The World's Newest Religion".

The 19th century, of course, was a roller coaster of odd little sects, some of them smack outside the Christian or even Deist tradition. Today they would all be termed cults. (Although many today would simply have formed as less ideological intentional communities. There seemed to be this need in the era to live apart from mainstream society and to have a detailed spiritual justification for doing so.) Look at the Oneida Community, for example.

Some of this is related to the multiple Great Awakenings that led Upper New York State to get the nickname "The Burned-Over District" -- because of all the religious revivals that had swept the region. These awakenings are all essentially Protestant movements, but they should dispel any notion that ancient history -- or even the late 20th century -- had a monopoly on kooky religious invention.

I also would seriously count science itself as a belief system, just one that is based on something other than faith. A major example of a scientific (in conception) belief system from the 19th century is Communism, which is explicitly atheist (though in practice often more tolerant; see liberation theology). It's more than simply atheism (which has a long history itself stemming primarily from the Enlightenment) because of its particular conception of "Socialist Man" and a future history predicated on an economic interpretation of civilization.
posted by dhartung at 12:30 AM on February 7, 2008

Aren't almost all of those just different flavours of Jeebusism?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:40 AM on February 8, 2008

Aren't almost all of those just different flavours of Jeebusism?

posted by unixrat at 2:12 PM on February 8, 2008

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