The Power of Belief

Religion plays a hefty role in many fantasy stories, and some of the belief systems are downright bizarre.  All of them, though, dictate how people in that story world behave, and usually have an out-sized influence upon the politics and power figures running the show.

I tend to roll my eyes at the more outlandish religious requirements, but then I’m reminded of how much power religion has had over real people, throughout much of history.

Today in 1633, the Holy Office in Rome forced Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the Universe.  This reversal of opinion came after a great deal of outraged controversy and heavy pressure upon Galileo.  The religious power holders found it insulting that anyone could even consider that the Earth was not the center of the universe, and in the end, they got their way.

Galileo was put under house arrest for the rest of his life.

So for centuries more, humans were taught to believe a scientifically incorrect theory because a small group of people didn’t like the alternative.


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