The Influence Of The Renaissance, Reformation AND Scientific Revolution On The Western Culture Essay
The western culture has been in existence for quite a long time and has played a significant role in shaping the social economic and political scene in the world through its spread across the entire European region and beyond. The European civilization as it is often referred to, is basically the way of life that includes the traditional customs, social belief systems and norms, the social economic and political systems as well as the traditional artifacts and innovations associated with the Europeans and their associates. The western civilization traces its roots to the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations and was greatly influenced by religion and particularly the Roman Catholic Church that was a very strong institution at the time. Many events that happened in history ended up shaping the western culture to what it is today and deep analysis into events such as the Renaissance, the protestant reformation and scientific revolution is crucial in revealing the impact in which history had on peoples way of life.
Starting from the early civilizations in Europe such as the Great Roman and Greek regimes, the western culture continued to grow and spread with the expansion of Christianity throughout Europe, from the ancient times through the middle Ages that were characterized by reforms and all the way through the rebirth age commonly referred to as the renaissance. The renaissance was a period in history that was characterized by renewed interest in ancient aspects of life such as art and literature. While this was the case, there was renewed intellectual development where people stopped thinking as medieval men and entered into the modern way of thinking that was characterized by rationality. Renaissance brought a new wake in the lives of the Europeans as it broke the bondage that had been developed when people became too religious to the point of just accepting the set beliefs and norms (Rodopi, 15).
Renaissance brought new understanding of life and culture through the realizations that there was more to life than just religion and the salvation of the soul (Chisick, 388). It broke the bondage that had been created by the church and in the process created a link between the ancient culture and the modern western culture. It is understood that the fall of the roman culture had given the Catholic Church great strength as it had created a power vacuum that had to be filled. The governance by the papacy had therefore made people very religious and had hindered rational thinking that went beyond the doctrines of the church.
People avoided all indulgences due to their beliefs and literary sacrificed their lives for the salvation of the soul in the next life. Renaissance reformed education and brought new developments and interest in vernacular languages. However, the most significant contribution of this period was the realization of the existence of science in all aspects of life that led to crucial change in the modern life. People started using science to define life and unearth ancient history as the period was basically characterized by great interest in past aspects of life and culture. It also aided the reforms that were experienced in the church through mass production of the bible through the popularization of vernacular languages.
The protestant reformation was another historical event that was crucial in shaping the western culture. Despite the religious nature that characterized the lives of the ancient people, many individual rights had been trampled on by religion. The dominance of the Catholic Church had led to its disintegration into a political body than a religious institution aimed at liberating souls. Religion had therefore become a norm as opposed to a personal choice where people should be allowed to decide to follow or not. It was marred with severe control and threats as people were supposed to dedicate their lives to the beliefs of the church or risk being cast to hell by the clergy. The pope was very powerful and controlled even the kings as he was believed to possess the power to condemn people to hell. What followed was the church concentrating too much on politics to the point of engaging in corrupt activities. Indulgences were sold to believers meaning that only the rich had the chance to enjoy the Pope’s pardon and people started paying to get leadership positions in church (Chisick, 390).
The religious reformist led by Martin Luther stated a campaign to change the church beliefs and educate the people on the true way of worship. They succeeded in changing the blind following of the church and people had the chance to choose what to follow and how to worship. The religious reformation cot only changed the church but gave rise to rationality in thinking that led to many innovations and discoveries. While earlier people were restrained in the bondage of the church in terms of thinking and could not perceive anything beyond beliefs of the church because they would be excommunicated, the reformation created new hope and the intellectuals started defining life differently.
The scientific revolution played an important role in the society and development of the western culture as it led to new ways of thinking. The new breed of scientists and philosophers who championed the revolution advocated for rationalism, skepticism and empiricism. They refused to just accept the truths of the time that had mostly been set by the church making the society blindly follow without questioning. Philosophers such as Rene Descartes believed in skepticism that he even doubted his own existence. Basically, the scientific revolution was characterized by people who were keen in questioning beliefs and knowledge to unearth the process in which it was arrived at. It led to Copernicus and Kepler discovery of the solar system that opposed the past belief that the earth was at the centre of the universe. This discovery was significant and developed to the invention of devices such as the telescope by Galilee Galileo as intellectuals tried to define truths through analysis and experiment (Rosenberg, 137).
The scientific revolution basically set the stage for rationality and developed curious minds that were eager to understand why things happened the way they did. This way the western culture of inquisitiveness and innovation was developed and in the process new practices were developed. The event also led to new forms of governance as changes in the beliefs of the people called for renewed practices in the governing bodies. While the scientists got into conflicts with the church as most of their discoveries opposed the earlier doctrines of the religion, they played a paramount role in shaping even the religion itself as it brought new realization to the believers.
There are different events that happen in history and ends up changing people’s lives and the face of history itself. The western culture and beliefs enjoys a long history that dates back to as far as the times of the ancient Roman and Greek empires. It has been influenced by major events such as the renaissance, reformation and the scientific revolution. While the protestant reformation sought to bring significant changes to the dominant Roman Catholic Church, it led to new ways of worship that culminated to rationality in the minds of the people breaking the religious bondage that gave rise to the scientific revolution. The great emphasis on science in defining life was crucial in setting the western culture and what is enjoyed today. However, all this events would not have taken place if there was no renaissance. The renewed interest in past life events by people during the renaissance led to the development of vernacular languages that aided literature and the translation of the bible among other things. This was crucial for both the reformation and the scientific revolution that depended on each other.
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Rosenberg, Gary. The Revolution in Geology from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Boulder: Geological Society of America, 2009
Rupert Hall. The Scientific Revolution, 1500-1800: The Formation of the Modern Scientific Attitude. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966.