StairsI finished reading Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians by Dr Jeffery Burton Russell, which describes how the Flat Earth myth is historically bogus. (The Flat Earth myth discussed is not the myth that the world is flat, but rather the persistent myth that people in general and Christians in particular during Columbus' time believed that the world was flat). An interesting read overall, though I'm glad the author limited himself to 80 pages. This quote from the last page of the last chapter of the book (where the author describes why the Flat Earth myth persists) caught my attention:

The modern view combining relativism and progress as widely understood is incoherent. A true relativism would assume that no worldview is better than another; a true progressivism would assume that worldviews are moving closer and closer to a predetermined and preferred goal. The two beliefs are mutually exclusive. … The hope that we are making progress toward a goal (which is not defined and about which there is no consensus) leads us to undervalue the past in order to convince ourselves of the superiority of the present. (Russell, 76)

I have commented on this subject before (see A Modern Absurdity: Everything new is good, everything old is bad) but it bears repeating, because I really believe that this mentality is one reason why people are hesitant to seriously consider Christianity, while some unfortunately seem so eager to embrace Scientology. If what is old is bad, then Christianity must be bad, right? That is fallacious thinking. I'm no luddite; I probably spend half my waking life on my computer for school, work, or recreation. But I do recognize that what's "new and improved" often is not 'improved' at all, and what's "new" is often merely what's old wrapped in the fancy new dress of modernity. The fact that something is old is certainly no reason to reject it out of hand.