Science and Religionby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Trace the development from superstition to the Scientific Revolution. Describe the advances scientists made in astronomy, physics and anatomy.
After the Dark Ages, the scientific knowledge that was discovered replaced the superstitions of the Middle Ages.
Areas such as religion, art, and philosophy were developed during the Middle Ages but because science wasn’t, superstition replaced the gaps in science. After the Black Death, science became a priority, so new ideas were developed and thought processes revised so that science replaced superstition. Some notable Christians believed the perfect law of God was reflected in God’s creation and therefore sought rational explanations. Along with new theories and discoveries, the experimental method was changed, scientific institutions were built, and new methods and theories were taught. Christianity has been a driving force in the development of science, but many religions use those scientific investigations to support irrational ideas.
Throughout scientific history, religion has played an integral role. During ancient times, changes in weather and sicknesses were attributed to the moods of the gods. In the 1300’s the scientific revolution began in Europe, changing from a science ruled by illogical beliefs to knowledge with a focus of understanding the logical laws of God's creation. This scientific revolution was enabled by observant, God-fearing thinkers who dropped superstition and proposed a creation that is knowable.
During the Middle Ages scientific studies were at a standstill. Other areas such as religion, art, and philosophy were being developed, but without the scientific knowledge to back them up. The powerful Roman Catholic Church promoted traditional dogmas based on Greek philosophy that hindered scientific movement. This imbalance of knowledge caused much of science to give way to superstition. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines superstition as, “A belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition) Up until the 1300’s the gap of scientific knowledge was filled with this superstition. In an article entitled, “The Middle Ages,” Jose Wudka states, “During this long period there was a gradual emergence of irrational theories that threatened to engulf the whole of science: astrology challenged astronomy, magic insinuated itself into medicine and alchemy infiltrated natural science.” Through lack of scientific pursuit, superstition and pagan beliefs began to creep into the Middle Ages learning. Medicine consisted more of chants, spells, and ways to draw out evil spirits than what was healthy for the patient and little was known about astronomy, physics, or anatomy.
During the late 1300’s, after the Church had been discredited by the Black Death, science started becoming a priority. New ideas were developed, thought processes changed, and the culture in Europe started moving away from superstition. “In the popular mind, we associate this revolution with natural science and technological change, but the scientific revolution was, in reality, a series of changes in the structure of European thought itself: systematic doubt, empirical and sensory verification, the abstraction of human knowledge into separate sciences, and the view that the world functions like a machine.” (“European Enlightment, the Scientific Revolution,” by Richard Hooker) Some notable Christians believed the perfect law of God was reflected in His creation. In various fields of scientific study they sought rational explanations. In the field of astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus rejected the view of pagan Greeks that the planets rotated around the earth to see they rotated around the sun. Galileo, seeking to understand the verse, "God is light", determined that our sun is only one of a great multitude.
150 years after Copernicus came Isaac Newton who developed the idea that the universe is mechanical; that there are certain laws that cause the world to operate in a predictable way. Many of his theories gave the world of science a better understanding of mathematics and physics. Along with the many new discoveries, observation also changed to the experimental method. “Previously, the natural world had been thought to be comprehensible based on thoughtful consideration alone. The experimental method holds that understanding comes through hands-on trial and error under controlled conditions.” (“Scientific Revolution,” Encarta Online Encyclopedia). New inventions such as the telescope, microscope, and thermometer, helped to expand knowledge and experimentation even more. Scientific institutions were built, new methods and theories were taught, and knowledge took the place of superstition. This continues to be driven by man's religious behavior to understand consciousness. "He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end." (Ecc.3:11)
Einstein's famous "Special Theory of Relativity" suggests the mystical truth that "God is light". Light is apart from time, space, and matter, yet it fills the voids of our existence and sustains all life. Light has no mass, no distance, and is constant in time and presence. Christ is the "Light is of the World". "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (1 John 1:3-5). "...all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Col. 1:16-17). Science is bound up in religion as "the stars declare the handiwork of God" (Ps 19). There is no escape from this logic.
Yet superstition and illogical beliefs are pervasive. For example, the dogma of evolution is founded in atheism whereas creationism takes on views that support God’s creation of the earth. Many religions today use science to support irrational ideas. “However, far from being the enemy of reason, the Christianity which takes the bible as a totally true, authoritative revelation from the Creator God has been the driving force behind the birth of modern science. It has also been responsible for the liberation of countless numbers of people from all manner of superstitions, harmful practices and fears.” (“Antidote to Superstition,” Answers In Genesis). Many of the scientific reformers during the revolution pointed to God as the source of their knowledge and the reason for their discoveries. “…all of the major figures in the scientific revolution were devoutly religious and saw their scientific work as a way of proving the existence of an omnipotent creator…” (“Scientific Revolution,” Encarta Online Encyclopedia). Ultimately, science and the pursuit of knowledge should bring glory to God, for He is the Creator. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse."
Though the scientific movement included many notable Christians, including Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo, scientific study was hindered by Christians before that time. Partly due to the influence of Thomas Aquinas, the Roman Catholic Church was upholding Greek philosophy; therefore the advance of science was constrained during the Middle Ages. In modern times Christians, and specifically the docrine of creation and a young earth, are seen by evolutionists to hinder the advancement of science. Yet Christians point out the gaps in the evolutionary model, particularly the problems of First Cause and Spontaneous Generation. Since the science of archeology has consistently verified biblical accuracy, might it also be plausable that the other claims of the Bible are true?
1. In the 1300’s science changed from _______ to knowledge with a focus.
a) Logical reasoning
b) Illogical beliefs
c) The experimental method
e) Boring theories
2. Find the true statement
a) The scientific revolution was started by the Roman Catholic Church
b) Scientific research was going at a slow, but steady pace up until the sudden spurt during the revolution
c) There was basically no development in the areas of science, art, religion, and philosophy until the 1300’s.
d) An imbalance between science, religion, and the arts caused much of science to give away to superstitions during the Middle Ages.
e) Since the beginning of time Europe has always been equally as knowledgeable in all fields of study
3. Which one of the following was not a result of the scientific revolution?
a) A new religion called “scienceism”
b) A new method of observation
c) New scientific institutions
d) New inventions
e) New theories
4. Which of the following statements is true?
a) All religions today are un-superstitious
b) None of the scientific reformers were Christians
c) Illogical beliefs and superstition are no longer an issue
d) People never use science to support their illogical beliefs
e) Christianity has been the driving force behind the birth of modern science. It has also been responsible for the liberation of countless numbers of people from all manner of superstitions, harmful practices and fears
1. Encarta Online Encyclopedia. “Scientific Revolution.” Oct. 17,
2. Hooker, Richard. “The European Enlightment, the Scientific Revolution.” Oct. 17, 2003. http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ENLIGHT/
3. Answers In Genesis. “Antidote to Superstition.” Oct 17, 2003. http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v20/i2/superstition.asp
4. Wudka, Jose. “The Middle Ages.” Oct. 17, 2003. http://phyun5.ucr.edu/~wudka/Physics7/Notes_www/node40.html
Additional information about <http://hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/cot/t0w08sciencereligion.htm>
The above essay was donated to hyperhistory.net.
of inaccuracies or plagiarism.
Post a link to this essay,
a great essay
on your blog or website :
|Comparative Essays||Biographies||Doc. Based Questions||Change Over Time|