On Religion Essay, Research Paper
The Scientific Revolution and it s Effect on Religion
When the scientific revolution changed the way people saw the world. The movement helped shape the attitudes that made the scientific advances of the modern world possible. Many intellectual thoughts were developed about humanity s place in the universe and the universe it self. The new way of thinking advanced those living in the 1500 to 1700 s dramatically. Through out Europe many individuals began to take the theories that had come to be accepted as the rock solid truth and critically analyze their validity. Of the basic assumptions and beliefs common to philosophers and intellectuals of this period, perhaps the most important was an abiding faith in the power of human reason. The Scientific Revolution was enormously impressed by Isaac Newton s discovery of universal gravitation. If humanity could unlock the laws of the universe, God s own laws, why could it not also discover the laws of the universe, God s own laws, why could it not also discover the laws underlying all of nature and society. A greater premium was placed on the discovery of truth through the observation of nature rather than through the study of religious sources, such as the bible. Science replaced religion during the Scientific Revolution and itself became the new religion in Western Civilization.
Through out the Renaissance era many people started to explore new ideas in many different directions, including scientific. Although the church tried to suppress the scientific movement, scientists like Galileo and Copernicus continued to add to the continuing revolution. While church officials condemned their theories, they continued to research and explore there new found ideas. Through the development of these ideas, more people stared to question their own ideas about the laws that they had come to accept. One of the largest controversies of that time sparked the overwhelming debate with religion. Nicolaus Copernicus a polish clergyman and astronomer theorized that the sun was the center of the universe and that the Earth, planets, and stars revolved around a stationary sun. Another astronomer that helped to prove Copernicus theories was Galileo Galilei. He furthered his theories by using a telescope to observe the planets and back-up Copernicus mathematical models with visual observations. When he announced his discoveries in the early 1600s, it began a struggle between the old way of thinking and the new way. He offended other philosophers and scientists by implying that the heavenly bodies and therefore, themselves were imperfect.
As a result of these new technological and scientific discoveries, people began to use more reason and judgement in their own thoughts. In the past, people simply believed that which philosophers stated as fact. Now with their renewed interest in the world around them and fascination with the endless possibilities of their discoveries, people worked to free themselves from ignorance and search for their own answers. As more people found out about the new discoveries that were taking place, more stated to wonder about their own beliefs. Many wondered that if the church had been wrong about the earth revolving around the sun, what else could they have been wrong about. As the revolution spread, more become fascinated with the ideas and thoughts associated with science, mathematics and physics. The invention of the printing press also helped spread scientists theories. The printing press allowed all classes access to the information. Along with the printing press, during the Enlightenment era many learned to read so more were able to read about what advances were made. This again enforced the ideas that the church might be wrong about the views it enforced. While this was occurring the church began to take a back set to peoples daily activities. The church no longer was able to dictate what was fact, because they had been proven wrong. As the Scientific Revolution began to change Europe, the church also began to change. After many attempts to try to ban certain literature, such as the book Encyclopedia written to publish scientific documentation. Society began to gain access to these books, and finally they were able distinguish for themselves what they wanted to believe.
While scientists continued progress, many religious leaders began to feel intimidated. The Scientific Revolution began to become the new religion. Science all of a sudden began to attract followers that believed its theories opposed to the churches. Science had become fact with mathematical evidence to back up its claims. Religion on the other hand, was becoming just faith. Many were turning away from the church s institutional believes and allowing science to explain unknowns. During this time not only scientific areas prospered but also areas in economic and governmental views. Philosophers demanded freedom of speech and the press, and they criticized the strict censorship that most governments exercised. They began to believe censorship was harmful because it kept people from learning about new ideas. They encouraged education as the way to end ignorance, prejudice, and superstition. Society’s views were constantly changing, causing controversy with those whom wanted progress and those who wanted to keep old ideas and understandings. The middle class began to surface and become well educated, contracting the stereotype of only the rich receiving education. The Scientific Revolution undoubtedly changed the norm of social practices. The change in these practices in turn modified the role that religion had played being the explanation to natures mysteries.
Overall, the Scientific Revolution changed the way society thought. Through such discoveries as the Scientific Method and huge advances in astronomy, society could never go back to what it had been before. Nor could religion be the answer book of the universe. Through this era and the Enlightenment era, many drew further from religion and the Bible s inaccuracies. Although religion and not disappeared fully, science had begun to replace it. Science had become the new religion in Western Civilization. People came to assume that through a judicious use of reason, an unending progress would be possible, progress in knowledge, in technical achievement, and even moral values. The Scientific Revolution started a trend that has been continued and advanced through out the centuries following it s first baby steps.