Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Secularism in Relation to Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment: Critical Essay

Words: 1997
Pages: 4
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

During medieval times in Europe, the only religion to be recognized was that of Christianity particularly the Catholic faith. The lives of both men and women were undeniably dominated and defined by the Christian faith. It matters not what tier or status you have, you still fall under Christian religious dominance. The lives of many, no matter what occupation we’re dedicated to, follow Christianity. Many monasteries and institutions were created for support and worship and thus gaining more wealth and power. The events that played out due to such a system brought great change to the Catholic Church and those surrounding it. It led to splits in the Church which is called the Schism of 1054. The prospects of the Roman Catholic Church were questioned by many men like Martin Luther who actively pointed out the wrongs in the Church's doings by posting his 95 theses and he brought a call for reform within the Church. Further splits were coming with the invention of Protestantism. It wasn’t uncommon to see those who would pray to God five times a day or to see those who would attend mass at any opportunity they had. When good fortune would come upon them, they would kneel and thank God, and when misfortune plays, they would take the blame for their sins. This is where the issue of ignorance can be seen. The issue was that the Christian faith was everything and the only thing that mattered among the common folk. They fail to question anything because they believe that Christian dogmas are the only things to believe in. When the Black Death came around, most blamed it on their sins, nothing else. It was so apparent that no one questioned or looked into any other cause. They would pray, and even when they knew deep down that nothing worked, they would just say that they failed to pray enough, they failed to commit completely to their faith, never anything else. In reality, if these people could only keep up good hygiene, the crisis would have been prevented. Maybe the cause of sin was what they wanted to believe to further strengthen their faith. This is where I would say that secularism was actually a step in the right direction.

Secularism, basically is the separation of man and religious views; it refers to a state in which belief or lack of belief is seen as a private matter. When speaking of the term 'secular', it is very common to hear it being referenced along with the Age of Enlightenment. When I think of events like the Age of Enlightenment or the Scientific Revolution, concepts such as God, humanity, nature, and reason come into question. What I’m saying is that the Age of Enlightenment is what questioned such concepts. Anyway, I honestly view the secular state to be a step in the right direction. There was a point in time when I was younger when I would say things like “if the concept of religion were never an immediate part of society then things would be better”. What I was referring to was obviously the conflicts that came with opposition to the enforcement of the Christian faith. One of the more common conflicts that came was the Great Schism of 1054. The Great Schism was defined by a split in the Christian Church into the Orthodox and Roman Catholic. There were actually religious and political reasons for the split. The Eastern Orthodox Church would make use of icons, while the Roman Church looked down upon them. There was as well a language barrier with the Roman Church speaking Latin and the Orthodox Church speaking Greek. To one another they believed the other to be barbaric. Anyway, I think the problem here comes from the idea of having a political system based on religion. In a society where everyone is well versed in the Bible, whether be a monk, a doctor, or even a man of science, the main issue is always going to be how can one begin to do this or what is the right way to do that. I cannot say a religious viewpoint would support the making of advancements in society. What I mean is that compared to the use of logic and rational thought I would say that faith in religion in reality isn’t enough. At the same time secularist ideology is not immune to a divide in ideologies, but what is born from them is still beneficial.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

