In 1543, Copernicus said the planets revolved around the sun. Several decades after that, the Roman Catholic Church deemed heliocentrism heretical. They imprisoned Galileo for it.
But now? Even the Church accepts this scientific truth. The evidence is overwhelming. You can't deny it.
For religious people who may have once thought the Earth was the center of the universe, their faith had to evolve to incorporate this new reality.
Today, heliocentrism is no longer controversial. Religion adapted to it. It doesn't shake anyone's faith. Pastors aren't arguing against it on Sunday mornings.
I wish I could tell you religion was weakened by it, but it's still as powerful as it has ever been. But maybe you could argue it becomes a little watered-down every time it has to give way to scientific truths.
And that makes me wonder what will happen with evolution.
Because for a lot of religious people, evangelical Christians especially, they see accepting evolution as a problem. As something that stands diametrically opposed to their beliefs.
You know what? I agree. I think if you take the concept of evolution to its logical conclusion, God evaporates from the picture.
But let me jump a couple hundred years into the future.
Evolution's not going anywhere. It'll be accepted by just about everyone whether you like it or not. Parts of the theory may very well be modified, but the general concept won't ever be overturned. There's too much evidence in favor of it. Just like we're not going back to believing the Sun revolves around the Earth.
And you know what Christians will probably do? The same thing they've always done. They'll find a way to incorporate the scientific reality into their faith-based worldview.
It's not a question of if they'll do it. It's a question of when they'll do it.
Science and religion have been battling it out for centuries, and Science is undefeated.
And it will always be undefeated because it's the best method we have ever found to uncover how nature works.
I understand why Creationists and other science-deniers fear reality. Their faith is inflexible. Eventually, science will just steamroll over their fundamentalist beliefs. It just feels like it's taking forever for that to happen.
If evangelical leaders were smarter, though, they'd figure out a way to incorporate scientific advances into their religion -- now rather than later.
Don't get me wrong; Some Christians have -- and I believe that they're intellectually dishonest in a lot of ways. But too many pastors and Christian apologists just cling to this mindset that if all the evidence points away from their faith, they have to pretend like it's not there.
They have to find ways to discredit it. They've tried it with Intelligent Design, and irreducible Complexity, and "teaching the controversy."
It's a losing proposition. And the longer they remain opponents of science, the quicker their beliefs will stop being taken seriously.
I'll admit I'm just surprised they're unable to figure this out. They have so much money and so many people with large megaphones, pastors and authors and speakers... they have the ability to adapt starting right now.
But instead, so many of them -- millions of them -- still pretend like evolution and climate change are part of some anti-Christian conspiracy.
They still haven't learned a lesson from hundreds of years ago.