A genuine Flat Earth Society ran from 1956 to 2001, peaking at 3,500 members, keeping up a stream of newsletters during that time. Their dedication appears to have been based on an interpretation of certain Bible verses, and an extreme version of the belief that everything in the Bible was literally true, including the bits about the sun being told to stand still.
On 24 December 1968, the crew of the Apollo 8 mission took a photo now known as Earthrise. To many, this beautiful blue sphere viewed from the moon’s orbit is a perfect visual summary of why it is right to strive to go into space. There are people who say they think this image is fake – part of a worldwide conspiracy by space agencies, governments and scientists.
Modern flat Earth hypotheses originated with English inventor Samuel Rowbotham. Based on his incorrect interpretation of the Bedford Level experiment, Rowbotham published a 16-page pamphlet, Zetetic Astronomy, which he later expanded into a 430-page book, Earth Not a Globe, expounding his views. He said the Earth is a flat disc centred at the North Pole and bounded along its southern edge by a wall of ice , with the Sun and Moon 3,000 miles and the “cosmos” 3,100 miles above earth. He also published a leaflet entitled “The inconsistency of Modern Astronomy and its Opposition to the Scriptures!!” which argued that the “Bible, alongside our senses, supported the idea that the earth was flat and immovable and this essential truth should not be set aside for a system based solely on human conjecture”
The flat earth mythology flourished most between 1870 and 1920, and had to do with the ideological setting created by struggles over evolution. Flat earth myth was an ideal way to dismiss the ideas of a religious past in the name of modern science.
The Bible of course teaches the correct shape of the earth. Isaiah 40:22 says God sits above “the circle of the earth” (the Hebrew word for “circle” can also mean a “sphere”).
Also, Luke 17:34-36 depicts Christ’s Second Coming as happening while some are asleep at night and others are working at day-time activities in the field-an indication of a rotating earth with day and night at the same time.