The Flat Earth cosmology can be traced to religions spread throughout time and geography. Many are familiar with the more famous Egyptian and Christian views, presented below along with Buddhism, but few know how many religions truly talk of a Flat Earth. For example, in various sects of Shinto over its history, the heavens were to be seen either up in the mountains or across the seas, betraying the view of a flat earth. In some Native American tribes, the sky was seen to be like the tarp of a tent - stretched over the flat earth. The stars? They were tiny holes poked in the hide. Other tribes and civilizations native to America found the flat earth as a central piece to their precise astronomical calculations and predictions. Even Taoist scholars recognized using an experiment identical to Eratosthenes' that the Earth was flat and the heavenly bodies close - coming to the same conclusion as Rowbotham era researchers.
The list goes on. Even Hinduism has its share of flat earth mythology, despite being in general against the idea. Take the myth of the great world turtle (Akupara or Chukwa) that carries the world on its back later brought to more fame in Terry Pratchet's Discworld novels. The truth of the matter is that almost every single religion talks of our Earth as Flat - its as simple as that. To deny the truth of the flat earth is to deny our rich history of religion and the truths contained within it. While some may not hold up to modern scrutiny, or should even be avoided by the most devout of Christians, the sheer number of points of view attesting to the flatness of terra should not be ignored!
Its no wonder that past flat earthers like Shenton shared the idea that these may have all come from a common super-culture. Shenton even went as far as to realize his own world-axis of sorts with which Jesus ascended outside of the Dome. Below we take a stroll through a few of these world-views and cosmologies.
The Egyptian Flat Earth Worldview
Egyptian Mythology -Nut As The Dome
Known as the Waters of Nun this image depicts Nut (also Nun) as his mother attempts to stop mating with his sibling. The Ancient Egyptians viewed Nun as the sky, arched over the flat earth.
The Egyptians, like their Abrahamic neighbors and successors, viewed the Earth as flat with Nu (also: Nun or Nut) as arching over the earth supported by the air god Shu. Nu (meaning water or abyss). Their creation story tells of land coming forth from the waters of Nu. Later, Nu came to be known as Father of the Gods
Their ancient astronomical text 'The Book of Nut' was so named due to her being depicted as stretching over the heavens. In it is described the motions of the sun and moon, traveling over his body each day.
Abrahamic Views of the Flat Earth
Early Hebrew Conception of Universe
Ralph V. Chamberlin. "The Early Hebrew Conception of the Universe". The White and Blue. Vol XIII no. 11, Dec. 24 1909. pp. 84-88, Accessed through Wikipedia on April 26, 2016.
The Christian, Jewish, and Islamic religions all share a common Genesis story that accounts to the creation of the Flat Earth and which shares similarities with their Egyptian neighbors.
It tells of God separating the waters out of the world by use of the Firmament, or Dome. Later he separates out the flat earth from its waters, giving us dry land. While the majority of the references in the Bible to the flat earth are contained in Genesis one can find them in a great many other places as well. For example, when the Devil tempted Jesus, he took him high up to shown him all the kingdoms of the world. It is also referenced in Job and often the "four corners of the world" are talked of. For a detailed account and examination into the literal interpretation of the Bible as pertinent to the Flat Earth, check out Terra Firma by David Wardlaw Scott in our literary library. For references in the Bible concerning the Flat Earth, visit our religious references feature.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
The Flat Earth In Buddhism
Mt. Meru in the Buddhist Universe
A depiction of Mount Meru at the center of the physical, metaphysical, and spiritual universe.
By Unknown - Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa, Bhutan, Public Domain
Mount Meru (Sumeru or Sineru) is a sacred mountain in Buddhist, Hindu and Jain methodology. Said to be the center of the universe, and the flat earth, much controversy was raised when Europeans first entered the East teaching their stories of "Round Balls" flying through space in some sort of celestial race. While the Dali Lama currently says that the Buddha was wrong in this teaching - as his mission was to liberate not educate on various mundane facts about the world - many still believe in Sumeru and there are accounts of belief in the sacred mountain as recently as 1977 by a lama.
There are parallels here also to the idea of a world-tree in the center of the flat earth, an idea shared by celtic religions and some of those in Native American cosmologies.