Things that used to be villified/outlawed by religions, now accepted

I’m just curious what sort of things that are now readily accepted as fact or as permissible were once outlawed by one or more religions. For instance, experimenting on cadavers, believing that the earth revolved around the sun, and Pi* were all unacceptable in the eyes of the Church at one point or another.

Also, what things used to be accepted in different religions and are now deemed unacceptable in to at least most adherents.
*This one I’m not terribly sure about. I was skimming through a history of Pi once, and stumbled upon, if I remember correctly, a passage that mentioned that the Church was against the idea of Pi at first. I don’t remember the details.

Well, the obvious one is homosexuality. I don’t think any mainstream Christian denomination (I was about to leave out the word “Christian”, but I’m not sure what Buddhists, Hindus, Shinto, etc. thought of it in the past) accepted it 50 years ago, but it’s slowly getting accepted by some denominations.

Off the top of my head:

was forbidden, now allowed

  • lending money with interest, in Christianity

was allowed, now forbidden

  • priests marrying, in Catholicism
  • polygamy, at least in Judaism and Mormonism

Eating blood sausage, “black pudding”. There are at least a dozen places in the bible where eating blood is the biggest taboo EVER.

Weird thing is, for the USA yielded NO recipies for blood sausage or “black pudding”. The UK site yielded dozens.

And then there’s the one about shopping on Sundays

There was no point at which any church had anything against pi as far as I know. Does anyone have any citation for such a thing? (No, the Indiana bill which supposedly set an incorrect value for pi doesn’t count. That has nothing to do with any church, didn’t really set an incorrect value for pi, and actually was only marginally about pi at all.)

Birth control. Historically all Christian denominations held the same view on birth control as the Roman Catholic Church (ie that’s forbiddent since sex for any purtpose other than procreation is a sin). Nowdays the vast majority of Protestant denominations permit the use of birth control (at least by married couples). I’m not sure what the Orthodox policy is, but I don’t think they press it as much as Rome.

In Did a state legislature once pass a law saying pi equals 3? Cecil addresses the incident you refer to. If you scroll down to the reply at the bottom, you’ll see a reference to the belief that the Bible supposedly gives the value of pi as 3. You can find plenty of discussions/explanations/refutations of this idea online (here’s one), and it’s probably been pretty well covered here on the SDMB, but “pi” is a bitch to search for.

On a related note, while the Roman Catholic Church is abortion’s most prominent opponent, this has not historically been the case. While they nitpicked about “quickening,” circumstances and methodology for centuries, the RCC didn’t actually condemn the practice until 1869, roughly one century before Roe v. Wade, or a minor blip on the screen of the Church’s long history.

I always liked this passage (from a longer essay by lesbian writer Deb Price):

Christianity in the medieval era had big problems with both Zero and the concept of Infinity. See “Zero - the Biography of a Dangerous Idea” by Charles Seife. Coming out of the medieval era, as trade grew, and zero became a book-keeping necessity, zero became accepted.

On another front, (rough description coming) the RC Church for a long time opposed efforts to develop accurate measurements of time especially as related to modifying the calendar (specifically as related to determining the date on which to celebrate Easter) See “Calendar” by David Ewing Duncan.

Both these topics were a great way to get in hot water with the church, but now are acceptable.

Oh, come on, Thudlow Boink, I’ve read all those references and many more on the Indiana bill (supposedly) about pi. I’ve read more about it than you have. I know more about this than Cecil does, in fact. The Indiana bill was a resolution introduced by a state representative named Record for the benefit of his friend Goodwin. Goodwin had written a pamphlet in which he claimed that he had solved the ancient problem of squaring the circle. It wasn’t really about the value of pi at all. Mathematically, his pamphlet was a mess. He hadn’t, of course, been able to square the circle (using only a compass and a straight-edge), since that isn’t even possible. In the course of his supposed proof, he several times made statements from which it was possible to deduce the value of pi. In fact, from different statements in the pamphlet, it was possible to interpret Goodwin as claiming that pi had something like six different values, none of which were the correct value. This didn’t bother Goodwin, since his mathematical abilities were so poor that it’s likely that he didn’t even understand what pi was, let alone that he had, in effect, defined it so that it had many different values.

Record introduced a resolution which summarized Goodwin’s supposed discoveries, congratulated him on those discoveries, and allowed the state of Indiana to use them for free. Goodwin thought he was being generous by granting the Indiana legislature the use of his tremendous breakthroughs. Neither Record nor anybody else in the legislature bothered to read the pamphlet, and probably nobody but Record read the resolution carefully. It was, after all, just a resolution. It didn’t spend any money, nor did it create any laws. It just congratulated the friend of a legislator on his discoveries. Legislatures often don’t bother to even read resolutions closely, since they are only designed to make somebody feel good, not to do anything substantial.

It was only after the resolution had passed one house of the legislature that someone bothered to show the bill to a mathematician. He told them that it was utter nonsense. They immediately tabled the bill and forgot about it.

It’s not clear what the passages in First Kings and Second Chronicles are about. It’s easily possible to interpret them as referring to the inner and outer circumferences of a bowl. There’s no reason to think that there’s any statement being made in those passages about the value of pi. No church has ever claimed that the value of pi is any different than what mathematicians have claimed.

Amazing; how’d we get this far in the thread and nobody reminded us?–

Religions used to accept slavery.

Lightning rods. At one point there was a lot of Christian opposition to them since they deflected God’s Wrath ( a claim which IIRC some people even at the time pointed out made out God to be rather puny ). And which led to the ironic spectacle of “sinful” places like the local brothels being spared while the rodless church steeples got hit.

The Catholic Church now generally opposes capital punishment; centuries ago it was accepted.

Miscegenation. Used to be a huge issue, now nobody cares.

Human sacrifice.

Today, most religions don’t even do animal offerings.

Way back when? Everyone and his neighbor used to go around offering up criminals, slaves, chosen citizens, first born children… After all, what kind of crazy god wouldn’t want you to kill for him?

[In fact, that’s how some biblical scholars have interpreted the puzzling story of the Binding of Isaac (short summery: God says, “Sacrifice Isaac”, Abraham brings his son to the altar, God says, “Just kidding.”) According to those rabbis, God wanted to make sure Abraham was faithful enough to sacrifice his children like all his neighbors were doing, before telling him that this new religion didn’t go for human offerings.]

Or to rephrase it to the OP, most religions allowed slavery at one point or another, and feudalism at a last resort.

The most plausible explanation for the “Biblical value of pi” is that it’s simply round-off error. Both the circumference and diameter are given to a precision of one significant digit, and pi to one significant digit is indeed 3. It’s actually to the credit of the author that he knew how much precision he really had, and didn’t give unjustified digits.

That being said, my favorite interpretation is due to the fact that it was a shallow bowl, not a disk. If the diameter of a bowl is measured using a measuring wheel (which would probably have been the easiest way to do it), then the ratio of the circumference to the diameter will be less than pi. And for a bowl of the depth described, it does in fact come out to be pretty close to 3.

They still do, technically speaking. *Society *has rejected slavery.

How so? Is support of slavery in the doctrine of any mainstream religion? Or are you referring to the passages of scripture supporting the just treatment of slaves as support for the practice?