Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ignorance gives way to genius?

Today I visited the Pantheon in Paris. It illustrates a national and public struggle between church and state, faith and reason, science and religion.
The title of the post is that of a cartoon I found in a really nice book I bought about the Pantheon. Unfortunately, I could not find an image online..

Here are a few quotes from the English version of the official brochure:
The Pantheon: From Christian baslica to temple of the nation

On two occasions the enormous sanctuary reverted to being a place of Christian worship before finally becoming a civic temple in 1885, with the funeral of Victor Hugo [author of the novel, Les Miserables].

Foucalt's pendulum demonstrating the rotation of the earth, was first installed in the monument in 1851. It was removed prior to the future Napoleon III returning the monument to religous use, and then replaced by Camille Flammarion during the government's anti-clerical drive on the eve of the law separating Church and state, passed in 1905.
A video about the pendulum ends with a stirring speech from the Minister for Education at the time the pendulum was restored.

1 comment:

  1. I visited the Pantheon earlier in the year. I found it kind of depressing for the reasons you outline. I can't recall exactly what the Minister said in the speech, but it was along the lines of "science has eliminated God."

    On the other hand, the view from the dome of the Pantheon is exceptional...