Since the early part of the 15th century, science and the scientific
understanding that we have of the world has been steadily increasing.
The changes that this new science brought about were huge; from works
in astronomy to anatomy, every walk of life was affected in some way.
This rise in science came at a time when an institutionalised church
ruled the Western World and the religious beliefs of the church were
considered to be unquestionably true. Did this church support and help
nurture the growing scientific world or did it in fact, try to hold it
back and suppress its growth?
The focus of this essay will be to look at change as the growth of
scientific understanding and to see whether religion has held it back
or stimulated it. As both these ideas are polarized a middle ground
between the two needs to be looked for. It is always difficult to
generalise what religious beliefs are. As Einstein (1954) put it most
people would agree on what is meant by science but they are likely to
disagree on what is the meaning of religion. Here the focus will be on
the rise of science in the Western World and the conflicts and
harmonies it has with the Christian religion, be it Catholicism or
It is necessary to point out that this assessment would not be true of
other religions, if you were to tackle the same argument using the
example of Islam, you would need a completely different set of
arguments to support the claim one way or the other.
There is one school of thought that would firmly believe that
religious beliefs have done much more to hold back scientific change
than to s...
... middle of paper ...
Barbour I, Religion and Science, 1998
Barber B, Science and the Social Order, 1952
Hodgson P E, Review of Science and Creation in Nature, 1974
 The work of the Dominican monk St Thomas Aquinas who formed much
of the Catholic moral code, he moulded much of Aristotle's work with
the ideas of Christianity to form the Catholic code. The Thomistic
tradition is how work done by Aquinas is referred to.
 Calvin believed that everyone was predestined to either be saved
by God or not, before they were born.
 As more and more is explained by science the need for a God is
slowly dissolved away until God is only needed to start the world off.
It has the implication that God could have 'died' shortly after the
world was made.
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