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Struggle of Faith and Reason: A History of Intolerance and Punitive Censorship

Part II: From Mediaeval Cathars to Giordano Bruno and Lucilio Vanini

Juhani Sarsila

Humanists look up to Hellas as the cradle of European culture. The book spans nearly five centuries of a later epoch of this worthy tradition. Starting with the awesome high-mediaeval Cathars, the exposition proceeds in chronological order. Eventually, we meet Giordano Bruno and Lucilio Vanini, both of them red-letter heretics. The work affords cognisance of a neglected branch of learning. History of morals in general, and that of the struggle of faith and reason in particular, provides in-depth insights into the allotted fate of dissentient man. A potentially fateful nexus appears to be interweaving between book and author. Organised religion is evermore based on the politically beneficial idea of anthropomorphism or metaphysical projection. For has Man not made God in his image?

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XII Man’s Cosmic Insignificance



Victor J. Stenger comments upon the actual cosmic insignificance of humanity, the concept of which is ultimately obnoxious as it is heretical from the horizon of intelligence of the church (and as it was heretical from Bruno’s stance as well). I deem it just to modify Stenger’s analysis respecting style rather than substance. Since Nicolaus Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, and the heyday of the Christian denominations, humanity’s conception of its place in the universe has steadily diminished from the absolute, authoritative, and compulsory doctrine that the human beings are the omphalos of the universe, to one in which they are only a minuscule speck in space and time. No sooner had they invented and commenced to utilise telescopes with which to peer into the sky, than their view of the cosmos grew from originally that of a single star system and its planets to a galaxy of a hundred billion stars and on to a visible universe of one hundred billion galaxies. One has to append that Bruno did not reach the concept of galaxy. Further, that was not the end of the narrative. As has been stated, since the 1980s the humanity has found valid reasons to heed to what the astronomers and cosmologists say, that our visible universe is but a drop of water in an ocean of galaxies lying beyond our light horizon, perchance a hundred orders of magnitude larger, that all possibly resulted from the same Big Bang. It is also within...

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