Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
September 27, 2011
September 27: Paul III Fails to Reform the Church

Pope Paul III Approves the Jesuits (1540) On this date, September 27, in 1540, Pope Paul III officially approved the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits – through his encyclical, Regimini militantis ecclesiae. Born Alessandro Farnese on 29 February 1468 in Rome, Paul III was pope for 15 years, from 12 October 1534 until his […]

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August 10, 2011
August 10: Churches v. Astronomy

Royal Observatory Opens (1675): Churches v. Astronomy It was on this date, August 10, 1675, that, by order of King Charles II, the foundation stone of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, south London, was laid. The rationale was chiefly commercial: to improve knowledge of the positions of stars in order to aid navigation. The first […]

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July 29, 2011
July 29: Galileo’s Pope

Urban VIII (d. 1644) It was on this date, July 29, 1644, that the pope who will be remembered throughout history as the persecutor of Galileo, Urban VIII, died at Rome. It had been 18 months since his victim had died in Florence, while under a house arrest, which Urban did nothing to mitigate. Born […]

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April 5, 2011
April 5: Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes opposed any positive revealed religion, including Christianity and he was neither the first nor the last freethinker to hide the light of skepticism under the bushel of belief.

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March 31, 2011
March 31: René Descartes

Descartes reasoned from the principle that nothing can be believed to be true until it is evidently true. The only assumption he would allow was his own existence: I think, therefore I am.

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February 19, 2011
February 19: Nicolaus Copernicus

For sure, it was "just a theory," as creationists like to dismiss the theory of evolution, even though this Copernican theory was as unassailable as science as heliocentricity was dangerous to theology.

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January 26, 2011
January 26: The Index of Prohibited Books

In practice, the Church punished severely only those who questioned doctrine. More space on the “Index” was devoted to translations of the Bible than to any other work, including lewd ones.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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