In the middle of my lecture about the Enlightenment (I introduce Intro students to the discipline by running through a little Sociology of Knowledge stuff), a student responded to my description of Copernicus thusly:
“Well, but doesn’t that say more about Christians than Christianity? I mean, the Pope was just misinterpreting the Bible. The problem wasn’t religious doctrine but the people in charge of it. The bible explains and defends the heliocentric universe.”
Despite my many and varied experiences, this was a new one. Biblical verse supporting Copernicus? Is this in Luke? Revelations? WTF?
Of course, I stumbled out a “that’s a question of religious belief, not a sociological question” and then wandered into “if you are of the belief that texts have stable, transcendental meanings then we’d have to start the discussion debating that” and finally collapsed into “we’ll save that for another day. Maybe it would be a good office hours conversation?”