During and even before the events of the Scientific Revolution, the Roman Catholic Church was still such a powerful entity. It was quite obvious that there would be some form of conflict between religions. And science. The ideas that came from the Scientific Revolution contradicted the Church's teachings. The Church thus feared that people who gradually accepted these ideas would start to doubt the key element of the Christian faith. The result of this would be a weakened influence from the Church on its people, which would also reduce its power. An example or representation. Of the conflict between science and religion would be the case of Galileo Galilei who published a book that contradicted the ideas of the Church. Although the more famous contradiction would be that of heliocentric and geocentric ideas. This is when Galileo was interrogated by the Church, after which he was put under house arrest for the rest of his life, and only received an apology centuries later. Also, questions about astronomy, anatomy, and mankind, in general, were beginning to be answered. People started to apply logic and reasoning to many aspects of life, leading to further advancements in education and learning. Going back to the idea of a religious society, based on how I depicted Galileo’s story, I would say that the papacy in this situation represents ignorance seeing as they immediately denied Galileo’s theories. As I said before, the Church wanted to silence these scientists so that belief in the faith and the faith of the Church would not weaken and they could hold their power. Now the question would be if this is just a case of the papacy trying to keep religious order among the people, or is it an example of corruption among the theocratic rulers? Based on what I’ve been reading, it would seem that I would have to go with the latter. Throughout my readings when reading about the Catholic Church, there was always a power struggle. Galileo inspired others to think rationally and free themselves from the confinements of the Church, and he initiated the analysis of the Church from a skeptical viewpoint. It also inspired other philosophers to come out and share their own ideas, such as Thomas Hobbes, who had created theories of government and man that had little room for religious ideas. Similar to Galileo's story is William Harvey. William Harvey made lots of discoveries that were contradictory to the Church's views. William Harvey was an English physician who wasn’t satisfied with divine creation as a means to explain the human body's anatomy. Harvey’s work remains to be one of the most significant in human biology. His findings contradicted the story of creation in the Bible, which led to skepticism of the Bible. Before the accepted teaching of Harvey, the idea of blood flow was that of being a natural spirit. Harvey did not bother with such theories. He theorized that blood in the body was limited and the heart works as a pump that allows the blood to flow through. This indirectly gave way to the thought of human evolution, which today is widely accepted and taught in most schools today. There was also Isaac Newton who also made another huge breakthrough that resulted in the growth of secularism. Newton had been able to explain concepts with evidence to his claim that allowed for the further split between government and religion. His views changed the natural way of thinking, people no longer viewed God as the one that makes everything happen, which caused the people to stray away from faith alone and use logic and reasoning to explain everything.

I still believe that a secular state is an ideal state for a proper government to run. In my research, I could see how strongly religion contradicted the Scientific Revolution. Like I said before, the papacy tried to keep these ideas hidden, it would seem that they would want to keep the people of the state ignorant, after all, it would be easier to control a citizenry that does not contradict their leaders. An example of that would be in Nigeria where the issues of political ignorance are high. Some people don’t know how to defend themselves because they're not properly educated to know their human rights. Just like the papacy, this who speak against the government is to be silenced, just like in the Middle Ages, where those would fear to speak and only follow due to fear of being put to death as such cases were treated. Although Nigeria is, on paper, a secular state, people still see religious influence in the making of decisions over other religious views. Even now I think religion is a higher influence in Nigeria than actual political influence. For example, Hausa law, which is dedicated to the Quran's laws as well comes first in a dispute. The point is that in the government of Nigerian society, there is heavy influence learning towards favoritism of both religion and other personal qualities, not really related to where or what you studied.

My main debate at this point is that a secular government is better than a theocratic system. The idea of the theocratic system depicts the idea of a government that has laws sourced from an ancient text which gives no attention to the people. There is nothing like people's choices or democracy in general that can give rise to prejudice and issues in human rights. In a secular government, said government actually surveys what the people want and applies it to the rule of law. The government must take all steps necessary to ensure the integrity of the natural human rights of the people. The secular state does not try to control but instead, they assist the development and integration of people of different backgrounds. A theocratic government would typically charge such freedoms under the guise of heresy. Again, I would like to point out that the call for heresy was the word that kept most people in fear it is how the Church had such a powerful influence in the Middle Ages. The theocratic rule is what seems to hinder actual development in society, so at the same time, it would seem that a society is better without it. The Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment gave birth to many breakthroughs in scientific discovery and changed the way most people think of the world and as well as new explanations that helped people to understand how the world actually worked. The theocratic system always came off as authoritarian in nature, the issue not just being that the theocracy held power, but the fact that they held too much power. In France in 1789, the Church’s revenue was estimated to be about 150 million. They as well owned about six percent of land throughout France and other properties it operated such as schools, monasteries, convents, and hospitals. It was a visible indication of the Church in French society. The Church was also permitted to take a percentage out of the earnings from agricultural production, it was also exempted from being taxed on its own earnings. This prosperity of the Church soon earned complaints from the people as well as from parish priests who were not included in the wealth bestowed upon the upper hierarchy of the Church and eventually called for reform. The Catholic Church may have been the church of the people, but the abuses it took advantage of meant that it did not always have their trust.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Secularism in Relation to Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment: Critical Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
“Secularism in Relation to Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment: Critical Essay.” Edubirdie, 15 Nov. 2023,
Secularism in Relation to Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment: Critical Essay. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 2 Mar. 2024].
Secularism in Relation to Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment: Critical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 15 [cited 2024 Mar 2]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.